The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor

#9. The Terror of Crazy Matt
Amazon - Multiple Episodes

"Cweepy. He's just cweepy."

I've talked about this moment many times before, so I'm going to keep this entry relatively short. But I couldn't possibly end the Funny 115 without giving special recognition to the creepiest player in Survivor history, Matthew von Ertfelda.

Matthew von Ertfelda

Matt was so frightening during the Amazon season that the mere mention of his name inspires feelings of dread, panic, and outright terror among his fellow castaways. Don't believe me? Just check out the reactions to Crazy Matt from various Survivors when they met him for the very first time...

Big frowny-face sadness

Outright terror

Horrified disgust

Pity and sorrow

Outright disbelief

And... yes... shock

There are lots and lots of great Matt scenes from Amazon, but since I've talked about most of them in other moments, I decided to just focus on three scenes you might not have remembered. These are three of Matt's lesser-remembered scenes, yet they all help show why the other players were absolutely terrified of the guy. In fact, to this day, Matthew von Ertfelda remains the only Survivor player to ever terrify the other players into thinking he was going to kill them. I mean, just go back and re-watch Amazon sometime. Deena and Rob, etc., weren't just joking when they said that Matt was going to kill them. They seriously thought it was a possibility. And this storyline ("Help! Save us from Matt!") made up like 75% of the middle part of the Amazon season.

You tell me that isn't a funny storyline.

So whether Matt was really crazy during the Amazon, or whether he was just acting, this moment plays tribute to the many crazy faces (and antics) of the most psychotic player in Survivor history. Matt may have been putting on an act, or maybe he really started to lose it in the jungle, but to this day it remains one of the most entertaining subplots any Survivor season has ever had. I mean, seriously, all you have to do is show one simple vidcap:

... And it tells you everything you need to know about the guy.


1. Deena and Rob are in a boat in one of the middle episodes, and Deena starts talking about how they need to "exercise the 5150 status on Matthew" relatively soon. She's talking about an obscure legal code from the state of California (one that I actually had to look up.) But once you hear the definition, you'll love what District Attorney Deena was trying to say. So here is the exact wording of statute 5150, as defined by the California Department of Welfare and Institutions:

"5150: When any person, as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled, a peace officer, member of the attending staff, as defined by regulation, of an evaluation facility designated by the county, designated members of a mobile crisis team provided by Section 5651.7, or other professional person designated by the county may, upon probable cause, take, or cause to be taken, the person into custody and place him or her in a facility designated by the county and approved by the State Department of Mental Health as a facility for 72-hour treatment and evaluation. Such facility shall require an application in writing stating the circumstances under which the person's condition was called to the attention of the officer, member of the attending staff, or professional person, and stating that the officer, member of the attending staff, or professional person has probable cause to believe that the person is, as a result of mental disorder, a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled. If the probable cause is based on the statement of a person other than the officer, member of the attending staff, or professional person, such person shall be liable in a civil action for intentionally giving a statement which he or she knows to be false."

Basically Deena is saying that they need to vote Matt out of the game before somebody gets hurt. And she's not joking. That's why this scene has always killed me.

2. There's a great little moment during the archery challenge, when Matt faces off against Alex in the final round. A lot of people might not have caught this, but it's so incredibly perfect that I can't live with myself if I don't mention it.

First off, I have to explain that I'm a huge fan of horror movies (especially the Friday the 13th and Halloween series). I have all those movies memorized, I can recite most of them backwards and forwards, and I've always been particularly fascinated by the mannerisms of Jason Voorhees (F13) and Michael Myers (Halloween). In fact one of my favorite slasher mannerism is a particular quirk that both Jason and Michael sometimes do after they kill somebody. What happens is that they'll stab somebody with a knife, then take a step back and admire what they have just done. And then... as if they aren't quite sure of what to make of this... they'll both tilt their head slightly to the side. It's as if seeing a dead body confuses them, and they need to make some sort of sense out of what they have just done. It's one of my favorite little "horror movie killer" quirks and both of them do it.

Well, needless to say, I was overjoyed when Matt did this exact same little head tilt during the archery challenge during Amazon! He shoots his arrow at the target, it doesn't hit the bullseye, and then Matt does the most perfect little Voorhees head tilt, as if he's trying to make sense of this gravity we have here on planet Earth. It's the funniest thing in the world if you spot it, because it's exactly like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees do in their respective slasher movies.

See, Matt really is a psycho killer. He wasn't acting at all! Just look at the creepy head tilt. LOOK AT THE CREEPY HEAD TILT! They wouldn't listen! I tried to warn them!

The Voorhees head tilt

3. Okay this last moment isn't that little-known. Most everybody remembers Matt eating the creepy little grub larva in the immunity challenge without chewing it. So I thought I'd just memorialize this moment in pictures, since it was the icing on the cake of the "Matt is psychotic" storyline. This was by far his proudest (and craziest) moment of the entire game.

Time for immunity. Let's see if Matt is willing to eat this disgusting grub.

Matt sizes up his competition. And then he starts to orgasm.

Just like that, it's over. Matt swallows the nasty little bug without even chewing, and Jeff can't believe his eyes. "You actually swallowed it? WHOLE??"

Matt demonstrates how the demon hell beast is now slowly working its way down his GI tract

Shocked and awed, the rest of the players have no choice but to bow down in utter amazement

Matt celebrates in style. Although, in his herky-jerky manner, he looks more like a Ray Harryhausen stop-motion creature effect

I really don't have much more to say about Crazy Matt. But since this entry felt a little thin, I decided to finish up by posting my 12 favorite images of Matt looking crazy from the Amazon. In some of these pictures he looks a little crazy, in others he looks a lot crazy. And it's up to you to determine in which ones (if any) he is just acting. So have at it.


Spaced out

I want your strength inside me

Lost in nowhere land

Impersonating Bigfoot

In his happy place

Look out Shawna!

The Walkin' Dude

Way too intense

Focused rage

Hatching an evil plan

My personal favorite - the zombie

Don't turn around Deena. He's right behind you!

So was Crazy Matt really crazy? I don't know. I'm not a licensed psychologist. All I can say is that yes, he may have been nuts. And yes, he may have terrified the other players beyond belief. And yes, he may have actually done that crazy head tilt. But at the same time, remember that this is the same guy who totally felt up Jenna Morasca during the reveal of the final vote. He actually had the wherewithal to cop a feel when he was sitting there right next to a bikini model. And does that sound like a truly crazy person to you?? Just take a look at the evidence below:

Crazy Matt, trying to get a little somethin'-somethin'.

Intertwined with a bikini model

Guess where that other hand is

Was Matt really crazy? I don't know. But I do know that he was sane enough to grab a nice piece of Morasca during the finale. He saw the opportunity, he took it, and he made fools of all the other hapless males from Tambaqui in the process. After all, none of the other Tambaqui horndogs ever got to feel up one of the Jaburus. Rob Cesternino certainly never got to feel up one of the Jaburus.

But guess who did?

Hmm.  Maybe Crazy Matt wasn't so crazy after all.

P.S. Jenna Morasca was reported missing almost immediately after the Amazon reunion. She has never been seen since, and is presumed to have been eaten. Matthew von Ertfelda remains the prime suspect, but he has not yet been charged with a crime, nor has he even been seen in more than four years. If you have knowledge of this man's whereabouts, please call 1-800-CRIMESTOPPERS. Either that, or just call Dr. Sam Loomis in Haddonfield. He was Mr. von Ertfelda's personal physician. He also tried to warn them.

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