"Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store... and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back—and the real terror begins."
Despite its title, Friday the 13th: The Series (1987-1990) had nothing to do with Jason Voorhees or any of the characters or events of the Friday the 13th movies. Instead, it followed Micki Foster and Ryan Dallion as they attempted to track down all of the cursed artifacts that their uncle Lewis Vendredi had sold out of his antiques shop as part of his Deal with the Devil.After their uncle broke the pact and the Devil claimed his soul, Micki and Ryan inherited "Vendredi's Antiques" and renamed it "Curious Goods." It became their base of operations as they set out to reclaim all of the cursed antiques with the help of Jack Marshak, a friend of their uncle. Marshak was an expert in the occult who had acquired many of the antiques for Vendredi during his world travels, and therefore was often familiar with their magical attributes.Typically an artifact would grant some supernatural power to its owner, but the price of using the power would all but inevitably be someone's life. There was the scalpel that could be used to cure any disease after it was used as a murder weapon, the scarecrow that would produce good crops after killing three sacrificial victims, etc.A textbook case of Gotta Catch Them All.
Aborted Arc: In "Coven of Darkness," Jack mentions that Louis spread around a lot of witches' tools (i.e. ceremonial items, such as a chalice, athame, pentacle, etc), suggesting that they would be among the items recovered in later episodes. However, other than the ladder and chisel (both recovered in this episode), it never comes up again.
Art Initiates Life: Variation. The robot protagonist of the comic book in "Tales of the Undead" is not drawn and then brought to life, instead the comic allows whoever holds it to become the robot—although the panels of the comic change to reflect what is happening in the real world. The more usual example occurs with the eponymous "Tattoos" which come to life and kill whomever they are drawn upon.
Attempted Rape: The episode "Wedding in Black" had Micki being captured by the Devil in a fantasy world from inside a magical snow globe and that he had attempted to impregnate her with a demonic child. Fortunately, she was able to get away before things got worse.
The episode "Crippled Inside" had a young teenage girl named Rachel Horn being attacked by four teenage boys during a "supposed date" with one of them. When the leader of the group has Rachel pinned to the ground so that he can attempt to have his way with her, Rachel knees him in the groin so that she can immediately get up from the ground and attempt to escape from him and his friends.
Bad Powers, Bad People: When you have a slew of Artifacts of Doom which either require someone to die in order to grant miracles to their users, or it just makes it easier to straightout kill someone, it is nearly impossible to use any of these items to do good, and the villain of the week is usually some unrepentant sociopath who uses the artifact to kill people or kills people to use the item.
Back from the Dead: Some of the antiques allowed this. One in particular, the Coin of Ziocles, killed and then later resurrected a main character.
The Bad Guy Wins: The artifact-user in "My Wife As A Dog" gets what he wants and survives. The fact that's he been tossed in prison for murder doesn't seem to upset him too much.
Brown Note: Sometimes, the objects will control an innocent into doing something terrible, even committing murder or suicide.
Butt Monkey: In the first season, if something bad happened, it was generally to Ryan. Later, Micki began to show signs of Butt Monkey-hood, repeatedly getting the dirty end of whatever Artifact of Doom they were after that week.
Cartwright Curse: If you date a main character on this show, make sure your life insurance is paid up.
The Cast Showoff: In "Badge of Honor" the song being played at the mobster's night club is sung by Louise Robey, the actress playing Micki; to drive the point home she is later shown randomly singing to herself back at the shop.
Deal with the Devil: Lewis Vendredi's Faustian pact, which set up the main premise of the show.
Death by Materialism: If not used to get revenge against a greedy individual, the cursed object may provide some sort of material gain to the user. In other words, your death is used to satisfy someone else's material gain. The most literal example of this is the garden mulcher in "Root of All Evil" which consumes the bodies fed into it and turns them into money (the amount based on their wealth/value).
Death by Mocking: This is why you shouldn't pick on customers of Vendredi Antiques.
Death by Origin Story: "Bottle of Dreams" reveals that Jack had a son, Peter, whom he lost because he was a powerful psychic and determined to do good with his power, but overestimated his ability to handle the dream plane to save another's mind and soul. While Jack was already fighting the forces of darkness at this point, and he did not explicitly blame himself for Peter's death, it was one of his books which gave Peter the impetus to act, and he was most likely inspired by his father's crusade. It's also implied that losing him compelled Jack even more to continue his quest. Naturally the possibility of saving him and bringing him back is something Uncle Lewis tries to use to tempt Jack away from helping Ryan and Micki.
Dolled-Up Installment: The show was originally titled The 13th Hour, but producer Frank Mancuso Jr. changed the name in an attempt to draw in audiences familiar with the popular Slasher Movie series. Mancuso Jr. was also the producer for many of the Friday the 13th movies.
Drunk on the Dark Side / Evil Feels Good: Some of the cursed objects apparently cause the wielder, most of whom are already unbalanced, to become addicted to using them or to actually want to use them to their dark intent. For example, the cursed boxing gloves give the Villain of the Week a great thrill even before he really uses them, and when Ryan briefly puts them on he becomes overcome with bloodthirstiness.
Equivalent Exchange: The main reason the majority of these cursed antiques can't be used for good purposes is they often require some kind of horrific sacrifice to work. An item that heals or gives life has to get that power from somewhere, usually at the expense of an innocent person.
Finger Twitching Revival - Ryan gets one in "Vanity's Mirror", followed by a case of Worst Aid from Micki, who jerks him to his feet without checking the extent of his injuries at all (he fell a good 20 feet, had a bleeding head wound, and could very well have had a broken neck).
Groin Attack: Near the end of the episode "Better Off Dead", Ryan and Jack are able to rescue Micki from the villain of the episode, but Micki, who was experimented on earlier by the villain who had the episode's cursed object in his possession, savagely attacks her friends from within a feral-like state and during the scuffle, Micki strikes Jack in the groin with a back mule kick, knocking him down to the ground and leaving him in a state of extreme pain for a few minutes.
At the beginning of the episode "Crippled Inside", a young teenage girl named Rachel Horn is attacked by four teenage boys during a "supposed date" with one of them. When the leader of the group has Rachel pinned to the ground so that he can attempt to have his way with her (in other words, Attempted Rape), Rachel knees him in the groin so that she can immediately get up from the ground and attempt to escape from him and his friends.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The show's villains frequently die when their own evil antiques backfire on them. Two particularly memorable examples are the lantern of "Bedazzled" and the Sforza glove—since its owner had refused to heal a man, that man shot him, resulting in him crashing his car...and although he tried to heal himself of the gunshot wound, he couldn't get out of the car so that all the man he wouldn't heal had to do was watch him until the glove's power turned back on him. The fact he was a fake faith healer who cheated his flock and the other man had previously debunked him made it even more delicious.
Inertial Impalement: In "Night Prey", a vampire hunter attacks a vampire but the vampire knocks him down. The vampire then leaps onto the man but is impaled on a crucifix the man is holding up, killing it. Watch it here.
Love Makes You Evil: The Cupid of Malek seems to have this as its curse—its "arrows" cause the target to fall in love with the cupid's owner, but then said owner is driven to kill the one who now loves him. Although the fact said owners seem to only be Love Hungry ugly men (because the original creator was himself an ugly man rejected by women who wanted Revenge against them) and that the one the episode centers around is a creepy Stalker with a Crush even before he gets hold of it suggests the cupid doesn't have to push its owners' obsessions very far.
Mummies at the Dinner Table: The artifact-owner in "Badge of Honor" turns out to have an unusual variation of this, where his wife who was horribly burned by a mobster's bomb is hooked up to medical equipment in their home to keep her alive...except she's only a mummified skeleton. What isn't clear is if she died at some point while attached to the equipment and he left her connected in a futile attempt to pretend she still lived, or if she never survived the bombing at all and had been a hooked-up corpse all along.
Magic Mirror: The mirror of Louis XIV, which acted as a portal between Earth and the Realms of Darkness.
Murder by Cremation: An episode dealt with a lonely mortician who came into a magical embalming device which could alternately kill someone or bring them back to life. He uses it to revive a recently-deceased woman whose funeral he took care of, then uses it to kill her snooping boyfriend. He then disposes of the boyfriend's body in this manner.
Noodle Incident: Occasionally we get a mention of a cursed antique that isn't the focus of an episode-for example, the start of "Wedding Bell Blues" has Jack and Ryan dressed in cold weather clothing and Ryan complaining about chasing after cursed snowshoes.
Ominous Jack-in-the-Box Tune: In this case, "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor." Usually a cheery shanty, it becomes much more sinister when played slowly.
Punny Name: Most of the episode titles. A particularly clever one was the one with the garden mulcher, "Root of All Evil", which both references gardening and, by way of the rest of the Biblical quote it's from, the money it creates.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When actor John D. LeMay left the show at the end of the second season, his character Ryan was written out of the series (by being transformed into a little boy!) and replaced by Steve Monarque as Johnny Ventura (who had appeared as a Sixth Ranger in previous episodes).
Tele-Frag: A combination of this and Portal Cut happens to the villain in "Eye of Death". The slide projector he'd been using to travel to the past gets shut off just as he tries to jump through the portal to the present, leaving him embedded in his wall. Ouch.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Aside from the name of the show itself (both the original and that forced by Executive Meddling), when the pocket watch from the Time Stands Still episode was activated, a ghostly 3 would appear next to the 1 to create the "13 O'Clock" of the title.
What the Hell, Hero?: Near the end of the episode "Shadow Boxer", the villain breaks into Curious Goods and takes Micki hostage, threatening to hurt her if Ryan and Jack don't give back the cursed boxing gloves. Ryan gets the gloves from the Vault and instead of giving it to the villain, he decides to use them in order to help save Micki. Of course, Ryan must've forgotten earlier on that in order to make the gloves work, he needs to use a random opponent as a punching bag so that his shadow can simultaneously attack its targeted victim and since Jack was near him during the time of the incident, it's safe to say that Jack got the short end of the stick and that he wasn't too pleased by Ryan's actions.
Another example of this trope is Johnny during Season 3 of the series. He was able to get the cursed wheelchair in the episode "Crippled Inside", but decided to give it back to the Sympathetic Murderer of the episode out of sympathy and pity of her plight. "Hate on Your Dial" had Johnny carelessly selling a cursed car radio to the brother of a racist man and "Bad Penny" had Johnny getting the cursed coin from the villain of the episode, but instead of giving it to Jack and Micki, he decides to use it in order to resurrect his dead father.
Working the Same Case: In "Badge of Honor", initially Ryan and Micki have no idea about the cursed object of the episode, instead pursuing Micki's New Old Flame who seems to be a criminal dealing with a local mobster; only by pursuing him to the mobster's club do they end up inadvertently witnessing the vigilante antagonist who is using the artifact to get revenge on said mobster and his men.
You Look Familiar: Several actors were recycled, with Denis Forest being a particular standout, appearing in four different episodes as four different characters.