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Fangoria #84The Women of Crystal Lake Part II
Fangoria #84
By Marc Shapiro

It takes a certain breed of woman to face off against Jason Voorhees - delicate and sensitive, slightly on the prim side but resourceful when it comes to a life-or-death battle.

The actresses behind these screen personages, though, vary from conservative near-puritans to enthusiastic genre fans. There have been seven of them so far, and only one - Adrienne King - has returned for a sequel engagement, which makes some sense; any heroine who survives Camp Crystal Lake should be put into psychiatric care if she even thinks about going near the woods again.

This conclusion of our survey shows the contrasts between those who loved it and those who regret it, those who feel it opened doors and those who claim it hindered their careers. It all proves one thing; A bad experience is in the mind of the beholder. (Easy for us to say, huh? We didn’t have to go rolling around in any freezing muddy lakes.)

Kimberly Loves Jason

Kimberly Beck has just come back from a visit to the doctor’s office. It was the first time she met this particular sawbones, but the medico knew her.

“He looked at me for a second and said, ‘You were in one of those Friday The 13th Movies,’” recalls Beck, balancing conversation and a 6-week-old baby as she cuts and hacks her way through her memories of Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter. Beck, a good-natured straight shooter who, believe it or not, married a guy named Jason, remembers that her Voorhees waltz began with her going in blind.

“I had never seen a Friday film, and I had no idea what they were about,” admits Beck of the five-callback process that resulted in her landing the Final Chapter job. “It was work, and I was basically so happy to have a job at that point that I didn’t think about the significance of what I was doing until after I did it.”

Beck is not the superstitious type, but she feels that landing the coveted Friday role led to some very strange days. “A lot of weird things were going on in my life at the time,” allows Beck, who stops short of giving up the real dirt. “All of a sudden, I found myself in this Friday The 13th state of mind. I began to attract all kinds of weirdness.”

This weirdness, at its most extreme, began to take on the trappings of a real-life slasher movie. “ I always went to this park near my house to run,” she discloses. “Right about the time I began making the film, this strange man started showing up and watching me from a distance. One day I finished my running and started back to my car, and the guy followed me. He stopped a couple of feet from the car, and I freaked and yelled at him to leave me alone. But he wouldn’t say a word. The was sure creepy.

“So were the strange telephone calls I would get,” she goes on. “They were just weird calls. I would get them at all hours, and it really upset me. I have no idea if all those things were happening because somebody knew I was doing the film or what, but the scary scenes at the park and the phone calls stopped when I finished the film.”

As if those real-life horrors weren’t bad enough, Beck soon had to face the terrors of Friday filmmaking which, as with the previous three outings, required her to be wet, cold and passionate for night work. Her reaction to his ordeal was to bawl at the drop of a hat.

“Yeah, I cried a lot,” Beck chuckles. “I cried every time they put water on me, I cried when I had to fall in the mud. I cried when I had to fight Jason. But after I stopped crying, I went ahead and did what I had to do.”

The actress, who also appears in Massacre at Central High, would up having to do so many of her own stunts that she was presented with a Stuntman’s Association card. Still, one stunt she did not do remains, to this day, a constant source of embarrassment. “It was the scene where my character Trish gets thrown out the window,” she details. “A stunt double did that actual stunt, and I was matched to the scene. Unfortunately, when the stunt double landed, her underpants were showing. I had to lay down in the mud and have my dress pulled up so that my underpants would show as well.”

Beck’s finale, a battle royal with Jason, proved a particular test of the young woman’s mettle. “The guy who played Jason, Ted White, was a real nice guy,” she assesses. “During the final scenes where we were struggling, he told me to go all out, so I did, but I was constantly hurting this guy. It made me feel read bad.

“The scariest and hardest part of the Jason scenes,” she continues, “were when I had the machete in my hand. It was pretty sharp, and we had to choreograph all these moves. I had a hard time getting the moves right. Just before the final scene was shot, I got real upset. I thought I was going to screw up and actually kill this poor guy.”

White and Beck survived the alleged Final Chapter, though, so the actress went about her business. Unfortunately, business slowed to a dead stop after the release of the fourth Friday epic. “I thought appearing in that film would lead to other work, but it didn’t.” Beck frowns. “For a while, I was flooded with other slasher roles that I turned down. I was even offered a role in Re-Animator, but I turned that down, too. And no, I was not offered Friday The 13th, Part V.”

The Friday extravaganza sticks out in Beck’s mind as a good experience. Nevertheless, as she hoists her baby on her shoulder for a burp, she offers one last disappointing anecdote; “My best scene in the entire film was cut out. It was where I find my mother and she’s dead. The producer and director [Joe Zito] decided that the scene was too offensive,” she laughs. “I can almost agree. She didn’t have sex, so how could she die?”

Slasher Straight Face

Melanie Kinnaman was told that the main requirement for appearing in a Friday The 13th movie was the ability to act terrified. Kinnaman knew better.

“If you go back over all the Friday movies, you notice that the people who make these films love to see blondes running,” enlightens Kinnaman. “I knew how to run and I was blonde, so I had an edge.”

The actress was not about to rest on her laurels. Part V of something be damned. In preparing to play Pam, Kinnaman did her homework. “I knew, from an acting standpoint, that it was real easy to be bad in these things, and I certainly did not want to be bad,” she reasons. “So I did a quick horror film study. I went back and looked at Jamie Lee Curtis’ horror films and watched parts of three other Friday The 13th movies. I realized that leading ladies in Friday films did not have a whole lot to do, but I was prepared to make the most of the opportunities I was given as an actress.”

Friday The 13th, Part V: The New Beginning, which chronicles the murder spree of a Jason imposter, began filming about a week before Halloween. Appropriately enough, Halloween night was when all hell broke loose. “That was the night we filmed the scene where I attack Jason with a chainsaw,” Kinnaman relates. “I’m telling you, that was the hardest scene to do. I just could not keep a straight face. It was just so funny. I mean, here I was, standing there with this smoking chainsaw, going after a 6-foot-3-inch guy with a saber in his hand. I thought, ‘He could kill me in a second, and they’re trying to make this play like I’ve got the upper hand!’

“Many of the things we did in that film were so hysterically over the top that I spent most of the time just trying to look at the cameramen without bursting out laughing. If I made eye contact, I would lose control. And I lost it a lot of times.”

Kinnaman describes the finished product as “a 90-minute film with 45 minutes of me running away from Jason.”

“At least two weeks of filming was of me running,” she laughs. “There was one scene that we shot where we were using rain machines. I had to run into camera and stop on a certain mark. It was difficult. At one point, I hit the mark and promptly fell down. Rather than cutting, the director [Danny Steinmann] said, ‘Keep rolling in the mud,’ so I spent the next five minutes rolling and screaming through this mud. When it was over, I said to myself, ‘I went to acting class for this?’”

Despite the mud, her New Beginning work gave Kinnaman more than a bit of recognition. She learned that while critics invariably hate these films, being in one can give you a career boost. “People in the industry may deny that they see these movies, but the truth is that they do see them,” Kinnaman affirms. “I received quite a bit of recognition and had a lot of doors open for me. People in this town truly believe that if you can do 10 weeks in a Friday movie, you can do almost anything.”

Except, as Kinnaman discovered, another Friday The 13th movie. “I had originally signed to do Part VI,” she reveals. “At one point, it was going to be a direct sequel to Part V. But the producer changed his mind, and decided to go cheaper with it, which left me out in the cold.”

Kinnaman claims she would do another Friday film in a minute and has some nice things to say about the series.

“I really feel the Friday The 13th films are among the better examples of the horror genre. I felt that even doing Part V made me part of a classic film series.”

VI The Hard Way

The last thing Jennifer Cooke ever wanted was to go through life having the reputation as a Friday The 13th girl. But -

“Nothing else was pressing. I was available. So I did it.”

Cooke, as the above just-the-facts indicates, is not thrilled at the prospect of looking back at Jason. Still she concedes that once she signed on for the slayathon, the prospect of a paycheck proved fairly soothing. “It was actually a pretty fun diversion,” admits Cooke, who ranks her horror films right down there with taxes on the list of her favorite things. “My character, Megan, was likeable and funny, and I got to drive a car fast.”

It also did not hurt that in Cooke’s estimation, director Tom McLoughlin’s sixth installment of the Friday series was essentially paint-by-numbers. “The script said to scream on cut, and I did,” she shrugs. “I memorized my lines and showed up on time. That’s about all you can do with a film like this. You can’t really draw on past experiences for inspiration; I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been chased by a monster with an ax before.”

Not much sticks out in Cooke’s mind about Friday VI. “Except that horrible scene where I’m being drowned,” the actress grimaces. “We shot the wide shots of that scene in a lake in Georgia at 3:00 a.m., and all I was wearing was a coat and blue jeans. Then, when we got back to Los Angeles, we filmed the close-ups in a swimming pool at 4:00 a.m. It was horrible.”

Cooke who also appeared in “V” and comes from Long Island, NY was not greeted with a deluge of film assignments when Jason Lives opened. “There was no flood of offers, and I didn’t expect there to be,” she smirks. “Let’s just face it, people like Norman Lear are not going to see a Friday The 13th film. There were a few slasher scripts and some rumors about a possible bid in Friday VII, but I wasn’t really interested. As an actress, I’ve got to move up in life, rather than staying put and getting stuck.”

Lincoln Logs Friday Time

“Tina cries constantly.” Laughs actress Lar Park Lincoln at the expense of her character in Friday The 13th VII: The New Blood. “I swear, the girl has a major migraine!”

Lar Park Lincoln seemed the ideal choice to play Jason’s foil. For openers, she had horror experience, if the neutered House II qualifies as horror. More importantly, she claims to be Jason’s biggest fan. “I’ve always been a horror film buff,” Lincoln declares, “and I’m a big fan of the Friday The 13th movies. I’m proud to say that I’ve seen every one of them.”

Lincoln joined the audition conga line for Friday VII late in 1988, got the requisite callbacks and when no final decision was forthcoming, flew home to Dallas for the Christmas holidays. “When I got to my parents’ house, a script was waiting for me,” she recalls. “I liked the script. There was the expected stuff with Jason, but I was really happy with the idea of Tina and her telekinetic powers. It was a complex story that could very easily stand on its own, and it would allow me to play something other than a drug addict or a prostitute. So I said sure.”

The dedicated Dallas-born Lincoln also agreed to some psychic homework, the better to get a handle on Tina and her telekinetic ways. “The script told me that the telekinetic psychic stuff was going to stand out, so I took it upon myself to work with real psychics and learn what it would be like to experience a vision and what a person would go through trying to communicate the experience to other people. I was really serious about trying to do this movie right.”

Early on, director John Buechler stressed that he had a less gore-soaked Beauty and the Beast approach in mind. Lincoln, however, found much to get grossed out by once she reported for duty.

“I never realized I’d have to be around all these dead bodies,” the actress chuckles. “One morning we were shooting the scene where I discover the head in the flower pot. We had been shooting all night, and we had to do a pickup early in the morning. I took one look at the head and totally freaked.”

Highest on Lincoln’s Friday hit list was the final fiery confrontation with Kane Hodder’s Jason. We could fake things like the television flying over my head,” Lincoln clarifies. “But you could not fake fire. So I ended up being real close to Kane when he was doing those full-body burns. Of course, Kane and all the effects people knew what they were doing, but being that close to the flames really made me nervous.”

The Friday set was a friendly place, reports Lincoln. “Everybody worked an awful lot, but there was still time to hang out,” she reminisces. “It was kind of funny because with a Friday film you never knew from one day to the next if somebody you’d been joking around with for two weeks would be slaughtered and leave the set.”

Recent guest shots on Tour of Duty and a season’s worth of a recurring role on Knots Landing followed Lincoln’s Friday VII stint. More terror arrived with a role on the Freddy’s Nightmares episode “It’s a miserable Life,” an experience she jokingly describes as “sticky.”

“I played a girl about to be operated on who has her mouth sewn shut,” Lincoln recounts. “The makeup people glued my mouth shut with spirit gum and put the stitches over that. I had to breathe through my nose for an awful long time. The mouth sewn shut was a major problem; not being able to open your mouth is an actor’s nightmare.”

A true nightmare is what is left of the former model’s performance in House II: The Second Story. “There was much more going on with my character than what made it to the screen,” she laments. “I had a whole lot of interesting scenes that were rearranged or got chopped up for just plain disappeared.”

Lincoln concludes with an assessment on the Friday The 13th films that pretty much sums up the opinion of every actress who has chosen to cross swords with Jason.

“I don’t think anybody really set out to change the world with these movies,” defends the actress. “Nobody will ever be accused of trying to make a social statement or great art. What these films are is entertainment.”

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