When you hear "Friday the 13th," many immediately think of the infamous murderer Jason Voorhees. However, the franchise wouldn't be the same if it weren't for his nemesis, our little Tommy Jarvis. We've watched him grow up from the bravely clever little boy to the extremely dysfunctional but loveable young adult.
We've seen Tommy at different stages of his life and of his mental state, but we've also witnessed the character being played by three extremely different actors. Which Tommy do you prefer?
1. The Original Tommy in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
It's quite difficult not to fall in love with this adorably weird 12-year-old boy played by Corey Feldman. The pre-pubescent kid has witnessed so much bloodshed and loss at his young age, but rather than sulking and letting fear take over, he thrives.
Using his survival instinct and the drive to save his sister, Trish, Tommy manages to outsmart the killer in order to defeat him. He shaves his head as a ruse, in order to remind Jason of his youthful self when he was trapped at the bottom of the lake and drowned.
He then proceeds to attack Jason with several blows using the killer's own machete... As little boys do. Naturally, our traumatized Tommy finds himself recovering in a mental hospital.
This will put a target on Tommy's back as Jason's biggest enemy, since the little boy was the only one amongst many with the capability of defeating the masked murderer.
2. The Insitutionalized Tommy in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Corey Feldman actually appeared in this version as well, before the 5-year time leap occurs. He is soon replaced by an older teenaged version played by John Shepherd in the mental hospital "half-way house," Pinehurst Youth Development Center. This particular 17-year-old Tommy is loveable for all the wrong reasons.
Tommy is completely traumatized from the events of his childhood and barely socializes, let alone speaks. He is dependent on his pills to simply avoid having any flashbacks or hallucinations. Jarvis practically appears weak... That is, until you try to mess with him and he beats you to a pulp.
This Tommy was so damaged, some of us wondered if he may have developed a mental condition along the way that deemed him capable of mimicking Jason's killing sprees. The plot went in an entirely different direction, but you must admit the doubt was there, even if just for a second.
The story finished in the usual Jason horror movie manner, with Tommy amongst the sole survivors. Once again, he proves himself to be the only one capable of defeating the murderer, even if it technically is a different one.
3. The Supposedly Rehabilitated Tommy in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
The third and final Tommy, played by Thom Mathews, is now crossing the line into adulthood at the age of 18. While Tommy is in most part capable, he still suffers from haunting Jason-related hallucinations. He believes that they are not a cause of his own mental state, but more so of Jason's remnants.
Along with his friend Allen Hawes, Tommy escapes from his current mental institution only to break into Eternal Peace Cemetery, where Jason's corpse resides. Tommy feels as though the only way to end his hallucinations is to ensure the body is destroyed through cremation.
Unfortunately for Tommy, and a list of other victims, his plan fails in the worst possible way. Consumed with vengeful anger, Tommy starts repeatedly stabbing Jason's body with an iron fencepost, leaving it jammed in. With Tommy's luck, lightning strikes the weapon, utilizing it as a lightning rod. This results in Jason's resurrection via electric shock.
Was Jason grateful that Tommy brought him back from the dead? Not exactly... But he did become stronger than ever! Jason instantly kills Allen and Tommy immediately warns the town's Sheriff. Tommy, having lost all credibility due to his troubled past, is instead greeted with a holding cell.
Luckily, the Sheriff's daughter Megan believes Mr. Jarvis and eventually saves his life after Tommy manages, once again, to outsmart his lifelong nightmare. Jason finds himself back at the bottom of Crystal Lake to reminisce about his lovely childhood.
Each of these versions of Tommy exemplified extremely distinct qualities, while remaining true to the spirit of the character. All three actors were fantastic and each movie gave us our necessary intake of gore.
Who was your favorite Tommy?