THEN: With the recent news of Paramount getting the rights back toa little franchise called FRIDAY THE 13th, I was inspired by an old familiar face. First off, I love what I like to call meat and potatoes kinds of slasher flicks. And with the possibility that we may see more Jason Voorhees in the future, it had me thinking about one of my personal favorite ladies of the Eighties. It all began when Ginny drove up in that little red Volkswagen that tends to break down at inappropriate times. She was the counselor in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 that was concerned about Jason's mommy issues. She specialized in children's psychology or something like that... Whatever... It's a F13 flick so what did it matter? What does matter however is that this awesome character was played by the contagiously cool Amy Steel - I absolutely love this woman!
This West Chester, Pennsylvania native started her career on a couple of soap operas including "Guiding Light" and "All My Children" and to be honest, I have very little knowledge of her time on soaps. Albeit I'm willing to bet she was pretty damn adorable on them. Thankfully, this phase of her career was short, basically from 1980 to 1981 and then she moved on to a small role in a comedy called FAT CHANCE in 1981. I swear at one point I saw this flick yet I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about it, aside from what you can read on her IMDB page. However, it didn’t take long for Steel – who was modeling and doing commercials at the time – to step into the world of horror. Yes, her next flick easily turned the actress into one of the most cherished horror movie treasures ever committed to celluloid as far as I’m concerned.
After FRIDAY THE 13th proved to be a massive success in 1980, Paramount was quick to give the slasher flick fans a brand new installment with a brand new killer - well, Jason of course does make a brief appearance in the first film but this time he got all the glory. Yet the burlap sack wearing psycho had one hell of a tough cookie to battle thanks to Steel's Ginny Field. Why? Because she is freaking fantastic! She was not your typical hottie with big tits, but she sure was cute and a pretty damn good actress to boot. The spunky/pretty blonde had just a spark of sexy and a whole lot of smart... at least in terms of this franchise notable for featuring a number of dumb victims. Sure that's the point, but having somebody like Ginny personally made this movie one of my favorites. It had a few faults and Jason was kind of a wimp for his first time behind the machete, however Amy Steel happened to be hands down one of my favorite scream queens of the decade.
Since she was one of the lucky ones that survived Jason’s wrath, Steel was asked to return for FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3. According to her IMDB page, her agent convinced her that she was getting better roles and back then Paramount treated this money making franchise as something to be embarrassed by. It’s a shame though, I would have loved to see Ginny and Jason square off again. Alas, Dana Kimmell took on the masked maniac in the next chapter and Ginny was regulated to the opening sequence where they just used clips from the previous installment. Either way, it seemed that Ms. Steel’s career was heading for a more television inspired route, one in which she would be seen with a future F13 victim.
Next up for Amy was the short-lived sci-fi television series “The Powers of Matthew Star” where she starred opposite Peter Barton (who of course appeared in FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER in 1984). Sure the special effects were downright laughable and the dialogue was uber-silly, but just on kitsch factor alone, this show was sort of awesome. You can find a few episodes here and there on YouTube including the pilot . The series ran from 1982 to 1983 and the lovely Ms. Steel only appeared in fourteen of the twenty-two episodes and believe you me, when she wasn’t on it it just wasn’t the same. And if the awesomeness of Barton and Steel on the same series doesn’t excite you, maybe the fact that Louis Gossett Jr. was also one of the stars of the show will!
Thankfully Amy decided to return to the horror genre with a little movie that is also a favorite of mine thanks to some really cool genre folks including Clayton Rohner, Griffin O’Neil, Ken Olandt and the stunning Deborah Foreman. Now some people have a bit of an issue with APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1984) for obvious reasons. If you haven’t watched it before I won’t give those reasons away, but in my humble opinion this flick was way ahead of its time. Way before the self-referential classic SCREAM (1996) and so many others, APRIL FOOL’S DAY was a breath of fresh air. The cast was great and it offered up a clever storyline about some psycho twin action. And once again, Amy Steel handled the horror like a pro and proved once again why she was a horror flick hero with smarts. If you haven’t checked this out, you damn well should if you’d like a fun Eighties horror comedy.
NOW: While Amy enjoyed a fairly successful movie and television career throughout the Eighties and Nineties, she soon was spending less time in front of the camera. According to her Wikipedia page , she married a gentleman named Peter Pulitzer in 1986 and had two daughters with him. It also claims that she is currently working as a marriage and family therapist at InBalance in the Santa Monica Mountains as well as having a private practice Calabasas. Of course, the one thing that is clear by the myriad of pictures of her with fans is that she has found time to do conventions and talk with her fans about her horror past. What is really refreshing is how gosh darn cute she still is, and the positive energy she exudes when she talks about the olden days.
With only three IMDB credits to her name past 2000, she does have one project entitled TALES OF POE (2012) which is currently listed as being in “post-production.” This curious project features a slew of horror icons including Debbie Rochon, Caroline Williams, Adrienne King as well as Ms. Steel as the “Mother of Dreams/Poetic Narrator.” Sadly there is very little online about this little thriller, but here’s hoping it sees the light of day. Here’s a thought... now that Paramount has F13 back, why not bring in some of the films past survivors including Amy and build a story around that? How fantastic would it be to see Ginny going back to Jason’s stomping grounds? Probably not going to happen, but thankfully, Amy Steel gave genre fans a couple of great characters that we will always cherish. And don’t forget that awesome coffee commercial where we celebrate the moments of our life… as well as waiters named Jean Luc! Next time you happens to see Amy Steel-Pulitzer, send her my love will you?