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YMMV / Friday the 13th: The Series

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  • Awesome Music: The atmospheric, suitably creepy, title theme music. Heard here as a full suite.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Uncle Lewis Vendredi made a pact with the Devil himself to spread evil throughout the world. Responsible for the events of the series, Lewis locates and acquired multiple old items before he would personally curse them and distribute them, often in ways that showed a sadistic edge and made it so they would always result in death and chaos to gain hell more souls. When Lewis realized his pact with Satan was resulting in his immortal body aging too much, he tried to break the deal, resulting in his own death at Satan's hands. Returning as a ghost, Lewis attempts to return to life and murder his family members who are trying to regain the cursed objects so they can do no more harm. Eventually, Lewis tries to get back in Satan's good graces by opening the very gates of hell and allowing Satan access to Earth to consume or torture all of mankind.
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    • "Double Exposure'': Winston Knight is an ambitious news anchor who uses a cursed camera to make a duplicate of himself that he must destroy within five hours by destroying the negative print. Winston, to boost his ratings, sends his duplicate out to murder women with a machete so he can cover the murders and portray himself as a hero, killing at least ten innocents with no sign of stopping. When the hero Ryan's girlfriend Cathy catches Knight with his duplicate, Knight makes her a victim as well. Realizing Knight is guilty, Ryan snatches the negative print, meaning Knight risks death if the five hours lapse. When the group offers a trade, Knight attacks their friend and mentor Jack and creates a double of him, intending to have the double murder Ryan and his cousin Micki so he can frame Jack as the murderer and continue his own rise into stardom.
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    • "The Butcher": Horst Mueller and Oberst Rausch (alias Karl Steiner) are a pair of Nazi war criminals. During the war, Rausch, known as "The Butcher", was an infamous torturer and murderer who met his death at the hands of Jack Marshak. Mueller, using the occult, revived Rausch and despite being imprisoned as a war criminal, directs Rausch to murder the former members of Jack's squad using his signature barbed wire as a strangulation device. Promoting fascist and bigoted ideals as a radio host, Rausch mentally torments Jack and the other survivors while he prepares to murder them. When confronted, Mueller declares their ultimate objective is for Rausch to enter politics and eventually bring about a rebirth of the Nazi regime, both believing they are the Master Race, destined to rise anew.
    • "The Prophecies": Asteroth is a Fallen Angel and priest of Satan who is devoted to freeing his lord and master. Attempting to fulfill dark prophecies, Asteroth aims to kill a pure-hearted nun, first by infecting the minds of other nuns to drive them homicidal before they die, then driving the animals of the village murderously insane. When this fails, Asteroth brainwashes Ryan and has him murder the nun, before having him abduct a crippled girl with unshakeable faith in God so Asteroth can sacrifice her to Satan and have his master manifest in her body as The Antichrist. When he confronts Jack on his motivations, Asteroth gleefully reveals his future vision of the world, showing Jack images of mass destruction, death and oppression on a global scale. Intending to end the entire world, Asteroth is without doubt one of the cruelest monsters ever faced by Ryan and Micki.
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    • "Mightier Than the Sword": Alex Dent is a Serial Killer posing as a true crime author. Dent uses his magic pen to turn unwitting victims into serial killers, targeting whoever Dent chooses. He disposes of them by bringing them to justice for crimes they can't remember committing. Dent is introduced using this power on Clint Fletcher, whom he used to kidnap and murder 18 women. Dent sadistically reveals to Fletcher that he is about to be executed for Dent's own crimes, and enjoys watching him die. At a writers' talk, Dent taunts Clint's enraged brother Jerry just to revel in his own emotional cruelty. Dent then uses his pen on the priest who oversaw Fletcher's execution and uses him to tie up loose ends. He murders Jerry and a detective who grew suspicious of him, before leaving the priest amnesiac and ruining his life. He captures Micki and has her target his ex-wife Marion, who is attempting to blackmail him. He plans on making her death the worst he's ever done purely for her slight against him, and comes along to watch her murder personally. When Marion fights back, Dent throws her down the stairs to try and cripple her, so that she will be paralyzed and conscious as she is carved up.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The rather horrific statements of racism, classism, and moral/national superiority made by the Nazi commandant in "The Butcher" when he poses as a radio talk show host to spread his views, and the way he has so many callers enthusiastically agreeing with his demands for deportation, white supremacy, and restoring America to greatness, are rather disturbingly prophetic of the rise of the Alt-Right in 2016 (and for that matter, far rightists all around the world).
    • In "Mesmer's Bauble", the pop star the episode revolves around loses her manager and lover, and nearly breaks down saying she can't go on anymore, only to end up hypnotized and under the influence of the Villain of the Week. This becomes a case of uncomfortable Reality Subtext when placed against her actress, the real-life singer Vanity, who had a fair amount of trouble during her career before eventually dropping out of show business. In addition, her character sings a cover of "Nature Boy" in the episode, with a snatch playing as the outro after she dies onstage at the end—the song is quite fitting for a story about a fan with unrequited love, but it was also used in Moulin Rouge!, wherein the singer character, Satine, also died onstage at the end.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Micki kissing and comforting William Pratt at the end of “Master of Disguise,” showing that despite his outer appearance, she really loved him. Jack and Ryan comforting her back at the shop is this too, especially when Jack reveals why Pratt took that name:
    Jack: I once met a great actor who made his name by playing monsters and ghouls and yet he was he was the gentlest, he was the kindest man I ever met.
    Micki: Who?
    Jack: Boris Karloff... but his real name was William Pratt.
  • Ho Yay: Ricky and J.B. in "A Friend to the End.''
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • At the beginning of "The Voodoo Mambo", the estate handler and the realtor seem just a bit too smug at kicking out the Villain of the Week from the home of his late father. That said, the fellow is a classic example of rich white privilege, and since his fortune is based entirely on that of a father who made it off the backs of Haitian plantation workers, he's quite the Asshole Victim even by the show's standards.
    • The doctors mocking White Cloud for his Native American heritage in "The Shaman's Apprentice" most definitely seem to be receiving some well-deserved karma when he kills them to cure terminal patients. The chief surgeon coming to report to him that he has told the medical board to revoke his license is even more of an Asshole Victim, to the point that Micki actually thinks they should let White Cloud kill him if it will save her ill friend; her friend being left instead to face the definite likelihood of death in a couple months actually seems crueler by comparison, to the point of seeming like Black and Gray or even Gray-and-Grey Morality.
    • After seeing him threaten at gunpoint, torment into "dancing" for him, and eventually drunkenly shooting a young black boy, as well as beat his mentally-disabled brother to death with a hammer, then gleefully and viciously participate in a KKK cross-burning, flogging, and murder of an innocent black man who just wanted to buy bread for his children while his wife was in the hospital, it is immensely satisfying seeing the racist villain of "Hate On Your Dial" suffer a Hoist by His Own Petard and get burned to death in the fate he intended for a black civil rights lawyer—and by his own racist father, no less.
    • Complete Monster Alex Dent suffers a wonderfully karmic death after turning Micki into a Serial Killer, considering how he tormented (and enjoyed the suffering of) poor Clint Fletcher as he was executed for crimes he was made to commit, and visibly seemed to get off on all the brutal murders he wrote about with the pen.
  • Moment of Awesome: So many, they now have their own page.
  • Older Than They Think:
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Barclay Hope, whom Riverdale fans may recognize as the evil Clifford Blossom, plays Lloyd, Micki's buttoned-up fiancee. They break up early in the first season, as Micki decides her commitments to Vendredi's Antiques are more important than staying with a snooty, condescending, and emotionally manipulative man like Lloyd. He also appears as Steve Wells, the boyfriend of the deceased (and resurrected) Lisa in "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", in which Micki makes no note of his familiar appearance but nevertheless becomes quite concerned for his welfare and overcome with sorrow at his death.
    • The female vampire near the start of "Night Prey" is Jill Hennessey (and she also had a number of other bit parts through the rest of the third season, such as a lifeguard in "Jack-in-the-Box").
    • Enrico Colantoni is a crazed gardener in "Root of All Evil".
    • The ventriloquist with the Demonic Dummy in "Read My Lips" is Billy Drago.
    • Actress Lisa Jakub, long before her roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, or A Walk on the Moon, appeared twice—once in a bit part as a teenage runaway in "A Cup of Time" and once far more memorably as one of the abused siblings who make use of "The Playhouse".
    • The mobster in "Badge of Honor" and the golddigger's criminal boyfriend in "13 O'Clock" is David Proval.
    • Apparently, singer Elliott Smith appeared in two episodes as a teenager, per IMDB, including one where he played a hot rod racer named Dead Boy.
    • The choreographer in "The Maestro" and the true-crime author in "Mightier Than the Sword" is well-known Canadian-American character actor Colm Feore (having appeared in Face/Off, City of Angels, Storm of the Century, Thor, and Gotham just for starters).
    • Given that she's only eight years old, you might be forgiven for not recognizing Canadian indie queen Sarah Polley as the sinister little girl in the pilot, "The Inheritance".
    • A very young David Hewlett, years before appearing as Rodney McKay, plays the college kid who steals the cursed comic book in "Tales of the Undead".
    • And Tia Carrere appears, pre-discovery as Cassandra Wong, as the only daughter (and truly honorable child) of the samurai in "Year of the Monkey".
  • She Really Can Act:
    • In the season 3 episode, "Bad Penny", where the Coin of Ziocles makes its return, Louise Robey really gets to show her acting chops—from her terrified and genuinely upsetting reaction to her experience having died (complete with the "cold, dark, empty place" where she found herself while being watched by Satan), to her being convinced the coin had come back to reclaim her, to her plaintive letter to Ryan in hopes he would understand why she was gone after he grew up again. Seeing her overcome her fear and Heroic BSoD to whale on the zombie villain with a shovel is so very cathartic.
    • For that matter, her turn as a compelled Serial Killer in "Mightier Than the Sword". While we've seen her whammied by villains or artifacts before, Louise Robey is deeply unsettling in the extremely tense scene where she's telling Jack about Alex Dent's wife while holding the razor behind her back and slicing her own flesh with it, as well as when she loses her mind to the pen and when she's quietly waiting with Marion for Alex to show up so she can kill her in front of him. But the ultimate examples have to be the absolutely crazed way she pursues Alex up the stairs, then shoves him onto the bed in a frenzy of slashing, and the Gut Punch at episode's end when it appears she's still under the pen's influence and slashes Jack's throat, only for it to be All Just a Dream. The lingering trauma here is handled very well, and is as real to the viewer as it is to poor Micki.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • On the DVD release of the series, each episode ends with the logo of CBS Television Distribution, which has a calm and soothing jingle, in contrast to the often-scary content of the actual show.
    • The season 3 episode "Hate on Your Dial" has the 1987 Paramount Television theme play on said logo due to a plastering error. The remaining episodes contain the correct music on the logo.
  • Tear Jerker: So many, they now have their own page.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • While the trope of a disturbing, stalker-ish man pursuing or otherwise forcing his "charms" on a woman has long been a staple of the horror genre (and even in plenty of soap operas, mainstream movies, and Hallmark TV productions), and the 80's is an era from which many examples then and now draw upon, this doesn't make any of this show's depictions any less uncomfortable and distressing to a modern viewer. Particularly stomach-churning examples would be "Cupid's Quiver", "Shadow Boxer", "And Now the News", and "Wax Magic"; while all of the men in question are villains and get their comeuppance in the end, their portrayal does still contribute to an overall normalizing of such behavior. And then there's "My Wife As a Dog"...
    • The episode "Tattoo" tries to be respectful of and accurate toward its depiction of Chinese culture (particularly with Jack's paeans toward honor, tradition, and the sacredness of the family), but with an excessive amount of Orientalism (whether in its usage of Chinatown, gambling, opium-smoking, restaurants, the local mafia, martial arts, or cruel punishments), the appearance of stock character types, 80's "ethnic" music, and just a tinge of Mighty Whitey in the need for the three main white characters to have to save the day (the show's general plot set-up, yes, but when juxtaposed with this setting...), it's hard not to find the episode rather non-PC by today's standards. That said, there are far worse examples out there from this era.
    • In "Mesmer's Bauble", the villain is quite clearly in the wrong due to both being a Stalker with a Crush and his eventual usage of the artifact to kill the target of his fanatic devotion so as to literally become her and take over her life, but the writing is just vague enough in condemning what his "mental issue" is that, when combined with the poor fellow's confusion and identity issues, it's hard to watch when contrasted with the modern movement for transgender rights and current transphobic trends.
    • How Druidism is depicted in "The Tree of Life", seeing as it partakes of the worst mistaken beliefs about both Druidism itself and Wicca/paganism. What's almost worse than outright turning it into an all-female Religion of Evil out to Take Over the World is how easily and without hesitation Jack confidently states the at-best exaggerated, at-worst outright false claims he makes about Druidism. While it's true followers of such belief systems were still Acceptable Targets when the show was made, it's still quite off-putting to a modern viewer.
  • Values Resonance: On the other hand, the show was a bit ahead of its time in how it handled such issues as the homeless ("A Cup of Time" and "Repetition"), the media ("Double Exposure"), Voudoun ("The Voodoo Mambo"), mental health ("And Now the News", though more in showing what not to do by exposing the unethical standards and often heinous conditions which were once prevalent in the psychiatric field, and to a certain extent "Master of Disguise"), child abuse ("The Playhouse"), and rape ("Crippled Inside"; although this one does cross the line into revenge fantasies, the way it addresses and frames the whole issue of privilege and he-said/she-said, consent, and Bystander Syndrome is still admirable and needed). Certain episodes may have been heavy-handed ("The Butcher", "Hate On Your Dial") but they still handled problems that seem more timely and critical than ever now. Even the episode mentioned above, "Tattoo", has a critique of capitalism and American individualism that, while it's coming from the gambling-addicted (but mostly sympathetic) Villain of the Week, is quite biting and pointed.


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