Welcome to another edition of Going Antiquing, a special column that only comes around when a new Friday the 13th is on the horizon. This Friday, January 13 is the occasion in question, and so The Moon is a Dead World will venture on a week-long journey through the annals of Friday the 13th: The Series, also known as Friday’s Curse. In the past, I’ve covered the first eleven episodes of the series; this time, we’ll be taking a look at some classic episodes recommended by avid viewers. This episode was recommended by reader Joseph Mello.
“The Baron’s Bride” is an experimental episode of Friday the 13th: The Series, one where Micki and Ryan jump back in time to do battle with a vampire granted eternal life because of a cursed cape. But there’s a lot going on in the episode, something that Friday the 13th: The Series often struggles with – the more convoluted entries aren’t necessarily better, and for the most part the show does better when it scales back its ideas to a single concept. “The Baron’s Bride” is an example of throwing too much into one episode, attempting to attribute too much to one cursed object. Still, the episode’s time jump does at least give the episode some room to explore new territory, namely the Victorian period.
“The Baron’s Bride” actually involves two objects, although the episode doesn’t really distinguish between them. One is the aforementioned cape, which makes any man irresistible to women when wearing it; however, if they take it off, they revert to a monstrous form. There’s also a diamond brooch that’s on the cape – this allows the user to travel back in time once their blood touches the diamond. Interestingly enough, neither of these objects are the reason for the episode’s main monster, however; vampirism is yet another issue that Micki and Ryan deal with in 19th century Whitechapel, instigated by a bite Frank (Tom McCamus) receives just after donning the cape.
As I stated earlier, this episode of Friday the 13th: The Series is loaded with activity, and for the most part, the episode suffers for it. This isn’t the only time travel episode in the show, so future episodes are able to amplify the effects of sending the Curious Goods group to old eras; but “The Baron’s Bride” feels like it wastes a perfectly good excuse to explore vampirism in 19th century London by throwing a lot of unnecessary other stuff at the viewer.
At the same time, the cape is also underused – here, it’s sort of a way to complete Frank’s vampire ensemble rather than the focus of the episode. The only thing that its cursed power does in this episode is attract Micki to Frank, which does admittedly lead to a few great scenes where Robey gets to overact. Still, a lot more could have been done with the cape – and with Frank’s vampirism, the attraction isn’t even really necessary, since vampires in folklore tend to have a sexual eroticism anyway.
Still, there are some fun sequences in “The Baron’s Bride” despite the fact that Friday the 13th: The Series doesn’t do vampire horror particularly well. The black-and-white cinematography and attention to mimicking classic monster films is notable, and probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of the episode. The inclusion of Bram Stoker as the kindly Irishman Abraham (Kevin Bundy) is also appreciated, though I’m not sure the reveal at the end of the episode is as surprising as the show hopes.
Ultimately “The Baron’s Bride” is a cluttered episode filled with missteps and too many curses – the show works better when it’s focusing on one main object, and this hour gets bogged down with a lot of unnecessary events. It’s not without its merits, but the sloppiness often outweighs the vampire scenes and black-and-white footage.