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"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."
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Despite its title, Friday the 13th: The Series (1987–90) had nothing to do with Jason Voorhees or any of the characters or events of the Friday the 13th movies. It instead followed Micki Foster (Louise Robey) and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) as they attempted to track down all of the cursed artifacts that their uncle Lewis Vendredi (R.G. Armstrong) had sold out of his antique 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 (Chris Wiggins), a childhood 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 the historical backstories of the objects, which frequently tied into their magical attributes.

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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. At the start of the third season, Ryan is replaced by Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque), one of his contacts who often ends up as The Watson of the protagonists.

A textbook case of Gotta Catch Them All.


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Tropes:

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  • Aborted Arc: In "Coven of Darkness", Jack mentions that Lewis 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 that episode), it never comes up again.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In "Repetition", when Heather goes missing, Ruth is upset that her daughter has vanished and doesn't know whether or not Heather was either killed, kidnapped, or ran away.
    • In "Jack-in-the-Box", Megan is as much dealing with her alcoholic, grieving mother after Megan's father dies, and considering suicide to "be with him", as she is with the cursed box.
  • Age Without Youth: How Uncle Lewis' Deal with the Devil falls apart.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The ending of "Coven of Darkness" acts as this. On the one hand, the way Micki's hand trembles when she touches the book of White Magic and the expression on her face suggest fear and a bit of relief, which would make sense since Jack had just claimed she had been drained of all her power (whether permanently or for a good long time) and she had clearly been afraid of possessing occult powers since the revelation was made (either due to Comes Great Responsibility or her experiences throughout the show making her rightfully afraid of pretty much all magic). But her expression and trembling hand, plus the creepy musical stinger, could also mean that something about the draining of her magic, plus how closely she was intertwined with the villain's powers when trying to break her curse, either caused a corrupting backlash or even allowed Lysa to somehow possess or influence Micki toward the darkness. Because the matter of the coven (as stated above) was an Aborted Arc, and the main purpose of having Micki drained (aside from Status Quo Is God) was so that there'd be no way to save Ryan in the third season's two-part opener, this never gets revisited again... so it's never clear what the ending actually means. It's most likely the first option, with The Stinger being a trolling creator's The End... Or Is It?, but we can't be sure.
    • Possibly the fate of the villains in the Time Stands Still episode, "13 O'Clock", which is never fully clarified. They apparently freeze in time at the end of the episode, when Ryan takes the cursed pocket watch away from them. However, only one of them had the watch, so it is never explained what would happen if the user loses the watch during the "frozen time" hour, and the villains are frozen in time on the middle of a subway track. What happens when the next train comes along, or if anyone in the station can see them frozen like statues, is never explained.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The fate of the villains in the Time Stands Still episode, "13 O'Clock".
    • Possibly this is also the fate of those killed by the cursed TV set in "The Spirit of Television", as well as the villain Ilsa Van Zandt when she gets pulled into it at the end; it isn't made clear if their souls are being sent to Hell or trapped within the TV, but the imagery of falling into an endless dark vortex is certainly suggestive, and chilling.
  • Art Attacker: Anton Pascala of "The Maestro" is this crossed with Muse Abuse, since the cursed symphonia kills dancers in order to create his masterpieces, but the reason he is willing to do this in the first place is because he is so much The Perfectionist that he believes pain and suffering are not only part of the cost of creating great art, but they are intrinsic to it. Unusually for this trope, it ends up applying to himself in the end, since when one of his dancers quits during the premiere, he takes his place and dances himself to a bloody death so that his work can be finished. Perhaps what is most disturbing about the episode is that, until the moment they are actually driven to their deaths, almost every one of the dancers in Pascala's troupe seems to agree with him that beauty comes from suffering and dedication to creating great art is worth their deaths—i.e., until the very last moment they seem to be drawn to and approving of the Muse Abuse. It's a very unhealthy obsession that unfortunately has some real-life parallels.
  • 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 do 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.
    • Another variation is the movie camera of "Scarlet Cinema". If it is used to commit murders, eventually a character in the film inside it comes to life in the real world, but the owner of the camera can in turn then become that character.
    • And a third variation with the cursed film of "Femme Fatale", where only one specific character can be brought to life in the real world, and the life lasts only as long as the movie runs (because said character dies at the end) unless a specific person is killed—her real-life actress. So, art initiates life by killing the original artist.
  • Artifact Collection Agency: Micki, Ryan, Jack, and later Johnny's general mission and line of work.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • One of the series' central tropes. It's been speculated in the fandom that in order to keep the objects circulating and causing deaths, Lewis gave the curse an extra twist; like the One Ring, the objects want to be found by someone who craves what that particular object has to offer. It would explain why some objects (like The Cupid of Malek) get passed from one owner to another very similar person within the same episode. Or how the villain in "Faith Healer" found the Sforza glove in an alley.
    • There's actually some major evidence to this in "Cupid's Quiver" (featuring the aforementioned Cupid of Malek); after it's used by a Love Hungry ugly man, showing the audience exactly how it works, he's arrested and Jack, Ryan and Micki pick up the scent from the news article about the murder and subsequent arrest. The Cupid is actually stolen from the murder scene by a reasonably attractive Frat Bro, who keeps it on a shelf in his room for most of the episode, but it has no effect on him; the Villain of the Week (another Love Hungry ugly man who's already a Stalker with a Crush) repeatedly stole, used, and returned it to the Frat Bro's room.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The unflattering depiction of Druidism in "The Tree of Life" is also...not particularly accurate, considering it a) is based on the common belief at the time the show was made that Druids were practitioners of Human Sacrifice (itself a belief dating from the Roman Empire and the Christian monks who followed it, i.e. enemies who wished to depict them in the worst possible light) and b) incorporates a great deal of Wiccan and other more general pagan beliefs.Needless to say, the appearance of wicker men, an all-female priesthood (and an overall undercurrent of misandry), and the term coven (as well as the accusation of witchcraft and spellwork) are either practices disputed by archaeologists or lifted wholesale from Wicca and its offshoots; and while Druids did overall revere nature and all flora and fauna, there was far more emphasis on the four elements and reincarnation than is seen here. The only aspects the writers do get right are the worship of Cernunnos (including references to his mythology), the usage of stone circles, having the rituals be keyed to the seasons and the phases of the moon, and the reverence for oak trees and their seeming resistance to lightning. This is rather undercut, of course, by Oakwood's followers not only wishing to reestablish the Druidic religion but acting as an evil cult out to Take Over the World in revenge for having been oppressed and nearly eradicated in the past.
  • Artistic License – Sports: One of the cursed items is a 1919 World Series Ring. Rings weren't popular items for recognizing achievements at the time, and the first World Series where rings were given as awards wasn't until 3 years later (and not consistently until the late 1920's/early 1930's). This could be for the Historical In-Joke detailed in that entry.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The antagonist of "Hate On Your Dial" is a violent racist that murders a young black boy in the first quarter of the episode and then later murders his mentally disabled brother with a hammer for grabbing him when he finds him and then hears him plan to kill again in order to fuel the cursed object. It's hard to feel bad when The Klan guys he had been helping in 1954 via the object's time travel powers mistake him for an FBI informant and burn him alive.
    • Many of the people who die on the show are Asshole Victims. Either the antique users are assholes (particularly if they're played by Denis Forest), or the people they kill are assholes, or both.
  • Astral Projection: The modus operandi of the wheelchair in "Crippled Inside". Sort of, as Rachel is able to touch things and people freely when she's in her astral form.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • One of the inmates of the mental hospital in "And Now the News", a serial rapist, is let loose from his cell by the villain of the episode—in an abandoned wing where Micki has been lured, thereby eliminating a witness and providing another death for the radio. Thankfully she succeeds in bashing him over the head and escaping, and Ryan also comes to the rescue, but the episode takes time to have her crouch in a corner and break down before she recovers enough from her trauma to move on.
    • The episode "Wedding in Black" had Micki being captured by the Devil in a fantasy world from inside a magical snow globe, in which he 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.
    • In "Femme Fatale", one of the gunsels tells the Glenda character (or the real-life women "trapped" in Glenda's role) that he "always wanted a sample of what she's been selling". The camera cuts away the first time before we see what he does. In the third occasion, we see Micki run away and the gunsel's partner swings at her with the blackjack. However, a beating isn't what "a sample" means.
    • In "Midnight Riders", a resurrected biker tells his false rape accuser that she "owes him one". She dies before he goes through with it.
  • 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. Another is notable in that it is thematically appropriate for such a curse, since it is an embalmer's aspirator.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • While the villainous artifact-user of the episode in "The Pirate's Promise" does not win (because, as usual, he ends up a victim of his own artifact), the Greater-Scope Villain (the ghost of Captain McBride) does win since he ends up receiving a body for every one of his mutinous crew's descendants and sails off with them on his ghost ship. (Which brings up an interesting question: note  further details on the Headscratchers page)
    • In a strange way, the villain of "The Maestro". Not only does he end up killing Jack's honorary niece Grace, but also himself through use of the artifact, but all of this is done in service of art, to complete his masterpiece. He, like the rest of his troupe, would view his death as a victory if it created the art he intended, and the final shot of his bloody, masked face as the audience applauds the "dedication to realism" in a dance between Death and Shiva would seem to reinforce this.
    • The artifact-user in "My Wife As A Dog" gets what he wants and survives. The fact that he's been tossed in prison for murder doesn't seem to upset him too much.
    • Then there's the very first episode, "The Inheritance". Yes, Mary has lost Veda and is now just a little girl again, with no special powers at all. But not only has she survived her Artifact of Doom (a rare occurrence) but she also got exactly what she wanted: the strict stepmother she detested is dead, leaving Mary to be spoiled rotten once again by her rich, indulgent, and now grief-stricken father.
  • 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 straight-out 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.
    • One exception seems to be the witch's ladder from "Coven of Darkness", which, after Lewis's second-in-command went to prison for graverobbing, ended up in the possession of a good occult circle known to Jack. According to its leader, it had been employed by them to harmlessly empower their own spellwork, but after learning of its curse he instantly agreed to return it to the vault so that no Satanic group could obtain it and use it for evil as it was meant to be. (Lysa does claim the ladder will corrupt and turn to evil any who are near it, but as this is a lie she uses to sway Ryan to her side and explain the curse she places on him, it seems clear it never did any harm to the good magicians while they had it.) Although as noted in the episode, the ladder isn't an antique but rather one of the witches' tools which was used by the members of Lewis's coven—meaning its powers apparently come from direct worship (in this case, of the Devil and his powers), not the shop's curse. So it would work for anyone who followed a divine power, even that of the Christian God.
  • Bald of Awesome: Jack Marshak.
  • Baleful Polymorph: "My Wife As A Dog", in which one man uses an artifact to turn his wife into a dog, and his dog into a wife.
  • Become a Real Boy:
    • The Evil Knockoff Winston Knight creates of himself from the cursed camera negative in "Double Exposure" ends up wanting to Kill and Replace him, so that he can continue to exist as a real, living person (and it's implied this might happen with any duplicate created this way, if the negative isn't destroyed soon enough). It doesn't work out well for either of them, though.
    • In "Femme Fatale", the episode's eponymous film noir character wants to escape the cursed film she's been trapped in so as to live a real life. At first this is merely so she can get to live a life of passionate romance with the villain, the film's director (and her real-life counterpart's husband), but eventually it expands to wanting to go out and see the world—especially after discovering how many fans she has, which she accuses the director of having hidden from her. Like the example above, to exist for real her counterpart must be killed—but having said counterpart be the one to die in the movie kills them both.
  • Bee Afraid: "The Sweetest Sting" involves a transport beehive; its bee colony act as vampires of a sort, stinging and sucking the life out of one person in order to give youth and good health to another.
  • Belated Backstory:
    • After having already learned of Ryan's dead little brother early in the first season, and his workaholic father near the end of it, it isn't until the third season opener that the viewer gets to find out what happened to his mother (and why the episode with Mr. Dallion included him getting remarried as a plot point). Conveniently enough, her return allows for some redemption, and also provides a manner in which Ryan could be written off the show.
    • Downplayed example, since not very much is revealed in the process, but "Midnight Riders" introduces us to Jack's father (whom we had never known was missing or even still alive) in order to explain where he's been for the last ten years. Turns out he was Dead All Along and his ghost had simply been caught up in a curse due to events he was involved in nearly two decades ago. He does get to catch up with Jack at least, so the latter gets some closure.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In "The Great Montarro", the bad guy turns out to be not the obvious creepy (and cruel) magician of the title, but his sweet, seemingly-harmless and put-upon daughter.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Vendredi" happens to be French for "Friday."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The episodes which don't end as complete downers usually have this sort of ending, since even if the artifact is recovered and some innocents are saved, others inevitably still die or suffer lasting trauma along the way. Examples include "Tales of the Undead", "The Baron's Bride", "Scarlet Cinema", "A Friend to the End", "Wedding in Black", "The Prisoner", "The Prophecies", "Femme Fatale", "Midnight Riders", "Repetition", and "Jack-in-the-Box". The only episodes to have anything close to a genuine Happy Ending, in fact, are "A Cup of Time", "Bedazzled", "The Voodoo Mambo", "13 O'Clock", and "The Playhouse".
  • Black Dude Dies First: The doorman in "Read My Lips" is the first victim of ventriloquist Edgar Van Horne's dummy, Oscar.
  • Body Horror: Notably "Faith Healer", directed by David Cronenberg. "Stick It In Your Ear' features numerous examples of this trope, when both users of the cursed hearing aid have their necks swell up even when the aid is letting them hear thoughts, before they have to discharge the thoughts or die.
  • Bottle Episode: The first Season Finale episode, aptly named "Bottle of Dreams", a Clip Show in which Micki and Ryan are trapped reliving past encounters with artifacts while Jack and a fellow antiques/arcane occult expert named Rashid try to save them; both it and the episode which opens the next season came about due to a writers' strike. "Bedazzled" is also a form of this, since after the artifact is recovered, most of it takes place as a Hostage Situation pitting Micki and a friend's child she's babysitting, trapped at "Curious Goods" by the weather, against the villains while Jack and Ryan are stuck in their car when it breaks down as they go to an astrologer convention.
  • 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.
  • Call-Forward: At the very end of "Faith Healer", Micki approaches Jack about 'a cape' that she's been reading up on, and feels they should make retrieving a priority - it's the artifact from the very next episode "The Baron's Bride", so Micki obviously persuaded Jack!
  • Car Fu: "Night Hunger". Accomplished by means of having the driver psychically linked with his vehicle to allow him to control it effortlessly (and also driving him mad with obsession and the adrenaline rush).
  • Cartwright Curse: If you date a main character on this show, make sure your life insurance is paid up. This is particularly evident in "Wedding in Black", when three of the protagonists' loved ones/friends show up (the latter trio were deliberately chosen and sent by Satan in an attempt to lure the protagonists into an inescapable trap). There is at least one aversion, however, when the girl Johnny is dating in "Femme Fatale" seems like the perfect set-up for being a Victim of the Week (because she's a fan of the movie director who is the episode's villain), but she is only used to get the main characters involved in the story; it's another innocent (and Micki) who gets targeted instead.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • In "Double Exposure", after Ryan witnesses Winston Knight's double committing a machete murder but no one will believe him, he has a nightmare that Knight reveals on the air that the eyewitness report of the murderer's identity fingered...Ryan himself. And then the murderer's arm explodes out of the TV set and tries to strangle him. He understandably wakes up in a sweaty panic.
    • Micki has one at the end of "Mightier Than the Sword" wherein she dreams she's still under the control of the fountain pen and attacks Jack, slitting his throat. It's genuinely unsettling, particularly because it's first played as if it's for real before being revealed as All Just a Dream.
  • Character Name Alias: The villain of "Master of Disguise", once the makeup kit has made him into a handsome Romeo, takes as his assumed stage name William Pratt - which was the real name of Boris Karloff. This is significant. A reporter in the episode picks up on the name usage, as does Jack at the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Surprisingly subtle example in "Bedazzled", where earlier in the episode Micki, to keep busy, is taking down artifacts to keep them safe during the storm that has her trapped at the store and Ryan and Jack trapped at an astrologer's convention and sets aside a mirror. This is later used to reflect the burning beam of the lantern right back at its owner. Since it's never made clear that a regular mirror could do this, this could also be Foreshadowing of the mirror, like the Louis XIV one that was a portal to the Realms of Darkness in "Doorway to Hell", turning out to be a magical object (because occult ceremonies were performed in front of it).
    • One of the ghostly artifacts that attacks Lewis Vendredi when he breaks his Deal with the Devil in the pilot turns out to be the cathedral radio not seen until season 2's "And Now the News". It's also one of the few artifacts in the actual show to appear in the opening credits.
    • Early in "The Long Road Home", the two hick brothers come into the diner with an animal they said they caught in a trap (to have it cooked). This is Foreshadowing for them setting traps all around their home which they use to catch trespassers for use in their taxidermy. But it also sets up for one of the villains getting caught in one himself, in the long-dead and decaying body of his grandfather.
  • Chekhov's Hobby/Suddenly Always Knew That: Ryan's ability to sculpt, so crucial to the clever trick he and Jack use to get a Satanist to bring Micki Back from the Dead, straddles the line between these tropes. The ability is shown earlier in the episode, and it was also hinted that he had some skill with art in "Tales of the Undead" (although there it was drawing, which is not the same skill set), but it still seems to come out of nowhere just when it becomes absolutely critical for him to know it.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Aside from the appearance of the Virgin Mary, the very early episode "The Poison Pen" depicts a monastery right out of medieval times, complete with the usual robes, Latin chanting, cells, an all-male population (and no female visitors even allowed either), vows of silence, and so forth, rather than the modern ones of today (which include many Protestant examples). Why it has a cobwebbed basement with a guillotine and manacled skeletons is also a Riddle for the Ages. On the other hand, the congregation in "Faith Healer" is quite clearly inspired by Evangelical/Pentecostal revival churches of the Protestant persuasion.
  • Circus of Fear: The carnival in "Wax Magic" isn't particularly scary or disturbing itself, but the wax museum sideshow it contains, its creepy and insanely-possessive owner, and the number of decapitation murders occurring around it thanks to "Lizzie Borden" are enough to play into the trope.
  • Clip Show: "Bottle of Dreams"; see Bottle Episode above.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The chapel of necromancy that the cult of demonolaters were using in "Demon Hunter" just happened to be underneath the vault at "Curious Goods"; while Jack notes that the power of the vault to contain the evil of the artifacts would also work to contain a demon, and it's implied that the cultists felt/were drawn to that power/evil when they built the place, it's still quite the plot convenience. In addition, the only way to stop the demon was to kill the one who called it with a special cursed knife...which just happened to have been mailed back to the shop from a museum where it had been donated, just in time for the full moon on the night the demon's contract was due. And finally, the discovery of this secret crypt came at just the right time, since once the tunnels in and the hellpit were sealed with concrete, the place made the perfect expansion of the vault, right when the trio were running out of room in it for artifacts.
    • Many of the episodes involve the trio "just happening" to come across an antique, rather than looking for the item or its purchaser.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jack Marshak.
  • Couch Gag: Every episode ends with a still shot of the artifact it centers around.
  • Creepy Child: Mary, the little girl who possesses the even more Creepy Doll from "The Inheritance" becomes one of these during the course of the episode. Someone in the casting office must have been exceptionally on the ball that day, because Mary is played by a very young Sarah Polley, already showing her high level of talent.
  • Creepy Crows: The Oakwood Clinic in "The Tree of Life" is surrounded by creepy (and constantly cawing) crows.
  • Creepy Doll: Veda from "The Inheritance", the pilot episode. Ironically, this was one of the very few items where it didn't actually require a death to operate (though it did kill people). Although, given it was on its first owner, it might just have been working up to that - Veda didn't have a lot of power until the first death.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: The innkeeper in "Scarecrow" is a particularly over-the-top yet still very disturbing example.
  • Creepy Mortician: Eli, in "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", is initially just portrayed as odd. He gets increasingly creepy as the episode progresses, having sex with a woman he resurrected and then gravedigging.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger/Evil Knockoff: Inverted. The villain of "Double Exposure" can use the cursed camera to create what is confused for the first trope but is actually the second... for himself, thus giving him an alibi for the murder spree he creates to make a name for himself in reporting. A more played straight version comes when he creates an Evil Knockoff of Jack to take out Ryan and Micki, then confess to the murders, but this is foiled by Ryan catching the knockoff in ignorance (thinking an artifact can be damaged), then by the villain's own knockoff trying to maintain his existence. Of note is the rather disturbing way it is created, rising out of a bubbling chemical bath in the darkroom.
  • Cruel Mercy: At the end of "The Charnel Pit", after he has been disarmed and the Portal Picture reactivated, the Marquis de Sade tries to tempt Micki into staying, first by claiming going back could still kill her and then, when she says she'd rather be dead than trapped with him, by stating that all people are trapped in the prisons of their mortal flesh and can only be freed by death. But when he then implies he desires that freedom, and tells her she has the power to give it to him, she drops the sword with a look of disgust and pity, then goes back through the painting, leaving him alive with his cowardice and suffering.
  • Cursed Item: This was the central premise of the series itself. Two distant cousins discover that their late uncle had been selling cursed items (courtesy of a Deal with the Devil) from his antiques store. The items themselves bestow something beneficial to the owner (luck, beauty, wealth, power, etc.), but require them to murder someone else in order to function or to maintain the benefits they have already given.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Played with in "Mesmer's Bauble". One of the villain's victims really does do this (to a fatal extent), but only because he is hypnotized into doing so.
  • Cut Short: Not only was the show cancelled in its third season before it could be brought to any sort of satisfying conclusion (whether for the characters or the overall plot), the actors were told the series was ending right in the middle of filming episode 20, "The Charnel Pit"—so there wasn't even a chance for them, the writers, or the producers to come up with anything. That said, the final line of the episode, where Jack tells the others (in reference to the vault) "Let's close it up", is certainly apropos.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: One of the victims of "The Butcher" dies this way, thanks to his signature barbed wire.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Marie Chase of "Wax Magic", in a twist: while the villain of the episode did kill her, he also brought her back to life by dipping her in wax and animating her with the handkerchief. Unfortunately she can only stay alive by killing, and it costs her her memories. And she's quite susceptible to heat and fire.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End". The episode doesn't waste any time revealing this however (since he is first seen as a cobwebbed skeleton), with the drama instead resulting from a) how and why he is alive again and b) the characters discovering these facts before it is too late.
    • Jack's father in "Midnight Riders" had died at sea ten years ago, but is brought back due to a curse, the alignment of the planets, and dark deeds he took part in seven years before that which must be set right before he can rest.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Lewis Vendredi's Faustian pact, which set up the main premise of the show.
    • A few of the artifacts also allow such a deal of sorts, when the item in question is sentient or otherwise capable of interacting with the owner (such as, it is implied, the scarecrow, the camera in "Scarlet Cinema", the TV set, and possibly the crib from the Titanic) or when the item involves a spirit, supernatural being, or another villain (the pirate's ghost, the vampire(s) in "The Baron's Bride", Cernunnos in "The Tree of Life", the Marquis de Sade). The most notable would be the cathedral radio of "And Now the News", which explicitly offers the psychiatrist of the episode the chance to become famous and win the Nobel Prize if she stages enough fear-induced deaths (and kills her when the heroes cause her to renege on the time-factor of the deal). Before they put it in the vault, the radio even offers Ryan and Micki a way to collect all the missing artifacts harmlessly and safely "if the right conditions are met". Needless to say they refuse in horror (literally throwing it in the vault).
    • Interestingly, the nature of Lewis's deal is such that he in turn can make deals with his customers; in an analogy to the original Faustian deal, he acts as Mephistopheles to the actual Devil, since each cursed item he sells brings about more evil and corruption/obtains more souls for Hell. To this end, it seems that the Devil allows Lewis free rein to choose the nature of the individual powers of each cursed item—reference is made by Jack several times as to how Lewis asked him to procure particular items (which of course at the time he had no idea what they would be used for) which he would then attach the curses to, usually with Black Humor, Dramatic Irony, or Laser-Guided Karma involved in how appropriate said curses were. He also would answer requests from customers for specific items or make them offers he knew they'd be particularly susceptible to (such as the cradle for the mother whose child was due to die in childbirth or right after), and in at least one case, the cursed pocket watch, he allowed the customer to specifically request the curse in question as part of his petty Revenge against those who had cost him his job.
  • 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.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: During the Time Travel episodes "The Baron's Bride" and "Hate on Your Dial", the past is in black and white (as opposed to "Eye of Death", which is in chiaroscuro, and the unintended Series Finale, "The Charnel Pit", which is in full color).
  • Demonic Dummy: Surprisingly, in "Read My Lips" the dummy itself wasn't one of the cursed items. Rather, the curse was on the boutonniere it was wearing, which brought it to life.
  • Depraved Dentist: The villain of "The Electrocutioner" is a particularly disturbing example of this, thanks to the nature of the chair he uses and how he lures his victims in. The fact that they're all poor troubled youths doesn't help either.
  • 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.
  • Downer Ending: Considering the nature of the show, where the heroes are always in a Race Against the Clock to recover a Cursed Item that threatens the lives of many innocents, it's practically a given that most episodes will not end well. But in some cases the prices paid, the losses suffered (especially deeply personal ones), the seeming futility of their efforts, or the blurring of the lines between good and evil (and each side's methods) makes for especially poignant or dark endings. Notable examples are "Faith Healer", "Vanity's Mirror", "Tattoo", "Brain Drain", "Pipe Dream", "Symphony in B#", "Master of Disguise", "Wax Magic", "Night Hunger", "Better Off Dead", "The Mephisto Ring", "The Maestro", "The Shaman's Apprentice", "The Prophecies", "Crippled Inside", "Night Prey", and "My Wife As a Dog".
  • Dramatic Irony: All over the place, usually in regards to either how an artifact functions (something that heals having to kill to give life or vice versa), what happens to the artifact-owner, or the manners in which the main characters trick the villains. One non-death-related (or curse-related) example of this, however, occurs in "Doctor Jack" where the villain of the episode causes Jack to fall down an elevator shaft, rupturing his aorta and requiring immediate surgery... but the severity of the injury is such there's only one surgeon who can save him: the villain himself, with the cursed scalpel. The end result of this is Ryan, disguised as an orderly, being forced to give the scalpel back after having taken it and the villain, once he sees Jack's face, being forced to continue the operation since he's being watched by the press and all the other OR staff. Of course post-op is a different story...
  • 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, in "Shadow Boxer" 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.
  • Dying Clue: In "Shadow Boxer", the first victim of the villain tries to write his killer's name in his own blood, but only manages "T-O" before dying. This could be anything (not even necessarily a name), until another boxer who is seen arguing with the villain is also killed, and the trio realizes the "T-O" referred to Tommy. note 

    E-H 
  • '80s Hair: Ryan and Micki especially are victims of this.
  • Elite Mooks: In "Coven of Darkness", Gareth confirms that Lysa was Lewis' second-in-command of the black coven. She carries on as leader of the Satanists after Lewis' death, even after Satan kills Lewis.
  • Entitled to Have You:
    • While a number of villains throughout the show have this trait, the strongest (and most despicable) example is Aubrey Ross from "My Wife As a Dog", who not only refuses to sign divorce papers or let his wife go, he actually uses a cursed leash to turn his wife into a dog and his dog into his wife, just so she will always stay with him, loyal and never leaving him, as well as mindlessly obedient and subservient. It also doesn't help that he's the only antagonist in the series to survive and truly succeed in getting what he personally wants at the end of the episode itself.
    • In "The Long Road Home", Mike Negley tells Micki that when he first saw her, he "had to have her".
  • 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.
  • Ethnic Magician:
    • Rashid, introduced in the first season's finale "Bottle of Dreams" and its sequel, the next season's opener "Doorway to Hell" (and mentioned in a couple of other episodes). Ambiguously Brown, but wearing a fez and speaking with a strong Arabic accent, he yet seems to have a fairly wide knowledge of the occult—familiar with the Egyptian pantheon and mummification practices and able to read hieroglyphics, but he also draws upon pentacles, potion-making skills, and English spell incantations as readily as his white counterpart in "Coven of Darkness". While he does take a back seat to Jack for most of his time onscreen, the latter would never have won without his mystical support, and Rashid is also quite capable of boldly and even smugly going toe-to-toe with Lewis himself, so the stereotypes inherent to the trope are at least somewhat downplayed.
    • In "The Voodoo Mambo", Hedley and the other three elemental Voudoun priests are all Caribbean/African in descent. Averted somewhat, as Hedley apparently doesn't believe in the power of Lewis' curse (and he also notes that what he and his fellow priests do isn't actual magic, but what Laotia does is "the real thing").
    • In "The Shaman's Apprentice", Spotted Owl and his granddaughter Sasheena are Indians and Iroquois medicine people, and both wise in the ways of magic.
  • Everybody Lives: "The Playhouse" is the only episode of the series where no one gets killed. Considering that the victims are children, it's not that surprising.
  • Evil Brit: In "The Tree of Life", Dr. Sybil Oakwood has an Irish instead of British accent, subverting the trope slightly.. But she's still evil.
  • Exact Words: In "What a Mother Wouldn't Do", Leslie Kent cries "The Antique Dealer told me - seven people dying in water and my baby would live!" The significance of this is lost to Micki, Ryan and Jack, because they don't know the circumstances of the other murders. Leslie performed a Heroic Sacrifice to become the seventh person; jumping out the window to land in the shallow ornamental pond below, she died from impact, not drowning, but she was surrounded by water at the time. But The Stinger reveals that the babysitter survived Leslie's attempt to drown her. How did Leslie become number seven, when she should have been number six? A few minutes earlier, she shot her husband - but the bullet went through him and shattered the fishtank he was standing in front of. He died as the water from the tank gushed over him.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: Considering the number of times people (whether victims or villains) die around the main trio, Plausible Deniability becomes completely implausible after a while. Sometimes the only witnesses are friends who are willing to keep the secret, people who know they will never be believed, or children who certainly won't, but at least twice bodies have been left on or around the premises of "Curious Goods" ("Bedazzled" and "The Butcher"), cops were a witness to a Rapid Aging death, a reporter's camera-negative doppelganger causes him to fade out of existence (and then dies of his wounds after becoming real) on live television, villains were trapped in time forever right in a busy underground station, and most incredibly, a villain who had transformed himself into the pop singer he idolized got transformed back, then electrocuted, right onstage during a live concert. About the last one, Jack describes how "bizarre" doesn't begin to cover it, implying that the police couldn't explain it beyond a very convincing makeup job. And in "The Playhouse" when the police witness all the missing children emerging from the eponymous item he notes that after taking it apart and examining it, they'll have to give it back because they'll "never believe the truth". But all in all, it rather seems there's a very powerful Weirdness Censor at work.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: In "Cupid's Quiver", the Stalker with a Crush villain finds out his target is actually Micki in disguise in this fashion.
  • Fake Faith Healer: One episode has a fake faith healer who finds a magical glove that temporarily gives him real healing powers. Unfortunately, it's one of the artifacts the team has to reclaim.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When Micki is describing the privateers who plied the waters around Whaler's Point in "The Pirate's Promise", she lists several well-known pirates of the era, then adds on the episode's fictional Captain Angus "Butcher" McBride.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • "The Shaman's Apprentice" had a Native American doctor who faced discrimination from the head doctor at a local hospital and at least one orderly, who disrespected his medical skills because of his race.
    • And of course, there's "Hate on Your Dial", a Time Travel episode which deals with the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in a small Mississippi town during The '50s.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Penitites of "The Quilt of Hathor" are modeled off of the Amish/Mennonites... with the Darker and Edgier additions of trial by combat and exorcism by fire. Many of their harsher views toward the outside world, dancing and music, arranged marriages, and the roles of women, and their Holier Than Thou, fire-and-brimstone attitudes, are actually modeled after those of the Puritans.
  • Fatal Flaw: All the object owners have one; they all crave something (revenge, fame, money, love, etc.) that only the object can give them.
  • 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).
    • This is also how the the villain in "The Electrocutioner" is revealed to have somehow survived his execution in the flashback.
    • Subverted in The Stinger of "Tails I Live, Heads You Die": it appears that the villain is revealed to be alive underneath the rock fall in this manner, but seeing as he's later found as a skeleton buried under all the rock and dirt in "Bad Penny", it seems this was simply meant to indicate his final death throes. Although if The Stinger is interpreted as a Call-Forward to a year later, the hand's movement was actually caused by an earth-mover shifting it.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: One of the signs of Asteroth employing his powers to bring about "The Prophecies" from the Book of Lucifer is the bells in the church steeple ringing in a disturbing, discordant manner. The fact this occurs at 3:33 AM (both half of the Number of the Beast and the height of the "witching hours") only makes this more symbolic.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • After nearly being killed by a rapist and a mad psychiatrist in "And Now the News", Micki brings up the possibility that one of them is likely to die in pursuing the cursed artifacts, and Ryan agrees with as lucky as they've been so far, luck is bound to turn against them eventually. What's the very next episode? "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" in which Micki gets killed...temporarily.
    • And after being influenced by a witch's dark powers in the season 2 finale "Coven of Darkness", Ryan actually gets possessed by Asteroth in "The Prophecies". This time it takes a Heroic Sacrifice, youthening, and an exorcism by the Virgin Mary to save him, at the cost of his memories.
  • Frameup: Occurs fairly often in a minor fashion, such as "A Cup of Time" where the villain knocks out an old woman friend of the trio, only for them to be arrested by the police for her assault because they happened to be bending over her (and Ryan was holding the rock she was hit with). An episode-long version, however, occurs with "The Prisoner" when the villain kills Johnny's father and then makes it appear Johnny himself did it, so that Ryan, Micki, and Jack have to clear his name in addition to stopping the villain and getting back the artifact. The second half of the two-parter "The Quilt of Hathor" also involves Reverend Grange framing Ryan for the murder of the inquisitor, both to keep him from taking the quilt and to keep the truth from coming out about his mishandling of the colony's funds (which would likely result in his removal as head of the colony).
  • Fuel Meter of Power: When it is revealed that Micki possesses innate, latent magic, she is immediately called upon by the head of a magic circle to help protect Ryan, retrieve the witch's ladder, and bring down the titular "Coven of Darkness." After she succeeds in doing so, Jack reveals that such powers come from one's Life Force which is not finite—i.e., that she managed to drain all of hers in one night by working against an artifact that so augmented the powers of darkness. Jack then suggests that in time her powers may return but that she shouldn't try them again for a good long time to come, something that she seems quite relieved to hear (and which may have been for the best, considering she seems susceptible to corruption at various points in the show), and the matter is never directly addressed again in the third season, so for all intents and purposes it was indeed permanent.
  • Ghostapo:
    • In "Read My Lips", the boutonniere which brought the Demonic Dummy to life was said to belong to Adolf Hitler. In fact Jack is said to be away investigating a whole collection of Nazi artifacts, and some time is spent describing how the Nazis were fascinated with the occult and sought such power in various ways; the item of the episode was specifically meant to bring the wearer back to life if he was killed. Micki comments on what would have happened if it had been used for its original intended purpose...
    • Even more explicitly, the amulet of "The Butcher" was created by the Thule Society and is used in the episode to bring Back from the Dead a great Nazi warrior, who supposedly was Hitler's chosen successor, so as to restore the Third Reich.
  • Ghostly Goals:
    • "Midnight Riders" offers examples of both types of goals. The ghosts of the biker gang wish Revenge on those who killed them (and their leader), and in the process of achieving this they can also be brought back to life, which will in turn allow them to then terrorize the rest of the town. Meanwhile Jack's father wishes to atone for his part in these events, and if he can succeed in laying the ghosts to rest by getting the gang leader's body buried in hallowed ground, he can rest as well.
    • "Jack-in-the-Box" has an inversion, where it is a living person who has the goal (in this case, to resurrect the ghost or otherwise get to be with him again) and the ghost is actively insisting that she let him go and instead focus on living her life with the loving mother she still has. Although it is implied that if she does so, this will allow him to rest and move on.
  • God Is Good: At the end of "The Prophecies" the sky is lit up with divine light that vanquishes the Fallen Angel Asteroth and destroys The Book of Lucifer. Mother Mary also appears to free Ryan from Lucifer's control.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: And since the exact number of cursed artifacts is never named, it might as well be an infinite number.
  • Gotta Kill Em All:
    • Several of the villains are using their cursed artifacts to carry out this trope:
      • In "The Electrocutioner" the Depraved Dentist, who was wrongfully sent to the electric chair but miraculously survived, is now using its curse to kill all of those who either executed him or didn't try to stop it.
      • "The Pirate's Promise" involves killing all the descendants of the ghostly buccaneer's mutinous crew so as to obtain his treasure.
      • Jack's old Band of Brothers from World War II is being killed off one-by-one in "The Butcher", both to make the resurrected Nazi concentration camp commander immortal and out of revenge for them killing him in the first place. Jack is left to last because he dealt the killing blow (and resisted his torture the longest).
      • The villain in "The Prisoner" is killing all the members of his former robbery gang, both out of revenge for them abandoning him to the cops and a 20-year jail sentence and to find where they hid the money he helped steal.
      • The Sympathetic Murderer, Rachel Horn in "Crippled Inside" is killing all the boys who tried to gang-rape her, both out of revenge and because their deaths will heal her and let her walk again.
      • The biker ghosts in "Midnight Riders" need to kill all of those who killed them in order to resurrect their leader and come back to life fully.
      • The half-orphaned girl Megan Garrett in "Jack-in-the-Box" starts out this way, using the cursed antique to kill those responsible (directly or indirectly) for her father's murder, but she eventually moves on to anyone who gets in her way, tries to stop her, or whom she can view in the same light (nasty drunkards) so as to be deserving of death.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The villain of "Faith Healer" finds the Sforza glove just lying in an alleyway amongst spilled garbage; how it got there is never explained. See Artifact of Doom for a possible idea.
  • Grand Theft Me: The Yin-Yang pendant from "The Long Road Home" allows for this, after being placed on the body of someone the owner has killed; the example shown at the start of the episode is a variation on the second version of the trope, as the villain isn't using the charm to become an upstanding person or to deceive the entire world per se, merely to assume a particular person's life so they can be with someone they love (that person's wife, and their lover). In an unusual variation, one of the heroes (Johnny) has to use the charm to save his life from one of the villains (by transferring into said villain's body temporarily). It also works regardless the state of the body the soul is transferred into, although that has horrifying drawbacks as Mike Negley soon discovers...
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality:
    • In the voiceover narration for "Night Prey", Jack waxes philosophical (and rather despairing) on the Anti-Hero of the episode, how both the vampire hunter and himself were out to bring down evil but the former had crossed the line and descended into villainy himself in the name of his crusade. After seeing what Jack was willing to do or came close to doing, and even how he found himself envying vampires for their longevity and wisdom, it's understandable why he was doubting himself and the trio's mission. While all of the characters have had such crises of faith throughout the show (whether inspired by failures to save innocents, personal losses that hit too close to home, or the endless nature of their quest vs. the seeming inexorability of evil's ultimate victory), it seems to be hitting Jack especially hard in this episode and making him wonder whether it is worth it to go on if all they will face is more death and the further blurring of the lines between good and evil. It also lampshades the Darker and Edgier nature of the third season and the increasing number of Downer Endings as the show goes on.
    • In the episode "Midnight Riders", it at first appears like a straightforward case of good guys and bad guys, where the evil biker ghosts are unfairly terrorizing a small town and murdering various upstanding members of the community as well as attacking their innocent children. It is eventually revealed that matters are not as they seem, with a Dark Secret related to the bikers' deaths that a sheriff, a reverend, and a higher-class lady are all aware of and trying to keep hidden.Explanation  By the end of the episode, the only genuinely good characters left aside from the children are Micki, Johnny, Jack, and Jack's father.
  • Greed: The items are often "greedy", demanding more and more for the same thing. One example is in "Spirit of Television", when the cursed TV cuts its allocation of life to Ilsa from ten days to one.
  • 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.
    • In "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", Eli knees Jack in the groin while the two of them fight.
    • In "The Charnel Pit", Micki kicks Webster in the groin while struggling with him.
  • Halloween Episode: "Hellowe'en". Aside from the usual trope of it being the night when the line between the worlds of the living and dead is blurred, allowing Uncle Lewis a chance to return to life, the trick-or-treating allows his demon familiar to disguise herself as a neighborhood child to lead Jack into trouble (since he'd have instantly caught on to Uncle Lewis's trick with the Amulet of Zohar and stopped Ryan and Micki in two seconds flat).
  • Hard Head: In "Bad Penny", Briggs swings a graveyard shovel into Jack's head. Jack is knocked unconscious but subsequently shows no ill effects from being concussed.
  • Heaven Above: One of the few acts of Divine Intervention in the series appears in the form of a series of divine lights flashing across the sky, with the heavenly changes contrasting with the grounded work of the show's Fallen Angels. This upstairs action even kills the demonic Asteroth.
  • Heroic BSoD: In "Jack-in-the-Box," lifeguard Brock's widow Helen starts drinking heavily, entertains pessimistic thoughts, and becomes negligent, bordering on verbally abusive toward their daughter, Megan. Naturally, this makes Megan only more determined to use the cursed jack-in-the-box to kill the men who murdered her father.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • A different sort of sacrifice occurs in "Brain Drain" where Jack's Old Flame Vi sacrifices not just her life but the chance to get her intelligence back in order to stop the villain and get revenge on him in the bargain.
    • Museum curator Dewey Covington takes a sword for Micki in "The Pirate's Promise", leaving her shaken and in tears.
    • Two back-to-back episodes: Ryan's father Ray sacrifices himself to save his son in "Pipe Dream", and the mother of the dying baby in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" commits suicide to become the last sacrifice needed to save her child.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End" does this, allowing himself to die (again) for the sake of his friendship with J.B. (since to stay alive he'd have had to kill Micki which J.B. pleaded with him not to).
    • Maya, one of the three souls Lucifer uses to try and lure and entrap the trio in "Wedding in Black", ends up having a change of heart because Ryan's determination and courage in resisting her reminds her of the good life she had truly wanted—so she allows herself to be plunged into eternal torment to help him get inside the snow globe and rescue the others. Jack suggests, however, that Ryan's example may have enabled her soul to be saved.
    • Ryan himself initiates one near the end of "The Prophecies" 2-part episode, where despite being possessed by the dark power of the episode's main antagonist, Asteroth, he's able to regain some self-control and throws himself over a captured young girl in order to prevent her from being killed by Asteroth via being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. Despite this, the sacrifice is somewhat subverted as Ryan isn't actually killed by it, but rather, he gets transformed back into a little boy and thus he's written out of the series at the end of the 2-part episode.
    • Aging film actress (and invalid) Lili Lita in "Femme Fatale" performs one after discovering what her husband, the obsessed noir film director, has been doing (killing random women by making them become part of one of their movies and dying there in place of the bombshell moll, so that her younger self can appear in the real world for a short time): entering the movie herself to die and take her doppelganger's place, thus destroying her and freeing Micki.
    • Jack's father, in a sense, in "Midnight Riders": while he was Dead All Along, he does stand in the way of the Dragon's zombie to protect his son, Johnny, and Micki, and by making himself a target he tricks the biker into riding into the newly-dug grave, which allows them to bury him and end the curse. This is atonement for having killed the Dragon in the first place.
    • Walter Cromwell in "Repetition" realizes in the end that the only way for him to truly take responsibility for what he has done is to give his own life, thus breaking the cameo pendant's cycle of death and restoring (almost) all those he had killed with it.
  • The Hidden Hour: "13 O'Clock" plays with this trope, since having the cursed pocket watch freeze time gives the owner an hour no one else in the world can experience, and it occurs at 1 AM (thereby also creating the thirteenth hour).
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The low-intelligence, possibly inbred, murderous, (human) taxidermist Negley brothers of "The Long Road Home". By contrast, the gas station attendant who gives Johnny and Micki advice about the coming storm and the cook and waitress at the diner who help defend them from the brothers (and offer them meals on the house) thankfully avert and subvert the trope, respectively.
  • Historical Domain Character: A number of the artifacts are said to have been owned by famous people: the linked magician's cabinets in "The Great Montarro" belonged to Houdin (the father of modern magic from whom Ehrich Weiss took his stage name); the scalpel and syringe belonged to Jack the Ripper; the glove belonged to the Sforza family; the mirror belonged to Louis XIV; the makeup case belonged to John Wilkes Booth and disfigured actor Jeff Amory uses Boris Karloff's real name "William Pratt"; the handkerchief belonged to first Louis XVI, then Madame Tussaud; the ventriloquist's dummy's boutonnière belonged to Adolf Hitler; the hypnotist's bauble belonged to Franz Mesmer; and the villain of one episode goes back in time to try and obtain a historical artifact from General Robert E. Lee. Ryan and Micki also meet Bram Stoker (see Historical Person Punchline below) and the villain of the series' final episode, "The Charnel Pit", is using a painting to communicate with the Marquis de Sade (who is also said to have created said painting).
  • Historical In-Joke: In "The Mephisto Ring", the cursed artifact is a World Series ring which gives one the power to predict the victor in any gambling venue. Which ring is it? The 1919 World Series ring—the same World Series which was famously fixed, allegedly by gangster Arnold Rothstein.
  • Historical Person Punchline: In the Time Travel episode "The Baron's Bride", Micki and Ryan track down a vampire with the assistance of a 19th-century Irishman named Abraham, revealed at the end to be Bram Stoker. (Although with a differently-named wife, who neither died in real life nor received the dedication in Dracula.)
  • 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" (whose beam is reflected back at the villain by a mirror when he tries to use it on Micki) and the Sforza glove. In the latter case, since its owner had refused to heal a man (Jack's friend Jerry), that man shot him, eventually resulting in him crashing his car...and although he tried to heal himself of the gunshot wound, the location of the crash (between crates and other shipping material on the docks) made it so he couldn't open the door and get out of the car. All Jerry had to do at that point 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 Jerry had previously debunked him made it even more delicious.
      • Joe Fenton of "The Pirate's Promise" gets gold coins from Captain McBride's treasure every time he kills a descendant of one of McBride's mutinous crew, with the promise that he'll get the whole hoard once all of them are dead. What Joe doesn't realize until the moment of his death, due to unknowingly being adopted, is that he is the final descendant, and is taken out by McBride himself.
      • The villain in "Eye of Death" gets hit by this twice—not only is it the magic lantern that causes his death (after Jack blows out its candle—see Tele-Frag), but his scheme to obtain General Lee's sword would have backfired on him, as revealed at the end of the episode: said sword had been broken at the Battle of Sharpsburg (so that the Union wouldn't get it) and lost, so anyone who found it would make a fortune. However, because he asked the general to give it to him unbroken, any Civil War historian would believe it to be a fake...so he went back in time, and died, for nothing.
      • In "The Butcher", the sadistic Nazi torturer who has been raised from the dead ends up strangled by his own barbed wire garrote (after removing the amulet takes away his invulnerability).
      • The villain of "Coven of Darkness" ends up being killed by her own blast of magic—partly because Micki's White Magic was returning her curse to her "a thousandfold", partly because Ryan had actually gotten the witch's ladder away from her. (Presumably she assumed him holding it would simply make its power burn right through his hand, and didn't realize what Micki's spell was doing.) End result? Sent smashing out the church's stained-glass window.
      • The villain of "Hate On Your Dial" tries to go back in time and save his racist father from being hanged for murdering a black man. But because he knows too much about what is going to happen (and is blamed for bringing back a scrapbook with photographic evidence of the crime—actually obtained by Johnny and then given to the sheriff by Jack), the Klan decides he must either be a "colored lover" or an undercover FBI agent...and so he gets burned on the cross in lieu of the black lawyer he was trying to kill, by his own father. And on top of that, he was the one who inadvertently informed the star witness whose testimony results in his father's conviction and death: his mother.
      • Alex Dent of "Mightier Than the Sword" suffers a particularly delicious form of this: after spending the whole episode (and several years prior) getting off on the brutal murders he has forced innocent people to commit, and writing best-selling true crime books based on the cases, he gets killed by one of his own victims, Micki, because he came to watch her kill another victim (his wife) and then ended up killing her himself instead of what he had written the Serial Killer to do with the cursed pen...so that they remained possessed and went for the only other person nearby—him.
      • One example which doesn't involve an artifact directly occurs in "The Long Road Home"—the villain ends up stepping in one of his own bear trap snares he sets around his property to catch trespassers (which had helpfully been mentioned several times in the episode already)...and because his spirit is in the long-dead, stuffed corpse of his own grandfather at the time, he suffers the horribly gruesome death of being left to twist in the wind while the sawdust stuffings spill out and rip him apart. The fact he had been killing and stuffing numerous people, and had in fact killed his grandfather too, makes this even more a case of him doing himself in, as well as receiving well-deserved karma.
  • Hollywood Acid: In "Crippled Inside", a teenaged attempted rapist backs away from his apparently-cured paraplegic victim into a rack of various chemicals. Body Horror ensues, and one must assume that his surviving family will be getting a wrongful death settlement.
  • Hollywood Law: In "The Prisoner", Johnny is framed for killing his father Vince. Johnny immediately goes to prison, with no trial and no paraffin test, which would prove he didn't fire the murder weapon. At the end of the episode, the real murderer dies and he is posthumously convicted of the murders he committed in prison... but never of Vince's murder. So Johnny would never have been released.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Unsurprising, considering the main premise of the show is based around Lucifer existing as the Ultimate Evil, Lewis Vendredi making a literal Deal with the Devil, and various witches, warlocks, and other magic-users acting as necromancers, calling on Black Magic, or speaking of the Realms of Darkness. LaVeyan Church of Satan accouterments such as the effigy and name of Baphomet, the upside-down pentacle (and cross), cursing others, and perverting/inverting Christian rites (particularly chanting the Lord's Prayer and other holy scriptures backwards) are combined with the usual human sacrifice, Blood Magic, black robes and Ominous Latin Chanting, and desire to destroy or supplant all good magic. Also included are previous erroneous beliefs from medieval and Renaissance times (such as the witch's ladder); pagan elements such as the athame and chalice; raising the dead and seeking to bring about the Antichrist (including an attempt by Lucifer himself to impregnate Micki); suggesting a history of the cult and its evil practices extending all the way back to ancient times via previous long-dead witches and sorcerers (needless to say, untrue); and even Hollywood Voodoo by employing the use of clay figures to control, possess, or harm their living counterparts. The only thing they get right is referring to their belief system as the left-hand path.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Utterly averted in "The Voodoo Mambo". Jack gives a somewhat-abbreviated but completely accurate depiction of the true nature and beliefs of Voudoun (complete with footage of actual ceremonies!), the innocents being terrorized in the episode are benevolent, wise priests and priestesses, and while Micki and especially Ryan are wary at first due to Hollywood Voodoo depictions, eventually they come to realize the faith is a perfectly valid, good, harmless belief system and join in rather enthusiastically with the cultural carnival being held. The only aspects of this trope which appear in the episode are all being carried out by the Villain of the Week, and they are stated repeatedly to be evil, twisted perversions and not a part of true Voudoun at all (being, in fact, aspects of hoodoo).
  • Homage:
  • Hypnotize the Princess:
    • Happens to Micki in "The Baron's Bride" thanks to the power of the cape to lure in women (and, presumably, the vampire's own mental domination powers).
    • No actual hypnosis is involved, but Ryan is otherwise forced to be this trope by Lysa in "Coven of Darkness" when she curses him into an agony of fever and pain unless he brings her the witch's ladder (while also misleading him into believing she's a good psychic simply trying to destroy it). It is played straight with him however in "The Prophecies."
    • A different form of this happens to Micki in "Mightier Than the Sword", where the cursed pen turns her into a Serial Killer.

    I-L 
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Implied in "A Cup of Time". The Cup's owner has used her renewed youth to become a rock star, albeit a local one. Going by the other owners we see, she couldn't have had the cup any longer than six months, probably less. Any working musician can tell you that it takes not only talent and hard work but sheer luck to make a living at it, and the Swapper's Ivy Cup only bestows youth and health. Meaning that in order to become famous in a short amount of time, the owner must have already had innate musical talent, and considerable skill in judging the market.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A few of the villains indulge in this with Micki, most especially Tommy Dunn from "Shadow Boxer", the Serial Killer (and rapist) in "And Now the News", and Mike Negley in "The Long Road Home".
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The artifact owner of "Scarlet Cinema," Darius Pogue, is this with a vengeance. Aside from completely hating his boring, ordinary life as a film student, longing to have love, and suffering from the bullying of his classmates, he has an obsessed fixation with horror films, specifically werewolf movies—he can recite all the lines of The Wolf Man (1941) by heart, has a Stalker Shrine to Lon Chaney, and is alternately Longing for Fictionland and doing everything he can to become a werewolf himself. Unlike most versions of this trope, he is willing to do anything to achieve his specialness (and claim his crush for his own) and thus becomes fairly contemptible, but there's still a certain sympathy for his underdog desperation.
  • I Know Your True Name: Variation. Because Ryan and Micki use aliases when they enter the monastery in "The Poison Pen", the villain's attempt to use the pen to kill them doesn't work—in fact it actually causes the deaths of the real monks whose identities they assumed (and whom Jack knew of from overseas). Oops. The trope also ends up leading to the villain's Hoist by His Own Petard moment, since it is learned by episode's end that "Father La Croix" is itself an alias for the real estate con man Rupert Seldon...and when he tries to use the pen again to kill them, he writes it down on a slip of paper Jack had left in his book, which just so happens to be the bill of sale from when he purchased the pen from Uncle Lewis. Meaning, it has his real name on it, and seeing as that's the only name on the paper...
  • I Love the Dead: In "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", Eli the mortician is really into dead women. Even before he gains the aspirator that can raise the dead, Eli takes photos of all of his clients, male and female. But with a focus on attractive young dead women. After he resurrects Lisa, he undresses her, has sex with her, and then puts a new nightgown on her. This is after she's died and been embalmed.
  • Implacable Man: Rausch, a resurrected dead man, is unkillable. Only when the Amulet of Thule is removed from his neck can he die.
  • Inertial Impalement: In "Night Prey", a vampire hunter attacks a vampire but it knocks him down. The vampire then leaps onto the man but is impaled on a crucifix the man is holding up, killing it.
  • In Medias Res: Rather unusually, "The Long Road Home" begins with Micki and Johnny having already been pursuing the Yin-Yang charm and tracked down who owned/was using it; after a couple tense scenes where Micki has to save Johnny from being chained to drown in a gym pool, then facing off with the villain who has just swapped bodies with his lover's somewhat-scummy husband, said villain gets electrocuted by a lamp and, just like that, the artifact is recovered. This is to set up for the fact that the real meat of the episode will be the disturbing villains Johnny and Micki will encounter on their way back from obtaining the artifact, and how it then gets used (both deliberately and inadvertently) to help them escape.
  • In Name Only: The series' tenuous connection with the movies, although see What Might Have Been on the trivia page.
  • Instrument of Murder: "Symphony in B#" featured a cursed violin. The violin itself wasn't used as a weapon, but the hidden blade in the bow certainly was.
  • Invisibility Cloak: "The Prisoner" involves a case of a World War II kamikaze fighter's jacket that renders its wearer invisible when smeared with a dead person's blood. It clearly renders everything the villain wears invisible as well, although in one scene when he sneaks into the bathtub of a victim to kill her, his footprints as he chases her are naked ones. He can be identified by the scent of his telltale cigars as well as, of course, when soaked by kerosene and then lit on fire. The killer does go from invisible to visible once without removing the jacket. The jacket also apparently lets the killer walk through solid objects, since he re-enters his locked cell in one scene.
  • Ironic Name: The episode "Vanity's Mirror" features a homely girl named Helen overpowered by a magical compact mirror. The most well known bearer of the name Helen would be Helen of Troy, a Spartan princess from Classical Mythology famed for her beauty.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Not the usual creepy manifestation of this trope, but in "A Cup of Time" the villain of the episode who has since become a singing sensation turns her favorite nursery rhyme, "I'm a Little Teapot", into a rock song.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades/Renaissance Man: Jack, punnily enough, seems to be one of these. While it's never revealed what all he knows, and much of his talents seem to relate to the occult or his role as a procurer of antiques (or at least would be useful while doing so), he does have some rather unusual (and handy) abilities, such as forgery which lets him, among other things, be able to fake both ancient documents and modern IDs, as well as reproduce copies of artifacts like the quill pen. He's also an expert lockpicker, a talent that he eventually passes on to Ryan and Micki. He is a skilled stage magician, and has a number of contacts due to his often-charming demeanor.
  • Jack the Ripper's scalpel was the artifact in "Doctor Jack", and a syringe supposedly belonging to him was the artifact in "Better Off Dead."
  • Jerkass Gods: In "The Prophecies Pt. 2", God finally intervenes when the trio are outclassed by Asteroth, a fallen angel. But instead of resolving the matter with His presumed Omnipotence, God de-ages Ryan, sets Asteroth's sleeve on fire with Heavenly Light, lets the demon put it out and then sets Asteroth on fire again—fatally, this time.
  • Just in Time:
    • While quite often the trio manages to get hold of an artifact or save its latest victim right at the last moment, two examples are noteworthy in either the specific situation or its victim:
      • In "Vanity's Mirror", Helen Mackie compels her enchanted boyfriend (her sister's former boyfriend) into leaving her sister Bound and Gagged, standing on a chair with a noose around her neck; Jack manages to get to her and save her life right as her feet slip off the chair and she begins to strangle, making for some very tense minutes.
      • In "Jack-in-the-Box", after the ghost of her murdered father insists he can never be brought back (nor does he want to be) and so convinces her not to kill her alcoholic mother, Megan Garrett instead decides to use the cursed antique to kill herself so they can be Together in Death. What follows is an extremely Adult Fear scene where the ghost continually pleads with her not to go through with it, the trio and the girl's mother pound on the locked door of the pool as they beg her to let them in, and finally Johnny smashes the door with a chair so they can rush to Megan's side and slam the jack-in-the-box's lid closed at the last second.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • DeJager escapes with the Shard of Medusa, first because she takes Micki's nephew J.B. hostage, then because they have to go rescue him from Ricky right as she's been found at the airport about to flee to Europe. A later episode has Jack recover the Shard, but her exact fate isn't revealed.
    • In "The Butcher", while Horst Mueller remains in prison at episode's end, he is also never punished or otherwise held to account for the murders of Jack's platoon or the renewed rise of neo-Nazism, both of which he carries out via the resurrected Rausch.
  • Kissing Cousins: Although it is never acted upon, it becomes clear from the very first episode that Ryan has some sort of romantic feelings for his cousin Micki, and while at first he isn't aware they're related, the feelings don't seem to subside once he learns the truth note . He certainly becomes jealous of a number of her boyfriends and other men she knows, while the reverse is never true (and when his Girl of the Week inevitably ends up dead, she always commiserates with him). The only time when this is averted is when he deeply (and rather suddenly) falls for one of the Penitites in "The Quilt of Hathor"...and it's Micki who has to plead with him to come to his senses (though not from jealousy or latent feelings but because of the quilt and the suddenness of his feelings). Whether this at all contributed to Ryan being written off the show and replaced by an unrelated stand-in is unknown.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Alex Dent of "Mightier Than the Sword" suffers probably one of the most instant versions of this—sending his blackmailer wife falling down a set of stairs to her death, only to then be killed less than a minute later by Micki whom he had cursed into being a Serial Killer—because his killing his wife went against what he had written with the pen, leaving the murderer still bent on killing. For bonus points, he specifically suffers the terrible slashing death he had intended for his wife, as karma for all the other murders he had forced innocents to commit.
    • After what he intended to do to both Johnny and Micki (and having killed and stuffed his own grandfather and, it's implied, his parents), Mike Negley ending up in his grandfather's taxidermied corpse, stepping in one of his own snares, and literally being ripped apart by the wind is probably one of the most gruesome but fitting examples of this.
  • Life Drain: The Sforza glove of "Faith Healer" is in a sense the inverse of this: it drains diseases and other fatal conditions from people, thus restoring them to full health, which then causes the next person touched with it to suffer an exponentially worse version of the original disease/condition, killing them. Or the glove wearer, if he can't find someone to pass it on to in time.
  • Life Drinker: "The Sweetest Sting"; see Bee Afraid. Also "A Cup of Time".
  • Lighthouse Point: In "The Pirate's Promise", naturally. It's suitably creepy and fog-shrouded, and the usage of the wind and a buoy for sound effects is unnervingly effective. There's also one scene where, to hide from the villain, Ryan has to actually hang off the side of the lighthouse platform, but it isn't during the climax.
  • Liquid Assets: "A Cup of Time". The cursed teacup has a carving of the fictitious "Swapper's Ivy" on its side, which becomes real and strangles the person who drank from it, draining their youth and life for the cup owner.
  • Living Shadow: "Shadow Boxer". The cursed boxing gloves of the title make the wearer invincible in the ring, by means of their shadow attacking an innocent victim and passing the blows and moves on to them. The "living" part is emphasized by the wearer having to put his gloved hands to his shadow's before it breaks off, in a sort of sports salute, and that what happens to the shadow (being hit by bright lights, for example) affects the wearer.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Jack has one when preparing to gun down the resurrected Nazi torturer who has been killing his old platoon in "The Butcher."
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • In "Cupid's Quiver", 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 after sex. 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. It could even be that, as speculated in the Artifact of Doom entry above, the Cupid only calls to men similar to Malek in the first place. note 
    • Desmond Williams of "Femme Fatale", since he is willing to kill countless young women so as to bring to life the young version of his actress wife so they can be together forever. As a point in his favor, when it becomes clear he must kill his wife so that her young self can become real, he is overwhelmed with guilt and refuses for some time before (he thinks) committing the deed; as a point against him, it becomes clear he only wants the younger version because she's still beautiful and sexy, and that it was this role he created which he loved, not his actual wife.

    M-P 
  • MacGuffin Melee: Sometimes the artifact of the episode gets passed around among a number of people, whether guilty villains or innocent bystanders, before being recovered; two examples, both early on, were "Cupid's Quiver" and "A Cup of Time."
  • Mad Artist:
    • The sculptress DeJager, who uses the Shard of Medusa to kill her models so as to create high-priced art.
    • Anton Pascala of "The Maestro", who forces dancers to literally dance themselves to death in order to create his masterpiece ballet.
    • The director Desmond Williams in "Femme Fatale" is a specific form of this where he only kills for one purpose, to bring to life his actress wife's younger self, although the fact he'd have to kill the real (and invalid) woman in order to make the young self exist permanently is still rather heinous.
  • Made of Indestructium: The cursed artifacts, it turns out, in order to remove the easiest way to end their evil power and force the main characters to have to recover and store them in the vault under the shop instead. This makes for a key plot point in "The Quilt of Hathor" two-parter when the recovered quilt gets accidentally torn, revealing to Jack that it was a powerless fake, as well as in "Double Exposure" where thinking that the camera can be destroyed reveals "Jack" to be an Evil Knockoff. It also means that any hapless victim (or an artifact owner who has a pang of conscience) will be doomed to fail if they try to destroy a cursed item, and it makes for a Downer Ending in "Crippled Inside" after Johnny, in despair over the seeming futility of gathering artifacts whose evil will long outlive him and Rachel's death, uselessly batters the wheelchair with an axe.
  • Magic Mirror: The mirror of Louis XIV, which acted as a portal between Earth and the Realms of Darkness.
  • Mark of the Beast:
    • Used in "Scarlet Cinema", a star branded or tattooed on the flesh in Homage to the palm-pentacle of The Wolf Man (1941) (although it's just a regular five-pointed star).
    • Also appears in "Demon Hunter", where the cultist who summoned the episode's demon, and who is the only one that can control it, bears its sigil as a mark upon their body. Turns out it's the demon hunter's daughter, who had feigned coming back to the good side and had been a loyal cultist all along rather than merely kidnapped and brainwashed by them.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The baby being healed by the cradle in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" is named Allison. As in Loraine Allison, the only first-class passenger child who died in the sinking of the Titanic. To further the parallel, the only member of the Allison family to survive the sinking, a baby brother, was saved by the family's maid, while the baby in this episode ends up saved (and presumably raised as her own) by the Kent family's babysitter.
    • Done In-Universe in "A Cup of Time". The villain chooses the stage name "Lady Die" note  She needs other people to die to stay young.
    • "Wax Magic". The murderous waxwork turns out to be Marie Chase, who was killed then resurrected with the cursed handkerchief. Marie was the first name of Madame Tussaud, founder and namesake of the famed Madame Tussaud's wax museums.
    • Twice over for Sybil Oakwood in "The Tree of Life"—not only is she head of a Druidic fertility cult that (as per the tradition's beliefs) reveres an oak tree, but she is a priestess who makes several divine pronouncements, including that one of the children they have bred and are raising in the faith will grow up to become a great sorceress and prophet herself (a sibyl being the name for one of the oracular priestesses of Ancient Greece).
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Eli Pittman, the Villain of the Week in "The Electrocutioner", was wrongfully convicted of murdering his girlfriend and sentenced to die in the electric chair. Because this is Friday the 13th, somehow he survives (and retains the ability to absorb and even gain strength from electricity), and so is able to get revenge on those who condemned him. But because (a few assholes among them aside) they were mostly innocent and just going by the evidence until the actual killer confessed later, and because Pittman uses the children at the reform school where he's a dentist as the source of his power, he ends up paying for it...and in the end, suffering the electrocution he originally evaded.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: Referencing the original source of the Three Wise Monkeys, but in a horror variant—in "Year of the Monkey", a Japanese samurai who has mastered their powers and thus gained immortality uses the statues to tempt his two sons and daughter in order to know which one was worthy. If they pass the tests, they gain the longevity in his place and he can die in peace (at their hands), knowing his family's wealth and honor will live on; if they fail, they must either commit seppuku or die a terrible death related to the sense in question, and he gains their life force to be youthened and live on, so as to create another generation and try again. The monkeys do exactly the opposite of what they're supposed to do, but considering they are said to have been stolen from a temple dedicated to the trickster Monkey God, this makes sense.
  • Monster of the Week: Well, "Cursed Antique of the Week", but same basic concept.
  • 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.
    • A variation involving taxidermy in "The Long Road Home", wherein the Negley brothers have stuffed the corpses of their grandfather and parents and arranged them in chairs in the attic, dressed in their nicest clothes (the father even has a pipe in his mouth). A nearby wind-up record player is arranged to play the 19th-century parlor song "Home! Sweet Home!", and Mike apparently makes a habit of not only talking to the corpses but "introducing" women he kidnaps and brings home to them.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul" deals with a lonely mortician who comes to possess a magical embalming device which can 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.
  • Murphy's Bed: The brother of the villain in "A Cup of Time" is found inside one of these in his old, abandoned apartment. He's been there for quite some time.
  • My Greatest Failure: Twice over for Musashi in "Year of the Monkey"—not only did he fail to kill the rogue samurai he'd been sent to assassinate (because he had loved the samurai's daughter, and had found her murdered by her father) or recover the monkey statues from him, but when he tried to commit seppuku to join his beloved, he failed to give himself a fatal wound. In the present he asks Jack, Micki, and Johnny to stop the samurai and recover the statues, but has to be convinced to overcome his guilt before he will atone for his other failure...facing the samurai in battle, finally dying to join his lost love, and in the process killing the samurai by tricking him into stabbing him after he's dropped his sword (killing an unarmed man is dishonorable, thus making the statues destroy him).
  • Necromantic: "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul." Made particularly squicky when the mortician villain poses the reanimated women like mannequins and, in the case of one, kisses her when she is still barely back from the grave and has to be manipulated to put her arms around him. It is implied the mortician who originally bought the aspirator from Uncle Lewis had been doing this for years, replacing one undead wife with another, and this is certainly the plan Eli Leonard intends to use. Unsurprisingly, when the women realize the truth, they prefer to die again rather than suffer such a fate.
  • New Old Flame:
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • Subverted. When the cursed compact that was lost in "Vanity's Mirror" turns up again in "Face of Evil", it seems to have a completely different curse. But Jack reasons that the actual curse had been to give the owner whatever revenge their heart desired; for the first owner, that was killing those who refused to love her, for the second, eliminating anyone who threatened her beauty and her career. With a power as open-ended as this is, it actually makes the compact one of the most dangerous artifacts in the store. (Further discussion on the compact appears on the Fridge tab.)
    • Played straight with Micki in "Coven of Darkness" where, after absolutely no indication prior to this (such as, say, in either "Bottle of Dreams" or "Doorway to Hell" when they had Rashid right there to make note of it) she is revealed to possess great occult power.Possible explanation  The White Magic practitioner of the episode guided her into using it for good (Jack mentions the power can go either way) in order to save Ryan and recover the witch's ladder; the end of the episode indicates she could well have fallen to darkness herself. But conveniently enough, all her power is used up by episode's end, and while Jack says it could return, this is never revisited later.Classic example of Status Quo Is God and Reset Button (and allows the two-part opener of season three to have the Bittersweet Ending it does).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In the first act of "The Inheritance", Micki and Ryan hold a 'going out of business sale' to get rid of all the store's stock. This includes the items in the hidden vault, which turn out to be cursed items Lewis hadn't sold yet.
    • Johnny does essentially the same thing in "Hate on Your Dial", selling a recently-recovered cursed car radio without checking the manifest to see if it was one of the items Lewis sold.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Johnny, in something of a Heroic BSoD, gives one to the wheelchair at the end of "Crippled Inside" because of Rachel's death and the old man taunting him that "it will outlast both of us and there will always be someone who wants to kill to gain its healing".
  • 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. In "The Inheritance", there's a collection of newsclippings that match up with items in Lewis' manifest; a white lace ballgown and an antique weathervane are both mentioned, but never show up in the series, even in the vault.
  • Number of the Beast: Doesn't turn up as often as you'd think, but at least once it appears quite memorably in concert with Mark of the Beast—the number is literally carved into Ryan's chest as part of Asteroth's possession plot in "The Prophecies", although he is able to resist it and retain his own will to some degree. It does turn out, however, that the address of "Vendredi's Antiques/Curious Goods", as finally revealed in "A Friend to the End", is 666 Druid Street note .
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • One episode does not involve a cursed antique or magical item of any sort, "Midnight Riders", wherein Jack, Micki, and Johnny visit a small town haunted by the evil ghosts of bikers who were wrongly accused of rape and murdered, and who must be laid to rest. Also, only one episode involves none of the main cast members (save for a small cameo at the beginning and ending from Micki), "Repetition", instead focusing on a newspaper reporter who encounters a cursed cameo pendant and must find a way to deal with the consequences of its use. Strangely, these are back-to-back episodes; less strangely, they're both from the Retooled third season.
    • In only one episode, "The Prophecies" two-parter, does the artifact in question get destroyed rather than sealed away or lost. But seeing as the Book of Lucifer was never actually an artifact Lewis sold in his store (and those artifacts actually can't be destroyed), and it is a tool specifically meant to allow the Devil to return to Earth, its destruction is both understandable and even necessary—it certainly might well have been too strong to be contained in the vault. Also, God destroys the Book, and presumably He has enough power to destroy an artifact.
    • The snow globe from "Wedding in Black" was shattered, but it wasn't an actual artifact either.
    • And in only one episode ("Year of the Monkey") is the artifact in question willingly given up by its owner—an antique tea set (never seen onscreen) that turns any tea made in it into poison. In this case the owner will return it if he can determine Jack, Johnny, and Micki can be trusted with it by performing a task for him...helping him recover the Monkey Morality Pose statues he failed to recover from a samurai centuries ago.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • The eponymous "Scarecrow" does this to its victims.
    • This is also how Jack's father killed the Dragon, the leader of the biker gang in "Midnight Riders". Johnny makes the requisite comparison to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, while in-story the "Headless Biker" is considered an Urban Legend...except of course it turns out to be true.
  • 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Micki is actually short for 'Michelle', but no one ever mentions it after her initial introduction to Ryan - who thought his previously unknown cousin was named Michael!
  • Only One Name: Louise Robey, who plays Micki Foster, is only in the opening credits as "Robey"
  • Older Sidekick: Jack is the older sidekick to Ryan and Micki, and later Johnny and Micki, when Jack is even present in an episode. It is never explained why he is supposedly subservient to the younger duo, other then the fact that at least initially, Ryan and Micki owned the shop.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "The Baron's Bride" and "Night Prey". Marie in "The Baron's Bride" appears to be a traditional vampire, although she isn't hurt by daylight. The vampires in "The Baron's Bride" can only be killed by wooden stakes and at least one, Frank, has an aversion to sunlight. The vampires in "Night Prey" have all of the traditional vampiric weaknesses: wooden stakes, crosses, garlic, sunlight, no reflection in mirrors.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "Scarlet Cinema."
  • Outfit Decoy/Impersonation Gambit: Happens in back-to-back episodes early on: in "Cupid's Quiver" Micki dresses up as the villain's most recent target after they overhear her agreeing to meet him, and in "A Cup of Time" Jack pretends to be a vagrant in the park so he can get the teacup back from the villain.
  • Paranormal Investigation/Paranormal Mundane Item: The show revolves around the objects of "Vendredi's Antiques" (later "Curious Goods") that held paranormal properties (and some of them were quite modern-looking, like a car radio), but all of them were a pretty vile Power at a Price (as an example: a crucifix that allowed even people who knew nothing of spiritism to perform exorcisms, but had to be fed human blood—as in, stabbing people dead with it). Part of the reason Ryan and Micki end up in the Gotta Catch 'Em All situation that they do, however, is because these items are mixed in with the regular, uncursed antiques, so they have no way of knowing the truth when they are sold. While a number of the items are associated with famous people, many are not, and even the famous ones are often otherwise quite ordinary-looking. Among these are the boxing gloves, the tattoo kit, the foghorn, the sheriff's badge, the handkerchief, the pocket watch, the car key, the cue stick, the car radio, and the TV set.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: In "A Cup of Time", Ryan uses this method to figure out rock singer Lady Die is actually an old woman named Sarah who was conveniently mentioned as being missing earlier in the episode.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • The cops are pretty much portrayed as useless overall in the series.
      • In "A Cup of Time", lead investigator Lt. Fishbein is portrayed as arrogant, condescending, and incompetent. In one scene, he has Micki and Ryan arrested just because he doesn't like them interfering in his case. Obviously, they're released because the person they supposedly attacked did prove to the cops that she's their friend.
      • Lt. Moreau in "The Prophecies Pt. 2" takes Micki in for questioning after Asteroth attacks Jack, and then Ryan kills Adele. Moreau takes great satisfaction in denying her a phone call, and holds her for 24 hours despite her having no involvement in the murder. Despite that, Moreau disappears once Johnny strongarms the police into releasing Micki, and isn't seen again.
      • Sadly, one of the few times that cop characters actually try to help and show some usefulness ("Mightier Than the Sword"), the villain uses one of his manipulated Serial Killer victims to eliminate said character before he can expose him.
  • Politically Correct History:
    • Beyond averted in "Hate On Your Dial" (although the term "colored" is substituted for the one that genuinely would have been used, same with "boy," which is used toward Elliot, who is a literal boy at 13 or 14, and, back in 1954, toward sharecropper Ben).
    • Also, "The Butcher" makes no attempt to gloss over or shy away from either The Holocaust or the Nazi "master race" dogma.
  • Portal Picture: Used in the last episode, "The Charnel Pit". It's a two-sided (double face) painting that allows an obsessed history professor to contact the Marquis de Sade in the past, where the two exchange bodies of their victims. Since the two images are of life and death, the Equivalent Exchange trades a living person for a dead one.
  • The Power of Blood:
    • Often, this is used to make an object work when simply killing someone isn't enough.
      • Of particular note, however, is the painting of "The Charnel Pit"...as it not only requires blood smeared on the canvas to activate it, it is claimed the Marquis de Sade painted it while in prison using human blood mixed into the pigment.
      • Even Johnny seems aware of the requirement: the killer in "The Prisoner" stabs him but not fatally, and tries to use Johnny's blood on the knife to activate the jacket. Johnny shows up and points out that he isn't dead, so the blood won't work. It doesn't.
  • The Power of Hate/The Power of Love: How "The Playhouse" absorbs the souls of children and is forced to release them, respectively.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Played with in the season 3 two-part opener, since Asteroth seems to be making the various prophecies come true yet this is still enough to nearly allow for Satan's return. But following the rules isn't exactly the Prince of Darkness's strong suit (most of the time), and at the same time he's quite fond of the Loophole Abuse (as shown in this very series). That said, it does end up coming true that A Child Shall Lead Them...
    • Prophecy Twist: ...but not in the way Asteroth thinks. When Christina repudiates him and Lucifer, and instead of her being sacrificed Ryan takes the bone stake through the heart, his transformation back into a little boy is taken by the Fallen Angel to be the sign his master intends to possess Ryan for his return. But because it was a Heroic Sacrifice, the Virgin Mary's miraculous power is able to burn both him and the Book to ashes, and Christina is able to call on the Mother of God to heal Ryan and free him of the possession.
  • Psycho Electro: "The Electrocutioner". Of particular note is that the villain became this via being put in the electric chair and surviving.
  • 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 the mulcher creates when it grinds up corpses (as well as the Greed that would motivate someone to use it).
  • Pygmalion Plot:

    Q-T 
  • Rabid Cop: Russ Sharko of "Badge of Honor" started out as a Cowboy Cop in pursuit of the resident mobster, but after his wife was badly burned by a bomb set by the mobster's men he went off the deep end—becoming obsessed with taking the man down, taking risks that ended up getting a fellow cop killed, and then eventually turning full vigilante with the cursed sheriff's badge...including using it on his street contact (who refused to help him any longer in fear of his life) and his former superior after the latter not only kicked him off the force but threatened to take him in to the station (with no backup). By contrast the villains in "Bad Penny" are full-on Dirty Cops willing to cross any lines if it will let them flee the country with a drug dealer's money.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: Downplayed, and in a sense inverted. Ryan wasn't raised wrong the first time, merely deprived of his mother's love after she left the family and his little brother, whose death he blamed himself for, and so did she at the time. That said, the use of this trope with Ryan being youthened to nearly the age he was when she left, and with no memory of the intervening years allows his mother to simply raise him at all, and to make up for her failure in leaving him in the first place—i.e., it's not a second chance for him to be raised right, but for the one doing the raising to do it right.
  • Random Smoking Scene: In "Mighter Than the Pen", when Alex turns Micki into a serial killer using the cursed pen, she smokes as she visits Alex's wife. This is done to show that she's now an evil person. Alex wrote nothing about her smoking, and it's never been shown that Micki smokes, before or since.
  • Salem Is Witch Country:
    • Jack states that "The Quilt of Hathor" was woven by witches in Salem, thus explaining the pentacle patterns on it, but—as is typical for the time the show was written—not specifying whether these were evil ones (although since Lewis chose to put a curse on it one would assume so, unless he was being his usual blackly ironic self), nor whether this means the victims of the trials were innocent or not. When Sarah learns the quilt's origins, she proclaims that this justifies why she always felt uneasy about it and the dreams it gave her, implying if she'd known the origin from the start she would never have bought it. Which is ironic, since otherwise many of the harsher and more disciplinarian aspects of the Penitites' Spartan ways (particularly their xenophobia and disparagement of dancing and music) actually resonate with those of Salem's Puritans.
    • Reference is also made to a supposed "Witch Queen of Salem" named Hyberia in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die". While it is stated that she was believed to be "Satan's mistress" and was hanged by the people of the village for her black magic practices, it once again isn't made clear if this made her one of the few accused witches to be truly guilty while the rest were still innocent, or not.
  • Scary Scarecrows: "The Scarecrow", naturally enough.
  • Serial Killer:
    • While technically any villain who must murder in order to use their artifact counts as this if they reach the 3-5+ victims definition, Alex Dent in "Mightier Than the Sword" is using the cursed fountain pen to transform innocent people into examples of the Cop Show trope so that he can a) get off on the brutal murders b) help the police track down the killers for the fame and c) make money off the true-crime books he writes about their exploits. The examples which are shown in-story seem to fall under either Visionary (one is a priest who is supposedly acting in the name of God, who under Dent's direction actually uses the sobriquet "the Angel of Death", the other is claimed to have simply been obeying the voices in his head) or Power/Control (Micki is specified to be interested in playing with and even torturing her victims before she kills them), with some Hedonism thrown in.
    • Winston Knight in "Double Exposure" has a similar motive as Dent: he has his photographic doppelgangers act as a single serial killer, and then has them call in to confess to him on-air, boosting his viewership.
    • The murdered victims in "The Charnel Pit" are described as the victims of a serial killer. They aren't, but rather the Marquis de Sade's victims sent through the time portal to the present. The transition kills them, and Professor Eby disposes of their bodies.
  • Shout-Out: In "Faith Healer", Jack, Ryan and Micki are watching the Villain of the Week on TV, about to use the Sforza glove. Said villain hasn't bothered to have a second, matching glove made note  leading Ryan to utter this classic line:
    Ryan: Who does this guy think he is? Michael Jackson? note 
  • Shower Scene: In "The Poison Pen", Micki takes a shower in the monastery, which is how one of the monks finds out that she was being a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In "The Maestro" the ballet being composed by the villain is "The Legend of Shiva". One of Shiva's titles is Lord of the Dance.
    • In "The Tree of Life", the Gaelic deity Cernunnos that the druids worship is a real-life legendary being.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Used in the usual fashion in the werewolf episode "Scarlet Cinema", although with the twist that after the gun with the silver bullets is lost, Ryan is forced to choke the beast with silver nitrate-coated film...the film from the same camera the villain had used to become it.
  • Sinister Minister:
    • The very first episode after the pilot, "The Poison Pen", seems to have a case of this since the villain is a monk by the name of Father Le Croix, and he in turn has several villainous lackeys at the monastery. However it turns out this is a case of Bad Habits, since he is actually a former real estate fraudster and con man named Rupert Seldon who has donned the cassock to escape the law (as is his partner, the supposed Oracle of Death), and when one of his lackeys learns the truth he turns on him.
    • The two-parter "The Quilt of Hathor" has Reverend Grange of the Penitites, who at first seems like a genuinely kind and good, if stern, shepherd for his flock and who is genuinely distressed by the deaths (later revealed to be murders) going on in his colony; he even accepts Ryan (for a while) as a new convert, and while the rules of their faith lead Ryan to a trial by combat against his daughter's fiance, Grange accepts the "verdict" when Ryan wins. However, it turns out he has been deceiving his flock by cooking the books and cheating the colony out of their funds, and after his superiors begin investigating he takes advantage of the quilt to not only turn the tables on its original user, but to kill the Inquisitor, frame Ryan for the murder, and sentence him to burning at the stake, in the process moving from a quiet, soft-spoken, and reasonable leader to a thundering, fire-and-brimstone Knight Templar who declares Ryan to be in league with the Devil and anyone who takes his side is also a wicked sinner. Unusually, his followers do end up turning on him once unequivocal proof of his crimes is presented (by his own daughter).
    • Another subversion appears in "Mightier Than the Sword", where the chaplain who attended Clint Fletcher's execution ends up being a Serial Killer himself who is executing "sinners" so as to cleanse the world and enable them to be judged and "resurrected"—but only because he is compelled to be by the true villain, Alex Dent, using the fountain pen.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Micki freaks out when a tarantula crawls up her arm in "The Poison Pen".
  • Stable Time Loop: When Micki falls through the Portal Picture in "The Charnel Pit" and ends up trapped in 1790 Paris, she writes a letter explaining what happened to her so that, if she never makes it back, at least Johnny and Jack will know the truth. The desk the letter is concealed in ends up being found after the Marquis de Sade is imprisoned (again), and passes through various hands through the centuries until it eventually gets sold at auction to Professor Eby...who uses it to find the painting and learn how its curse works. When Micki is horrified that this means her going back in time is what enabled the professor to send all those women to de Sade, Jack reassures her that "those who seek evil will always find a way to achieve it", i.e. that Lewis or someone else would have found and understood the painting on their own.
  • Stage Magician:
    • "The Great Montarro". The episode in fact revolves around a number of them, from the cursed artifact's original owner, to a whole theater full of them competing for a prize, with several falling under suspicion before they are unfortunately eliminated and the true villain is revealed. Also, Jack was apparently one in his youth.
    • One of the magicians Jack used to have an act with, Robert "The Great" Jandini, appears in "The Spirit of Television", being asked by Jack to help him, Micki, and Johnny out in debunking whom they suspect to be a phony medium. Unfortunately, said medium has the use of a cursed TV set, which she uses to kill some of her clients in exchange for prolonging her life, and Jandini ends up paying the ultimate price for attempting to help the protagonists out, much to Jack's own rage and guilt.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Aside from Eddie in "Cupid's Quiver", Howard in "Mesmer's Bauble" is a particularly sad but also disturbing version of this, since not only does he have a Stalker Shrine and is willing to kill to become attractive to and close to the target of his crush, but in the end it turns out he wants to actually be her. Not to mention Aldwin Chase from "Wax Magic", who not only kills his crush, but resurrects her with a cursed object in order to have her... then magically compels her to kill innocent people in order to stay alive.
  • Start X to Stop X:
    • The cameo pendant of "Repetition" works somewhat like this in that once the owner kills someone, their spirit becomes trapped inside...so the only way to free them and restore them to life is to kill someone else and put their spirit in it, and so on and so on. The only way to break the chain, it seems, is for the owner to then kill themselves. It's also shown, by Contrived Coincidence, that the chain literally does have to be started before it can be stopped, since the little girl who dies first happened to be wearing it, and the cameo then happened to end up caught on the bumper of the car that hit her.
    • In a way, this is how Jack figures out how to bring Johnny and Micki safely back from the past in "The Charnel Pit": because it is an Equivalent Exchange where sending a live person through the Portal Picture means only a dead one can return (and it's a one-to-one correspondence), he sends two dead people through in order to enable two living ones to return.
  • Supporting the Monster Loved One: In "Night Prey", after Kurt finds out that his wife has become a vampire, he captures her and imprisons her in his warehouse lair. When she asks to be fed, he pays a hooker to come to his home and his wife drinks her blood.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • When actor John D. LeMay left the show at the beginning of the third season, his character Ryan was written out of the series by being transformed back into a little boy via a subverted Heroic Sacrifice at the end of "The Prophecies" 2-part episode and replaced by Steve Monarque as Johnny Ventura (who had appeared as a Sixth Ranger in previous episodes).
    • The Old Man (John Gilbert) in "Crippled Inside" is a stand-in for Uncle Lewis, since they couldn't bring R.G. Armstrong back for Season 3. The character serves much the same function as Lewis did originally: manipulate and give the various cursed antiques to those who will use them for evil. The Old Man capers and laughs manically, just as Lewis did in "Hellowe'en".
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Occasionally.
    • "Badge of Honor" and "Crippled Inside" are two examples, with the added bonus of all of the victims being deserving of their fates.
    • The eponymous mother in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" is at first only a callous and heartless murderer who believes the end justifies the means, but she becomes this trope at the end when she sacrifices herself to be the last victim needed to save her baby.
    • The artifact owner in "Scarlet Cinema" inverts this, since he begins as a strange film student obsessed with Universal Horror movies who still remains a sad, friendless loner picked on by his fellow classmates...but once he starts committing murders with the film camera he becomes rather monstrous, moving from accidentally killing the camera's owner, to an Asshole Victim, to his professor when he humiliates him for essentially making a snuff film of the second murder for his class project. By the time he's trying to kidnap the target of his Villainous Crush so they can both be werewolves together, he's pretty much lost all of the viewer's sympathy—although oddly, not that of either the Distressed Damsel or the main characters; Jack wishes him peace in the next world, and Ryan and Micki both express their regret that he should have been careful what he wished for.
    • Donald Wren in "The Mephisto Ring." While becoming The Gambling Addict and the way he maniacally revels in the deaths of his victims is hardly sympathetic, as his own mother says, most of the people he killed were bad guys—including the head of the gambling ring, which was also a case of Revenge for having supposedly killed his father. (After the horrific Fingore scene and subsequent No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, the asshole absolutely deserved what he got.) Donald also makes it clear he wants money not just for itself or the thrill of gambling but to have a better life and to give his mother everything she wanted. In the end though, while his death is sad, the real Sympathetic Murderer is his mother, who is forced to shoot him to stop/save him, just as she had his father.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End", since he is only doing it to stay alive and his past history of suffering abuse has made him very hateful towards all adults.
    • 'Lizzie' in "Wax Magic", who not only turns out to not be the owner of the cursed object, but has already been killed, so her 'husband' could resurrect her and compel her to love him with the cursed object. However, she is the one who has to do the killing (she doesn't remember the murders) in order to stay alive.
    • Variations also occur where what seems to be/is set up to look like an example gets subverted in the end. The director of "Femme Fatale" has an old, invalid wife who was once one of his best actresses; the way the episode is set up, the viewer could be forgiven for thinking the cursed film will be used to youthen her and/or keep her alive and healthy, but instead it turns out he's using it to simply bring her youthful self out into the real world, and in the end he's willing to kill his wife to make her youthful self permanent—because she's still young and sexy, and because he loved the role, not the actress. And in "Mightier Than the Sword", the various Serial Killers actually are sympathetic despite their terrible crimes because they are being compelled to commit them by the real villain (and don't even have any memory of doing it).
    • Megan Garrett of "Jack-in-the-Box", like Rachel Horn, straddles the line between sympathetic and unsympathetic. At the start she only uses the cursed antique to kill those who murdered her father—acts which in turn allow her to speak with his ghost and, eventually, bring him back to life. While she does target a prostitute who is merely rude to her on the street (because she's with one of the killers at the time), it's not at all hard to have one's heart go out to her. When she then flips to targeting her own mother—because she has become verbally abusive and neglectful, her losing herself in alcohol makes her seem like the drunkards who killed her father, and her father's ghost specifically told her he couldn't be with her as long as her mother was alive—she loses the viewer's sympathy. But then it comes right back to her with a vengeance after he convinces her he can never come back, so she decides to use the jack-in-the-box to join him on the Other Side.
  • Taken for Granite: The fate of those who have the Shard of Medusa used on them to create "very lifelike" art.
  • Take Our Word for It: Averted—the ballets composed by the villain of "The Maestro" are shown onscreen to be genuinely haunting and beautiful, and the dances set to them are both masterful and exotic.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • In "Year of the Monkey", Shohei knocks Micki and later Jack out with a karate chop to the neck.
    • In "The Charnel Pit", Webster hits Jack over the head with the butt of a whip. Jack wakes up and suffers no ill effects, and comes to several rapid intellectual conclusions shortly thereafter.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy:
    • The Satanists in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" are disguising their underground cavern temple by running a taxidermy shop on top of it. When the construction crew demolishing the ruins in "Bad Penny" find some of their buried bodies a year later, they blame it on the shop's business.
    • Taken into full-on Taxidermy Terror in "The Long Road Home": aside from a number of disturbing and creepy shots of various stuffed animals in the Negleys' house and garage both when Johnny and Micki first arrive and later while they are exploring, it's eventually revealed that the brothers' parents and grandfather are stuffed corpses arranged in a semblance of life in the attic. This culminates when the Yin-Yang charm gets inadvertently used to transfer one of the brothers' souls into their stuffed grandfather's body, and thanks to a bear trap snare and the storm winds outside the trope gets taken to its ultimate gruesome conclusion.
  • 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.
  • Temporal Paradox: "Hate On Your Dial" ends up being an example of the Reverse Grandfather Paradox. The villain goes back in time to stop his father from being convicted of murder, but inadvertently informs the prosecution's star witness of the crime, because he doesn't know the identity of the witness... his mother.
  • There Are No Police: Many episodes end with the three protagonists in situations that would look extremely suspicious or even incriminating. One in particular would be "Bedazzled" where three people (including one policeman!) die at the shop with only Micki there. How did she get rid of the bodies?
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Aside from the name of the show itself (both the original and that forced by the executives), 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.
  • Time Stands Still: "13 O'Clock".
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Lucifer.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Happens in several episodes, notably "Scarecrow" and "Midnight Riders."
  • Tragic Monster: Almost literally with the villain of "Master of Disguise."
  • Two Aliases, One Character:
    • Singer Lady Die in "A Cup of Time" is actually an old woman named Sarah, post-youthening.
    • Variation in "The Sweetest Sting". Because the vampire bees drain a specific person's blood along with their life, when they give youth to others this causes them to take on the appearance of the one who was stung. As a result, both Norman Hendricks and Ben Landis take on the names and roles of Fred Marr and Bob Tucker, respectively. Meanwhile the villain McCabe still has his own name and identity, but he has taken on the appearance of Dwayne Purdy, the hive's original owner.

    U-Z 
  • Ultimate Evil: Lucifer, the Greater-Scope Villain of the whole series and the one responsible for the whole plot is never shown on camera. The only one who briefly catches a glimpse of him is Micki near the end of "Wedding in Black", who describes his eyes as being empty. Jack goes on to say, "Maybe that's all evil is. An absence of good."
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Jack and Ryan's plan in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" is a classic example, since there isn't even a hint or indication of what it is, or that they were planning off-screen, until The Reveal. (The fact there barely seemed time for Ryan to make the switch is a separate issue.)
  • Vampire Hunter: In "Night Prey", Kurt Bachman is a vampire hunter. He wears a trench coat and sunglasses at night, and wields a cursed antique, the Cross of Fire, that he uses to kill vampires. As Jack suggests and portrayed throughout, Kurt is insane and hunts vampires because one took his wife and made her into a vampire. Ironically, at the end of the episode, Kurt himself is revealed as a vampire, as he lets his wife feed on him rather than let her die.
  • Victim of the Week: A standard occurrence in the series itself.
  • Visual Pun: Albeit one that takes a bit of thought. The musical notation B# is spoken as 'B sharp', and in the episode "Symphony for B#" the Villain of the Week uses a very sharp knife hidden in a violin bow on his victims.
  • The Watson: Johnny in late Season 2 and throughout Season 3 when he became a regular character, often acts like this, mostly because he's a newbie. But also because after three seasons, the production crew needed someone to reiterate the basic concept of the show for new viewers.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: Obligatory in "Wax Magic", albeit revealed off-handedly at the end of the episode.
  • Weirdness Magnet: In many episodes, the three artifact hunters are often "coincidentally" in the vicinity of someone who starts using a cursed antique, or knows someone that is being targeted by an antique-user. Episodes that feature this include, "A Cup of Time", "Tales of the Undead", "Double Exposure", "Symphony in B#", "Read My Lips", "Better Off Dead", "A Friend to the End", and "The Maestro".
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Ryan, as revealed in "Pipe Dream", but when he finds out that his father Ray is using a cursed tobacco pipe to fulfill his ambitions, it leads to Ryan Calling the Old Man Out while no longer acknowledging him as a father...until Ray performs a Redemption Equals Death Heroic Sacrifice to save his son.
    • Hot rod racer Mikey, in "Night Hunger." He grew up repeatedly trying to please, and ultimately hating his super-macho father, Dominic, who had repeatedly made him feel inferior compared to other kids, especially his childhood (in baseball) and adulthood (in drag racing) rival, Deacon. However, he's reached the point where he's using a cursed key – which Dominic, and not Vendredi gave him – to kill people so he can keep winning races, and once he realizes he can psychically control his car through the key, it's revealed that he plans to use this power to kill his father. In the end Mikey succeeds, while also killing himself in the crash.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • At the end of "Demon Hunter", Faron, the head demon hunter, just... disappears after killing his daughter. His fate isn't stated, and he's never mentioned again.
    • In "Year of the Monkey", Shohei teleports to get the cursed monkey statues, and teleports to Curious Goods to kidnap Jack. He's Tanaka's loyal right-hand man, but doesn't appear after he abducts Jack. There's no mention of him again.
    • In "The Tree of Life", Sybil is killed but the rest of the coven escapes. At least one of them, Dana, was an eager helper in Sybil's blood sacrifices. Dana and the others don't have the cursed statue, but they could still cause quite a bit of harm. No mention is made of their fate.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Near the end of the episode "Shadow Boxer", the Villain of the Week, Tommy Dunn 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, but instead of giving them to Tommy, he decides to use the gloves 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 quite safe to say that Jack got the short end of the stick and that he wasn't too pleased by Ryan's actions.
    • The action in question ended up not carried out, but in "The Shaman's Apprentice", Micki was willing to let the villain use the cursed rattle to kill the prejudiced chief surgeon so that her friend could be healed of incurable cancer. Jack called her on this, and when in the end they were forced to call down the ancestor spirits upon the villain and then return the rattle to its cave, Jack tried to comfort Micki by explaining to her that while life isn't fair, with the good dying unfairly and the bad getting to live on, they couldn't play God and choose who had the right to live and die, making it a much more downplayed and gentle version of the trope. The fact the episode ends with the friend finding the villainous doctor is gone and she is left without a cure makes the whole thing far more ambiguous, or at least more painful, than such situations usually are.
    • In "The Prophecies Part 2", Ryan kidnaps Lucifer's child sacrifice. Granted, Asteroth is possessing Ryan, but at least some of the time, Ryan has his own free will and chooses to stay in the village rather than just... leave. In the end, Ryan has to sacrifice himself—sort of—to save the girl that he kidnapped in the first place.
    • Another example of this trope is Johnny during Season 3 of the series. He was able to get the cursed wheelchair in "Crippled Inside", but decided to give it back to the Sympathetic Murderer of the episode out of sympathy and pity of her plight which does not end well for her. "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 Vince, who was killed in "The Prisoner".
    • In "The Sweetest Sting", they let someone dying of cancer perish from withdrawal from the special honey, even though there's entire shelves of the stuff right there, enough to last him for decades if he just used a little of it every few weeks. Also in the same episode, Jack lets the vampire bees in the cursed hive free, trusting that they will turn back into normal everyday bees due to not being in the cursed hive anymore. Jack has no reason to think this, especially since he, Ryan, and Micki are dealing with the dark and malevolent power of Satan. The smart thing would have been to destroy the bees themselves in order to be on the safe side.
    • Jack is the one to get it from Johnny and Micki in "Night Prey" when, after recovering the Cross of Fire, he is perfectly willing to let the man who was using it to kill vampires (and get revenge for what was done to his wife) die at the undead's hands. He claims this is because "it isn't their business", that they only need concern themselves with the artifacts and that he just wants to protect Johnny and Micki. But it's pretty clear that the fact the vampire hunter had killed his friend Father McKinnon, and was willing to kill plenty of other innocents along the way (to make the cross work but also, though Jack doesn't know this at the time, to feed his now-vampiric wife), has led Jack to reject him as someone worth saving. When he ends up having to rush into the warehouse after all to save them and kill the now-vampiric vigilante, he finds he cannot kill the wife—perhaps because after having lost both of the men she loves, he can't bring himself to punish her more (though at that point she might prefer a Mercy Kill). In the end Jack is left doubting himself, their mission, and even his own morality.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve:
    • While a majority of the items had a time limit on their powers (where either the killing or the beneficial usage must take place within a certain amount of time of the other, or they would lose the chance to gain it/be killed by the item when it exacts the price from them instead of the innocent victim), several explicitly had other deadlines enforced:
      • In both "Hellowe'en" and "Doorway to Hell" the spirit of Lewis Vendredi had only a short window of opportunity to escape Hell and come back to life (in the former case by dawn, since that would be when the day of the dead was over, in the latter because he needed to make the spiritual trade before the anniversary of his death was past).
      • The hoodoo priestess of "The Voodoo Mambo" also had to collect all the elemental powers to come back to life before dawn.
      • Because it was associated with bringing a good harvest (i.e. something itself based on a particular season/weather conditions) the "Scarecrow" had to kill its three victims before a certain date.
      • The Evil Knockoff of "Double Exposure" had to be killed (through destroying the negative it came from) within a certain number of hours or the original would die and the duplicate would become real.
      • The seven people dying in water to make use of the healing powers of the cradle in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" all had to die before the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking (not just the date of April 15, but the actual time of 2:20 AM).
      • In "And Now the News" the cathedral radio set a deadline of three deaths by five to midnight if the villain wanted her miracle cure (and Nobel Prize).
      • A different sort of time limit exists in "Eye of Death"—since the magic lantern can only project a slide for three hours before its candle burns out, that is how long the user has before he will be trapped in the past.
      • In "The Prophecies", the heroes are fighting to make sure the villain does not succeed in fulfilling the Book of Lucifer's pronouncements (whether by protecting Sister Adele's life or preventing the dark events from occurring) within a certain number of days before a special holy day—if the villain fails, he'll have lost his chance to make them come true, but if he succeeds, the engineered Crisis of Faith will destroy God's power and allow Satan to return to Earth. Interestingly, while a clock striking during the middle of the night is used as a herald of the various prophecies, this doesn't occur during the climax.
      • The demon in "Demon Hunter" has to kill all those who slew its cult masters by midnight of the full moon on the date of its contract if it is to return to Hell with the souls it has gathered. At the same time, the one who called the demon must be killed with the cursed knife by the same deadline if the demon is to be banished safely and the portal to Hell sealed.
      • Another different sort of time limit appears in "The Spirit of Television". Because Ilsa Van Zandt is using the cursed artifact to keep herself alive after she developed an incurable, degenerative condition, each death and each soul she feeds to the TV only extends her life by the same amount of time the doctors gave her to live—ten days.
      • While the Druidic fertility cult in "The Tree of Life" follows the seasons and the phases of the moon by their own belief system, it's eventually revealed the cursed Cernunnos statue also requires that they kill one father out of every twelve throughout a given year in order to keep producing twin pregnancies. The climax also takes place on the winter solstice, during a full moon, and requires a "Sacrifice of Fire" to provide their tree with the life energy needed to produce flowers and "seeds" for them.
  • When the Planets Align: In "Midnight Riders", a special alignment of the planets (specifically, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) is stated to somehow allow for time to be turned back so that past events can recur in the present; although no artifact is involved, there certainly does seem to be a ghostly curse invoked. The result diverges depending on whether heroes or villains are involved: the biker ghosts, if they can kill all those who killed them before the alignment ends, will be able to restore their murdered leader and all come back to life; meanwhile if the heroes can bury the biker leader's body in hallowed ground before sunrise, they can lay all the ghosts to rest (including Jack's father who got caught up in the original events) and end the curse.
  • When Trees Attack: Unsurprisingly occurs in "The Tree of Life" since the cursed artifact is giving the oak tree power and a degree of sentience, and the whole point of the Druidic fertility cult is for it to absorb enough life energy so as to produce new "fruits" (duplicates of the artifact) which will let each priestess start her own coven with her own tree. But after Johnny gets pulled by its roots into the underground warren along with the latest Human Sacrifice, he's able to cut the problem off at the source (literally) by slashing the artifact free from the root system.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • "The Pirate's Promise" has more than a few similarities to The Fog what with the seacoast setting, the creepy lighthouse, the artifact being a foghorn that summons fog rather than warning against it, a murderous seaman's ghost, and a long-ago betrayal being visited on the perpetrators' descendants.
    • The episode "Symphony in B#" is this for The Phantom of the Opera, with Janos Korda as Erik, Leslie as Christine Daae, and Ryan as Raoul, complete with mysterious rooms and tunnels beneath the theater for the resident Tragic Monster to hide in, a return of the Phantom's original unhinged psychotic tendencies (and his desire to have a normal life via continuing to make musical recordings), and the suspicion that Leslie/Christine could be the one behind what's happening. The differences are that this Phantom actually has to kill to make his music (because of his ruined hands and the cursed violin), the instrument of choice is the violin rather than the organ (or the human voice), the two of them had already been together as a couple before the accident that burned him and ruined his hands (rather than being mentor and student, and him being deformed from birth), and Erik's original plan of Together in Death ends up carried out (albeit accidentally, after Leslie makes a Heroic Sacrifice). Also note Leslie's last name, Rains, is a Shout-Out to Claude Rains, who played the Phantom in the 1943 film.
    • "Midnight Riders", with its theme of the dead coming back to kill the ones who unjustly killed them in a massacre, is also similar to The Fog.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Although the occasional artifact deals with ghosts, demons, vampires, or other supernatural beasties, in general it's the items themselves which concern the trio. That said, there are plenty of villainous individuals and groups (especially the ever-eager Satanists) to either swoop in and try to claim one or which are already making use of one that the heroes have to stop before they bring Hell on Earth. Although there is a Masquerade (albeit one which seems to have a good amount of Implausible Deniability), the three still manage to always be on-hand when things go bump in the night or happen to hear about whatever occult matter is going on; occasionally they also get summoned for aid by those in the know (such as the white magic circle in "Coven of Darkness" or Sister Adele in "The Prophecies"). Ryan Jumps at the Call while Micki is at least very reluctant at first if not outright refusing; Jack, as The Mentor, simply sees it as a duty they are honor-bound to carry out, not only because they're the only good people who are aware of the issue and what's at stake but because for one reason or another they are partly responsible for the situation.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Ricky from "A Friend to the End," whose past history of suffering abuse has made him very hateful towards all adults.
    • Howard from "Mesmer's Bauble". The dorky record store clerk turns into a homicidal, obsessed maniac once he gains possession of the titular trinket. So obsessive, in fact, that he doesn't just want his idol, pop star Angelica, to love him. He wants to be her.
    • The only thing that Rachel Horn of "Crippled Inside" did wrong was go on a date with the wrong boy. Then she suffers Attempted Rape, and during her escape ends up a quadriplegic. Her only hope is to kill the boys who tried to rape her, one of which is determined to finish what he started, so the cursed wheelchair will heal her. In the end she takes out her last attacker in a Taking You with Me.
    • Poor, poor Megan Garrett from "Jack-in-the-Box". She walks into the pool where her father works as a lifeguard (on her birthday, when her parents are planning to hold a surprise party) just in time to see him attacked by a group of drunk assholes, then find his body floating in the water. Her mother loses herself in alcohol and ends up becoming verbally abusive and neglectful. She is so desperate for her father to live again and to be with him that she doesn't care who she has to hurt or kill to make it happen (leading to some very Troubling Unchildlike Behavior). When she comes to believe her mother no longer loves her and her father's ghost tells her they can't be together so long as her mother is alive, she attempts to kill her too. Finally the depth of her grief leads her to attempt suicide with the cursed jack-in-the-box so she and her father can be Together in Death.
  • 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.
  • Yandere: The artifact-owner of "Wedding Bell Blues" is this taken to the fatal extreme, since she rejects all pleas to leave the man she wants to marry no matter how it's pointed out he only cares about gambling and pool and is just stringing her along...but after he (thinks he) kills her with the cursed cue stick so he can win his tournament (because he witnessed her killing her own sister for sleeping with him), she appears in her Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, and in a classic If I Can't Have You... kills him with her own wedding cake server.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • On a few occasions, the trio doesn't get back the artifact they're seeking. Sometimes the villain manages to escape with it (DeJager and the Shard of Medusa in "A Friend to the End"); sometimes it is lost and they have a chance to get it when it turns up again in a later episode (the Coin of Ziocles, the compact—which is actually shown being found in the bushes by someone as The Stinger of "Vanity's Mirror" to set up its return in "Face of Evil"); once they were actually fooled by a switch with a duplicate ("The Quilt of Hathor"); and once they promised to leave an artifact in a safe place where it could do no harm, only for it to be seen in the vault in a later episode ("The Shaman's Apprentice", then "Jack-in-the-Box").
    • There are also a few cases where the artifact in question does not turn out to be the obvious suspect (in "Read My Lips" it isn't the Demonic Dummy, but instead the boutonniere it's wearing) or the item cannot at first be found in the manifest because it was a gift from Lewis and thus never sold (the eponymous pipe in "Pipe Dream", and the car key in "Night Hunger"). The latter case is both at once, since it turns out the key itself was not cursed, but rather the chain that held it. And once, in "Double Exposure", the name of the purchaser in the manifest could not be identified until Jack realized it was actually the call letters for the TV station the villain had worked at.
  • Your Worst Nightmare:
    • "The Quilt of Hathor" and "And Now the News." In the first case, wrapping oneself in the quilt allows the owner to make what happens in their dreams come true—usually killing other people, though there is the danger of a person who's aware of what's going on turning the tables on them. The second example involves the cathedral radio literally scaring its listeners to death by making their worst fears come to life.
    • "The Spirit of Television" seems to be a variation, since the villainous psychic is able to direct the TV to create illusions of her victims' loved ones, who then proceed to berate, harass, and deliver vicious Reason You Suck Speeches to them until the victim, overcome by guilt and remorse, comes within reach of another TV so they can be electrocuted or otherwise killed.

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