Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friday the 13th: The Baron’s Bride – review (TV episode)

a cover

Director: Bradford May

First aired: 1988

Contains spoilers

I must admit to not being too familiar with this series. Not connected to the famous film franchise it is about an antique shop. It seems the owner made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. When he dies his niece Micki (Louise Robey) and her cousin Ryan (John D LeMay) inherit the shop and together with Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) they try to retrieve said cursed items.

In the case of this season 1 episode it happens to be a cursed cape. Yes, that’s right a vampire cape with the uncanny ability to make the wearer irresistible to women and a jewelled brooch on it that enables time travel. Of course, when they head to the home of Mrs Simmons (Dianna Barrington) they do not know about the vampire aspect.

Dianna Barrington as Mrs SimmonsShe has a room for rent and is showing it to Frank Edwards (Tom McCamus). He finds the cloak laid out, puts it on and discovers that she has chosen him to be her companion. She is, of course, a vampire. She puts the bite on him just as the heroes arrive and run to the rescue. In a rage she throws Jack and Micki across the room.

bloodied mouthRyan looks like he is legging it but the next thing we see is a room for rent sign stuck out of her back. It is a cracking piece of non standard slayage. Unfortunately Frank has taken to being a vampire like a duck to water, he has also taken a shine to Micki and grabs her. Ryan leaps to the rescue and they are all transported to London 1875.

colour wasn't invented in 1875Funny thing, but 19th century London is in Black and White, would you credit it, seems like humanity had not invented colour! Well, come on, I know this was aired in ’88 but it seems a bit hackneyed now. 19th century London is also the home of the really bad mockney accent, it seems. Frank legs it and Ryan and Micki meet the nice Irish couple Abraham (Kevin Bundy) and Caitlin (Susannah Hoffman).

Caitlin and BramHold on a second… vampires… 1875…. London…. Abraham…. Could his surname begin with an S? But surely then his wife would be called Florence… So it can’t be or, perhaps, Caitlin is destined to be a goner! Well that would be telling but what I can say is we get a brief window interlude, a heroine (Micki) who is obsessed with the vampire and little else. Except…

pathos without capeWell there is a lovely moment, day has broken and the cape is off and we can’t really tell whether the corrupted look of Frank is down to the sun or lack of cape at first. There is actually some pathos to this moment. When he puts the cape on we realise it is that which makes him look handsome and then wonder how Simmons maintained a human look without said cloak.

hammering the point homeAnyway, short story even shorter they do end up back in their own time, with the cape and, hey, discover that Bram was short for Abraham and, to hammer it home, we get them looking at an ornate copy of Dracula. Thing is, it would have been better if they hadn’t bothered with this scene and just let us assume it was meant to be Stoker. Never mind.

This isn’t brilliant stuff, the accents are rubbish, the story slim and it still manages to have plot questions if not holes. The moment of pathos aside, this is below average as a vampire piece. 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


JR said...

I have to confess to be being a huge fan of this series when it originally aired . . . here, at last, was a TV series that delved into horror in such a way that it contained some truly terrifying moments. Much of this Canadian show takes place in the musty antiques shop, and there is generally a dark quality (physically and spiritually) that hangs over the series as a whole; for example, the three main characters--Ryan, Micky, and Jack--usually succeed in their mission to retrieve a certain cursed object, but it is often at a devastating cost. The only other TV series that approaches this level of horror amidst despair is Supernatural, but FT13th sets the precedent by twenty years (if anyone else has another TV show that scared them more than this one, please post it).

All in all, the acting (especially of the three main characters), writing, and production quality is good enough to keep most horror fans riveted. For an even better vampire-related episode, check out "Night Prey" from season 3. Otherwise, I found most all of this series to be highly watchable and, as mentioned earlier, highly influential on subsequent TV horror . . . way to go, Mancuso!

Taliesin_ttlg said...


I respect your view of the series, however I was, as you can tell, somewhat disappointed by this episode. It really didn't do much (other than the pathos moment I mentioned) or go anywhere and the accents were horrible.

I can image that there were much better episodes. This one seemed to be gimmicky, let us base around Stoker, but without much of a though of where it was going. I've read the synopsis of the series 3 episode and it sounds much better.

Christine said...

Sounds entertaining! The antique shops and cursed capes and 19th century vamps!

Alex said...

Have you reviewed the episode Night Prey? Can't find a review for it.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Alex, to my knowledge there were three vampire episodes (including the one about vampire bees) but this was the only one I managed to see... not thought about it for ages, best do a search for the other episodes :)

Alex said...

ok, it's on youtube now if you wanna give it a try.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

you know I will :)