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?
S01E03: “Cupid’s Quiver”
Wikipedia Plot Summary: Jack (Chris Wiggins), Micki (Louise Robey) and Ryan (John D. LeMay) search for a cursed statuette in the houses of a local college. When they finally find it, it’s in the hands of Eddie (Denis Forest) a lonely misfit with an unrequited love for popular girl Laurie (Carolyn Dunn).
- Director: Atom Egoyan, only one of the most important Canadian directors EVER
- Writer: Stephen Katz, who by this time had already worked extensively on The A-Team
- Famous Guest Star: Forest isn’t famous, but he would go on to appear in War of the Worlds and three more episodes of this series
Cursed Antique of the Week: A statue of the Cupid of Malek, with a hideous visage
Setting: The local university (and a bizarre giant boiler room)
Best Death: Hands down the woman who is doused in honey and imprisoned in a truck with a hive of bees. It is GONZO crazy
Quirkiest Add-On: Harold (Dennis Fitzgerald), the head of fraternity Delta Lambda Kai, has such an odd, unusual way of speaking. It’s very slow and his cadence is very low and I kept expecting him to murder someone
Character Bits: Jack knows how to make a sodium pentathol cocktail (because of course he does)
80s Fashion Closet: Sadly nothing too crazy, though Micki’s three sizes too big leather jacket is a favourite stand out
Kissing Cousins Incest Watch: After nearly porking at the monastery in the last episode, the cuzes manage to keep their mitts off each other…right up until the end when Ryan point blank asks Micki out after getting blown off by Laurie. Smooth move, buddy
Look, if we’re being honest, this isn’t the most exciting episode of Friday The 13th The Series. The cursed artefact doesn’t have a ton of character, the plot is relatively straightforward and there’s no fun guest star to get excited about.
Except that “Cupid’s Quiver” is literally directed by one of the most important Canadian directors of all time. That’s right, a tiny little Canadian horror television series nabbed Atom Egoyan to direct an episode!
Forgive the fangirling, but this is such an odd turn of events. For folks who are unfamiliar with Egoyan, he would go on to direct major festival hits Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, which was nominated for two Oscars back in 1998, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director. He makes super prestigious films about memory, regret, trauma and sexuality and, particularly during his heyday in the 90s, he was neck and neck with David Cronenberg as Canada’s most esteemed director.
What’s fascinating about “Cupid’s Quiver” then is how closely it mirrors the thematic concerns that define Egoyan’s oeuvre. This episode comes relatively early in his career, before he began gaining notice for (admittedly still small) films such as Speaking Parts (1989) and The Adjuster (1991) – the latter of which is a personal favourite and a must watch for anyone who finds Elias Koteas both hot and scary.
Egoyan’s early work frequently examined how technology, in particular cameras and video, plays into voyeurism and sexual fetishism. His characters are often unable to connect physically or emotionally because they are at a distance from other another (hence the need for a lens to get closer, as well to capture for posterity). Even though “Cupid’s Quiver” wasn’t written by Egoyan, Eddie’s inability to actually engage with women drives him to photograph them. Even when he does engage them in conversation, he is incapable of regarding them as anything other than sexual objects, divided up fetishistically into parts.
Egoyan represents this visually with point of view close ups of the women’s lips and busts, and these isolated body parts are reinforced in the photographic collage that Eddie constructs in his boiler room wall. The shrine-like images and the conflation of sex, love and obssesion in Friday The 13th is a low-tech version of the same concept that Egoyan would explore in nearly all of his films throughout the late 80s through to the mid-90s.
What Doesn’t Work…
As mentioned above, aside from the fascinating linkages between this episode and Egoyan’s later output, “Cupid’s Quiver” is fine, but hardly exceptional. Forest’s committed performance as Eddie is a standout, though he’s less of a character than a prototype “incel” – a disgruntled man who believes that he’s owed sex by women. It would have been nice to have dug into Eddie’s psyche a little more; instead the production team slaps a big zit on his cheek and greases up his hair and calls it a day.
A lot of blame can be placed on the cursed object, which isn’t at all threatening (or even all that interesting). There’s no explanation if the statue exudes some kind of pull on sexually frustrated men and, not unlike episode two, the narrative suffers from a little too padding (here it’s in the form of Richard Alden’s idiot campus security guard who foolishly confiscates the Cupid from Micki and Ryan and then literally hands it back to Eddie for no discernible reason).
Throw in a badly edited final fight sequence that has a number of continuity errors (Eddie burns his face in steam, but suffers no visible effects? Amazing!) and this episode simply isn’t that memorable.
Stream of Consciousness Musings
- Strategy for men who suck at dating: maybe stick with approaching women who are single and available, rather than women who are clearly already with someone
- That honeymoon suite is garishly horrific. It’s like Suspiria puked all over a cheap fleabag penthouse. All I can imagine is the migraine that would accompany that flashing neon light coming in through the window
- Also: what woman moans “Oh, so good, so good!” during sex?
- There’s a weird conflation between the statue and the fraternity that the episode always skirts. I wonder if in an original draft it was fraternity members who did the killing (or is the assumption simply that frat boys don’t need the assist because they’re all beefcakes?)
- When Micki criticizes Ryan for suggesting that they impersonate the cops again, he counters with: “It worked last time, didn’t it?” Were these episodes aired out of order because they impersonated cops in the pilot, not the second episode
- I love that Micki and Ryan make no effort to dress differently for the party than when they attempted to sneak into the frat house earlier that day. They really suck at this undercover thing
- When Jack enquires after Eddie the bartender describes the woman he left with as “kind of attractive”. Umm, no one asked for your opinion on the physical attributes of your customers, buddy
- Hilarious Harold dialogue: “They always end up running away from me”. It’s because you’re a loser, Harold!
- Questions I have about the climax:
- Where did Eddie’s axe come from?
- Why does Micki pass out?
- Why doesn’t Eddie have any residual burns from the steam where he cuts the pipe?
- Finally, what’s with the ominous camera tilt up to the gargoyle head above the vault door when Jack ominously announces that they might fail if they ever have to recapture the cursed objects they’ve stored in the vaults? Is that just a really bad example of foreshadowing?
See you back here tomorrow for Friday The 13th The Series episode four: A Cup of Time