|Friday the 13th character|
|First appearance||Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)|
|Last appearance||Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)|
|Created by||Bruce Hidemi Sakow|
|Portrayed by||Corey Feldman|
|Full name||Thomas "Tommy" Jarvis[a]|
Patricia 'Trish' Jarvis
Tommy Jarvis is a fictional character in the Friday the 13th franchise, portrayed by Corey Feldman, John Shepherd and Thom Mathews. He appears in three of the twelve Friday the 13th films, making his first appearance in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Tommy is the most prominent of three Friday the 13th protagonists, the others being Alice Hardy and Ginny Field, to appear in more than one film. Originally, the ending for A New Beginning intended to have Tommy Jarvis become the antagonist in subsequent sequels.
Tommy Jarvis first appears in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter as a young boy (played by Corey Feldman), residing with his divorced mother and sister, with an affinity for making his own masks and make-up effects. When Jason Voorhees appears and begins killing the group of teenagers neighboring across from him, Tommy is forced to fight for his life along with his sister Trish. In an attempt to trick Jason, Tommy shaves his head to make himself appear as Jason was when he himself was young. Ultimately, Tommy kills Jason by slamming a machete into the side of his head, in which splits his head upon falling down on the blade. When he and Trish embrace, he notices Jason's fingers slowly move and he begins to hack away at his body.
In Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, the events from the previous film have put an effect on Tommy's mind where he is put in an institution. He is then put in a halfway house, but unfortunately, at this time, a series of murders begin nearby with Jason Voorhees being tied to the killings. Tommy's mind continues to slip again, seeing images of Jason haunting him. Tommy (played by John Shepherd) manages to confront the hockey masked murderer, believing him to be another hallucination. But he is real and attacks Tommy, finally forcing him to take his life - only for it to turn out that the killer was a copycat named Roy Burns. But it's too late for Tommy, as the last wall of sanity has fallen with the ghost of Jason fading before his eyes. Keeping the killer's hockey mask, he puts it on and attempts to assume Jason's mantle, but he is apparently stopped and treated before things go too far.
In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, a more stable Tommy (played by Thom Mathews), with a friend from the institution, is ready to confront his demons - or rather the demon that is Jason. Wanting to see Jason's decayed body himself, he also wants to make sure that Jason will never rise again and attempts to cremate him. But his memories of his encounter with Jason still linger heavily and he madly attacks the body with a metal fence pole when the coffin is opened. Before Tommy can cremate Jason, the pole winds up attracting bolts of lightning that unfortunately reawakens Jason as a zombie now and gives him a more powerful lease on life; he has become impervious even to being shot at point-blank range with a shotgun - though he still feels the impact of the bullets - and now possesses supernaturally powerful strength and healing factor to aid in slaughtering his victims with. Trying to make amends for his mistake, Tommy warns the sheriff who, being familiar with Jarvis, locks him up thinking he's had another mental breakdown. The piles of bodies Jason racks up only convinces the sheriff that the killer is Tommy. Time is running short as Jason makes his way to the renamed campgrounds. With a plan in mind, and aided by the sheriff's daughter Megan, Tommy lures Jason into the very same lake from which the Voorhees legend started. Chained to the bottom of the lake by a large stone, encircled in fire, and having part of his face chewed by the boat's propeller blades. Although almost nearly dying from Jason's attacks during the struggle, Megan rescues him from the waters and revives him with CPR much to her and the camp's children's joy; as he embraces, he finally exclaims "It's over, it's finally over... Jason's home." as the two stare off at the lake where Jason remains trapped.
In the novelization of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, it is revealed what happened between Tommy and Pam at the end of Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; the book explains that Pam had managed to return Tommy to his senses and, when Tommy was put back in a mental institution, she helped him recover. The novel Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs references Tommy, revealing he has written at least six books about Jason and Crystal Lake, with the title of one them being mentioned as My Life of Hell: One Man's Fight Against Jason Voorhees, which is described as a "whiny piece of garbage" by a character. In the mockumentary called "The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited" (included on the 2009 DVD extra) it is mentioned that Tommy was thought to be the killer in "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" by the local town folk. It also talks about Tommy's stay at the state mental hospital, and how due to overcrowding was sent to Pinehurst. Tommy faces Jason again in the comic miniseries Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors. When Jason attacks Dr. Maggie Burroughs' group for those who have survived Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, Tommy intervenes and reveals his intent to finish Jason off, ultimately decapitating him with the help of Jason's great-niece, Stephanie. After both Freddy and Jason are defeated, Tommy is appointed leader of the Nightmare Warriors by Ash Williams.
In video games
Tommy is a playable character in the video game Friday the 13th: The Game, making him one of five playable characters from the films, Jason Voorhees, Roy Burns, Fox, and Sheldon "Shelly" Finkelstein (both Fox and Shelly are from Part III) being the others. Thom Mathews, who portrayed Tommy Jarvis in Part VI, reprised his role.
The game also features collectible cassette tapes known as the "Tommy Tapes" written by filmmaker Adam Green and starring voice actor and animator Chris Niosi as Tommy Jarvis which featured audio recordings of Tommy from the events just after Part 4 through to after Part 6, filling in some of the gaps between the films. It provides an explanation for Part 5's ending where Tommy states that he dreamed he killed Pam. Tommy's claims of Jason Voorhees being the killer from the events of Parts 2 through 4 are dismissed due to the logical absurdity of Jason being alive in spite of him drowning as a child, and the murders are instead blamed on an unidentified copycat killer. His claims of Jason rising from the grave in Part 6 are further dismissed, and soon Tommy is blamed for exacerbating Jason's legend and attracting more copycats. Tommy is then sent to several mental institutions, including Glen Echo, New Orleans Psychiatric, and Smith’s Grove, before finally being committed to Springwood Mental Institution and is lacerating himself in his sleep, paranoid the authorities are trying to cover up Jason’s existence. The tapes also reveal the fate of Tommy's sister, explaining that she moved on from the experience and went off to college, but stopped talking to him after he was institutionalized in Springwood.
The character of Tommy Jarvis was initially conceived by writer Bruce Hidemi Sakow, who came in early during the film's pre-production. According to him,
- "The major contribution I made to the script was with the Tommy Jarvis character and the relationship he had with his mother and sister and Jason. It was my idea to have this little kid kill off Jason, because we've seen Jason kill of loads of young adults so who else but a kid?"
Originally, Joseph Zito planned for Tommy to become the antagonist and "new Jason" in any subsequent Friday the 13th films created after the fourth. The ending of Friday the 13th: A New Beginning leads up to this, although due to the negative reaction to that film, the idea was dropped. According to Zito, the possibility of Tommy going the route of becoming "the new Jason" was his idea, as a type of insurance policy for a possible continuation of the film series, saying: "It was my fault. No one at Paramount had any interest in making more films and Frank Mancuso, Sr. told me as much during the difficult editing process. Basically, they were kind of embarrassed by the films even though they were very profitable. It was my idea to film the ending with Tommy because I wanted to leave the door slightly open just in case. I never imagined that there would be so many sequels made after that though. None of us had any idea."
Tommy Jarvis was referenced in the script for Freddy vs Jason, the dialogue insinuating that he's running a petition to have the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake annulated and is called a "lunatic" by an executive at the building site at the camp, but this dialogue ultimately never made it into the theatrical film. The producers of the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot considered using the Tommy character, but decided not to because they wanted to create their own mythology.
Casting director Fern Champion says on the Crystal Lake Memories documentary that she felt that she and Corey Feldman clicked, but Corey was informed by his mother that the producers had concerns that he was too small to look believable in finishing Jason off, but got the role after showing them his prowess in wielding the machete. According to director Danny Steinmann, the casting for Tommy in A New Beginning went on till the eleventh hour: "I went through fifty Tommys before we found John Shepherd. We didn't get this Tommy until the last day before we started filming. We were panic stricken. Everything hinged around this kid being sensitive and believable. If we had gone with the Tommy we were about to settle on, the picture would have been unreleasable."
For Jason Lives, actor John Shepherd did not reprise his role from part 5 as he choose to abstain from it for personal reasons: "I was at a crossroads in my life where I was trying to decide - do I really wanna pursue acting or, you know, is this the best use of my time and talents? So I made a conscious decision on part six: 'You know what, I'm gonna pass on this'." Jason Lives' writer/director Tom McLoughlin claims to not have been aware of why producer Frank Mancuso Jr. choose to not bring John Shepherd back for the role for Jason Lives, but the latter states that he rejected the role indirectly by telling his agent to demand an extravagant salary for his continued participation. His replacement Thom Mathews had not seen A New Beginning until after he was cast, and claims that he thought the film was awful and wondered if he had made a mistake, but liked the script for Jason Lives so much that he decided to play the role anyway. In an interview, Mathews discussed his preparation for the role, stating:
- "...I didn’t really feel a lot of pressure. I really liked the script a lot, Tom (McLoughlin) did a great job and it spoke to me. I knew what I wanted to do. It was probably the closest character that I’ve played to myself. I had a great experience and going to just outside of Atlanta and shooting for six weeks. It was a blast."
- "When I saw Part V, I wasn’t thrilled and I was kind of scared. After I was hired, I started to do research and I looked at Part V and thought… oh no. I spoke to Tom and he told me what he wanted to do and everything was a lot better. In Part V, there was no lighting and the story was kind of weak. Maybe I should go back and look at it again. Maybe I’d have a different opinion of it now. But it scared the hell out of me."
Tommy has received considerably positive reviews from critics. In Horror Films of the 1980s, Volume 1, John Kenneth Muir praised the character, stating:
- "It's a natural development that Corey Feldman's Tommy Jarvis, a pre-pubescent boy who loves horror movies and even makes monster masks himself, plays such a critical role in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. After all, kids Tommy's age had been hearing from older siblings since 1980 about the "Friday the 13th" movies, and in 1984 were just discovering them through the expanding market of home video. A slightly younger fan base was developing, and would keep the series strong through the decade, one represented by kids in Tommy Jarvis's age bracket. So it makes sense that the filmmakers would adjust tactics slightly in this case, switching focus from a final girl to a resourceful younger brother."
He also notes the popularity of the fourth film being because of Tommy's debut in the series:
- "Many fans like this Friday the 13th installment the best, because it introduces the Jarvis character (a surrogate for the male viewers), and because it features a memorable coup de grâce for Jason. Tommy slices Jason's head (ouch!) and then - in a slow-motion shot echoing Alice's mad dash with the machete at the end of the first film - chops off his head."
In Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies, Jim Harper was rather mixed in terms of the character's performances. He criticized Corey Feldman's performance as Tommy in The Final Chapter stating, "Only Corey Feldman disappoints, since his character is highly annoying and doesn't really fit into the picture." However he praised Thom Mathews' performance in Jason Lives, calling him a "great character".
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