THEN: Arrow in the Head is going to look back at some of the horror greats and ask the question… Where are they now? This week, we look at a man The Arrow himself once called the “Paul Newman of horror flicks, and I agree wholeheartedly! Thom Mathews is most famous for his work as Tommy Jarvis in the 1986 killer sequel FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES. He was the last actor to play the role originally given life by a young Corey Feldman (FRIDAY THE 13th PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER) and subsequently John Shepherd (FRIDAY THE 13th PART V: A NEW BEGINNING). For me however, it was Mathews humor and tough guy bravado that made him stand out as a f*cked up Jason survivor.
Equally relevant from a horror fans perspective was his work in the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD film series. In the original feature from 1985 he portrayed uber-cool punk rocker Freddy. After being turned into a brain hungry zombie, the actor was resurrected for the 1987 sequel, appropriately titled RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II as Joey. Much like he did facing off against Jason Voorhees, he battled the undead like a pro, even if he wasn’t quite so lucky in this particular franchise.
Throughout the years, Mr. Mathews appeared in a number of B-movies including MEAN GUNS, HEATSEEKER, BLOOD MATCH and lest we forget KICKBOXER 4: THE AGGRESSOR. Yet his career was not limited to kickboxing flicks. He also made the occasional foray into major motion pictures alongside superstar George Clooney in THE PEACEMAKER and the hit television series E.R. with a guest spot. Strangely enough, the actor’s last role is in a spiritual coming of age drama entitled A LETTER TO DAD which is listed twice in IMDB. It seems that from the original production in 1994, the film had been credited to another writer and director and officially released in 2009. And while that may be Mathews final film appearance, we horror fans will always have the fondest memories of the actor kicking ass and taking names as opposed to writing a letter to his a-hole father.
NOW: So where the hell is Thom? Currently the man who battled the undead and Jason Voorhees has seemingly left the silver screen altogether. According to Wikipedia, he co-owns the construction site Hammer Trowel Builders in Studio City, California, a company that received attention when they remodeled Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s home for the hit MTV series “The Osbournes.” You can also find the actor on his official Facebook page and he looks to be happy enough enjoying the fruits of his labor. Thankfully for his horror movie fans, he seemingly makes an appearance or two at one of the many horror conventions around the country.
Thom Mathews is a badass genre vet and while he may not be making the movies he once did, at least we will always have Tommy Jarvis! Unlike many of today’s horror heroes, he offered an honest to goodness real dude quality to his work. Hell, even re-watching HEATSEEKER a couple of weeks ago, I found that he stole the movie from the film’s less-than-stellar leading man. With movie magic far behind him at least I know who I’m gonna call if I need any construction! Mr. Mathews… we here at Arrow in the Head salute you!
Are you a fan of Thom Mathews? In which flick was he more badass?