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Every Main Character From The Friday The 13th Franchise Ranked

Released in 1980, "Friday the 13th" picked up the ball from "Halloween" and ran with it to such an extent that the franchise became the slasher gold standard for decades. Unlike "Halloween," however, it took a few movies for the iconography of the series to settle in. The first film doesn't have a masked killer with a spooky backstory stalking teenagers. Instead, all the murder sequences are handled through POV shots to maintain the mystery around the killer's identity. Also, the murderer in that film (Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees, played by Betsy Palmer) is 100% dead by the end.

It wouldn't be until "Friday the 13th Part 2" that the villain mainstream audiences associate with the franchise would take the reins as the killer. Even then, he didn't look like Jason Voorhees. He didn't get that signature hockey mask until the third film. By then, the structure and mascot had become firmly established, and a horror icon was truly born.

Still, you can't have an iconic villain without some excellent characters to pit him against. Although strong characterization has never been a specialty of this franchise, it has managed to produce some protagonists who stand shoulder to shoulder with other great horror characters. Since "Friday the 13th" will never truly die, we're going to take a look at those characters that helped shape the franchise (for better and worse) and rank them from disposable to legendary. (Warning — there are spoilers below.)

12. Rowan LaFontaine

After Jason Voorhees was finally sent to Hell but before he faced off against Freddy Krueger, he went to space in "Jason X." Technically, the movie takes place after the events of "Freddy vs. Jason," but in terms of theatrical release, this film was first. The movie is every bit as cheesy as you'd expect. That being said, it delivers on its premise: This is a "Friday the 13th" movie in space. Most of the tropes are present, and Jason does his business just as expertly as he would if he were on his home turf of Crystal Lake.

Unfortunately, there's almost nothing interesting about any of the characters. They're just bodies for Jason to dispose of in inventive ways (as is normally the case with these movies). The one character with a bit more shading to her is Rowan LaFontaine (Lexa Doig). She was a scientist working with Dr. Wimmer (David Cronenberg) in 2010, and they were studying Jason because of his regenerative capabilities. However, she knew messing with Jason was a bad idea.

She then became cryogenically frozen with Jason before waking up in the year 2455 alongside the hockey-masked killer. Whenever these characters have a bit of a past with Jason, it's always more interesting. Unfortunately, in Rowan's case, nothing much is done with this history. She's more of a plot device than anything else, simply there to provide context, which is why she ranks at the very bottom of the list.

11. Rennie Wickham

Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett) is probably the best character to represent the film she appears in because there's the appearance of creating something interesting with absolutely none of the follow-through. "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan" sounds like a fun, campy movie with the titular antagonist just living it up in the Big Apple. It promises a massive body count as Jason swings his machete in Times Square, but nothing like that happens.

Instead, most of the movie takes place on a boat with a bunch of nothing characters. The stuff that does take place in Manhattan has its moments, but it's nothing compared to what that title suggests. Rennie is the same way. She appears to be a character with some depth, an inner turmoil she's working through that her trip to New York City is sure to either resolve or exacerbate. It kind of does both while doing neither at the same time. Yeah, she has creepy visions of a little boy drowning, and that's interesting at first, but it winds up going nowhere substantive. It isn't the actor's fault, but just like the rest of the movie, Rennie is nothing but wasted potential.

10. Clay Miller

In 2009, both Sam and Dean Winchester (the demon-hunting brothers from "Supernatural") showed up in two slasher movie remakes. Well, the actors who played them did anyway. First up was Jensen Ackles in the fun, atmospheric remake of "My Bloody Valentine." Then, just about a month later, Jared Padalecki starred in the reboot of "Friday the 13th."

If nothing else about the film can be said, at least it honors the legacy of the original four "Friday the 13th" entries. The entire first half hour is, essentially, an update of the first two films with the rest feeling like a mishmash of the third and fourth. In fact, this remake is so true to the style and expectations of your average "Friday the 13th" that it feels more like a sequel rather than a reboot.

Where it really falters is the heroes. These are some of the most mindless, uninteresting, and flat-out obnoxious characters in the franchise's history. As for Padalecki, he plays Chris, a guy searching for his missing sister. He's the one character with an actual goal and something to focus on. Because of this, he doesn't have time to be quite so annoying. Unfortunately, he's essentially a rehash of Erich Anderson's Rob from "The Final Chapter" with no additional substance. So, we've seen him before, and he wasn't that interesting the first time either.

9. Trish Jarvis

There are so many characters in "Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter" that determining the main character is difficult. There are a few fun ones you love to watch (like Crispin Glover's Jimmy), but with so many people to keep track of, there isn't much room for story. But ultimately, if we're talking main characters, it comes down to two. First, you've got the most interesting character with Tommy Jarvis, played expertly by a young Corey Feldman. He's the most observant and proactive person in the film, and he gets to kill Jason at the end.

But he isn't the only main character of "The Final Chapter," as he shares those duties with his older sister, Trish (Kimberly Beck). She bridges the gap between young Tommy and all the teens partying by the lake. Sadly, she's not given much of anything to do, although she is there with Tommy at the end and puts up a good fight herself. But as the co-main character of the flick, Trish just doesn't really compare to her wily little brother. Sure, she's likable enough, she seems to love her sibling, and there's nothing really wrong with her. Unfortunately, she's just kind of there, which means you kind of fade into the background when competing with Corey Feldman.

8. Steven Freeman

"Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" makes it very clear to the audience that it's a different (and disappointing) "Friday the 13th" movie. Jason is blown to bits in the cold open, and we don't see him again until the climax. The rest of the movie is devoted to his soul leaping from one host to another as he hunts after his niece because she has the power to bring him back to life.

For a nice chunk of the movie, you think Diana Kimble (Erin Gray) is going to be the main character because we spend so much time with her, investing in the secret she's obviously harboring. Then she just dies, and everything shifts over to Steven Freeman. Steven is the father of Diana's granddaughter, and since Diana is Jason's half-sister, that means Steven's ex, Jessica (Kari Keegan), and their infant child are related to the mass murderer. That's never a good thing.

Even worse, when Diana's murdered, Steven is taken into custody. Then he and a bizarre bounty hunter named Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) break out of jail and try to stop Jason from doing very bad things to his loved ones. Yeah, it's a weird movie. And Steven is a slightly annoying character with no real depth, but at least he has a very clear goal. He's facing very real stakes because not only is his daughter's life in danger, he needs to prove he was wrongfully accused of murder. Had the movie chosen to stick with him from the start, we may have gotten to know more about him, giving him a higher spot on the list.

7. Lori Campbell

After years of waiting, Freddy and Jason finally met on the big screen for a loud, gory confrontation for the ages. "Freddy vs. Jason" was always going to be a difficult movie to get right because both characters exist in very different worlds. Aside from the fact that he becomes a zombie in the latter part of the "Friday" franchise, most of Jason's movies are deeply grounded in the mundane. Freddy, on the other hand, exists entirely in the realm of dreams.

The filmmakers managed to make it work as best they could by essentially weaving the two elements together. The moments where Jason kills feel very "Friday the 13th," and all the dream stuff works for a "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie. Even the characters are something of a hybrid. Most of them are vain and shallow, with little sparks of humanity here and there. The main character, Lori (Monica Keena), definitely feels like she could exist in either franchise.

She knows Freddy killed her mother and has a personal vendetta against him, but she's also interested in getting into Jason's psyche, just like the best of the "Friday" protagonists. The reason she appears somewhere in the middle of this list is that she's still something of a plot device, whose sole purpose is to get Freddy and Jason to fight. Still, she's interesting enough to put her higher than characters with similar roles.

6. Alice Hardy

Typically, in a long-running franchise of any kind, the original is heralded as the one that started it all. Even if the hardcore fans have their favorite sequels, the first one is seen as sacrosanct. The characters are often revered and thought to be the ones by which all others are compared. That isn't really the case with the first "Friday the 13th." It establishes the format and Jason Voorhees' backstory, but that's about it.

As we've already mentioned, Jason isn't the killer here, and the movie tries to be more of a mystery than anything else. Therefore, it's kind of seen as a necessary step rather than the keystone of the franchise. Look no further than its main character, Alice (Adrienne King). She is not the Laurie Strode of the series. She's just the main character of the first movie. That being said, she's a pretty good protagonist.

Other than the fact that Kevin Bacon plays one of the victims, none of these kids are very remarkable. Alice, though, feels like a real person. Thanks to Adrienne King's performance, she's warm, kind, and friendly, without being meek or prudish. Steve (Peter Brouwer) can be a bit forward with her, but she doesn't shrink away from him. Instead, she stands her ground and lets him know she's not ready to jump into anything. This makes us gravitate to her right away and root for her survival. That's more than can be said for a lot of the characters in these movies.

5. Chris Higgins

Alice and Ginny (Amy Steel) from the first two "Friday" films have no connection whatsoever to what's happening to them. They're just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In "Friday the 13th Part III," there's a slight alteration to the previous formula. Instead of having a character discover Jason for the first time, the character of Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) actually encountered Jason before the film began.

She tells the story about coming home late from a date only to have her parents lose it on her. Frustrated, she ran out in the dark. While sitting by a tree, a huge, deformed man (Jason) came out of the woods and grabbed her. She was able to get away, but the encounter still haunts her. In any other franchise, this would be the bare minimum when it comes to character work. In a "Friday the 13th" movie, though, it instantly makes the character stand out from the rest.

Her history with Jason (though brief) adds an extra dimension to both her and the final confrontation. She isn't some random woman trying to survive — this is personal. It raises the stakes in a way that makes the climax of the film all the more thrilling. It's rewarding to see her get her revenge ... even if Jason just keeps coming back.

4. Tina Shepard

Unlike "Jason Takes Manhattan," "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood" lives up to its title. Although the movie has a similar look and atmosphere (and there's plenty of dimwitted young people jumping around), it moves the needle just enough to breathe some new life into the franchise. While the previous installment, "Jason Lives," turned the franchise into blockbuster territory, "The New Blood" brought the tone back to its classic roots with one major change: telekinesis.

There are two firsts in the film. This is the first time Kane Hodder (the actor most associated with the role) plays Jason. Plus, it's the first time supernatural powers are brought into the mix. The main character, Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), is a young woman with a terrible curse. When she's under extreme stress, she can move things with her mind. Not only that, if she isn't careful, her powers can kill.

As a child, she accidentally killed her father by using her ability to destroy the dock he was standing on, sending him into the lake to drown. Years later, she's still coping with this while a series of murders occurs nearby. This leads to one of the most visually striking and exciting final confrontations with Jason as it literally becomes brains vs. brawn. Her tragic backstory, inner conflict, and ability to take on Jason with her mind make her a fantastically entertaining character.

3. Tommy Jarvis

Michael Myers has Laurie Strode. Freddy Krueger has Nancy Thompson. Jason Voorhees has Tommy Jarvis. These are the would-be victims that the killer just can't seem to get rid of. Sure, Freddy and Michael sort of killed their ultimate victims, but they were brought back in different forms. Tommy's returned multiple times as well, but on each occasion, a different actor has played the part (Corey Feldman, John Shepherd, Thom Mathews).

We meet Tommy as a nerdy kid who likes computers and making monster masks in "Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter." He kills Jason by making himself up to look like the slasher as a deformed child, confusing Jason enough to get the drop on him and start hacking. In "Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning" Tommy lives in a shelter for troubled youths, but in "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives," Tommy is an adult on a mission to send Jason to hell.

He's great at first because the audience can see themselves in Tommy. Once he becomes this franchise's version of Van Helsing, he becomes even more interesting because we've never seen a character so hellbent on tracking Jason down and doing him in for good. If ever you wanted to do a 2018 "Halloween" style reboot, the legacy character you bring back is Tommy Jarvis. 

2. Jason Voorhees

Even if he didn't show up officially until the sequel (his bit at the end of the original doesn't count because it was a dream), Jason Voorhees is undoubtedly the star of the "Friday the 13th" franchise. These movies are about watching him do what he does best and reveling in it. There's something comforting about his lack of personality and the overall simplicity of the films themselves. You know what you're going to get with a Jason movie, and that's kind of nice.

He isn't a mystery like Michael Myers, and he isn't a vibrant character like Freddy. Jason Voorhees is a hulking mass of anger, and that is it. Yes, he has a tragic backstory that makes you feel the tiniest bit bad for him, but overall, he is unbridled rage stalking the woods by Camp Crystal Lake, the alleys of Manhattan, and the very cosmos itself. Jason is what he is, and that's all he needs to be.

1. Ginny Field

In "Friday the 13th Part II," you can start to see the shape of what the franchise would become. It's a more confident film than its predecessor while still maintaining its rough edges. Instead of POV shots of people being murdered by an unseen assailant, we get to see the imposing figure of a man with a sack on his head charging at his victims. That added tension and immediacy that wasn't quite there before.

The same also goes for the main character — Ginny, played by Amy Steel. She still comes across as an average American young woman just trying to get by, but she's observant. She's the first person to really think about the Jason legend. She doesn't just dismiss it as a spooky story used to scare campers. Instead, she considers how it must've felt for Jason to see his mother get beheaded by Alice.

Due to that consideration, she's able to manipulate and fool Jason into thinking that she is his mother. That bit of cleverness immediately established her as the standout final girl for years to come. If anything, her empathy and intelligence made her the template for all the slasher movie protagonists to follow.