Friday, February 27, 2009


The Hudson Brothers started out as a musical group in the early 70s before moving on to headline a couple of variety shows for CBS. Finally, in 1983, they wrote and starred in Hysterical, one of the many horror parodies popping up around that time. For all you trivia nuts, yes, that’s Kate Hudson’s dad doing the driving and narrating in this clip.

Of more interest to us here at The B-Movie Catechism, however, is the fact that Hysterical wisely includes a “Crazy Ralph” as one of its targets for satire. Now just in case some of you aren’t familiar with the archetype, Crazy Ralph was a character played by Walt Gorney in the first two Friday The 13th films who spent his every scene informing the hapless camp counselors that they were inescapably doomed. Doomed! The character made such an indelible impression that almost every subsequent horror movie made in the early 80s contained a version of a Crazy Ralph who would appear from nowhere spouting his prophecy of predestined annihilation like some grizzled drunken male version of Cassandra.

Despite what it sounds like on the surface, though, don’t be tempted to arbitrarily dismiss the Crazy Ralphs as mere Calvinists. They understood, as it says in the Catechism, that “when therefore [God] establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace.” This seeming contradiction between destiny and choice works because “to God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy” while we mere humans are stuck experiencing time linearly. He might already know our choices, but we still have to make them. The Ralphs knew this. So while they did indeed preach predestination, their words often reflected the fact that it somehow included the protagonist’s choice to go to the camp, have a party in the deserted mine, buy the abandoned light house, whatever. So don’t turn a deaf ear to the Crazy Ralphs out there, my friends. They’re just following their calling and pointing out the impending doom. It’s up to you to choose it or not.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll buy it. But I thought the more obvious parallel was to getting ashes on Ash Wed. I helped distribute ashes one year, and I felt a lot like Crazy Ralph, smearing ashes on the faces of strangers, saying, "you're doomed!"

Xena Catolica

EegahInc said...

Tha Ash Wednesday analogy works too, but then I couldn't take potshots at Calvinists :)

LarryD said...

As if the logging truck wasn't funny the first time, the second time around had me ROTFLOL!

EegahInc said...

The second time around is what guaranteed this clip a spot on the blog. It was definitely a watch, rewind, watch moment when I saw it.