Beauty killed the beast/slasher/alien/other
bad dude remains a genre staple. If a comely lass with a supple body and half a
brain appears anywhere from the opening credits until five minutes before the
fade, it's even money this wench will have something to do with the main nasty
And nowhere has this formula
been adhered to more strictly than in the Friday the 13th films. Valentino's got
nothing on Voorhees' bevy of babes. Sure, Jason's victims are invariably
bimbettes, but those who have lived to fight another day have been made of
Nobody has ever won a trip to
Camp Crystal Lake for coming in first in an ugly contest, but far from being all
flesh, the Friday sisters have clocked in as fairly resourceful (if a bit
naive), spunky, good screamers and quick learners in their use of slasher
weaponry. For my money, the biggest turn-on in an otherwise forgettable Friday
the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning was the sight of Melanie Kinnaman cutting
loose with her Black and Decker. Now, that's entertainment.
Each Friday the 13th
fraulein has also, to a greater or lesser degree, managed to parlay her Jason
job into some semblance of a career (which is more than you can say for the
majority of actors who have played Jason.)
Go Ask Adrienne
Recently, Adrienne King was
hard at work in the offices of the film production company she runs with her
husband when a young filmmaker burst through the door with a great idea.
"He wanted to make a horror film," recalls King. "Eventually, he
got around to asking if I would be interested in starring in it. I thought to
myself, 'This is never going to die.'"
This is King's claim to fame,
the first of what has become a long line of female warriors: Alice in the
groundbreaking Friday the 13th, a role King auditioned for only after the
original filmmakers gave up trying to land Sally Field.
"Well, it wasn't that
radiculous," she chuckles. "Originally, they were looking real hard
for a name actress to play Alice. They finally realized that even if they could
find somebody like that who was willing to do it, they wouldn't be able to
afford her, so they decided to go with new talent instead."
The nascent actress auditioned
along with what she describes as "hundreds and hundreds of other
girls." She got the customary callbacks and finally the coveted role. At
this point, the realist in King sensed the film was not going to be Gone With
The Wind. "But what I liked about the script was that my character was not
the typical horror bimbo," she decides. "Alice was strong and tough
and had brains. It was also attractive in that I was going to end up being the
film's only survivor.
King, a bunch of unknowns and
one unknown about to become known (Kevin Bacon) were spirited away to what the
actress jokingly calls "Motel 96 somewhere in Connecticut." "It
was terrible," she remembers. "The place had no bathtubs. Still, it
was a great working situation. From the beginning everybody, cast and crew,
sensed that we were onto something and a special kind of chemistry began to
develop. Everybody worked real hard." King, in particular, earned her spurs
on Friday the 13th by doing all her own stunts. "I walked away from those
scenes on the beach with all kinds of bruises."
Also embedded deep in King's
memory bank is the fake ending scene in which Alice encounters Jason under
watery circumstances. "It took us three months to shoot that scene,"
winces King. "The first time we shot it was in September then October and
finally in November. The first two times something went wrong. Even thought it
was supposed to be in the spring, it was 28 degrees. Snow was falling by the
time we were getting ready to shoot it the third time."
Cunningham was very apologetic about the screw-ups. He promised, 'This is the
last time I'm going to ask you to do this.' We finally got the scene, but the
water was so cold and I was wearing so little that I came down with a bad cold
and was out of commission for two weeks."
The film also held a distinct
advantage in being the first Friday the 13th. "We really got away with that
decapitation scene," King nods. "The way it was done in slow motion
was almost like a ballet. I know it's bizarre to look at a decapitation scene
that way, but I think everybody involved in that first Friday probably looks
back on it a little differently. There had not been too many slasher films made
at that time, so there was a real sense of innocence involved in making that
one. After the first one, the filmmakers went for the bottom line. They
discovered how much violence and sex it took to make money and did it to the
max. During the filming, nobody involved was thinking in terms of a sequel.
While she looks back with pride
at the fact that she was the lone survivor in the original Friday the 13th, King
also concedes that doing the film probably played havoc with her budding acting
career. "The only thing that movie did for my career was type me forever as
an actress in Friday, the only roles I was offered were horror films. It finally
got so bad that I had to go to England just to get a nonhorror offer."
King spent the next year
studying at the London Royal Academy, "doing my Shakespeare thing."
She returned to the States for her cameo death scene in Friday the 13th Part 2
stint, "the door was open so that I could come back and do another one if I
changed my mind. Even as recently as The Final Chapter, I had a discussion with
director Joseph Zito, who said that he would love me in the film if I was
She wasn't, and even today she
barely bats an eye when informed tat Friday the 13th, Part VIII is casting about
for a female lead.
"I'm open to
anything, if the script charms me," shrugs King. "I might even do
Friday VIII if they'd guarantee me the foreign sales rights."
Amy Draw Real Blood
On day, after a particularly
hectic evening of filming on Friday the 13th, Part 2, director Steven Miner
invites Amy Steel to go for a ride in the country. A little horror hanky-panky?
Is this the real untold story? No, Steel describes Miner as the perfect
gentleman: "We were driving down the road, and Steve was saying things
like, 'Aren't the trees beautiful in the fall?' When I was feeling real relaxed,
he said, 'Oh, by the way, we have to shoot that scene again.'"
That scene - in which Jason
crashes through the window and grabs Ginny (Steel's alter ego) off the bed - was
one of many the actress endured during two months of night filming on the first
Friday the 13th sequel. "I remember seeing the first film and thinking,
'What a funny hatchet job this is,'" says Steel, who was basically a babe
in the acting woods when she auditioned for the role in New York. "When I
got the part, I just laughed. I said, 'It's sequel time!'"
A pragmatist with a good sense
of humor, Steel changed her mind once filming began.
"Working for two months at
night on a film like this eventually gave me the heebie-jeebies," declares
Steel. "Constantly having dirt and water thrown on you, and watching these
actors you're working with killed and blood pouring out of them - you know it's
not real, but at a certain point, it all becomes a very tense experience."
Number one on Steel's tense hit
parade was the aforementioned Jason crash and grab sequence. "I didn't care
for that scene at all," she grimaces. "Something would always go
wrong, and we ended up having to shoot it three times. Because it required me to
be emotionally involved and believably scared I got a little crazed by the time
the third take came around. The worst part was sitting on the bed and hearing
that high-speed camera make that whirring sound. All of a sudden this monster
would come crashing through the window."
In another scene, the heroine
got even with Jason in a bloody and (unfortunately for stunt Jason Steve
Daskawisz) real accident. "It was the scene where I put on the sweater,
pretending I'm Mrs. Voorhees," Steel specifies. "I lift up the machete
and bring it down on Jason. I got a little carried away and really put the
machete through his finger! We had to stop shooting while they took him to the
hospital to get his finger sewn up. I felt bad, because I really drew
When Steel wasn't chopping up
the crew, she did what all of Friday's damsels in distress are noted for: lots
of running, screaming, and just plain acting frightened. "Being scared is a
relatively easy emotion to reach for," Steel assesses. "I didn't
really have to prepare for Ginny because the role was not that complex. I was
basically a prop,. It's not that hard to imagine somebody coming after you with
Steel didn't dive for cover
when she saw Friday 2 for the first time. "I was happy, and I got fairly
good reviews even though all the critics hated the film," she clarifies.
"I'm not a big star right now, so doing the film couldn't have done too
much for my career, but I do remember going to parties and having agents come up
to compliment me on my work in the film. I did go on to do April Fools Day, and
I have worked since Friday the 13th so, if nothing else, that film served the
purpose of getting me through the next door."
In fact, career prospects were
looking so up for Steel in 1982 that she turned down the chance to return in
Friday the 13th, Part 3. "My agents said, 'No, you're moving on to bigger
and better things,'" explains Steel. "If I had to do it all over
again, I think I would do the third one - for more money of course."
The acting community
being what it is, Steel occasionally encounters fellow thespians who have
labored in a Friday the 13th sequel. "And it's funny, because when you do,
you just kind of stare at each other for a few seconds and then bust up
laughing," Steel grins. "It's like a secret society of actors who did
'one of those movies.'"
Jason's Prude Danish
Dana Kimmell, Chris in Friday
the 13th, Part 3-D, is nothing if not honest. "I was being mercenary,"
admits Kimmell as to why she took the plunge in Friday the 13th's second sequel.
"It was a matter of a paycheck."
Kimmell, whose credits include
Lone Wolf McQuade and a good deal of episodic television, gets downright ugly
honest as she chronicles the reasons why she should have been the last choice to
star in a Jason hackathon.
"I'm not a big fan of
R-rated movies," she says. "I believe movies should be doing a better
job of standing up for good values and morals. I'm also not too fond of onscreen
So how does somebody just this
side of a convent get a Friday the 13th gig? "I had just completed the
movie Sweet 16," she recounts. "Somebody involved with the Friday film
saw that and loved my performance. I was called in, did one interview and got
"When I got the script,
there were some things that I was not wild about," the actress goes on.
"I was not too thrilled with the gore and the sexual stuff, so I talked to
[producer] Frank Mancuso Jr. and a lot of those elements were curbed or
eliminated. I still had some inner struggles as to whether or not I should do
the film. Because of the way I felt about Friday the 13th films in general, I
felt funny the whole time I was making the movie."
Kimmell is rather short on
production anecdotes, but she does remember how the 3-D aspect necessitated some
extra-long nights. "The hardest thing was just waiting the extra time for
scenes to be shot," she frowns. "Because of the 3-D process, the
camera angles and lighting had to be a certain way."
In retrospect, Kimmell gives
the film's opening night premier high marks but is quick to say never again.
"I would never do another Friday the 13th film," she asserts. "It
was a good acting experience, but I'm looking for better roles in better films.
I think audiences should, too."
Following her Friday outing and
the previously mentioned Chuck Norris chop-chop, Kimmell shifted her career to
low-profile, concentrating mainly on TV guest shots and dealing with "less
emotional turmoil." In her current state, the turmoil is nearly nonexistent.
"Right now, I'm six months
pregnant," chuckles Kimmell. "You'd be surprised how few calls come in
for pregnant actresses."