The Camp Crystal Lake saga has been a smorgasbord of awesome for nearly forty years. From Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) to men who have portrayed her son, including Kane Hodder and Derek Mears, as well as final girls like Ginny (Amy Steel) and Chris (Dana Kimmell), creepy prophets of doom (Walt Gorney) and lovable buffoons like Shelly (Larry Zerner). But one character has stood out for more than three decades as the most entertaining of all.
That distinction falls to Tom Fridley, who portrayed Cort in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986), which hit theatres exactly 31 years ago today.
Name another character who delivered scenes as memorable as the intricacies of Native American rock formations and “only ten more minutes.”
No really, go ahead. I’ll wait.
Jason Lives was the franchise’s first deliberate foray into the humor and absurdity of the series, and that’s why we love it so much. It was Fridley, however, who took it to the next level. Not only clutch as the comic relief for Part VI, but in this writer’s humble opinion, easily established Cort as the funniest, most entertaining “side character” in Friday history. For a saga that runs 12 films deep, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to refer to said statement as impressive.
Cort was just a dude who loved a good time. He rocked out on his headphones, had torn up, ‘80s fabulous jeans and was more concerned with finding things that went “bump in the night” than with anything counselor related.
Not that he let that stop him from doing his best Michael Scott, because much like our favorite Regional Manager, the kid had no qualms about riffing with authority on topics he knew nothing about.
Take the Indian markers scene for starters. From throwin’ squaws off your scent to shootin’ bows and bestin’ buffalo, Cort rattled random shit off the top of his head in an effort to drop expert knowledge on the campers. Because, hey, they’re kids, so they’ll buy it, right?
Which brings us to the RV. A fabulous song (for ’86 I suppose) and a lovely lady. Our boy was in heaven. Until Nikki (Darcy DeMoss) implored Cort to finish with the tune.
Ten minutes. The look on his face was just one more reason to love the guy.
After Mr. Voorhees (C.J. Graham) brought a premature conclusion to the proceeding by severing the power, Cort went from frisky to frightened as he ventured to investigate. “Unless you wanna look exactly like it, I suggest we make this place a memory right now.”
And we wrapped with Cort revealing that he’d never driven a house before as he rocked out to Alice Cooper, leading into one of the more memorable death scenes in franchise history.
Thom Mathews and Jennifer Cooke were fantastic as Tommy Jarvis and Megan Garris, Bob Larkin was the greatest high school grad-you-ate this side of Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) and David Kagen and Vincent Guastaferro were spot on as Forest Green law enforcement (wherever the red dot goes), but what cemented Jason Lives as a Friday fan favorite was Tom Fridley’s Cort.
In fact, because of John Travolta’s nephew, a Cort line perfectly encapsulates our sentiments whenever we sit through Part VI – “I am having SUCH a good time.”
Feature image credit: kanyetothe.com.