Tag Archives: Jason Lives

Cavity Colors! Art For ‘Friday the 13th’ Never Looked Better!

I ran into the fine folks at Cavity Colors while attending Monsterpalooza down in L.A. and have been a fan ever since. Their use of colors against violent and vivid images from the horror franchises we grew up loving are impossible to ignore and are the standard they stand by.

image via Attack on Planet B, art by Cavity Colors

High quality and searing imagination go into each new project they work on, and as result, give the horror community some of the best-looking posters and shirts you’ll find this side of Hell.

For this Friday the 13th I wanted to showcase what amazing things they’ve done with Jason, my absolute favorite slasher killer.

They have so much more to offer fans and you can check them out here.

Happy Friday the 13th!

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.

Jarvis glasses

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.

Jarvis window

Ya-Bang: Vinny Guastaferro Reflects on the Legacy of Jason Lives

“One of the great, great things about horror movies is that because there’s almost, I don’t want to use the words ‘cult following,’ but a fanatic fan base, they last forever.”

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI hit theatres on August 1, 1986, and three decades on, it’s a film that has not only demonstrated the staying power Vinny Guastaferro described, but seems to be gaining in popularity with each passing year. To mark the 32nd anniversary of Jason Voorhees’ resurrection, Guastaferro shared some memories of one the most popular, and certainly most unique chapters in franchise history.

Guastaferro came to the role of Deputy Rick Colone after being cast in Bullpen, a baseball play that revolved around the “banter between the pitchers” in the bullpen of a New York Yankees / Boston Red Sox contest that was directed by Tom McLoughlin.

The mastermind behind Friday’s sixth chapter, “like a lot of people in Hollywood,” shared with Guastaferro that “I just got a job doing a big movie and I’d like you to be in the movie,” the Jason Lives writer and director told the man who would go on to be Colone, “but it’s for Paramount Pictures and you have to audition and everything.”

Guastaferro didn’t mind the specter of an audition because “fighting for a role is part of what an actor is inured to.” It wasn’t until Guastaferro read the script, however, that he became excited for a “terrific role,” because he would be playing a cop with “a singular agenda,” itching to shoot somebody or something, who was “kind of the comic relief and the asshole all at once.”

McLoughlin loved Guastaferro’s take on the character, as would the fans. The rest, as they say, is history.

The overwhelming fan response to Deputy Rick from the Friday faithful was a bit foreign to Guastaferro at first. He wondered if some of the fans were a bit crazy, what with couples waking around conventions with two-year olds in strollers, others with his lines tattooed on body parts, and stories of 10-year olds watching with their parents. But the more exposure he had to horror aficionados, the more Guastaferro came to realize that it was all about the love of Jason Lives being handed down from generation-to-generation.

“I actually came to appreciate the fans and the fanaticism for these movies a little bit later because I just did [Jason Lives] as a movie and said ‘I hope it’s good,’ and it was good.” Guastaferro admits to being “a little prejudiced” when saying that he believes Part VI to be “the best of the whole franchise,” but legions of fans back up that assertion. “Look, I know people who are fanatic about this movie who are still under 10 years old, and I know people that are fanatics about this movie that are about 65 or 70 years old.”

That a horror flick filmed in Georgia three decades back has enjoyed an almost incomprehensible shelf life is humbling to Guastaferro.

“It’s been a privilege to be in a movie that has had this kind of recognition for this many years. People still email me and Facebook me and call me Rick and deputy, and they quote my lines. Pretty amazing to me.”

The affable New Jersey native is very humorous by nature, and wasted no time noting that one of those lines that gets quoted constantly has been more rewarding than the wife he got out of the production.

You read right.

Red dotGuastaferro had been dating Cynthia Kania, who along with Roger Rose was brought in to play Annette following principle photography to be double-skewered on a motor scooter to ensure McLoughlin reached the picture’s death quota. And when asked which ranked higher, landing the line or the spouse, Guastaferro didn’t hesitate.

“Ohhh, having one of the most memorable lines, I was gonna get that wife no matter what,” Guastaferro shot back. “I had met her a little earlier, and I had dated her, but definitely having the line. Are you kidding?! ‘Wherever the red dot goes, ya-bang!’ is something that I get in the mail, I get people sending me photos with that written on it, I had a woman in Vienna (Austria) show up at one of the horror cons I did over there, and she had that line tattooed on her fucking arm!”

“I think having the line is probably the most rewarding thing ever,” Guastaferro said. “I mean, I was watching Predator the other night, and I love the line (adopting an Ahnold accent) ‘If it bleeds, we can kill it.’ And I thought, ‘Yeah! I own one of those lines!’ I’m really happy to have that (laughs).”

It was a line Guastaferro came up with himself, exclaiming “Ya-bang!” when McLoughlin presented him with the hand cannon and scope that would be used in the cemetery scene, a benefit of the trust established through his previous project with McLoughlin. “Tom gave me a lot of leeway in there, and I invented some of the lines and improvised and he decided to keep them because he wanted the character to be revealed as partly a jerk, and funny.”

The line (and the decision to keep it) was inspired, because with the fans, all these decades later, the red dot still hits the target.

“I’ve been to conventions where people have asked me to write it on their ass, on their bald head with a permanent marker, on their cleavage. Girls would come in with crop tops on and have me write ‘Wherever the red dot goes, ya-bang!’ right across [the small of their back].”

For those scoring at home, Guastaferro and Kania were married a month after they wrapped on Jason Lives, but the legacy of “ya-bang!” isn’t lost on Guastaferro.

“I felt good every night knowing that the audience was leaving touched by what I did (on stage), but it’s nowhere near as rewarding as knowing that there are friggin’ five million people out there who were enamored of Friday the 13th,” Guastaferro reflected.

“Listen, every actor wants to know that what they did had some kind of impact on people,” Guastaferro said. After more than 50 films, 100 television appearances and extensive theatre performances, it hasn’t been the dramatic roles with social messages that have endured, but a horror film from 1986.

“It’s not deep, it’s not meaningful, it’s not about social cause or change, it’s entertainment. And that’s what Tom wanted it to be.”

Guastaferro referred to Jason Lives as “the king of my movies,” and continued, “I am so pleased, I’m so pleased. One of my proudest movies is Friday the 13th.

Ted White, who portrayed Jason in The Final Chapter, is apt to say “Always leave them wanting more,” a sentiment echoed by Guastaferro. “Smile and laugh, that’s what we want.”

It’s been 32 years since Deputy Rick Colone unholstered his sidearm. We’re still smiling, and still laughing.

Guastaferro