Monday, January 29, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 1 (The Inheritance)

It’s amazing the difference a few decades can make.  There are video games that came out 20 years ago that seemed state of the art when they came out.  To play them now, they look like something out of the stone ages.  The same goes for other media, like movies and television.  Certain shows seemed like high art back when they first aired, but don‘t really hold up to what came out more recently.  I don’t know if this is because we’ve become spoiled by better CGI and HD television or if there‘s some technical limitation in the storage medium.

I remember watching Friday the 13th: The Series years ago.  In terms of quality, it was nothing spectacular, even back then.  It was about three people having to retrieve cursed items.  Each week was a new item and some corresponding story.  It was somewhere between The Twilight Zone and Warehouse 13.  It’s not available streaming, but you can get it on DVD.  When I saw the fist-season set at the library, I decided to get the first disc.

The pilot episode deals with the basic setup of the show and gives us the first item to be retrieved.  The story starts with Lewis Vendredi at the antique store where most of the cursed items originate.  We see hoof marks appearing on the floor.  Lewis dies when the floor disappears, revealing a fiery passageway going down.

After several months of probate, the store and its contents are left to Ryan Dallion and Micki Foster, his nephew and niece.  Ryan takes a liking to the idea of running a business, but Micki has a life elsewhere.  She wants to sell and be done with it, so they start selling off the items.

Enter Jack Marshak, former business partner of Lewis.  Jack procured the items for Lewis, not really knowing what was going on.  After talking to Ryan and Micki, Jack realizes that Lewis had made a deal with the Devil.  Upon breaking that deal, the Devil came to collect.  Oh, and many of the items that have been sold through the store are probably cursed, including a murderous doll.  Jack, Micki and Ryan have to work together to at least get the doll back, if not the other items listed in a ledger.

If you’re wondering what connection there is to the movies, there doesn’t appear to be any.  I remember reading that there were several people involved in both projects, but there’s no official connection.  There’s no mention of any characters or locations from the movies.  It’s not even mentioned where the shop is.

The episode doesn’t go into very many details at all.  We don’t know much about Vendredi’s pact except that it was for immortality.  We’re left to assume that Satan wanted to spread evil and mayhem through the items.  There doesn’t even seem to be any way of determining whether or not an item is cursed except through the ledger, which was just items sold to other people.

I don’t remember much about the series, so it’s entirely possible that such details were written into later episodes.  I’m kind of debating whether or not to start reviewing the series.  If this is going to be what a normal episode looks like, I may not last long.  Episodes will also be spread out, as I’ll probably be getting discs from the library.

This episode was somewhat gruesome.  I think that was par for the course; I remember a lot of episodes dealing with people dying in bizarre and gruesome ways.  If you’re at all squeamish, you’re probably not going to like the series.  Here, we get to see a doll kill or attempt to kill several people and yes, we do see blood.

Fans of more modern stuff will probably find the show kind of cheesy.  It was meant for TV, which limited what the writers could get away with.  I doubt hardcore fans of gore will make it past the second or third episode.  I’d imagine that most of the people that buy or rent the DVDs are like me.  It’s probably going to be someone that’s looking for a blast from the past or specifically likes the low-budget look.

IMDb apparently has the series listed as Friday’s Curse, showing Friday the 13th: The Series as the original title.  I’ve never seen Friday’s Curse as the title of the series.  I don’t know if there was some issue with the rights to the title or if Friday’s Curse was used in markets outside the United States.

I don’t really think I’d recommend paying money for this until you’ve seen a few episodes.  If you can get it for free, either streaming or from a library, it’s a good way to waste an hour or two.  Just don’t have high expectations.

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