Today, another Friday falls on the 13th, a calendar event that Hollywood will use as a vehicle for the release of a new Friday the 13th horror movie. But, for another fan base, there's a different reason to be excited: The second season of the 1980s horror show Friday the 13th: The Series is being released on DVD.
“The DVDs are great,” über-fan Jen Greenwood said. “Definitely excited about those.”
Greenwood and her friend Jess Sprehn, Southern California roommates, manage a Web site devoted entirely to the series. Devotees discuss favorite characters, share fan fiction and even upload videos with clips from the shows and set them to music.
The television series, canceled in 1990 after three seasons, had no connection to the story line of the Friday the 13th slasher films, although it was produced by some of the same people.
Instead of a maniac in a hockey mask, the series followed the adventures of three people — distant cousins Micki Foster and Ryan Dallion and their mentor and friend Jack Marshak — as they hunted down cursed antiques that, in most episodes, killed not only their owners but took plenty of other victims along the way.
At the end of the second season, actor John D. LeMay, who portrayed Ryan, left the show. For the third and final season, a new character, tough guy Johnny Ventura (Steven Monarque), filled out the three-person team.
The show, F13:TS to its fans, used what are by today's standards B-level special effects, with plenty of fog and flashing lights, and had as its lead actress Louise Robey, a former model whose previous claim to fame was a hit video.
But it developed a cult following that has only grown in the two decades since the shows originally aired.
“I love the characters and the interaction between all of them,” Greenwood said. “I also loved Micki's clothes and hair — so fantastically '80s.”
Said Sprehn, her roommate: “The show was definitely campy.”
Fans got a boost when the first season of the show came out on DVD last year. But that release had its critics. Some viewers were disappointed that it had only a few extras — some commercials aired during the show's original run and a lengthy sales pitch, presumably for distributors.
The second-season DVD doesn't even have that. Still, both releases have carried every episode from those first two seasons, and for most fans, that's enough.
And no wonder: Until the DVDs were issued, watching the show took real work. Bits of episodes can be seen on YouTube. For people who have it, the Chiller cable channel carries reruns. On basic cable, the SciFi Channel shows the series on occasion.
Then there are fans like Sprehn and Greenwood, who watched the show together as children on weekend sleep overs. They still have every episode on videotape, some recorded during the original air date.
Robey — who played feisty, glamorous and sophisticated Micki and who now lives in France with her husband — said she is keenly aware of the show's ardent fans and is not surprised people are still drawn to the series.
“We made what is a beautiful cult show,” she said. “It's one of those shows that does not go away in the sense that it's not terribly 1950s or '60s. It has its own sort of era.”