Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake
When Annie first strolls into “Present Day” Crystal Lake at the start of Friday the 13th it seems like a picturesque and idyllic little town, doesn’t it? Yes, some terrible things happened there, but it genuinely feels like a nice place to live, with a strong sense of community to boot.
But once you start watching the sequels, it becomes clear that there’s a real seedy underbelly to the place (and the immediate surrounding parts of Wessex County, too).
Political and medical malfeasance, disorderly conduct, rampant drug abuse and generally odd behavior are just some of the characteristics intrinsic of these citizens.
13. Crazy Ralph (Friday the 13th parts 1 & 2)
As before, we’ll start with an easy one. We all love Crazy Ralph. His presence is always one to make me smile, especially when he pops out of the food pantry halfway through the original Friday the 13th. How long was he waiting for someone to open that door?
But have you ever considered what happened to Ralph to make him flip his lid and start spouting vague doomsday gospel? Sure, he’s the town drunk, but what exactly does he know about Crystal Lake that makes him so certain that everyone who goes there is doomed? A drowning in 1957, two subsequent murders, some fires and “bad” water spread across 20+ years doesn’t seem like enough tragedy to shock a man into drunken insanity. Although perhaps it was enough to shatter the façade of safe country living, thereby shaking Ralph to his core.
12. Dr. Crews (Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood)
It’s never clear exactly where “Bad News” Crews is from, so for the purposes of this article let’s say he practices medicine somewhere in Wessex County – thereby making him eligible for this list.
Seriously, what a terrible man this is. Not only is he opportunistic and unscrupulous – exploiting is telekinetic patient while prohibiting her actual recovery, but he barely tries escaping Jason before sacrificing Amanda Shepard in his wake. And then he makes no real effort to get out of the woods, choosing instead to stick around until someone happens by. Bad plan, doc.
11. Billy (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
It’s one thing to dislike your job, but to conduct yourself irresponsibly while doing it is something else entirely. Billy, the pride of the Unger Institute of Mental Health, really has no patience for working with the mentally unstable and he probably should’ve chosen another profession.
This negligence is highlighted almost immediately in A New Beginning when Billy is glimpsed ogling pornography while riding shotgun during a patient transport. It’s probably not the best idea to expose someone with severe mental trauma to this kind of material (especially because part 5 Tommy looks primed explode in a burst of rage at all times), but Billy doesn’t appear to give a shit. He’s even hostile and impatient when Tommy shows reluctance in exiting the van! Real nice guy.
Oh yeah, he also has a hefty coke habit. Needless to say, when pseudo-Jason puts this guy out of his misery, it’s probably for the best. The Unger Institute of Mental Health probably would agree.
10. Martin the Caretaker (Friday the 13th part VI: Jason Lives)
Here’s another guy who just isn’t very good at his job. Martin thinks he’s “earned” the illustrious gig of presiding over the Eternal Peace Cemetery, and he seems to have built a career out of resting on those laurels.
He’s so stuck in his ways that he won’t even acknowledge the fact he might’ve made a mistake and buried Allen Hawes instead of Jason. Hell, he’s not very perceptive, either, considering the body dropped in the coffin was wearing considerably newer clothes than Jason’s old garb. On top of that, he’s a drunkard with a penchant for breaking the fourth wall.
Big time Friday geeks know that Martin was taking money directly from Jason’s father, Elias, to maintain the masked one’s gravesite. The subplot was dropped from the script before filming (but carried into Simon Hawke’s novelization), although the knowledge definitely makes Martin’s job performance all the more unsatisfactory: he was being paid to give special care to Jason’s grave, and he couldn’t be bothered to do that right. You, sir, are a farthead.
9. Ethyl & Junior (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
Crystal Lake is still in New Jersey, right? I only ask because these country bumpkins seem far better suited for a story of southern-fried clichés than the northbound locale of Friday the 13th. That’s not to infer white trash can’t exist in New Jersey (there’s an MTV show that consistently proves me wrong), but these two just seem … displaced?
Still, I’m damn glad they’re here. From Ethyl’s “terrorist” threat, foul mouth and dubious cooking skills, to Junior’s one-track mind (”He hurt me, ma!”) and awesome leather aviation cap, they’re unforgettable characters AND terrible people. Junior has nothing better to do than to ride around at night and accost people suffering from mental illnesses, while Ethyl hock loogies into her own soup and berates homeless people for being ”fuckin’ ugly.”
Their existence begs the ultimate question: how come Jason didn’t take care of them sooner?
8. Abel (Friday the 13th part III)
Ralph was the crazy town drunk, but there’s something seriously wrong with this guy. Abel takes his duties as resident “harbinger of doom” seriously, setting up bunk in the middle of the road so those headed to Crystal Lake have no choice but to stop and hear him out. At least, that’s the most logical reason I can think of. It’s entirely possible (and likely) that he’s just batshit insane and therefore doesn’t know any better than to risk being steamrolled by oncoming traffic.
It’s likely the latter, considering he has a human eyeball on his person, insisting he’d found “other parts of the body” but was told to take THAT. I’m not even clear on whose eyeball this is supposed to be. A victim from part 2? Some unfortunate off-camera fodder? I guess we’ll never know for sure.
A bigger question might be how come we never heard from Abel again? Did Jason finally put him out of his misery, or was he really just passing through? And what’s with all the prophetic doublespeak? Couldn’t he have just said to the kids, ”Hey, don’t go to the lake, I found some dead bodies up there.”
Surely Abel could’ve prevented Chris’ friends from being slaughtered that weekend if he’d been straight with them. Or gone to the police. Whatever happened to him, I hope he can live with those deaths. They're on him.
7. Victor Faden (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
I didn’t have to hear Vic speak to know he was off his fucking rocker, but I’m not a psychiatrist so I have to assume that Pinehurst’s administrator, Matt Leonard, knew something I didn’t. But seriously, look at this guy:
The hilarious thing about A New Beginning is that it’s set at a halfway house, meaning these people are preparing to re-enter functioning society. But Victor Faden can’t even have a simple conversation about his day without brandishing an axe and thinking murderous thoughts. And it doesn’t take much more than that for him to actually use that axe – first on a candy bar and then on the poor schlep who tried to give it to him.
Vic was a violent psychopath, but I wonder what happened to him after Sheriff Tucker carted him away from Pinehurst. And wouldn’t it have been interesting to watch him take on pseudo-Jason toe-to-toe? It’s odd that Friday 5’s most irredeemable character is one of the few to survive. Just another reason I adore this wacky flick.
6. Mayor Cobb (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
One look at this guy and it becomes clear why Crystal Lake is constantly dogged by lackluster law enforcement. Mayor Cobb doesn’t seem all that concerned for the well being of his township so much as he wants to preserve its safe reputation. But he also isn’t all that interested in complicated or challenging matters – like the truth.
When Sheriff Tucker suggests that Jason Voorhees may, in fact, be behind these killings (hey, he was close enough), Mayor Cobb dismissively tells him he’s been out in the sun too long. He then proceeds to empty Tucker’s ashtray as a way of implying that Jason is toast, barking at him instead to deliver a ”liveeeee” suspect.
In fairness, Cobb could’ve been having an off day when we see him in A New Beginning, but there’s enough malaise spread across the faces of the officers in the room to suggest they’ve seen this kind of behavior before, and often.
5. Hippie Hitchhiker (Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter)
At this point it’s fair to wonder exactly what kind of Hellmouth sits beneath Crystal Lake. It draws weirdos to the spot like vampires to Sunnydale, and this lady ranks among the strangest. Where is this hippie going? Upstate Vermont, I guess? And what’s with the “Fuck You!” on the back of her sign? Maybe she just got sick of all the smart ass responses out there in the country and decided to get defensive.
Yeah, it’s probably unfair to label her a Crystal Lake “resident”, but I’ll forever be fascinated by this hippie hitchhiker’s presence in The Final Chapter. What makes it even better is Jason’s savage grunting when he buries the blade in her skull: it sounds a little more disdainful than usual, like he’s telling her to take her hippie shit the hell out of his woods. That’s how I read it, at least.
4. Axel (Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter)
Axel is a genuine sleazebag. He’s the type of guy who’ll put his sandwich down on a fresh corpse just to sign a release form. A guy who leers at overly-eroticized workout videos while seducing a horny nurse – with the still-warm body of Jason Voorhees lies spread out on a slab behind him. This is a guy who openly jokes about violating the corpse of a butchered young girl without so much as a grin.
This morgue attendant would be reprehensible if he weren’t so hilarious, but that doesn’t make his unprofessionalism less excusable. It could be his openly dismissive reaction to the Crystal Lake killings that pisses Jason off so much in the first place. I mean, Jason was never more vicious than in The Final Chapter and who can blame him? No one likes being treated this flippantly. Thanks for nothing, Axel.
3. Deckhand (Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)
This guy’s questionable behavior is staggering. Not only does he see a bloody, abandoned boat come drifting to shore but he refuses to tell anyone about it. Did the captain see it? What if the boat had floated in front of the bow? It might’ve caused an accident when the Lazarus departed. And like all the other messengers of doom in Friday the 13th, he’s also insufferably hazy. Instead of expressing genuine concern before the ship embarks on its voyage, he makes a cryptic comment to a high school kid and then looks surprised when he’s paid no mind. Hey asshole, why don’t you tell someone that some people might be hurt or in trouble?
I assume a deckhand’s job is to ensure the safety of those on the deck? This guy knows enough to be spooked but doesn’t convey his message very well, putting many people in mortal danger. And when people do finally catch on he’s too stupid to even clarify what he’s talking about. Instead he inadvertently injures the chaperone and runs off, creating the perfect opportunity to be blamed for all of the death and misfortune aboard the ship. Despite his intentions the only thing the deckhand accomplished was making a bad situation much, much worse and needlessly confusing.
2.Duke (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
I love this guy. While the residents of Pinehurst are shocked and appalled to see the mutilated corpse of their housemate, Duke (aka Unsympathetic Ambulance Driver) scoffs, blows a bubble and declares them a ”bunch of pussies”. And if that wasn’t enough he turns to his co-worker (who’s transitioning from mild-mannered paramedic to full blown pseudo-Jason at this point, mind you) with a laugh and encourages him to get his hands dirty – with the blood of his estranged son. Nice job, asshole.
Chances are Roy Burns was going to snap anyway, but Duke’s appalling lack of empathy couldn’t have helped. True, nobody knew that Joey was Roy’s son, but that doesn’t make Duke’s attitude any better. This guy needed sensitivity training but instead indirectly spurred the highest body count in Crystal Lake history (at that time).
1. Raymond (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)
Apparently there’s vagrancy in Crystal Lake. This guy, who hasn’t eaten in two days, spends his time wandering onto people’s property looking to trade work for food. He’s proves to be rather untrustworthy, though, as he’s tasked with cleaning the shit out of Ethyl’s chicken coop and instead goes off to spy on promiscuous teenagers.
Yes, Raymond was intended to be one of many red herrings throughout A New Beginning, but the movie can’t even be bothered to keep him around long enough to arouse suspicion. Instead he’s introduced and then dispatched as an aside a few short scenes later. I’m lead to believe he was just another oddball drifter who just happened to be passing through Crystal Lake during one of its frequent mass murdering sprees, but I’m not sure the series has ever quite produced anyone else as random as this.
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