Wednesday, October 6, 2021

7 Slasher Movie Characters All Named Tina

by Joel Edmiston
Last year, on a rewatch of the Friday the 13th series, I noticed there are three different characters named Tina spread across the franchise. I thought this was unusual, because I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone named Tina, and yet so many were turning up in this one-cottage town. I just went on thinking that maybe there was an olympic swimmer or something from Crystal Lake named Tina that they were all named after. Then, as I went on watching and rewatching slasher films of the '70s, '80s and '90s (as cool guys like me tend to do), I kept hearing that name “Tina.” It’s an extremely common name in all these movies, not just in Friday the 13th films. I don’t know why. Was it a common name back then? I have no idea. I wasn’t even born yet. This is not an investigative piece on why this phenomenon took place. I’m just going to talk about the Tinas. It’s time for Tina Talk, baby!

SO, there’s no particular order here. This isn’t a ranking. It’s a celebration.

Also, the title of the list isn’t “Top 7.” I’m not really leaving anything out. Seven is all that I found, but 7 is still a lot, right? I mean, it’s at least enough to necessitate an article, right? This is certainly a curious phenomenon. Anyway, let me know if I missed any, please, and I will apologize and quietly curse at myself for being so foolish.

Before we begin, I should give a spoiler warning for all these movies. Some of the Tinas survive, and, I’m sorry to tell you, some of them don’t. If you would like to believe that all these Tinas turn out fine, stop reading now.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Tina Williams (Wendy Kaplan)
Let’s start with a big one, a Tina who lives in infamy. People apparently really hate this Tina. I can’t say I’m crazy about her either, but It’s really no fault of Wendy Kaplan.

I’ll quickly go through the things that lead up to making Tina such an infamous Tina.

At the beginning of Halloween 5, we see Rachel is back, who we spent all of Halloween 4 rooting for and getting to know. How exciting, so nice to see her. But then, she is for some reason killed within the first 20 minutes of this movie. So then we think, “well, at least we have the other survivor from Halloween 4, Michael’s niece Jamie Lloyd, right?” No, not really. For some reason, Jamie can’t talk, and also she’s doing some Halloween recital or something at the mental hospital, so she’s M.I.A for a while. “Well we still have Loomis, right?” Yeah, but at this point Loomis is kind of an insane character. The last movie ended with him trying to shoot Jamie, who by the way, is a child. I don’t fault the filmmakers for not making him the only main character.

So they give us Tina, whose only memorable characteristic is that she is annoying. I’ll come to her defense and say she’s not as nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying as I’ve seen and heard some people describe her on the internet. I do like how sweet she is with Jamie, but, you know what, so was Rachel (RIP… Rachel in Peace?).

I theorize that a big reason Tina’s remembered so poorly is that she dies before she can do anything that matters. We follow her and her dumb friends doing dumb things around Haddonfield for a huge chunk of the movie, and then she just dies and then it’s Jamie’s movie for the last 20 minutes. I guess it is technically a sacrifice to save Jamie, but it’s more of a shrug to me, because it’s not like Jamie is magically out of danger after that. If she had a more triumphant moment, I think people would forgive the fact that we’ve spent so much time not liking her. There’s no redemption arc. It’s kind of a bummer.

I don’t love this movie and Tina being the main character for the whole second act is only my second biggest issue with it. I’ll save to talk about my biggest issue with Halloween 5 when I write my “Most fake-scares in a horror movie list” (I will never write that).

Tourist Trap (1979)
Tina (Dawn Jeffory-Nelson)
This Tina is notable for being the first Tina chronologically, in terms of when the movies came out, on this list. Horror filmmakers are known to homage other films through the naming of their characters (so many horror characters have the last name Carpenter), so perhaps there’s no coincidence in the many Tinas and actually all the other filmmakers on this list were just big Tourist Trap fans.

This Tina isn’t on screen much. She’s introduced more than halfway into the movie and then killed just a few minutes later, but damn does she leave an impact. Her death is actually quite upsetting. I don’t know if I can think of a worse way to go than to be tied to a table while a masked man talks his way through suffocating me with plaster. Please, nobody do that to me. I don’t want to be Tina.

Tina (Freddie Marie Simpson)
Tourist Trap Tina was the first and Popcorn Tina was the last. Unfortunately she’s not called Popcorn Tina in the movie, because that would be ridiculous (imagine if every character in every movie started their name with the name of the movie they’re in… For example; Jurassic Park Alan Grant, Jurassic Park Ian Malcolm). I will say that Popcorn Tina would be a great nickname for someone who loves popcorn and is also named Tina. The reason I am writing all this preamble bullshit is that it’s hard to find anything to write about this Tina. She’s quickly introduced early in the movie and then we don’t really see much of her until she’s killed. The kill is interesting. The killer is in disguise as the professor who she’s sleeping with. She kisses him and the mask starts to stretch off his face, stuck to Tina’s mouth. It’s a very gross image, the kind that might make you spit out your popcorn (ahem). Then he kills her and wears a mask of her face. RIP Tina (Rest in Popcorn).

Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
Tina (Camilla More)
Friday 4 may be known as “The Final Chapter,” but it is just the beginning of what I call “The Tina Era,” (ed. note: Era.) the golden age of characters named Tina in the Friday the 13th franchise. This Tina is a slow start to the era (Ed. note: see previous ed. note), because she doesn’t really have a character of her own. She’s intrinsically connected with her twin sister, Terri. To be honest, I can never tell them apart and usually I’m good at that. The twins are memorable together though. They of course have weird, inconsistent accents. I honestly don’t remember which accent Tina has and which accent Terri has. For all I know, they switched roles every take.

One special thing about Tina is that she is the lucky twin that hooks up with Jimmy, who of course is played by Crispin Glover, who is an incredible character with incredible dance moves, easily the biggest “catch” of the entire franchise, so good for Tina.

Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)
Tina Mccarthy (Debi Sue Voorhees)
An interesting thing about the amount of Tinas in the Friday series is how close together the three movies are. I mean, I understand looking to the most previous sequels for inspiration, but this isn’t exactly the way people usually do it. Friday 5 doesn’t even have Jason in it. I think the screenwriter watched part 4 and thought “well I can take or leave this Jason guy, but we GOTTA have another Tina, right?” Also, this Tina is played by someone whose last name is Voorhees, so I think the screenwriter also thought “the only thing I like about Jason is his last name, and only when I see it in the credits.” This may sound like I’m dissing this movie. I’m not. I like Friday 5, but I guarantee the thought process behind the making of this movie is one hundred percent more bizarre than anything I can hypothesize.

This Tina and her boyfriend Eddie love having sex and that’s pretty much the only character trait written for either character. In fact, she is having sex when she is killed (In France, they call an orgasm “The Little Death,” so perhaps copycat Jason was just being poetic). Anyway, this isn’t an article for Mr. Skin, so I won’t get much more into that.

Deborah Voorhees seems like a cool person and apparently has directed a horror movie coming out soon. All I’m saying is, there better be a Tina and if there is, I will redo this list and Popcorn Tina will no longer be the last chronological Tina, which is a shame because that was the one accolade Popcorn Tina had going for her.

Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)
Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln)
I guess every time the word “New” shows up in the subtitle of a Friday sequel, there just needs to be a character named Tina...

Tina Shepard is a pretty great Tina. This isn’t a movie I love, but she is certainly the best part of it, other than the sleeping-bag kill maybe. What separates Tina Shepard from any Tina on this list and from any other final girl is that Tina Shepard can move things with her brain. Yup. She’s a telepath just like Carrie (you know, from the film Carrie). Apparently, the original concept for this movie was “Jason vs. Carrie'', but they couldn’t get the real Carrie, so they instead decided to once again create a new character called Tina.

Tina also kind of takes over the role that Corey Feldman had in Friday 4 (the loner kid in the cottage who kills Jason), so that’s why I often call her “Carrie Feldman” (I mean really she’s more of a combination of the Corey Feldman character and his sister, Trish, but the nickname still stands). Anyway, the main problem with Friday 7 is that not enough time is spent with Tina. Instead we’re forced to hang out with a bunch of teens at the adjacent cottage who are some of the worst characters in the Friday the 13th franchise. All of them are also knock-offs of characters from Friday 4, except unlikable. I don’t have fun nicknames for them (Shitspin Glover? Nah.).

So anyway, Tina Shepard spends most of the movie getting yelled at by some douchey psychiatrist, which isn’t great entertainment, but then she gets to fight Jason with her telepathic powers, and that’s pretty cool.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Tina Grey (Amanda Wyss)
The ultimate Tina. Tina Grey is the most memorable Tina, probably in any movie ever, not just this list. She may even be the most memorable Tina of all time (well maybe second to Tina Turner. Sorry, Tina Fey).

The whole first act of the movie is pretty much hers. Other than a few lingering shots on Nancy, we’re kind of led to believe Tina is the main character. That’s what makes her death so surprising and so brutal. It sets a tone for the entire franchise that Freddy Kruger is not kidding around (until you know, kidding around becomes the only thing that he does). Other than all that, she is also a fun character. She’s a cool girl, a good friend, who unfortunately is having some horrible nightmares.
Tina Grey’s death is not only Freddy Krueger’s first ever onscreen kill, it is also the most heartbreaking. You can’t think about her without hearing her boyfriend scream her name, “TINAAAA!” as her body is dragged across the ceiling. That kill occupies a part of my brain I don’t love visiting. His scream, the tone of it and the inflection, linked with the streaks of her blood on the ceiling -- yeesh -- gives me shivers just writing about it. It’s the kill that’s most affected me in any slasher movie ever. Maybe she’s why I have such a radar for the name when I watch movies and, connected to that, the whole reason I wrote this article. Thanks, Tina.

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