There was a time when horror was a television staple. You had anthology series such as Tales From The Darkside, new versions of old favorites like The Twilight Zone, and movie carry-overs such Freddy’s Nightmares and the Jason-less Friday the 13th The Series.
The F13 series followed a monster-of-the-week formula with a simple framing device: two cousins inherit an antique shop which specializes in cursed curios. The setup has the two tracking down a different item each week, making way for plenty of different supernatural situations.
After years spent as a staple of the bootleg market, the series is finally getting a legitimate DVD release. The last time I saw these were when they were broadcast; I remember it being pretty good for network TV. We’ll see how it holds up, starting with the pilot, “Inheritance.”
“Inheritance” sets up the series in quick fashion – we get a taste of what the antique shop is about, and we meet cousins Mickie and Ryan, as well as their soon-to-be-mentor, Jack. The two are quickly plunged into pursuit of their first cursed object, a doll with a killer attitude that was given to a child named Mary (played by a young Sarah Polley, who would survive her brush with Chucky Lite only to face down zombies in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead). The doll, a porcelain number with bone-white face and black eyes, is genuinely creepy, and there’s a surprisingly graphic throat slashing early in the episode. The acting is a cut above most television genre fare of the time (especially Freddy’s Nightmares), and the production values are fairly decent.
I’ll be progressing through the series throughout the month – we’ll see, now that the setup is out of the way, what, if any, surprises the show has in store.