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Friday the 13th: The Series Season 1 (DVD)

Friday the 13th: The Series Season 1 (click for larger imageReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Created by Frank Mancuso, Jr. and Larry B. Williams

Starring Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins, John D. LeMay, R.G. Armstrong

Directed by Various

Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment


In 1987 there was much cause for celebration. My favorite movie franchise at the time, Friday the 13th, was getting its own TV series! I could barely grasp the joys associated with being able to tune in weekly to Jason’s exploits! Oh happy day! Then I watched it. There was no Jason. There was no Crystal Lake. There was no rhyme or reason for this to happen. How could it be? Where was the connection? There had to be one, right? Wrong. Friday the 13th: The Series was to be an in-name-only separate franchise. For a while fans cried foul, but then we decided to watch anyway. That’s a good thing, too, because had we not, we would have missed out on one of the best horror TV shows ever made.

For those still wondering why the show was called Friday the 13th, there actually is a reason. We’ll get to that in a minute. First let’s bring the uninitiated up-to-speed.

Friday the 13th: The Series Season 1 (click for larger imageAntique shop owner Lewis Vendredi (Armstrong) made a deal with the Devil. He was to sell hexed objects for Satan to the unknowing masses in exchange for immortality. These cursed curios would come in all shapes and sizes, but they all had one thing in common — anyone who owned them would end up on the old metal slab in the morgue. After many years of doing Big Red’s bidding, Vendredi (which in French translates into “Friday” and there’s your reason for the show’s title) welshed on his contract and ended up taking a dirt nap. But what of the store? He left it to two relatives, Micki Foster (Robey) and Ryan Dallion (LeMay). Not knowing what else to do, the unwitting duo end up selling everything in the store at close-out prices — thus damning legions of people.

One night while counting their profits, they receive a visit from a strange man named Jack Marshak (Wiggins), who as it turns out was supplying Vendredi with his antiques. But not even Marshak knew what the evil proprietor was doing with the goods. Feeling responsible, the now trio set out to hunt down all the objects before they can do any further harm. Welcome to Season One of their three-season quest.

Friday the 13th: The Series Season 1 (click for larger imageFolks, it’s time to throw away your bootlegs (you know you bought one at some convention somewhere). Paramount has finally brought this gem of a show home, but not exactly in the grand fashion we had hoped. The main problem (if you can call it that) is that all twenty-six episodes included in the six-disc set look pretty crappy. There’s been no attempt at cleaning up the video or the audio. When the onscreen action takes place at night or in a dark room, everything looks bleedy, blurry, and completely soupy. Kind of like watching TV with a thick application of Vaseline covering your screen. Still, in some way this comes off as kind of charming because things look pretty much the same as they did back in ’87. I’m seriously not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Either way your nostalgia bone will certainly be tingling.

In terms of supplemental material we get two extra goodies — the original network launch promos, which I had forgotten about but remembered like they were on yesterday as soon as I saw them, and a ten-minute sales presentation that outlines some of the best episodes of the season as well as some rave press related reviews. Yeah, that’s not exactly what we’d call stacked, but at least it’s something.

Friday the 13th: The Series is required viewing that’s perfect fodder for a dark stormy night at home. It packs enough murder, mayhem, and ludicrously big hair to satisfy any Eighties horror buff. This is a moment that as fans we’ve been clamoring for. Seize the day, and get your hands on this exquisite batch of curious goods like yesterday.

Special Features

  • Original network promos
  • Sales presentation
  • Robey’s giant-ass hair

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    1 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Friday the 13th: The Series in our Dread Central forums!

  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • Kryten Syxx

      A good number of the episodes still stand up today, my personal favorites being the Quilt and playhouse curses.

      • David

        The Quilt of Hathor was also one of my favorite episodes. As luck would have it, that two part episode was glitchy as hell and unwatchable on the bootleg I bought. Vaseline or not, the DVD has to be an upgrade. Those two episodes and the one David Cronenberg directed about the faith healer make this a must buy for me. Wasn’t the Scarecrow episode from Friday the 13th exactly the same story as the Supernatural Scarecrow episode?

        It’s a shame about the extras. I would like to have had a retrospective on Mickey’s giant 80’s hair.

    • MagusMaleficus

      Had the show survived until the intended end, supposedly the final cursed antique would be none other than Jason’s mask. I don’t know how that would work out in the show, but it could have been cool. Oh well… What might have been, and all that jazz.

    • PelusaMG

      “Kind of like watching TV with a thick application of Vaseline covering your screen”

      That’s both the metaphor and challenge of the year!

      By the way, I also have a nostalgia bone which tingles, but not because I am having loving thoughts about this series!!!