As my sister and I grow older, we buy each other gifts that remind us of our childhood. One gift I bought her was the first season of Friday the 13th: The Series. I was cleaning one day when I found the box set at my childhood home. I decided to take the box set back to Pittsburgh to rewatch the series. I will be discussing the first episode: “The Inheritance.”
Friday the 13th: The Series starred John Lemay as Ryan, Robey as Micki, and Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak.
In the opening episode, the audience is introduced to Lewis Vendredi (R.G. Armstrong) and his store full of antiques. A family comes to tour the store and the daughter named Mary (Sarah Polley) sees a doll that she must have. She runs outside with the doll and encounters two men. One of the men begins to harass the little girl and the doll cuts the man’s throat to protect Mary. Going back to the store, Mary’s dad offers Lewis money for the doll. Lewis refuses and tells the family to leave. Lewis takes the doll and other items to the vault in the basement and locks the doors. A wind crashes through the store and footsteps are heard coming down the stairs. Nothing is seen except for burning footprints. Lewis tries to escape in his elevator but it is unable to move. On the floor of the elevator, a symbol burns and destroys the elevator floor. Lewis hangs onto the side of the elevator for dear life but he plummets into a hellish chasm to his death.
His niece and nephew, Micki and Ryan, inherit the antique shop and everything inside. They decide to sell all of the antiques at a going out of business sale. The doll is eventually sold to Mary’s father, although Mickey has misgivings about the doll. With everything almost sold off, the cousins celebrate, until one night, a mysterious man breaks into the store. Enter Jack Marshak, an old friend of Lewis’. Jack supplied the store with the antiques and is looking for payment. Micki and Ryan explain to Jack that Lewis has passed away. After a short discussion, Jack tells Micki and Ryan that Lewis was in the process of making a devil’s pact – his antiques in exchange for immense wealth and immortality. Jack concludes that Lewis was successful in making the pact but tried to renege on it, costing the man his life and soul. Ryan and Micki show Jack the manifest of items sold when Jack finds a secret compartment in the store with newspaper clippings. Items purchased ultimately led to the buyer’s death. Micki and Ryan’s next move is to retrieve the doll from Mary before it’s too late.
Friday the 13th: The Series ran for three seasons from 1987 until 1990. Add this series to a long list including Tales from the Crypt that my sister and I watched without parental supervision. Friday the 13th the Series was definitely scary for our age and it pushed the envelope with how much blood and gore a TV series could get away with on free TV. I remember this and War of The Worlds would run back to back on Saturday afternoons in syndication; my sister and I would watch these shows before 4:15 Mass.
For the mid-1980s, the special effects hold up well. There’s a scene where Mary uses the doll to attack her babysitter. A jump rope slithers from a book shelf like a snake to choke the babysitter.
The three leads complement each other well. Robey is tough and headstrong, while oozing sex appeal. John LeMay brings lightheartedness and goofiness to counteract the darkness surrounding the trio. Chris Wiggins, as the mentor figure, is smart and protective and willing to do what it takes to stop the cursed objects from harming others.
As a fan of all things horror, I definitely recommend Friday the 13th the Series. It was a trip down memory lane worth taking. Unfortunately, Friday the 13th the Series is currently unavailable to stream or watch online according to the site Just Watch. If this changes, I will ensure to let you know immediately.