It’s Friday, it’s the 13th but Jason, isn’t there
Once again, I plan to make a horror special for the month of Halloween. This time I decided to start with a series that was very important for me in my childhood. The original idea was to call it “The 13th Hour”. But in order to better attract the audience, they decided to call it “Friday the 13th”. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with the famous film saga.
The series aired between October 3, 1987 and May 26, 1990. They aired two complete seasons, but they had to leave the third season unfinished. Why? Well, the cancel culture was wreaking havoc already at that time: Some sectors, very religious, did not welcome the fact that the series addressed satanic topics. There were protests, they threatened to boycott the series, and the studio relented.
From my point of view, the satanic concern was just an excuse. What really bothered them is that the protagonists defeated evil only with their courage and determination. There were never any crosses or prayers or holy water involved.
The fact is that the team found out about the cancellation of the series while they were filming the 20th episode of the third season. It seems that at the end of the chapter, they tried to give it some kind of closure with a couple of sentences. But, unfortunately, they didn’t have time to think of something more elaborate. It’s a shame: The series deserved a better ending.
In the first chapter, we meet an old man who has made a pact with the devil: In exchange for magical powers, he must sell cursed objects in his antique shop. But he repents and tries to break the pact. Then an invisible being kills him. Next thing we know, two of his nephews, Micky and Ryan, have inherited his store.
Ryan seems excited about running the store. But Micky just wants to sell it and go back to her town. Thus, they organize a big sale to try to get rid of all the products in stock.
Coincidentally, Jack, an old friend of their uncle, shows up at the store. Jack knows a lot about the occult, and with his help, Micky and Ryan learn what the objects really are: Each item grants some kind of wish or supernatural power to its owner, but he or she must pay a price (and it usually involves killing) in return.
So the three of them feel responsible and decide to try to recover everything that was sold and store it, so it won’t cause any more damage (the objects can’t be destroyed). Basically, each chapter of the series focuses on one of these objects, on the efforts of the protagonists to try to recover it and, of course, its current owner as the main villain.
Several years later, I was able to see it again and I was struck by the little planning of the characters, when trying to reach the object. I mean, the person who has it may know what it is (and usually does) and they’d not be willing to give it away without a fight. Even so, the protagonists asked about the object, simply claiming that it has great sentimental value and they would like to buy it. I don’t know, if it were me, I would tell them that the object is radioactive. That way, if its owner doesn’t know what it is, he or she will hand it over immediately, no questions asked, and if he or she refuses, well, at least I know now, what kind of person I’m dealing with.
Another thing I noticed when I rewatched it is that the same actors played different villains and supporting characters. Budget issues I guess.
Next, I will talk about some chapters
My favorite! A woman tries to get rid of certain people and get their farms. For this purpose, she uses a scarecrow that only requires a photo of the victim to be pinned to the lapel of its jacket. Then the scarecrow comes to life, takes a scythe and cuts off the head of the person in the photo. The characters begin to find the bodies, but not the heads. In fact, the most disturbing thing about this chapter is that they never explain what happened to the heads. I think the scarecrow put them under its mask. If you saw it and have an alternative theory, leave it in the comments.
In another chapter, an old woman uses a cup with a vine carved on it. She fills it with tea and offers it to homeless people who sleep in a park. When the person takes the cup, the vine becomes real, kills the victim and rejuvenates the villain with the victim’s life energy. She uses this method to become a sexy young rock star. The best part of the chapter: When they already took the cup away from her and she tries to go on stage turned into an old woman so deteriorated that she looks like a zombie.
In another chapter, a dentist uses a chair to kill his patients, which gives him electrical powers for a while, which he uses to kill more people.
In another chapter, a scientist uses a trephine to transfer the intelligence of other scientists into his brain. One of his victims turns out to be one of Jack’s ex-girlfriends who, coincidentally, was starting to date him again. It is one of the saddest chapters of the series.
In another chapter, possibly inspired by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Micky and her boyfriend get lost in deep America and end up in the hands of some rednecks, who have their entire family embalmed, in the attic of their cabin, in the middle of nowhere.
In another chapter, directed by David Cronenberg, a man gets a glove that can heal any disease and uses it to become a faith healer. Sure, the glove heals, but what it really does is transfer the disease to its owner’s hand. This is how, after each miracle, the pastor ends up with a large leprosy stain on his hand. The only way to get it off is by touching another person, who dies of massive leprosy. A true feast of body horror like only Cronenberg knows how to deliver.
In another chapter, an ambitious monk uses a pen to get rid of his rivals, so he can get a better position in his monastery. Everything that is written with the pen comes true, but only if the request is evil. In this chapter, Micky must disguise as a man in order to infiltrate the monastery.
In another chapter, Micky and Ryan must infiltrate a religious community, similar to the Mennonites. There, a woman who wants to marry the pastor uses a blanket that allows her to enter the dreams of her rivals and kill them (yes, like Freddy Crueger).
The Music Box
In another chapter, Jack’s niece, a young classical dancer with a promising career, begins to work with a very prestigious choreographer. But this choreographer has a music box that allows him to control the dancers’ bodies as if they were puppets. The dancers can, in this way, execute outstanding choreographies, but the physical effort is so great that none of them survive.
In another chapter, a man uses a photographic camera to create a double of himself. This way, he can commit murder with a perfect alibi because, technically, he’s in two places at the same time (and he makes sure everybody sees him, so there are witnesses).
The Time Machine
In another chapter, a historian uses an old projector to travel back in time and steal objects he knows have historical value. The characters follow him and end up in the middle of the USA civil war.
Here the trailer:
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