Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: L is for Lucky Ted!

Well, kiddies, it is that fabled day - Friday the 13th - and we're one short of the halfway point of the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Of course, April 13th will NEVER be an F post, no matter what day of the week it falls on, but we still need to do something that takes us back to Camp Crystal Lake on this day of all days! I know - we'll shine the spotlight on the life lottery winner of the whole series - which means:

L is for Lucky Ted!

Stu Charno!

    Midway through Friday the 13th Part 2, a group of the counselors-in-training decide to head into town for one last night of drinking and partying. Among them are the training program’s chief, Paul (John Furey), his second-in-command Ginny (Amy Steel), and Ted (Stu Charno). Going in reverse order – we met Ginny last as she showed up late – right in the middle of Paul’s opening speech to his counselors. That her late arrival annoys him tells us a lot about Paul, who we first saw moments before. Ted was the first of this trio to come on screen – playing a joke on his pals Jeff and Sandra (Bill Randolph and Marta Kristen).

You don't see him but Ted's watching..

    Ted next proves his screen worth by letting Jeff and Sandra know all about Camp Blood’s history when their vehicle is stopped by a tree across the road. When quizzed for more detail about what he knows – Ted demurs, saying “You don’t want to hear about it, believe me – not before lunch.” He then drops back a bit for the next section of the movie as we meet the other counselors – well, about half of them – as the other half are all extras – and therefore pretty much safe from being slashed – which means that not speaking can save your life, by the way.

Bill, Stu and Lauren Marie Taylor (with dangling cig) with a couple
of unidentified fans during production.

    Ted’s next big moment comes when he pops out at the group to scare them after Paul tells the history of Camp Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees – and he does it wearing a monster mask he brought. We also discover that Ted owns several handheld video games (because each device could only play one game – ah, prehistoric technology!) These facts are all important to know about Ted, who loves the nightlife and wants to boogie, along with Paul and Ginny. But those three are the extent of the main characters distancing themselves from the camp. In fact, all of the rest of the group heading into town are those extras I mentioned who never speak and are barely seen from here forward.

Ted and his monster mask like mugging at each other
after a successful scare.

    The movie crosscuts between the camp – about to be the site of a slaughter – and the bar which is apparently the only nightspot in the town of Crystal Lake. At the camp, Jason stalks around, single eyeing his victims through his pillowcase headgear and occasionally pretending to be a small dog named Muffin (you’ll have to ask me about that if you want to know what that means).
Ginny, Paul, and Ted try to bring the bar down with empties.

At the bar, Paul and Ted watch in amusement as a sloshed Ginny uses her degree in Child Psychology to expound on the legend of Jason Voorhees – and what might being going through his mind after living off sticks and leaves for 25 years and seeing his mother murdered. Eventually noticing that her colleagues are taking the piss out of her with their grins and sidelong looks at each other – Ginny determines she has had enough and wants to head back to camp. Paul, still hoping he might get some despite having been caught laughing at his intended’s deep philosophical theories – goes with her. He gives his keys to Ted and puts him in charge of getting everyone back to camp safely. With a hearty “Yezz bozz” from Ted, Paul and Ginny head back out to the lake and soon find themselves in the middle of a murder spree.

Is this the man you want to leave in charge of your non speaking extra counselors?

Yezz bozz!

And somehow Ted, marked in the first half of the movie as a prankster – for those keeping score that’s prank, second prank, monster mask, video games - and keep in mind -  horror movie prankster is a vocation with a lifespan officially listed as “nil” when it comes to making it to the end credits –Ted survives.
Ted's not in this pic - but he's about to be...

He stays out, drinking and making fun of the locals until the events at the counselor training camp have reached their bloody end. He does not return in the middle of the climax – where most likely he would have provided sacrificial distraction that would allow Ginny to continue being the Final Girl. He does not come back and think that the bloody shenanigans at the camp are a reverse prank on him, leading him to an ironic doom. No, he lives. This was boggling to me, even as young man watching this movie in the theater soon after it opened in 1981. I imagine ol’ Ted was hit pretty hard when he finally toodled back to the camp with that truck full of background counselors and found the police picking up bodies. With a mop.
     And in fact, while watching Friday the 13th Part 2 with my wondrous wife Suze on the last Friday the 13th (I watch one of the movies EVERY Friday the 13th) we were talking about Lucky Ted - and once again - Suze once again turns into the ultimate muse and hits me with this one: I should write a sequel that shows what happened to Ted.

This really got me to thinking. Hollywood studios have been experimenting in the last few years with some direct-to-video offshoots of some of their movie franchises. There have been DTV sequels to American Pie, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Donnie Brasco made - so maybe New Line (or Paramount, since they own the Friday the 13th title and made Part 2)  would be interested in an offshoot that is in the same vein as the early Ft13s: a one-by-one body count slasher pic - but one that doesn't feature Jason or his mom.

Stu Charno more recently - hanging by the river up top,
and cavorting with some Ft13 fans below.

Here's the story I came up with: Ted and those extra counselors were devastated back in the day (maybe there's old footage of Stu Charno being dramatic from some other movie that could be dropped in here as a post-Part 2 flashback) and they've either met up for a reunion every ten years  - and the third one is about to come together - OR - none of them could bear to be together again, but Ted convinces them to come to a 30th anniversary reunion because his psychologist convinces him it's the last step to being able to walk away from the horror once and for all. And of course, once they show up - someone isolates them and starts bumping them off one by one. Evidence points to Ted - snapped over the survivor's guilt and kill crazy - but I haven't decided which way it should go from there - do I turn the likable goofball into a killer - or go for a twist that shows the murders committed by someone else trying to pin the blame on Ted? (And if I go this route - do I make the big surprise that the killer is actually Paul - Part 2 Final Girl Ginny's boyfriend and source of a great mystery for fans as he disappears from the end of the movie, leaving Ginny crying out "Where's Paul?!?" as she is loaded into the ambulance?)

And here they are now! Couldn't you picture either one as a
mad killer? (Sorry Stu and John!)

Of course this only works if Stu Charno (and John Furey - if I go with the Paul bit) would be willing to come back to the series. I think it could be a pretty cool movie for Friday the 13th fans - giving them a new adventure spun off from the series - with references to Jason and ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma music - but no actual appearances from anyone in the Voorhees family (except possibly a flashback or two). The movie could be produced cheaply - but should still be able to achieve the glossy look of a studio sequel. You could also go another two ways: you could make the movie a direct sequel to Part 2 only, and have it be Ted and the extra counselors - now speaking part counselors, until they are killed at least - OR - you could make it a series reunion picture with any of the sequels' survivor characters as a part of the reunion in the story, and maybe a few choice series victims back in new roles. Of course, this would be controversial as you would then start bumping off the people who lived through a Friday the 13th movie - but look, the franchise is not sentimental - it already took out Alice from the first movie in the opening minutes of Part 2 - so maybe this would be the way to go. It does mix the relative realism of Part Two into the later parts of the series when Jason is a zombie, though, so that one is still up in the air. I do think another fun aspect would be to have as many Jason actors as possible show up in various roles - but none in the hockey mask.

Here's Stu Charno, Amy Steel, John Furey, and Russell Todd all reunited
at some event in the last few years.They could all come back - Ted, Ginny,
Paul, and oops! Scott's dead - but Russell Todd could play a different
role - like maybe Ted's psychologist?

In my dream world it would be called something goofy like Friday the 13th: Ted by Dawn; or Friday the 13th: Ted Lives! But more likely it would end up something like Friday the 13th: Requiem or something. And I would be fine with that - with a producer and writer credit and some Paramount money floating in my account. So, if any of you have a connection to Paramount or New Line - how about hooking a feller up with a connection on the inside?

I would thank you.

So would Ted. Cause that's how he rolls.

"Welcome to God's country!"

That finishes the twelfth in this blog challenge - I hope you've enjoyed all of "M". Come back tomorrow for the halfway post - and until then you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Very interesting story. Love the idea of a Ft13 spin-off with no Voorhees in - though I doubt that hardcore Jason-Fans will enjoy it :)
    Brilliant write-up, Craig!

    1. Thanks Harry - I really am intrigued by the idea. I have a lot on my writing plate at the moment - the second half of the blogfest, for one - and did you hear I've been invited to participate in the next round of Project Terrible? But I might start noodling around on this one - maybe having some ideas on paper would make the difference if someone in the right place was interested...Cheers!

  2. Sounds like some good ideas. I'd be up for watching it. Good luck!

    1. Thanks! But - spoiler alert - The Man himself is about to comment - and it doesn't look good for my second attempt at scripting a Ft13 movie...

  3. How I picture it, "Friday the 13th: Ted By Dawn" is the BEAST title for this and I'll definitely watch it!

    oh, and they should introduce a parody killer based on Jason! Only...well, goofier, I guess...(someone like...The Breather, perhaps? Dun dun duuun!)

    1. Ha - you would definitely be one of the fans the movie would be made for! And thanks for the title vote!

  4. Okay... Stu Charno here; aka "Ted".

    I am now officially retired as an actor -- getting pension etc.

    Unless you figure out how to make me a bunch of money here, I'm going to have to pass....

    But the Friday the 13th is always on it's way.....

    1. Wow! Mr. Charno! I am honored that you came by!

      I'm not sure how we could get you that dumptruck of money, as studios are notoriously stingy on DTV sequels - but I will keep a spark of this project alive...

      Thanks so much for commenting!