SHOCK scribe Alyse Wax riffs on her new book, a complete history of the FRIDAY THE 13th TV show.
Back in the 1980s this Toronto born and bred writer vividly recalls when FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES premiered. It was a big deal. Not just because FANGORIA was giving it ink and not just because it was an (in name only) spin-off of the juggernaut slasher movie franchise that was at its peak heat. No, FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES was a big deal because it was made in Canada. With Canadian actors. And Canadian directors like David Cronenberg were directing key episodes.
But like many too-hyped things, the end product didnt really rock my socks. I caught a few episodes and tuned out. And in truth, Ive rarely given the series a second a thought.
SHOCK writer and veteran horror TV journo/obsessive Alyse Wax has just penned a book about the series and her mad passion that she has for it. Its called CURIOUS GOODS: BEHIND THE SCENES OF FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES and its published by daring indie imprint Bear Manor Media.
The book is Waxs loveletter to her own adoration for this now defunct show, a program that ignored any signs of Jason Voorhees in favor of a pair of cousins who bust their humps trying to round up a gaggle of possessed antiques that have found their ways around the world. Perhaps somewhat inspired by real life creepy curio investigators The Warrens (of whose exploits THE CONJURING films are freely based), the program used the device to tell a different tale of horror each week, glued together by the cousins quest.
On the eve of the release party for CURIOUS GOODS (tomorrow at 2pm at Burbank horror hot spot Dark Delicacies, in which Wax and series alumni Tom McLoughlin (series writer/director), Armand Mastroianni (series director), Bill Taub (series writer), and Steve Monarque (series star – Johnny) (tentative) will appear), SHOCK talked to our lady of the pre-weekend to learn more about why she has devoted a portion of her lifespan to singing its praises.
SHOCK: When did you first stumble upon the show?
WAX: I was about 9 or 10, flipping channels one Saturday morning. For whatever reason, it played on Saturday mornings in Los Angeles. The episode “Stick It In Your Ear” was playing and I was immediately entranced by the throbbing, oozing pustules on screen.
SHOCK: Were you initially bummed that Jason was nowhere to be found?
WAX: Nope. At that age I wasn’t familiar enough with Jason or the FRIDAY THE 13th movies to put it together or expect him to show up.
SHOCK: Did you find the show scary?
WAX: Not that I remember. But TV and movies have never scared me.
SHOCK:What are some of your favorite episodes?
WAX: “The Long Road Home,” because it is a true horror movie. “The Charnal Pit” because it was so lush and decadent, and I understood the allure of the Marquis de Sade before I knew who de Sade was.
SHOCK: Is the series hard to find on video? Did it ever get a proper release?
WAX: It got a terrible DVD release: no special features, no cleanup, nothing. Some episodes looked no better than my old bootleg VHS.
SHOCK: Why write a book?
WAX: I was obsessed with this show growing up. Obsessed. There are some episodes I have seen over 100 times. When I was 13, in the infancy of the internet, I started the first online fan club. When I was 15 or 16, I put together a fanzine. After spending a decade covering the horror entertainment industry, it just seemed like a natural fit.
SHOCK: What’s your approach to the book? Is it an episode guide or does it go deeper?
WAX: It goes deeper, for sure. The book is broken down by episode, and includes a detailed episode recap with insight, commentary, and occasionally snark. Then I include whatever behind-the-scenes details I was able to get from cast and crew. I didn’t visit any locations; about 90% of the show was shot on a soundstage in Toronto that no longer exists. But I did conduct nearly 70 interviews with the cast and crew, including series stars Louise Robey, John LeMay, and Steven Monarque; series creator Frank Mancuso Jr.; writers and directors including Armand Mastroianni, Tom McLoughlin, Francis Delia, Bill Taub, Marc Zicree, and Atom Egoyan; and guest stars including Barclay Hope, Laura Robinson, Monika Schnarre, Kate Trotter, Wayne Best, and many more.
SHOCK: How can fans get their mitts on the book?