It’s the Halloween season, so let’s watch season one of Friday the 13th: The Series.
“Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now, they must get everything back, and the real terror begins.”
Episode thirteen, “The Baron’s Bride,” isn’t just the vampire episode, it’s the vampire time travel episode.
Micki, Ryan and Jack are on the hunt for an antique cape that makes its wearer irresistible to the opposite sex. At the same time, a man named Frank is renting a room from a creepy woman and finds the cape in her house. The woman is a vampire, who bites him and automatically turns him into a vampire. Ryan kills the female vampire by staking her with a real estate sign. Frank fights Micki and Ryan, only to put Micki under his spell. Blood gets spilled on the cape, which somehow transports Micki, Ryan and Frank back in time to London, 1875 — depicted in shadowy black and white.
Frank runs off into the night. Micki and Ryan befriend a couple of helpful strangers, Abraham and Caitlin, who give them a place to stay. Frank kills some folk out in the streets and ends up on the run from a torch-wielding mob. He hides out inside a warehouse. Micki is still under Frank’s spell and she and Frank are magically drawn to each other. Frank kills Caitlin and runs off with Micki. A heartbroken Abraham then kills Frank for revenge.
Micki and Ryan each place a drop of blood on the cape, which time-travels them back to the present. Jack deduces that Abraham is none other than writer Bram Stoker, who dedicated his novel Dracula to his dead love Caitlin.
When the show is smart: Most genre shows eventually do a black and white episode to mix things up. (My personal favorite is “Post-Modern Prometheus” from The X-Files.) With his mostly wordless performance, our vampire Frank is an amalgam of many classic Universal monsters, showing characteristics of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man in any given scene.
When the show is cheesy: The plot doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. Is the cape somehow necessitated by vampirism, or is just coincidence that a vampire happens to own it? Also, the cape time-travels when you get blood on it, but how do our heroes know that getting blood on it a second time takes them back where they started? They’re lucky they didn’t end up in ancient Rome or some crap.
Devilish dialogue: Ryan: “You guys didn’t live together before you got married?” Abraham: “Heaven forbid! I never heard the likes of that.” Caitlin: “And do they do such things in America?” Ryan: “Well, sometimes couples live together before they get married. Sort of like a test.” Caitlin: “You do have some strange customs in America.”
– This episode was foreshadowed in the previous one, where Micki had a line of dialogue about investigating a mysterious cape.
– There are a lot of gaps in Bram Stoker’s real-life history, but I don’t see any indication he was once engaged to a human named Caitlin. At age 31, Stoker married Florence Balcombe, and they stayed married until his death. I don’t own a copy of the novel Dracula, but the internet informs me that the dedication is not to a Caitlin, but to “my dear friend Hommy-Beg” in reference to Stoker’s friend Hall Caine.
Back in the vault: It might have plot holes, but it’s still a fun episode, and a nice tribute/throwback to classic horror. By now, the main characters are seasoned monster fighters, so they can take things like vampires and time travel in stride, so I suppose the audience should as well.
Next: Somewhere… beyond the sea…
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.