Welcome to the Friday The 13th The Series rewatch. Each day throughout October, we’ll watch one episode of the seminal 1987 television series and tackle the highs, the lows and Micki’s hair (of course). Now step into Curious Goods and peruse our cursed antiques, won’t you?
Wikipedia Plot Summary: After Jack (Chris Wiggins) and Ryan (John D. LeMay) recover a cursed lantern, the owner — Jonah (Alan Jordan) — tries to get it back by terrorizing Micki (Louise Robey) and her young guest, Richie (Gavin Magrath) at Curious Goods.
- Director: Alexander Singer, who eventually becomes a major Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine contributor
- Writer: Both Alfred Sole and Paul Monette are back for their second episode after “Tales Of The Undead “
- Famous Guest Star: Strangely enough the second fiddle villain, Tom, is played by Prom Night‘s David Mucci
Cursed Antique of the Week: A lantern that causes people to spontaneously burst into flame…or it finds buried treasure…or both. It’s kinda unclear
Setting: Curious Goods gets top billing this episode
Best Death: Tie!
- One main goes up like a bonfire when he is immolated by the lantern in the first scene
- Officer Kennedy (Ratch Wallace) is brutally impaled with a stake from behind
Quirkiest Add-On: Great gory sound effects when Jonah removes the spear from Officer Kennedy’s chest. It sounds wet
Character Bits: Jack mentions a “monsoon in Singapore”, which supports our knowledge that he’s well-traveled
Corny Finish Line: “Kids” Micki mouths after her friend Jenny reveals to Jack and Ryan that she and Richie had anything BUT a nice quiet night at the store
80s Fashion Closet: The high waisted skirt and 3/4 length teale leggings SCREAM 80s to me
Kissing Cousins Incest Watch: Again, virtually nothing — though this is mainly because the cousins spend the majority of the episode apart
Credit Friday The 13th for attempting something different (that isn’t a black & white time travelling vampire narrative). While home invasion films weren’t out of the ordinary in the late 80s, the decision to sideline two-thirds of the main cast and do a single location episode is unique for the show. Even if “Bedazzled”s premise doesn’t have quite enough juice to sustain an entire episode, it’s worth applauding the decision to take this risk.
Considering the ill-will that the series showed Louise Robey in the last episode, it’s nice to see her more or less get her own starring vehicle here. Robey absolutely nails her Final Girl role, too; the end of the episode is essentially one long fight scene between her and Jonah and Micki kicks some serious butt. Watching Micki use her brain and her brawn is incredibly satisfying, particularly after so many episodes that position her as little more than a damsel in distress. Hell, even the fight choreography is good!
Overall, what makes “Bedazzled” stand out is its willingness to experiment with a different narrative structure than the rest of the series. Starting things aboard the ship in media res immediately plunges us into the action and the rest of the episode naturally stems from there. It’s contained and sequential and it works.
What Doesn’t Work…
Admittedly the cursed object is less of a narrative driver than an inciting incident to get Jonah and Tom to Curious Goods. So that’s a bit of a cheat.
The inclusion of a random child is also frustrating. This isn’t the first time that Friday The 13th has introduced a character without any pretext (it occurred most notably with Birdie in “A Cup Of Time“) and it doesn’t feel any less jarring here. It’s hard to muster concern for the pudgy little brat when we’ve only just met him and while Richie acquits himself okay (he’s basically performing one of two roles: hog-tied in the basement or Home Alone-ing with Micki), his inclusion still feels like a bit of a desperate ploy by writers Sole and Monette to up the stakes by putting a child in danger.
Stream of Consciousness Musings
- I definitely confused Jordan for William Mapother at first, so imagine my disappointment when I realized Tom Cruise’s cousin wasn’t the baddie
- The in media res action sequence really adds great energy to kick off the episode. It’s a solid creative choice that I hope we see more of in the future
- Also working well: the FX for the lantern immolation
- It took me a moment but this ship is definitely the same one from Cronenberg’s episode, only it is filmed from the other side
- Were prank callers really called “breathers” back in the 80s? That kind of sounds like a Tobe Hooper slasher
- Jonah and Tim literally say the words “gain access to your [Micki’s] master box in the basement”. This is not an euphemism, but I still snickered because I’m basically a 12 years old boy
- Richie is a brat right from the get-go. Not only does he repeatedly threaten to hide and scare Micki, he’s also a chocolate chip eating fattie. Naturally he immediately winds up being abducted and hog-tied
- “You’re no phone men.” No shit, Micki
- “Do you know what skin smells like when it burns?” Wow, this got graphic real quick…except that Jonah proceeds to just mildly burn her hair, which is the opposite of threatening
- When Jonah prevents Micki from stabbing him, it kinda looks like they’re about to make out
- Officer Kennedy — aka Officer Red Shirt — is LITERALLY wearing a red hat, which feels a little on the nose. At least he manages to kill Tim before he’s skewered
- Micki gets locked in the vault with Richie <ugh> but the lack of Veda the doll from the pilot and “The Root Of All Evil” is exceedingly disappointing
- Kennedy’s death, while predictable, is actually a pretty effective set piece. It has mood and atmosphere and is also surprisingly graphic
- It’s odd that Micki actually removes the lantern from the vault. Surely it would be easier to just give Jonah what he wants rather than lugging that giant antique around
- Ooof, the screeching of the doorknob to Micki’s room is the scariest thing in this entire episode. It’s like nails on a blackboard
- Heh heh, Jonah calls Richie a “pup”. Because he’s fat (get it?)
- I don’t know that electricity (and electrocution) work the way it does when Jonah gets zapped in the bedroom, though I will give props to Micki and Richie’s ingenuity
- Also: kudos to the fight choreographer for that kitchen battle because it looks genuinely hardcore
- Micki tosses Jonah over the bannister, then burns his face to smithereens. I must say the final result looks surprisingly crispy
- Contrasting Jack and Ryan’s drama about the convention/car breakdown with Micki’s silence is obvious, but still totally works for me. Especially considering that Richie will need years and years and YEARS of therapy to recover from his incident
- After glancing at the next episode title, I figured that the mirror Micki uses in the climax is the next episode’s cursed antique, but alas it is not! The writers really need to do better with their Easter eggs (by which I mean begin including any)
See you back here tomorrow for Friday The 13th The Series episode fifteen: “Vanity’s Mirror”