The article you are about to read was contributed by yours truly in February 2016 as part of the flagship release of (what was intended to be) a monthly Horror e-zine. This project was spearheaded by the late James “Doc Terror” Harris, but sadly never took off. Seeing as how HorrorSexy.com is now defunct (and most likely vanishing from the web in early 2018), I thought it best to port this article over to the Vault archives before it was lost forever.
When you watch as many genre films as I have, you begin to view things a bit differently. Suddenly cinematic trash becomes treasure, heroes become villains (or vice versa), and answers are sought to an endless series of unresolved plot threads. While thinking on such things I’m often confronted by these two simple words: “WHAT IF?”
This eternal question is what fuels this newest addition to the B-Movie Film Vault archives. My goal is to explore what some might say is a “skewed view” of various genre films, and hopefully provide a little food for thought as I (hopefully) entertain you. What follows is purely my own conjecture – reader discretion is advised.
To kick things off, let’s take a look at the latest question that has been burning a hole in my mind for some time: WHAT IF….. “CRAZY RALPH” WAS ACTUALLY JASON VOORHEES’ FATHER?!
While I came to this conclusion randomly, and on my own, it would appear that I’m not the first to connect the dots (as a quick Google search proved). The identity of Jason Voorhees’ father has always been a mystery, and the closest us fans have ever gotten to an answer was the introduction of Elias Voorhees in the novelization of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES. He has also made appearances in several comic book adaptations of FRIDAY THE 13TH, including JASON VS. LEATHERFACE and FRIDAY THE 13TH: PAMELA’S TALE.
But Elias never officially became series canon (though he would have had he actually appeared at the end of JASON LIVES as originally intended), so for the sake of argument, let’s just say that he doesn’t exist. Then who is Jason’s dad, and why is he not in the picture? Was cinema’s greatest slasher the result of a one night stand?! We are never told. What we do know is that Jason allegedly drowned in Crystal Lake, which turned his mother violently insane.
Prior to Pamela’s rampage in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, we learn a few things about the “cursed” Camp Crystal Lake:
Two teens were murdered shortly after Jason’s “death.” We actually witness this event in the opening moments of the film. When attempts were made to reopen Camp Crystal Lake after the unsolved murders, other disasters plagued the area. There were a series of mysterious fires, and in one case the water suddenly “went bad” (i.e. was polluted/poisoned). Pamela Voorhees certainly kept herself busy until the idealistic Steve Christy took it over.
But before Pamela made short work of Steve and his camp counselors, everyone heading to the camp was warned by the local loony, “Crazy Ralph.” Riding around on a bicycle, Ralph made it a point to repeatedly warn said counselors that they were “all doomed!” While most people in the surrounding area obviously regarded the campgrounds with superstitious dread, none were as vocal as Ralph.
Part of me believes that he went out of his way to warn people, partially out of a perverse desire to creep them out, but mainly to keep his baby mama from blowing a major fuse. Sure he’s a little off his rocker, but Ralph never struck me as violent, so perhaps he was just trying to keep the peace. Heck, maybe he was the culprit behind the aforementioned non-fatal events that kept the camp closed for so long.
And seeing as how we don’t get to see what Ralph does with all his free time, what if he actually reported back to Pamela that his warnings went unheeded, because he was just as concerned with keeping the camp shut down as she was?! And what if he even helped KILL some of those counselors?!?!?!
Wait…. no, that doesn’t really make any sense. Sorry, I got carried away for a second….
“Crazy Ralph” returns in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, but his doomsaying is cut short when Jason garrotes him with a strand of barbed wire. While one could argue that Jason was mad at his poppa and wanted him dead, I think we can just chalk that up to a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. To be honest, I don’t think anyone knew Jason was still alive, not even his own mother. And it’s pretty doubtful Jason would even know who his father actually was.
But still, the idea that Ralph is Jason’s father continues to gnaw at me. Yes, “doomsayers” became a key part of 80s Horror films (particularly slasher movies), but that doesn’t really seem like the case here. Ralph doesn’t just show up once to warn everyone, then vanish for the remainder of the film. He pops up several times, and it’s obvious that he knows something. It almost feels like Ralph (portrayed by the late Walt Gorney) originally had a larger role that was pared down in the final draft of the script.
In conclusion, I openly admit that my theory doesn’t hold much water (due to a distinct lack of evidence), but it does put an interesting spin on things. Instead of just being a local crazy, what if Ralph was once a mostly sane person that fathered a monster, left his woman, and turned to religion (he proclaims himself a “messenger of God” at one point) and booze because he couldn’t cope?
And what if he discovered that Pamela was crazy enough to murder people to keep the camp closed, but realized no one would believe him? And what if he took it upon himself to try and scare people away? Maybe in some way, he’s seeking some sort of redemption, which kind of makes him…. a hero?
Thanks for reading my meandering thoughts Vault Dwellers! If you think I’m on to something, completely off-base, or have some theories of your own, please share your thoughts in the comments section below!