Friday Conversation: Trilogies Within The Franchise

Posted 03 Dec 2024 in The Saga

Hidden within the Friday the 13th franchise are two trilogy storylines that helped drive the Paramount films of the 1980′s. The first trilogy centers around the events of Friday the 13th Part 2 through Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. These three films not only introduce Jason Voorhees as the maniacal killer of Crystal Lake, provide him the iconic hockey mask, and introduce Tommy Jarvis as a central character in the franchise, but also take place within a fews days of each other.

Friday the 13th Part 2 setup Jason Voorhees as the quintessential slasher and his story and circumstances were ripe for a franchise to be born. The ending of that film left open the possibilities of future Jason adventures and that is exactly what happened. Friday the 13th Part 3 picked up that very same day from the end of Part 2 after Ginny is driven away in the ambulance. Jason leaves the Camp Crystal Lake area and decides to change some clothes before he heads out to Higgins Haven. After meeting up with Chris Higgins and her carefree friends, Jason suffers the iconic fatal axe blow to his head and is left in the barn for the film’s finale. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter begins the very same day as the last shot of Jason laying in the barn at Higgins Haven. After Jason is taken to the morgue, he awakes and heads to the residence of the Jarvis family for this trilogies swan song and the introduction of Tommy Jarvis.

The second trilogy within the franchise is the Tommy Jarvis trilogy, which runs from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter through Jason Lives: Friday the Part 6. This set of three films do not succeed each other from day to day as the other trilogy does, but they are all tied together by the Tommy Jarvis Character. The three parts of this second trilogy introduce the Tommy character, explore the emotional trauma that he suffered at the hands of Jason Voorhees, and then finally show how he deals with the trauma and his past. Interestingly enough, Jason seems to be the backstory in these films if you follow the  trilogy mode of thought for these three films. Tommy is not as prevelant a character in The Final Chapter, but he plays the most important part in the film by the end of the story.

So, knowing that there is indeed trilogies within the series, which trilogy laid out here is more interesting or relevent to the Friday the 13th franchise? Could these trilogies be watched on their own as seperate film series and be enjoyed solely in that capacity?

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  1. CaptainSubtext (03 Dec 2024, 7:15)

    I’ld say the most interesting aspect of any of the trilogies, is the Tommy Jarvis arch. Although it’s hardly an arch. In that respect Part 5 is the strongest entry, mainly because of the actor playing Tommy Jarvis. I feel like that movie is overlooked sometimes. As far as drama, it’s arguably be the best entry.

    But the narative of Friday The 13th isn’t strong enough to be of any interest to watch the movies as a trilogy. These movies were meant to be fun, scary, gore fests and they succeed on that level, but not as anything else. In my opinion of course.

    What IS good about the Tommy Jarvis thing, is that for the first time there’s a Laurie Strode character in Friday The 13th, someone who carries the movies’ narative. I’m alway much more interested in the victims(if it’s written well, of course) than the killer. So in that aspect I think they were on to something.

    I don’t care much for the development of Jason(Part 2-4), because there’s not much there, other than what he’s wearing. Again, it’s much more engaing(for me) to follow the narative from the victim’s point of view than the killer’s.

    So yeah. For me, it’s the Tommy Jarvis Trailogy.

  2. TheRustyMachete (03 Dec 2024, 14:24)

    I agree with CaptainSubtext in that Part V is severely underrated, and that the portrayal of Tommy Jarvis went deeper than the guy-with-the-lisp in part VI.

    Having said that, the Tommy Jarvis/Laurie Strode comparison doesn’t ring true to me, mainly because the writing for Jamie Lee Curtis’ character was much better than what was given the actors for parts IV, V, and VI, and part VI just didn’t feel like a Friday to me. It was to tongue-in-cheek for me and Tommy’s character was given a “too easy” close to his story. There’s much more there to explore between Tommy and Jason than the films gave us and could have given the Fridays more credibility, at least with the writing.

    Maybe the Tommy character will see the light of day again in the new series and be given more to work with. His is a character that does have the Strode potential if treated properly.

  3. CaptainSubtext (03 Dec 2024, 15:49)

    I agree. Don’t get me wrong, the Tommy Jarvis arch is nothing compared to the arch of Laurie in Halloween, Halloween 2 and then Halloween H20. H20, of course directed by Steve Miner.

  4. CrystalLakeSlasher (03 Dec 2024, 16:17)

    I actually like the trilogy of part 2-4 better as it seems like a more cohesive storyline with a definite conclusion, even though more sequels were made after. I have always been a big fan of the fact that these films took place within days of each other.

  5. eric (03 Dec 2024, 17:04)

    I agree… Part 2 thru 4 is a much better trilogy then the latter. In terms of trilogy’s, Friday part 5 is far from the “empire strikes back” of the series. I’m one of the few that doesn’t like Friday part 5. Honestly, I think Jason goes to Hell is a much better film then part 5. Just my opinion. To each his own, right? @captain subtext… I agree with you on Halloween. I’m a huge fan of both series, but Halloween really had the trilogy. I’ve seen all the Halloween films and own them all(even the crappy remake) but I look at the original films as 1,2, & h20 are the only films with in the series. Halloween 1, 2 & H20 are the only films people need to see to understand the series and characters of Lauire and Michael. The rest are not necessary. For me, the Halloween trilogy is up there with the original Star Wars trilogy.

  6. De@d-Fuck (03 Dec 2024, 18:21)

    Two good trilogies in one series. George Lucas can’t say that for himself. Nor can Freddy, Michael or Leatherface.

  7. JB Demented (03 Dec 2024, 19:41)

    I guess I would say parts 2-4 is the best trilogy. Basically because the first 4 are the best installments of the series. It has Manfredinis best music, and some of the greatest kills Jason has ever done. But I also love the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. Its cool to see a reoccuring character return and yet live again. I would say Tommy is one of Jasons toughest opponents. Alice returned in part 2, but only to be killed off by Jason. I think She shouldve lived longer. Plus She didnt even see who was killing Her, it couldve been anyone as far as She knows.

    I guess You can say I love both trilogies for different reasons. The 2-4 trilogy is cool because its days apart from each other. Part 2 is the only installment We see sackhead Jason, He gets His hockey mask, and in 4 we get the FX of Tom Savini. But most importantly those 3 movies stuck to the formula that has become famous in the Jason movies. And part 4 has the scariest music Manfredini ever wrote. After that His music was good but not as chilling.

    The Tommy Jarvis trilogy is good because Tommy became Jasons arch enemy. In part 4 Tommy killed Jason in such brutal fashion, basically before that Jason never got it as bad. I like the story that follows Him into the next 2 films. Theres alot of good dialogue in parts 4-6. Especially 5 and 6, thats when they started adding humor and more plot to the series. The interaction of Tommy and Sherrif Garris is cool. They have a hate hate relationship, as for His daughter the exact opposite. And in 5, We see what Jason has done to Tommys mind. All those hallucinations, I really felt bad for the kid.

    The bottom line is that FT13th has alot of continuity throughout the series. One thing Ive always respected and love about the series. Yeah theres alot of bloopers, but hey thats half the fun pointing them out.

  8. francisco (04 Dec 2024, 1:14)

    I like both trilogies for different reasons, but I prefer the trilogy beginning with pt. 2. I’ve always looked at the series in this particular aspect: fist the original first 3 films, then the Tommy Jarvis films (4,5,& 6) and finally the late 80′s Kane Hodder’s Jason movies (part 7 & 8). But I appreciate the Tommy Jarvis trilogy because there are not a lot of characters that we followed throught the films other than Tommy Jarvis, making Tommy Jason’s real nemesis. So Tommy Jarvis is to Jason what Laurie Strode is to Michael Myers and what Nancy Thompson is to Freddy Krueger in other words.

  9. DrJohnMan (04 Dec 2024, 8:35)

    In terms of storytelling, it is the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. I absolutely love this because we are watching a person’s life unfold… which is a fantastic way of telling a story. I love so many of the Friday movies… but I believe it was the story of Tommy Jarvis, which made Friday the 13th my favorite series of films. His story added depth… and made this whole thing more than just a slasher film He was a man tormented by a serial killer in his youth… and as he grew, he faced not only the dark shadows that the killer left within his soul, but a copycat killer… and the orginal killer back from the dead. (making this go from a serial killer to a monster movie) To me, the Tommy Jarvis arc is fantastic. He should always be what Vans Helsing is to Dracula. If/when any more Friday films are made, his story can add a lot of depth to those films. Which i like…

    Now, if only New Line didn’t kill of Nancy in Elm Street 3….

    I still believe that one of the reasons certain films like Friday, Elm Street, Halloween, etc… become big, is not only for the bad guy/murderer/monster, but the people who really stand up against them….

  10. DrJohnMan (04 Dec 2024, 8:37)

    The first trilogy seems to be about the final days of mass murderer Jason Voorhees and his desire to really go out with a bang.

    The second trilogy is about a survivor from Jason’s last days… and his story of overcoming the darkness that Jason orginally placed within his soul.

    Who says Friday the 13th DOESN’T have a story? lol

  11. DrJohnMan (04 Dec 2024, 8:46)

    The Tommy Jarvis vs Laurie Strode trilogy’s.

    This is a tough one to look at because Halloween 1 and 2 are fantastic films. (especially 1… maybe the greatest “slasher” movie of all time)

    While the movies overall were prolly better in the Laurie Strode trilogy (H20 wasn’t great… but it was good to see Laurie get her revenge) I though Tommy’s story was MUCH better than Lauries. It really had the potential to be much better if the writers went more in depth… but even with what we say, I enjoy Tommy more than Laurie.

    Laurie basically disappeared and went into hiding after Halloween 2. Though she had nightmares and struggled with aspects of her past, she was still have to live a somewhat normal life of dating, teaching at a nice school, and even raising a child.

    Tommy had none of that. Facing Jason, and having him murder his mother, really screwed him up. The result of that terrible night in Friday4 really sent him down spiraling into a darkside. Over the next… possible 20 years of growing up, he had to fight and climb out of that before having his ultimate victory.

    So… Ultimately I believe Tommy to be a much better character than Laurie Strode.

    Laure did have a few advantages over Tommy… 1) John Carpenters involvement with H1 and H2. 2) The fact that Jamie Lee Curtis is the only person to play Laurie is a great fact also.

    Still, Tommys story is better in my book.

  12. Ian (04 Dec 2024, 19:12)

    I disagree with this a little bit. Though I see your point by making connections through a central character, some movies are closer to others in just story terms. Like the original Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part II. They’re both VERY similar, carry over with the conclusion to the last surviving character, make a connection to last movie’s killer (specifically as the motive), and tell the true story of Jason. Part 4 – 5 are pretty close, and it works well storywise with a sequel, but part 6 definately doesn’t belong. Sure, Tommy is brought back, but there’s virtually no other connective tissue, since it’s virtually a sequel to Part 4.
    That being said, my favorite is the original Jason saga; Part 2 introduces an intersting plot twist to the series, Part 3 follows Jason’s revenge, but Part 4 makes things interesting again with Jason’s supposed last stand.

  13. Sybren van der Schoot (05 Dec 2024, 13:39)

    I’m into the Tommy Jarvis trilogy…it’s also a growing-experience…part 4 has Tommy being a kid having Jason as enemy and finally killing him, then in part 5 Tommy is a teenager who is suffering from his encounter with Jason..and eventhough part 6 tried to forget the predecessor, Tommy is a grown guy and batteling Jason once more…it’s a bit like what Captain Subtexkt wrote..Tommy Jarvis is kind of like the Laurie Strode for the Friday franchise…and it’s more interesting to have a cast thats getting killed by the serial killer, than having alot of background from the killer himself ( although I think Jason is a ‘real’ character)

    I’m just amazed that we are having these kinds of conversations about a movie-character(s)…it’s really something special, and just want to say ( again) that i’m very happy to have discovered this website with all kinds of info about my favorite horrormovie franchise…great work guys!

  14. Innocent Bystander (07 Dec 2024, 4:27)

    Don’t forget the “Zombie Jason Trilogy” between Parts VI – VIII. I love how the whole thing draws to a conclusion in the NYC gutters. Nice touch, Paramount!

  15. Andrea (30 Dec 2024, 23:39)

    I agree thatthe Tommy Jarvis trilogy is the best of the series. The character is also strong in that, not only does his sotry unfold well, but there is a happy ending for him (assumed anyway). We have to assume that he ends up with Megan…that they ran away together! This is very much unlike the story of Laurie Strode, where she lost her mind as an adult and dies in the worst way. Tommy saves his sisters life, recovers his sanity…and kills his demons once and for all. Like I said b4, I like to assume that his character ran away with Megan…which is why he was never heard from again. Her character in part VI was strong…something he would need to fight off the demons and lose give up his obsessive thinking about Jason…being able to move away and leave it all behind.

  16. Andrea (30 Dec 2024, 23:42)

    I agree that the Tommy Jarvis trilogy is the best of the series. The character is also strong in that, not only does his story unfold well, but there is a happy ending for him (assumed anyway). We have to assume that he ends up with Megan…that they ran away together! This is very much unlike the story of Laurie Strode, where she lost her mind as an adult and dies in the worst way. Tommy saves his sisters life, recovers his sanity…and kills his demons once and for all. Like I said b4, I like to assume that his character ran away with Megan…which is why he was never heard from again. Her character in part VI was strong…something he would need to fight off the demons and give up his obsessive thinking about Jason…being able to move away and leave it all behind.

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