Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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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, and 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 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.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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 one that makes 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?

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

But have you ever considered what happened to Ralph to make him flip his lid and start spouting doomsday gospel? Sure, he’s the town drunk but what does he know about Crystal Lake that makes him 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 to shock a man into drunken insanity. Perhaps it was enough to shatter the façade of safe country living, however, thereby shaking Ralph to his core.

12. Dr. Crews (Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood)

It’s never clear 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.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

Seriously, what a terrible man. Not only is he opportunistic and unscrupulous (exploiting his 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 not the best idea to expose someone with severe mental trauma to this kind of material (especially because part 5 Tommy is primed explode in 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.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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 would probably agree.

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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. He’s not very perceptive, either, considering the body dropped in the coffin is wearing newer clothes than Jason’s old garb. On top of that, he’s a drunkard with a penchant for breaking the fourth wall.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

Big time Friday geeks know that Martin was taking money directly from Jason’s father, Elias, to maintain the masked one’s grave. The subplot was dropped from the script before filming (but was carried into Simon Hawke’s novelization). This knowledge makes Martin’s job performance all the more unsatisfactory: he was paid to give special care to Jason’s grave, and he couldn’t 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 better suited for a story of southern-fried clichés. That’s not to infer that white trash can’t exist in New Jersey (there’s an MTV show that consistently proves me wrong), but these two just seem…displaced?

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

Still, I’m damn glad they’re here. From Ethyl’s “terrorist” threat and her foul mouthed 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 illness, while Ethyl hocks 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 not really clear whose eyeball he has, either. A victim from part 2? Some unfortunate off-camera fodder? I guess we’ll never know for sure.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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, Part III’s deaths are on him.

MORE questionable characters on the NEXT page!

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. I’m not a psychiatrist so I have to assume that Pinehurst’s administrator, Matt Leonard, knew something I didn’t. But look at this guy:

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

The hilarious thing about A New Beginning is that it’s set at a halfway house, meaning these people are preparing to re-enter society. This guy can’t even have a simple conversation without brandishing an axe and thinking murderous thoughts. 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 giving 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 to adore this wacky movie.

6. Mayor Cobb (Friday the 13th – A New Beginning)

One look at this guy and it becomes clear why Crystal Lake is always 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. He’s definitely not interested in challenging matters–like truth.

When Sheriff Tucker suggests that Jason Voorhees may be behind these killings (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.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

Cobb could’ve been having an off day, 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 and decided to get defensive.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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 grunt when he puts 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.

MORE questionable characters on the NEXT page!

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. Doesn’t matter that the still-warm body of Jason Voorhees lies spread out behind him, he means business. This is a guy who makes straight-faced jokes about violating the corpse of a butchered young girl.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

This morgue attendant would be reprehensible if he wasn’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. I mean, Jason was never more vicious than in The Final Chapter and who can blame him? No one likes being treated this flippantly.

3. Deckhand (Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)

This guy’s questionable behavior is staggering. He sees a bloody and abandoned boat drift ashore, 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 insufferably hazy. Instead of expressing concern before the ship embarks, 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 everyone’s in trouble?

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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 people in mortal danger. And when people do 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 aboard the ship. Despite his intentions the only thing the deckhand accomplished was making a bad situation 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) with a laugh and encourages him to get his hands dirty – with the blood of his estranged son.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

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 as he’s tasked with cleaning the shit out of Ethyl’s chicken coop and instead goes off to spy on promiscuous teenagers.

Friday the 13th: 13 Questionable Citizens of Crystal Lake

Yes, Raymond was intended to be one of many red herrings in 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 mass murdering sprees, but I’m not sure the series has ever quite produced anyone else as random as this.

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Matt Serafini

Author (Under the Blade, Feral), Slasher movie enthusiast, N7 Operative. Plays games, watches movies. Occasionally writes about them.

  • JB Demented

    Cool list, great article. I was thinking about Vic from part 5. Why is someone that pissed off and violent allowed to chop wood? Seems kind of irresponsible on Dr. Leonards part. Happy Friday The 13th all!!!!

  • Doctor Gash

    Now that’s a great list! Well done!

  • Goreflixblog

    Yeah, there are some crazy people out by Camp Crystal Lake. Looking forward to seeing some of them tonight! http://goreflix.com

  • Genrewriter

    Fantastic list, Matt. I get a chuckle out of the redneck mother and son in Part 5 as well. That entire film is just one amazing bit of strangeness after another. It almost reaches the “WTF?” level that Don’t Go Into the Woods…Alone gets to.