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By James Whittington, Wednesday 29th June 2011
During the original run of the hit slasher series Friday The 13th, a television show bearing its name was unleashed onto an unsuspecting public. Cleverly entitled Friday The 13th - The Series, it was designed to be an anthology show that would be able to stand by itself and not be connected or confused with the movies that shared its name. A mad idea you might think, but when you sit down and watch the series, you forget any movie connection anyway as it's a smart and rather unique show which has obviously helped and maybe even inspire programs such as The X-Files and Warehouse 13.
Originally broadcast in 1987 it premiered between the cinematic releases of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood and quickly built up a loyal fanbase, something the series enjoyed throughout its three seasons.
The premise is rather clever; years ago an antiques shop owner named Lewis Venredi made a pact with the Devil. In exchange for immortality he would sell cursed goods from his shop. But Venredi decided enough was enough and broke the devilish deal, which cost him his life but not before he shifted a few goods from his shop. Soon the store is inherited by Micki Foster (Louise Robery), Venredi’s niece and her cousin-in-law Ryan Dallion (John D. Lemay). Running the shop as normal they are soon stopped by occultist Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) who was once friends with Venredi. The trio must reclaim all the cursed items and return them to the store where the goods will have their curse removed. This is a lot easier than it sounds…
Originally to be called The 13th Hour it was created by Frank Mancuso Jr. and Larry B Williams and contained more than its fair share of scares and controversial scenes. The remit for the show allowed writers to push acceptable TV boundaries resulting in some rather scary television which made it a refreshing change from the rather safe and bland programming which was around at the time. To prove a point, controversial director David Cronenberg (who, fact fans, did appear in Jason X in 2002) was brought in to helm one of the best episodes, Faith Healer.
The main cast was made up of mainly shiny new talent and the supporting cast contained a smattering of impressive guest stars with Robert Silverman, Denis Forest and the enigmatic Billy Drago all lining up to handle the naughty goods. Script writing duties fell to Jim Henshaw, Carl Binder and Stephen Katz to name but a few, strong writers who contributed to such cult shows as Beastmaster, Stargate SG-1 and The A-Team respectively.
After over 70 episodes the shop shut up for good but the legend lives on so next time your in an antique store and see something that resembles, say, Adolf Hitler’s silk boutonniere or a strange voodoo mask, think of who may have owned it first!
By the way, anyone out there realise Venredi is French for Friday?!
You can catch Friday The 13th - The Series Fridays and Saturdays on Horror.
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