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Here's something to scream about: Friday the 13th's second season is even better than the first, with more hell to pay as Micki (Robey) and Ryan (John D. LeMay), proprietors of the Curious Goods antiquities shop, race against time to reclaim the cursed objects sold to an unsuspecting public by their late Uncle Jack. The macabre fun of this Canadian horror anthology series--related to the slasher film franchise in name only--is that it cloaks even the most innocent objects with a palpable sense of dread. In "And Now the News," an unscrupulous doctor uses an old radio to scare sanitarium patients to death. In "The Playhouse," abused siblings placate their sanctuary by sacrificing neighborhood children to it. In "Read My Lips," a boutonniere brings a ventriloquist's dummy to knife-wielding life. This is one of the season's best episodes, with scary Billy Drago (Frank Nitti in Brian DePalma's The Untouchables) as the obsessed ventriloquist, and the great John Byner as a struggling entertainer, whose own dummy gives new meaning to the show business cliché, "Death is easy, comedy is hard." The episode, "Wedding Bell Blues" introduces Steve Monarque as the streetwise, cocksure Johnny Ventura, whom Ryan recruits to help locate a cursed billiards cue that racks up several murders while giving its owner wicked skills at pool (which starts with P and that rhymes with T and that stands for terror). Johnny returns in "The Prisoner," in which he is falsely convicted of killing his father. He will be become a series regular in the show's third, and final, season. A series benchmark is "Tails I Win, Heads You Die," in which Micki falls victim to a coin used by a Satanic cult leader in a plot to resurrect mummified witches. With its compelling stories, grislier violence, and quality kills, Friday the 13th's sophomore season elevated a guilty pleasure into a superior creepshow.

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