Don't worry, we will never spoil anything pre-jump, though obviously everything after the break is operating under the assumption you've seen the film to the right, so be warned. And a big tip of our hat to Arbogast on Film for inspiring us with his post The One You Might Have Saved.
In the entire series of Friday films, the body count is absurdly high. I've read numbers of around 150. So we've got plenty of people to choose to pluck from a grisly death. Click past the jump to see who I would have saved.
Name: Tommy Jarvis
Cause of Death/Method of Escape: Completely ignored after 3 sequels.
Verdict: I Would Have Saved Him (or brought him back, at least)
Reason: My pick is kind of a cheat. He's not dead, not unless it happened off camera or in a deleted scene, but the best addition to the franchise since the hockey mask has been cast aside. If you're even passingly familiar with the Friday the 13th series, you're familiar with Tommy Jarvis. First portrayed by the inimitable Corey Feldman in 1984's inappropriately named Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter, Tommy is the closest thing to a nemesis Jason's ever had. They brought Tommy back to face off with Jason in episodes 5 and 6, but after that, he just vanished. Horror movies never capitalize on the protagonist, particularly with slashers. Slasher films most often focus on the audience rooting for the bad guy through some sort of perverse vicariousness. With a few exceptions, like Nancy from the Nightmare on Elm Street films or Syd in the Scream series, we rarely get to see the long term effects of stepping into the ring with a maniac with mommy issues. I can only imagine how disenchanted Jason gets. He wakes up in his Hoover-ville trailer every morning, sighs, grabs his favorite gardening implement, and moans, "Time to make the donuts." Sure, Mama Voorhees tries to console him. She tries to tell him that he's a talented boy and should take pride in his work, but Jason knows the truth. He's tired of hacking up hapless, horny campers. He just shakes his head, laces up his boots, and says, "I don't even know why I'm doing this any more, Mom." Of course, Mama Voorhees would give him an encouraging hug before he stepped out the door, but . . . you know . . . she's just a severed head.
Unlike every single other character that Jason ever tried to carve up, Tommy was interesting. When first played by Corey Feldman, Tommy was an odd kid. He lived in the woods with his mom and sister and made monster masks. Let that sink in for a moment. That's the recipe for a lunatic if I've ever read one. A young Tommy encounters Jason and hacks him to pieces. He was clever and inventive, playing with Jason's chimpanzee-level intellect. In The New Beginning, we learn that Tommy, now played by John Shepherd, is completely unhinged. He's been in a mental institution for years after his battle with Jason, but has recently been upgraded to a halfway house. Full of other crazy people.
In the woods.
Near Crystal Lake.
I'm no psychiatrist, but that's just poor decision making right there. When another lunatic in a hockey mask goes around copycatting Jason, Tommy doesn't take it too well. Some would say that his reaction was a bit extreme. He loses his damned monkey mind and the end of the film flirts with establishing him as the new Jason. With little explanation, he's back in part VI, Jason Lives, and he's on a mission. Plagued with demons, he runs off to the forest to dig up Jason and cut on him some more. Bad idea. Lightning resurrects Jason and introduces us to Jason the Superzombie. Tommy, now played by Thom Matthews, assumes the role of obsessed anti-hero and sends Jason back to his watery grave. Subsequent sequels left Tommy out of the equation. He was dealt with a bit in the comics, but only in passing and not really in anything that could be considered 'canon'. After that, Jason himself hit some rough times. He fought a psychic chick, went to Manhattan (for a few minutes), was revealed to be some sort of demon worm, got sent to hell, went to space, got turned into a cyborg, and scrapped with Fred Krueger (not necessarily in that order).
So abandoning Tommy really didn't work out best for anyone.