Monday, February 8, 2016

Chi Chi Chi Chi Chi Doll Doll Doll Doll Doll

Some memories last forever. For me, a grand example is watching the premiere of Friday the 13th: The Series at the ripe age of 5 in 1987, wherein an evil porcelain doll drives a young and adorable Sarah Polley to murder.

Actually, that's not quite right. It wasn't the act of watching the show, but the fact that the very next day, I went on what we now call a "playdate" (or in my day, "I'm going over my friend Shaina's house") and convinced myself that my new friend had the very same haunted doll sitting on her bookshelf, waiting to unleash its fury.

Since Friday the 13th: The Series wasn't the big water cooler show breakout of 1987's kindergarten class, my pal didn't quite understand my fear. And while I have, nearly 30 years later, no real way of proving that her family heirloom was possessed or harbored ill will towards humanity, the glory that is Amazon Prime certainly gives me a way to skip down memory lane and confirm that if nothing else, horror television anthologies sure do know their creepy dolls and glorious '80s fashion statements.

Quick Plot: A grumpy antique shop owner reluctantly lets a wealthy couple and their somewhat bratty daughter inside just before closing. Young Mary is drawn to the aforementioned horrifying doll, who immediately introduces herself as Vita and proceeds to slit the throat of a nearby mechanic. Mary is rushed out of the store with her folks, while the manager meets his own grizzly fate via ghostly objects and a mysteriously vast elevator shaft.

With that out of the way, let's meet the stars of Friday the 13th: The Series: John D. LeMay's Ryan, a goofy twentysomething, and Robey's Mickey, the uptight feeYONsay of a wealthy attorney. Turns out, Ryan and Mickey are the long-lost niece and nephew of the late shop owner, and being the only living relatives, have inherited the store and all its goodies inside. Also, Ryan kind of wants to get into Mickey's pants, even though they may be related. 

It's an ongoing question.

Anyway, after holding a clearance sale that lands Vita right back into the arms of Mary, Ryan and Mickey meet Jack, a former pal of their dead uncle and bearer of grand news: the antiques are evil, they can't be sold, if they're sold, people will die, you're kind of responsible now for people not dying, and hey let's rename the store "Curious Goods." 

Mickey brushes off her snooty feeYONsay to retrieve Vita, although she's too late to save Mary's not-actually-evil stepmother from a near-fatal stair fall that puts her in the hospital. Vita urges Mary to finish the job, which, as you would figure, involves Mary shoving Vita in her stepmother's face until the poor woman dies of a heart attack. 

Yes, this is how I entertained myself when I was five. Nearly 30 years later, I can happily say that there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all. 

High Points
Look, we can argue whether a doll that you have to point at things in order to cause evil is scary all you want, but at the end of day, it is. It. Is.

Low Points
As much as I adore and pretty much worship Sarah Polley, we are agreed that Mary is kind of a spoiled brat, right?

Lessons Learned
You don't try to get out of a pact with the devil

When meeting your hot long-lost cousin for the first time, it's probably best not to wear an ancient tribal mask and greet her by jumping out from behind a counter. First impressions, dude.

Hell hath no fury like a li'l Canadian with an evil doll

Friday the 13th: The Series is now streaming on Amazon Prime, and can also occasionally be found on cable. While I can't speak for all of the episodes, "The Inheritance" comes out of the gate quite well as a premiere that manages to give you just enough doll creeps to keep things scary while balancing the exposition involved in setting up the show's main premise (long-lost cousins who may be hot for each other tracking down haunted antiques before they kill too many people). It's hard to complain about any horror show that opens on a killer doll, and even harder when the doll has a vague resemblance to Shannon Doherty.

You see it too, right?


  1. I am halfway through the second season and can say that this show is terrible in all the best ways. I could do a weekly podcast on Robey's hair and clothes, alone. Everything feels like a rejected Tales From the Crypt script, but I can't bring myself to care. It's become one of my favorite series, ever.

    1. Man, as a kid, I wanted nothing more than to grow up and look like Robey. I definitely need to keep watching.

  2. Ha! That's weird, I just watched this myself the other night. Will watch the rest when I have time. I too remember liking this series in my youth...

    1. We did have a nice plethora of horror TV in the late '80s-early '90s.

  3. We had a lotta nice things in the 80's and early 90's. Our youth, for one. :)

  4. I wouldn't admit in the 90s that I loved this show. But I love this show. It's just so awful, but still clever. And I marvel at every incarnation of Robey's hair. I'm a redhead, but no way could I pull off her cascade of fiery waves. Also, the fate of Ryan is the most inventive character exit ever.

  5. I could write volumes of poetry about that hair...