Tag Archives: Jason Voorhees

Why John Shepherd is the Best Tommy Jarvis

“Let’s think beyond the legend, put it in real terms.”

Only twice since Ginny Field (Amy Steel) applied her child psychology training in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981) has the Crystal Lake saga embraced those words: with Derek Mears in the 2009 reboot, and through John Shepherd’s performance as Tommy Jarvis in A NEW BEGINNING (1985).

Tackling a role that had already been fulfilled by other actors—particularly well-known actors—can prove a difficult endeavor, and Tommy Jarvis was no different. For John Shepherd in the fifth installment of the Friday franchise, that fact is and was compounded by a series of issues, not the least of which was timing.

To begin, Corey Feldman was not only the original, but easily the biggest name to have ever portrayed the character. Though THE FINAL CHAPTER opened in April of 1984, less than two months later Feldman would appear in the massively successful GREMLINS, which was closely followed by THE GOONIES, another blockbuster the following year. STAND BY ME hit theatres the year after that, by which time Feldman had become a household name and as a result, towers as the epitome of Tommy Jarvis in the eyes of many fans.

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What’s more, a large portion of those fans regard THE FINAL CHAPTER as the finest of Friday films, whereas A NEW BEGINNING is widely viewed as nothing more than the bridge between Part IV and JASON LIVES, another beloved franchise installment that saw Thom Mathews pick up the Tommy torch, and who already enjoyed cult status for his part in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985).

While one would be hard-pressed to claim that continuity has been a series strong suit, that Mathews’ Jarvis no longer appeared to carry any of the burdens of the trauma he’d endured as a child (or even shortly before the events of Part VI) is a point rarely contended. The fact that JASON LIVES moved at breakneck speed while also embracing the absurdity and humor inherent in the franchise not only endeared it to Friday followers, but made the latter point an easy one to forgive or forget—to say nothing of the fact that Jason wasn’t really even Jason in A NEW BEGINNING. In short, when it comes to the Jarvis trilogy, Shepherd suffered the misfortune of being bookended by a pair of actors seared into the minds of Friday fans as the Alpha and Omega because they happened to helm two of the franchise’s most popular entries.

Key factors all, and components that have relegated Shepherd’s Jarvis to Crystal Lake purgatory. However, it would be a mistake to overlook what Tommy 2.0 brought to the table.

One aspect of Shepherd’s performance that made it so spectacular was that it fittingly followed in the footsteps of Jason from the standpoint that every tortured nuance was offered with nary a word. Writers Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen and Danny Steinmann fashioned A NEW BEGINNING’s screenplay in such a way that the elements of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were not only on full display, but peppered throughout as though boxes to be checked off. It was in what Shepherd did with those opportunities, however, that left it feeling like anything but a laundry list put to film.

Jarvis mirrorWhat’s more, how many performances have the Crystal Lake saga really given us? For as beloved as Betsy Palmer is, her Pamela Voorhees was over the top—for effect to be sure—but over the top, nonetheless. So we’re talking Amy Steel from Part 2 (1981) , Lar Park-Lincoln from THE NEW BLOOD (1988), and Shepherd’s Jarvis from A NEW BEGINNING. So why not celebrate it?

Our first glimpse at Shepherd as Tommy found him waking in an Unger Institute of Mental Health transport van, sweaty and wide-eyed after waking from a nightmare where Jason rose once more. Unable to shake the ghastly events that led to the death of his mother and near murder of his sister at the hands of the Crystal Lake marauder, it was a re-introduction that could have easily fallen into camp, but Shepherd played it with purpose, an effect he wouldn’t relinquish for the duration of the film’s 92-minute runtime.

We bore witness to a character drowning in the symptoms of PTSD. Shepherd’s Jarvis avoided contact and interaction with others whenever possible, and suffered unwanted and intrusive memories of Jason of both the auditory and visual variety. Recurring nightmares made sleep nearly impossible and he was easily startled by nearly everything that crossed his path. Those instances of alarm led to angry outbursts of aggressive behavior because subconscious though they were, whatever figure plagued Jarvis in the moment wasn’t Voorhees, so it served as an outlet for frustration, a punching bag that could be beaten.

True to character, though, Shepherd never ventured too far and instead stayed the course, his fright morphed to resentment and finally to anger, played in such a way that outward reaction was an involuntary response. When Tommy body-slammed Eddie (John Robert Dixon) at breakfast, he was almost immediately pinned to the wall by the head of Pinehurst, Matt (Richard Young), where Shepherd brilliantly conveyed the briefest moment of recognition. As Jarvis snapped back to reality, he glanced at Matt and closed his eyes in remorse, his chest heaving as he collected himself. Later, after he went Chuck Norris on Junior (Ron Sloan) at the trailer park, Tommy was again roused back to the present by Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) and fled at the sad, desperate realization that in those moments, he was unable to control himself.

Jarvis breakfastAnd finally, when Jarvis once more found himself standing face-to-face with “Jason,” Shepherd’s Jarvis was frozen, unable to move until threatened with his own demise. Stabbing his nemesis in the leg, he made his way to the barn loft where he lost consciousness. When he came to and laid eyes on Pam and Reggie (Shavar Ross) in imminent peril, Jarvis, as though having an out of body experience, leapt to action to protect a young woman and child in danger. Thoughts of Shepherd tearfully gazing at the photograph of his mother and sister earlier in the film flood through the audience’s collective mind as they watched Tommy, in a way, save the family he had lost, sending “Jason” / Roy (Dick Wieand) plummeting to his death.

Shepherd’s Jarvis was lost and tormented, and even when his actions were heroic, they emerged reluctantly and never escaped the fractured framework of a younger self who had seen things that could not be unseen.

With the simple decision to follow the path laid by Ginny three films prior, John Shepherd’s turn as Tommy provided FRIDAY THE 13TH more than its finest achievement of the Jarvis trilogy, but the single greatest performance the franchise has ever known.

For a series short on performance, that Shepherd thought beyond the legend and put it in real terms deserves respect, and 34 years on, it’s about time he gets it.

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Live Your Favorite Moments From ‘Friday the 13th’ With New Single Player Update!

When it comes to slasher cinema one franchise defines the genre as a definitive whole. That would be none other than the slasher-film maestro, Friday the 13th.

Growing up nothing was more synonymous with blood-curdling horror than a simple hockey mask. That mask became the unfeeling and inhuman visage of violent rage and unrelenting terror. It captivated our generation’s imagination and we couldn’t get enough Jason!

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Then our dreams (or nightmares) came true. We were given a chance to visit Crystal Lake thanks to Nintendo. We could finally face off against our favorite killer. Sadly the game didn’t meet up with people’s expectations, but many of us still loved it. Even to this day it holds a special place in our hearts. Yet we needed a damn upgrade.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

We wanted to explore the sets from each movie. We wanted to explore each cabin and snoop around the Jarvis house. Well finally someone did something about that and brought to life a game all horror fans dreamt of! Gun Media and IllFonic gave us the frightening chance to explore Crystal Lake with the Friday the 13th The Game.

Not only that but we wanted to be Jason. We wanted to step behind that mask and recreate the famous kills seen in the movies. Once again, the masterminds behind the game’s production have made that possible. As you can see from my screenshots, this game lets us become Jason himself.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Now is the time to jump in the game. Thanks to the latest update gamers can now explore the films like never before. With the highly-anticipated Single-Player Challenges, you will stalk through ten different stages as the iconic masked killer. If you’re familiar with the game already you’ll know it’s praised for its elaborate kills. Already many of the famous murders straight out of the franchise have been employed to great effect.

 

 

However, there was still so much more to be explored as this latest update proves. Providing newer kills at our fingertips and story-set ups taken from our favorite horror series, this is the definitive retro horror experience.

Single-Player Challenges

These Challenges bring the movies all to life.

 

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As Jason, you will need to use stealth and cunning as you hunt down each unsuspecting camper and greet them with a messy, messy fate. One of my personal favorites happens early on and involves a wood chipper. A mother-fucking woodchipper! Buah ha ha ha!!! You’re gonna love it. Another great one introduces someone’s stupid face to the business end of a boat propeller. Oh, it gets nice and messy around here, my ghastlies.

I was laughing like a proper psychopath and worried my roomies.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Each Challenge will judge your gameplay based on whether you get noticed by the campers, whether anyone escapes and whether you meet the score criteria. Each success you achieve will open new emotes for your favorite campers in online play.

Overall this update offers plenty to keep fans cheering for a long time. I’m never disappointed with what this team has been giving us. This is what happens when fans are in charge of a project. So while we may not have a new Friday the 13th film, we can relive the movies now like never before.

 

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image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

So do yourself a big favor and step onto some of horror’s most sacred hunting grounds and experience the movies you’ve loved in a whole new way.

 

Live Your Favorite Moments From 'Friday the 13th' With New Single Player Update!
image via PSN Manic Exorcism

 

Friday the 13th is available for PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One.

This has been Manic Exorcism and I’ll be catching you later.

Someone Made An Actual Movie Trailer For the Friday the 13th NES Game and it is GLORIOUS

“You’re dead. Your friends are dead. Your family’s dead. Your fucking pets are being skinned alive. Your mom’s a fucking whore. You suck at life. The whole world hates you. You’re going to Hell. Live with it. Game Over.” – Via the ever so wise Nintendo Sensi, James Rolfe.

He wasn’t wrong you know. Although the original Friday the 13th game for the Nintendo Entertainment System seemed like a horror fan’s 8-bit wet dream, the frustration of gameplay quickly softened any prepubescent boners we may have had going into this pixelated LJN nightmare. I would never refer to it as a giant piece of donkey shit like some may have dubbed it, but the game itself is a goddamn pain in the ass for sure to get through without blowing your blood pressure out of range.

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Anyway, today being the 13th of Friday here at Nightmare Nostalgia, I figured now is as a good as time as ever to showcase something that any fan of the NES game would appreciate the Holy Pixels out of. Youtube channel Mega64 brought about this hilarious fanmade movie trailer back in 2015 of you guessed it-Friday the 13th The Game The Movie. And it is goddamn gloriously nostalgic from those days of throwing ineffective knives at zombies and flying Pamela Voorhees rotting heads. Complete with VHS static to give it that retro feel, the fanmade trailer nails every aspect of the game that we love to bitch about endlessly. They even throw in the old joke of Jason’s machete looking like a giant toothbrush gag.

It doesn’t really get any better than that folks. Happy Friday the 13th campers!