Let’s face it, the Friday The 13th franchise isn’t exactly known for great writing, outstanding performances, thematic heft, arcs, or anything that would remotely constitute an olive branch to the non-horror fan. But that doesn’t mean the moves are without merit! I’m a nut for the franchise (which you can probably tell by my ranking of the franchise) and, even aside from the kills, there’s plenty to like!
Just because the series isn’t known for its great characters doesn’t mean that there’s not a handful of characters and performances that rise above the rest.
Head inside for my 5 Favorite Friday The 13th Characters!
TOMMY JARVIS (Corey Feldman, John Shepherd, Thom Mathews) – Parts 4-6
Tommy Jarvis wins placement here despite not even really being a character. His traits fluctuate so wildly from film to film that there’s no real defining set of characteristics. Corey Feldman plays him as a precocious special effects expert in The Final Chapter. John Shepherd portrays him as an oily mute in A New Beginning. Though I suppose there’s some consistency here. His version of the character still makes masks and sh*t and I wouldn’t be all that talkative either after the events of the 4th film. Meanwhile, Thom Mathews’ version of the character in Jason Lives (pictured above) is proactive and reasonably mentally healthy all things considered though he actually gives the best performance among the character’s three iterations. What Tommy Jarvis does add is a sense of narrative stability throughout parts 4-6. It’s kind of amazing that all it takes is a consistent name to form mid-franchise trilogy.
MEGAN GARRIS (Jennifer Cooke) – Part 6
In a series not known for strong characters on either side of the sexual divide, Jennifer Cooke does impressive work in her turn as Megan Garris, the rebellious Sheriff’s daughter in Jason Lives. Too often in the F13 films a female character is given “depth” by a single line of exposition. Not here. Cooke plays her as confident, bold, naive, smart, sexy and genuinely alive. In the real world it’s probably not such a powerhouse performance but, relative to this series, it deserves any accolades legally bestowable to such a film.
JIMMY MORTIMER (Crispin Glover – The Final Chapter
One of the only characters in the franchise with a semi-complete arc. He goes from a shy, goofy kid who’s worried about being a “dead f*ck” to a svelte party master who owns his awkwardness on the dance floor. Then he sleeps with one of the Doublemint Twins, a lady who indeed is able to confirm the validity of his sexual prowess.
CRAZY RALPH (Walt Gorney) – Parts 1-2
Such shameless minstrelsy can’t go without notice or praise! I often times wonder what it would have been like to see this series in order or even at the time of release. Had I been in the theater in 1980 I would have known I was in good, goofy hands as soon as he popped up proclaiming, “you’re doomed! You’re all doomed!”
What are your favorite F13 characters?