With horror fans, the Friday the 13th franchise is a necessary essential and rite of passage for all of us burrowing our way through the genre. Whether you’re new to the fandom or a long-standing, card-carrying member, you’ve at the very least seen ONE of the original 10 films that made Jason Voorhees a household name. Everyone has their favorite entry, their favorite final girl, and their favorite Jason. It’s always a hot-button topic with the horror community and a fun debate at that. And I’ll even indulge that very query with my own personal favorites of said topics:
Favorite Entry: Friday the 13th: Jason Lives
Favorite Final Girl: Ginny (Amy Steel)
Favorite Jason: CJ Graham ( I know shocker it’s not Kane, right)
But what about the hundreds of side characters that didn’t quite make it to the end and served as either one of the film’s kill-count casualties along the way, or were merely placed there for pacing purposes? There are NOT enough conversations about side characters like Ethyl and Junor and I’m here to remedy this bullshit. So let’s give some credit and praise where it’s rightfully due and champion these performances that made the films that much more enjoyable.
10. Harold Hockett
Nobody says a word about the animal-loving Harold but let’s get one thing straight here- While Jason obtained his iconic hockey mask from Shelly Finkelstein, he stole his new shirt and pants from Harold’s wardrobe, which he wore for many years and was even buried in. He does not appear to get a new outfit until Jason Goes to Hell, due to the fact these dubs were likely destroyed during his battle with toxic waste in the sewers of Manhattan.
Harold helped set the pace and opening for Part III and seemed like a genuinely nice dude who didn’t deserve the wrath of Voorhees. So, let’s honor the guy and remember that that legacy of his pants lives on in at least 5 movies after this one.
9. Joey and Vic
Joey and Vic are a package deal here because without their fateful interaction, all brought on by a chocolate bar, Part V would have never happened. Kinda gives that old saying, “Death By Chocolate” some weight, eh? So we really have to tip our hats to this odd couple of unstable teenagers for one of the most gruesome and memorable scenes from the entire franchise of films. Also, who in their right mind gives a mentally unstable person a fucking ax?! This is just bonkers and welp, I’m here for it.
Demon’s appearance in The New Beginning was brief but impactful- also probably the most quoted with “Them Damn Enchiladas“. I can’t be the only one who simply can NOT just say enchiladas when they’re around. They are specifically referred to as THEM DAMN ENCHILADAS. Also, I’ve never seen a movie where enchiladas were the cause of death-well indirectly but if it weren’t for them damn enchiladas, Demon would still be alive singing sweet tunes with Anita. Another damn fine memorable scene from the films that deserves all the recognition. Plus, that run to the shitter had me laughing my ASS off. No pun intended.
Out of all the “side characters” on this list, Julius from Jason Takes Manhattan had the strongest supporting role for our heroes and final girls/guys- along with hands-down, one of the most amusing scenes and deaths from the entire bracket of Friday movies.
Julius was a cocky dude, but I think his heart was in the right place. However, that cockiness got him killed thinking he could take on a Zombie Jason with nothing but his fists. Damn, I wish I had that sort of confidence. Whether you’re a fan of Part VIII or not, you gotta admit this aside from the Time Square scene with the stereo is the absolute highlight of the movie. Thanks Julius for not using and losing your head on this one.
6. Shelly Finklestein
A lot of people surprisingly shit on Shelly and I don’t understand why. He’s such a delightful dork and for me personally, it’s hard to dislike his lighthearted demeanor, even if some of his pranks are annoying to his friends. Love him or hate him, we have Sheldon to thank for Jason’s iconic Hockey Mask look and without his character, the Friday films would have gone on with Voorhees with a paper bag over his dome. Also, I don’t think a lot of fans are taking Shelly’s character into consideration when the movie was attempting to fan service the horror fans with his character. Maybe it’s not spot on, but I can’t hate on a fellow horror nerd. So let’s here’s one for Sheldon and the bullied fans of the genre.
Violet would be seen by most as sort of a bitch, but I didn’t see her that way at all. She was just a misunderstood, troubled teenager that seemed lost- leading to some attitude issues and distancing herself from others to avoid interaction and disappointment. That’s the psychology side of my brain talking, or rather, my inner Hannibal Lecter as I like to refer to it as.
She was also seen as inclusive to those suffering from anxiety and depression or bipolar disorders because her types of “lash-outs” are very similar to those who suffer. There’s no harm in it, but it can be seen as rude as hell. And then, there’s the infamous room dance. If you weren’t trying to imitate that robot dance in the 80s, what the hell were you even doing? And on a personal note, Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday doesn’t hold a candle to Tiffany Helm’s moves. Here’s to our little Violet, whose original death was much more brutal but axed from the theatrical cut.
Sissy, played by Elizabeth Baker in Jason Lives is just so goddamn likable and in rare form really when it comes to the Friday films when a “side character” is more personable than the final girl herself. Not ragging on Megan by any means, but Sissy here was robbed as SHE should have been our final girl in Part VI. She didn’t deserve to die at all, and if you were gonna kill her off at the very least give her death some meaning. Totally snubbed in all directions. I’ll die on this hill as Sissy being the best Final Girl we SHOULD have had if she had lived to the end. Ah well, at least we have a genuinely nice character in the franchise we collectively all rooted for.
3. Jimmy and Ted
Just like with Vic and Joey, the odd couple of Ted and Jimmy are a package deal as they play off one another to make this dynamic work. Ted(dy Bear) is at peak toxic male masculinity while Jimmy is trying to find love at the stakes of being labeled a “Dead Fuck.” Neither one of these characters work or would even have the impact they had had they had not been coupled together for most of the scenes. The Final Chapter wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining without them and because of that, let’s go wild with a little LION.
2. Ethyl and Junior
As far as comedic duos go in the Friday franchise, there are none greater than Ethyl and Junior. A lot of people give a LOT of shit towards A New Beginning, but facts are facts: Part V gave us some of the best memorable side characters in the entire franchise and this pair of mother-and-son local yokels dish out some of the most hilarious scenes of all the Friday films here. If Ethyl’s not hitting kids with heavy doses of blind hatred with her sharp tongue, she’s in the kitchen cookin’ “slop” or calling her son “a fucking dildo”, which, to be fair to her, he absolutely is. Also worth noting, as a grown woman myself with my own house, I’d be pretty pissed too if I found some teenagers fuckin like rabbits in my yard.
They just put this bonkers movie over the top and we gotta respect them for it.
Now eat yer fuckin’ stew dildo.
1. Crazy Ralph Neeley
The entire franchise of Friday films owes a debt of gratitude to the prophet of doom “Crazy” Ralph Neeley. He warned those damned kids. He warned everyone. But alas, no one listened. And perhaps that’s a good thing because had they heeded his warning, we wouldn’t have much of a movie now would we? But, the theater-trained Walt Gorney started a chain cliche in following Friday movies. Ralph was the original “red herring” and inspired a reincarnation of this character in sorts; like Abel in Part III , the Cemetary Groundskeeper Martin in Jason Lives!, and the deck hand in Jason Takes Manhattan. Ralph serves as a pioneer in the series for his role and his lines remain the most quoted in the films to date. He even survived the first film altogether, but alas, succumbed to his own prophecy in the direct 1981 sequel.
He wasn’t so crazy after all.
Happy Friday the 13th Nostalgic Nuggets! Let’s chat in the comments below. What’s your favorite side character from the series?