Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic franchises in the horror genre, famed for its seemingly idyllic cabin getaway in Camp Crystal Lake and the hockey mask-wearing killer who stalks its woods. Since 1981, Jason Voorhees has killed hundreds of horny teenagers who can’t seem to stay away from the campsite, despite the numerous bloody rampages frequently happening there. The franchise kicked off with Sean Cummingham’s 1980 camp slasher, Friday the 13th, which follows Jason’s mother Pamela as she brutally murders the camp counselors attempting to reopen the site to the public after a long history of bloody murders and gruesome happenings–all because two counselors decided to play hanky panky rather than keeping an eye on Pamela’s son Jason, who “drowns” in the lake.
Pamela nearly kills everyone at the camp, but a desperate and determined Final Girl, Alice Hardy (Adrienne King), fights back with a fury, eventually killing Momma Voorhees after several intense confrontations and chase scenes. The movie launched Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees, who makes his debut in the 1981 sequel, to stardom, and Alice became the first of many women who’d survive the camp and assume the mantle of Final Girl. With honors like that, you’d think Alice would become the central heroine of the franchise, but within minutes of Friday the 13th part II, she’s inexplicably killed by Jason. Was it purely for shock value?
Experiences with a Stalker Left the Actress Rattled
Sinister behind-the-scenes circumstances had a significant impact on Adrienne King’s return to the Friday the 13th franchise, which not only changed the direction of the sequel but signaled a death sentence for the character as well. After surviving Pamela’s bloody rampage, which left all her fellow camp counselors dead and poor Alice traumatized, she tries to put her life back together, getting a cat in the process and focusing heavily on her art. Still reliving her battle with Momma Voorhees, Alice returns to Camp Crystal Lake to find closure, only to die minutes into the movie when a vengeful Jason impales her through the head with an ice pick.
Initially, Alice had an expanded role for Friday the 13th part II, but a crazed stalker learned areas King would frequent and took Polaroids of her, which he slipped under the door of her New York City apartment along with threatening notes. This left the actress reluctant to return to her role, and she met with the producers and director and asked to be killed off instead. Things escalated further when her stalker followed her to her sister’s house in California, broke into her home, and held a gun to her head. King was able to convince the man to let her go, and he was apprehended shortly afterward.
“For a year and a half, we didn’t know who the stalker was. You have to remember there were no video cameras, no security cameras around, no cell phones. I would get very bizarre things. I would get, for instance, Polaroids under my door of what I had been doing the day before or the night before in a Chinese or Italian menu. It was New York City, I was in a doorman building. It’s very freaky. The guy was not a “horror fan.” He just happened to have seen the movie with some friends, because everyone was seeing it. And when we eventually figured out who it was, it had nothing to do with whether I lived or died or anything. It had to do with the fact that I reminded him of someone in his past who had done something horrible to him. Very bizarre. Very strange.
You know that story about Sandra Bullock in the closet? She had a stalker and she’s in court right now. I was watching the news when they played her 9-1-1 call. I lived in Marina Del Ray at my sister’s house when this happened to me and I was literally calling the cops from inside my sister’s closet. We’ve come a long way in the world of just validating women and their right to choose the film roles they want and not be judged. The cops would say, “Well, what would you expect? Look at the movie you did.”
Alice was pushed to her breaking point in the first film, and it would’ve been great to see how the character went head to head with Jason for the sequel, but the actress’s safety and comfort are crucial. King’s made a name for herself as a voice actor and appeared as a stunt performer in 1984’s Ghostbusters. She shares her story as an inspiration for those in similar situations and works for the Sparrow Club in Oregon, helping victims of bullying. While she still bears the emotional trauma of her experience, she’s embraced her role in Friday the 13th as the franchise’s first Scream Queen and Final Girl.