Friday, October 18, 2019


The Mad Doctor
"Now With No Added Jason"
Welcome back to The MonsterGrrls’ Thir13en For Halloween. Today in our Tales Of Unease we’re taking a look at Friday The 13th: The Series—not the movie series, but the TV series that ran in first-run syndication from 1987 to 1990. Though it has no connection to the Friday The 13th movies, FT13 The Series has a devoted fan following.

With series like Amazing Stories, Tales From The Darkside, and the 1980’s revival of The Twilight Zone, anthology series experienced a renaissance period during the '80’s. Producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., who had actually produced the Friday The 13th film series from FT13th Part 2 all the way to Jason Takes Manhattan, co-created the TV series with Larry B. Williams under the title of The 13th Hour.

Mancuso’s original intent was to utilize the idea of Friday The 13th itself, as a symbol of bad luck and curses. Interestingly enough, Mancuso had hoped to do this idea in the FT13 movies themselves, but like John Carpenter’s Halloween, the masked serial killer Jason Voorhees became so popular among moviegoers that he became the franchise, and the anthology film series idea was scrapped. While the creators desired to use Jason Voorhees’ trademark hockey mask in the TV series (a rumor surfaced that a planned ending for the show would involve a plot to retrieve Jason’s hockey mask itself), there was never any serious intention to tie FT13 The Series to the movies.  The creators eventually decided to call the series Friday The 13th because Mancuso believed it would better sell the show to networks.

The Un-Scooby Gang
FT13 The Series revolves around cousins-by-marriage Micki Foster (Louise Robey, who goes by “Robey” in the credits) and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay), who discover that they have inherited an antique shop originally owned by their uncle Lewis Vendredi (which means “Friday” in French), who died in a mysterious fire. The two decide not to keep the store and sell off most of its antiques before they are stopped by a former friend of Lewis’s, Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins), a former stage magician—and an occultist. The cousins then learn the awful truth: Vendredi had made a deal with Satan to be immortal and obtain wealth and power in exchange for selling the antiques, which are all cursed. With Jack’s help, the cousins must find and return each of the antiques to a vault located beneath the store, which is the only thing that can contain the antiques’ power. The spirit of Lewis (R. G. Armstrong) would occasionally
Evil Uncle Lewis being evil
return throughout the series to try to stop the cousins, making him the show’s recurring villain.

As in most anthology shows, the stories were a series of morality plays, with the cursed item featured as a McGuffin to move along the plot. However, there were also recurring story arcs with each of the main characters, and the nature of the show meant not only a hefty body count, but also that the continuous battle to recover the cursed antiques took its toll on Micki, Ryan and Jack as the series progressed. Ryan was eventually written out of the show after being transformed into a small child at the beginning of the third season; his replacement was Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque) a “kid from the streets” who became an on-again-off-again love interest for Micki. The show was abruptly cancelled in 1990 without warning; the cast were informed while filming Season 3’s twentieth episode that the show was ending, and there was no chance to film more episodes, or even scenes for that episode, that would provide closure to the series.

You can't always trust a snow globe
Though some have decried its inconsistency in episodes, the show was a solid production and an interesting experiment, which has had an inspirational effect on other shows that came after it. The recovery of cursed relics to prevent evil is not an uncommon trope in horror, and it has turned up in series as diverse as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Supernatural, and even The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo (whose entire plot revolved around a quest to retrap 13 evil ghosts who had been accidentally released from a cursed chest). The popular SyFy series Warehouse 13 has been called a virtual retread of this series by some, despite there being enough differences in the two to make up for it, but few can deny FT13’s influence on that series. Regardless of how you feel about it, FT13 The Series is very much a part of the TV-anthology horror landscape.

Be sure to return for our next installment of The MonsterGrrls’ Thir13en For Halloween. We can’t say you won’t have bad luck if you don’t, but you never know...

MAD DOCTOR'S NOTE: Friday The 13th: The Series is available for purchase on, both in individual-season and complete-series DVD sets. 

The (almost) last cursed item...

No comments: