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.”
We’re going to back to high school in episode fifteen, “Vanity’s Mirror.”
Our villain (antihero?) is Helen, a mousy, awkward teen girl whose hot sister is super-popular with a handsome boyfriend. She gets ahold of a cursed compact mirror. When she reflects light into someone’s eyes, that someone falls madly in love with her. She does this to seduce the boys bullying her, and then she takes bloody revenge on them.
While Micki and Ryan investigate, Helen seduces and kills her way through two more of her former bullies, including running one boy through a table saw in the school’s woodshop. Helen also almost kills Ryan, sending him falling over a railing when he confronts her. It all builds to the school prom (of course) where Helen finally puts the magic on her sister’s boyfriend.
Micki and a newly-recovered Ryan confront Helen at the prom, telling her that the killings won’t end, even after she’s already gotten everything she wants. Helen and the boyfriend flee to the roof. With nowhere else to escape, she and the boyfriend jump to their deaths. It’s a crushing blow for our heroes — not only did they not save the day, but they don’t get the mirror back at the end. The episode ends with Micki worrying about how many more people it will kill, followed by a shot of an unknown person’s hand finding the mirror in some bushes outside the school.
When the show is smart: Helen readies herself for the prom without really knowing how to. The result is misapplied makeup, huge hair, and an out-of-fashion dress. This results in a fully-formed “slasher movie villain” look.
When the show is cheesy: Yes, a lot of this is ridiculous and could be nitpicked to death, but we’re in full-on ‘80s teen horror here, so the cheesy bits only add to the fun.
Devilish dialogue: Helen: “Do you love me… until the day you die?”
– A line of dialogue states that Micki, Ryan and Jack have recovered 23 of the cursed antiques by this point, which is just short of 10 percent of the ones listed in Uncle Lewis’ manifest.
– One of the bullies who torments Helen is played by Zack Ward, a.k.a. Scott Farkus from A Christmas Story. He had yellow eyes. So help me God, yellow eyes!
Back in the vault: Not only does this feel like a classic slasher flick, but it has a great sympathetic villain, and an ending that completely subverts viewers’ expectations. It’s one of the show’s finest hours.
Next week: The real ink master.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.