THEN: Halloween is over. That wonderful night where ghouls and goblins run free has passed. Generally I have a hard time saying goodbye until next year. Of course, this year there is a very special date in November. It is one that has become just as important to horror as the night Michael Myers came home. With FRIDAY THE 13th only days away, we thought it would be fun to look back at the career of one of my very favorite “final girls.” The hockey masked maniac Jason Voorhees has faced a number of tough ladies, but it was his mother that took on a feisty red-haired young lady named Alice. And thanks to Adrienne King, you have one of the most adorable horror heroines ever.
Born in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Adrienne King started her acting career at the age of ten in the TV movie version of Inherit the Wind (1965). Yet acting wasn’t her her first choice. According to Wikipedia she studied voice and dance at the London Royal Academy, which led to uncredited appearances in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977) and HAIR (1979). As talented a dancer as she was, it wasn’t until she appeared in a little fright flick that spawned a number of sequels and imitators. And while FRIDAY THE 13th was a bit of an imitator itself, it launched a brand new horror icon, and continued to expand on the horror stereotypes that we’ve all grown accustomed to.
In FRIDAY THE 13th, Adrienne King starred as Alice Hardy, a young woman who is ultimately tormented by a crazed killer. The beauty of this film at the time is that the identity of the killer was a surprise, as was just who would survive the nightmare. Out of the camp counselors hunted by Pamela Voorhees (the late Betsy Palmer), it was Alice who managed to use her smarts, and what strength she had to fight back. Ms. King had a very natural beauty, one that made her easy to accept as the girl next door. Albeit this girl next door wasn’t quite so innocent considering she was having a fling with an older man. Thankfully, she managed to create a character that was easy to root for. And man was she cute as hell.
As much as I loved FRIDAY THE 13th and the dementedly overprotective mother, it was exciting to see the birth of Jason as the villain in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2. What was a little more disappointing was discovering that Alice had survived only to face an even more demented foe. The sequel did offer up one of my favorite final girls of all-time in the form of Ginny (Amy Steel), yet it still hurt to see Alice get struck down in such a horrific way. And much too soon. Even still, Alice has remained one of the best characters in the franchise, and she is one of the reasons I love to return to the original film as often as I do.
The bad news for horror fans is that after the success of F13, Adrienne found herself in a real life scary situation. The actress decided to leave acting for quite some time due to a terrifying stalker situation. And who can blame her? Thankfully, stalker laws have improved throughout the years. And I don’t care how big a fan you are, there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of sick behavior. Happily though, after a very long leave, Ms. King decided to return to horror in 2010 with a movie called PSYCHIC EXPERIMENT. She continued to appear in low-budget features including ALL AMERICAN BULLY in 2011, THE BUTTERFLY ROOM in 2012 and SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT: THE HOMECOMING in 2013.
NOW: After having squared off with Pamela Voorhees so many years ago, Adrienne is definitely back. In 2014 she appeared in another indie called TALES OF POE. The actress also has a couple of flicks planed for 2016 including WILLIAM FROSTE and THE SURVIVORS which sounds like a blast. The horror feature, co-written by another genre favorite William Butler, features a ton of “final girls” who are ready to face a few past demons. According to IMDB, Ms. King, as well as Virginia Madsen, Beverly Randolph, Patricia Tallman, Tuesday Knight, Deborah Foreman and Heather Langenkamp, are all rumored to take part. I sincerely hope this is not too good to be true. What horror fan wouldn’t want to see this amazing cast in action.
So what else is Adrienne King up to? Well for starters, if you check out her official website, you can find her at a convention or two. I’ve had the great pleasure of chatting with her on a couple of occasions, and I highly recommend you take the time to meet her in person. She really couldn’t be any nicer. In addition to that, you can find out about her winery at Crystal Lake Wine… I’ll drink to that. So this coming Friday the 13th, perhaps you can pour yourself a bottle of Crystal Lake Wine, and re-watch Alice Hardy fight back against Jason’s mother. I can’t think of a better way to spend a frightening Friday than that!