riday the 13th. Any calendar year has either one, two or three of those days. But what you probably don’t know is that the fear of this scary day even has its own name: paraskevidekatriaphobia. While most of you may think this is a mundane event, many are actually afraid to take flights or even leave their own homes on this fateful day.
But as important as the day itself, the eponymous franchise Friday the 13th
is probably known as much and is probably even scarier.
Back in 1978, filmmaker John Carpenter
released the movie Halloween
, which he not only directed but also scored - rare enough to be mentioned. The movie, telling the story of the serial killer Michael Myers, with a budget of approximately $300,000 dollars, was a solid success at the time, earning more than $60 million dollars.
Trying to replicate this success, a year after, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joined forces and produced a similar slasher movie titled Friday the 13th
, with character Jason Voorhees as the serial killer. This led to a successful movie franchise with more than 10 follow-up films, grossing almost half a billion dollars at the worldwide box-office.
Meanwhile, a few years later, producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. created Friday the 13th: The Series
. The show, which had actually no ties to the movie, followed Micki and Ryan, owners of an antiques store, and their friend, Jack Marshak, as they try to recover cursed antiques, to put them into safety in the store's vault.
The series ran for three years and although it was very successful at the time, is not known to many today. That is why we thought of writing an article about the series, on this scary day of Friday the 13th.
But instead of trying to analyze the series on our own, we have contacted Alyse Wax
, an author specialized in the horror genre. Admirer of the series, she wrote an extraordinary book about the series, titled Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series
. With a score of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon
, her book is considered the best about the series. Filled with anecdotes, it starts with her personal discovery of the series and moves on to interviews of cast and crew members that she interviewed exclusively for this book. This makes for not only a very interesting but also fascinating and superbly written book.
Therefore, we asked her to participate in our very first interview on tvore.com in order to talk a little bit about the series as well as the book itself.
Jack Anderson: Although Friday the 13th is one of the most successful franchises, many people do not know that the eponymous TV series is not connected to the movies. For instance, the character of Jason Voorhees is nowhere to be seen. Looking back, what is your view on the title of the series, knowing that it has limited ties with the franchise?
Alyse Wax: The title was something determined by the studio. Paramount was trying to cash in on properties they already owned. They told producer Frank Mancuso Jr. that he could make the show about whatever he wanted, as long as it was scary and had the title “Friday the 13th.” Other titles were considered, and in Canada and a few other countries, it was known as “Friday’s Curse.”
Do you even like some of the Friday the 13 movies?
Of course! I would have my horror card revoked if I didn’t.
You were just a 10 year-old girl when you first discovered the series. As a parent, would you have allowed your own children to watch it that soon?
I’m not a parent, but I suspect that if I were, I would be conditioning my child to watch horror movies from a young age. I turned out okay ;)
What fascinated you the most in the series?
As a little girl with red hair, Micki was the first character I remember seeing on TV with red hair. I formed an immediate bond over that fact, and I liked that she was a kick-ass woman who didn’t need the boys to save her. She was definitely a huge role model for me.
Also, the gore. The gore was what first attracted me to the series.
The series is not well known, why do you think that is?
It was syndicated, so it didn’t have a regular network run with regular air times. A lot of people will remember - vaguely - the show, but only seeing one or two episodes in passing. At the time, it was the second highest rated syndicated TV show, behind “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
If you had to pick five best episodes from the series, which ones would it be?
Hmmmmm… “The Charnal Pit.” “The Long Road Home.” “Scarecrow.” “Wedding Bell Blues.” “And Now the News.”
How would you rank the three seasons of the show from best to worst?
I can’t. Because there is no continuing storyline, each season stands on its own, with both good and less-than-good episodes.
In a world of constant reboots and revivals, do you think Friday the 13th: The Series would be a good fit for a reboot?
There has been talk of an F13 tv series based on the movies. I think it would be pointless for a reboot without the original cast.
Why did you want to write a book about the series?
I have been obsessed with the show since I was 10 years old. When I first got the internet around age 13, I started the first F13 fan club. I wrote fanfic. At 16 I made my own fanzine. As I grew older my love for the show never dissipated. As an adult, I realized that I had the experience and connections to write the book.
You interviewed many cast and crew members of the series, including the creator, Frank Mancuso Jr. How were you able to get in touch with them?
With some, it was through various connections I had made over the years as an entertainment journalist. With others, I just reached out through their agents. Some I was able to find on social media.
How long did you work on the book? Was it a difficult process?
It took me about a year and a half to write. It was time consuming, but a labor of love.
Can you describe what was your process in order to find an editor?
Honestly, it was ridiculously simple. A friend of mine recommended BearManor Media to me. I sent them the pitch for the book, and a few hours later, editor Ben Ohmart emailed me back and said, “Guess what? You just sold your first book.”
How did you learn that BearManor Media agreed to publish your book and what was your reaction?
I was in shock. It took a few weeks for it to really hit me.
Do you have plans to write other books?
Yes. I had started one about the 1995 show “American Gothic,” but put it on hold for various reasons. Currently I am editing a collection of essays on the horror genre with a friend of mine.
What is the craziest thing you have done in relation of the series, except for waking up at 3:33am?
Writing this book?
You are a fan of the horror genre. Any favorite horror films we need to ensure having on tvore.com?
My favorite horror films include the original “Halloween,” “Suspiria,” “Dellamorte Dellamore,” “Cannibal Holocaust,” “Santa Sangre.”
Last question, do you have a favorite quote?
I love what Micki chants during “Coven of Darkness” - “Here is found the strength required to overcome all evil.”
I also love this exchange between Micki and Ryan in “Cupid’s Quiver:”
Micki: “Nobody could live like this.”
Ryan: “Dracula lives like this.”
Micki: “I mean someone real.”
Ryan: “Are you trying to say that Dracula isn’t real?”
Click here to purchase Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series
, by Alyse Wax and follow her on Twitter @alysewax
Finally, we use this opportunity to thank Alyse on behalf of the tvore.com team. She is as lovely as she loves gore. And she does love gore a lot!