Interview: Adrienne King

Adrienne King is easily one of my favorite actresses in the horror genre. While she only did a handful of films, she struck a chord with me as Alice in FRIDAY THE 13th. So much so that when Part 2 came along, I was utterly bummed out because she was gone so quickly. She was the kind of genre heroine that made it easy to root for her. She was pretty, smart and had the necessary amount of gumption to fight back when Mrs. Voorhees stopped by to kill some time. And luckily for her fans, which I am one, you can see a whole lot of her as of late with the release of HIS NAME WAS JASON on DVD, and a few groovy extras on the FRIDAY THE 13th UNCUT release.

A couple of months ago, I got to speak with her and was thrilled to add her to the TIME OUT WITH HORROR LEGENDS column. She is utterly remarkable as Alice Hardy and she was also one of my first crushes, so I was very happy to talk shop [or possibly chop]. She was just wonderful and absolutely friendly and sincere. It was very difficult to end the interview because she was so pleasant and terrific, she had so much to talk about. I really suggest you pick up HIS NAME WAS JASON so you can hear more about her experiences. And happily, I get to relive F13 Uncut on Blu-ray and see why she is one of my favorite horror legends. Seriously, I can’t believe how good this classic looks in this format. F13 fans are going to be spending a whole lot of money this February.

Was it your intention to become an actor early on? I don’t believe it was.

Now even though you’ve only done the first two FRIDAY THE 13th’s, you’ve seen how the fans react to you at conventions and such…

It is totally amazing. The more I’m out there, the more I see. I just got back from Sacramento Horror Film Festival and did a commentary with Harry Manfredini, you know, as the film was going… and I haven’t see the film that often, I know that’s hard to believe but I really haven’t. And I learned something about the movie…


It’s a fascinating thing, that there is so much in Friday the 13th that every time you watch it, there is something else that you can find out.

I agree. What are some of the things you learned from going back to it?

Well here’s one of them… Harry and I were back and forth… I loved the fact that, because they did not introduce a character that you could play along with at the beginning of the movie in the diner scene… they had tossed around the idea of re-doing that after they had gotten Betsy Palmer to play Mrs. Voorhees. But when we first started, they actually hadn’t gotten their lead lady to play that role, they were thinking about re-doing that and plugging her into it. And we ran out of money as you well know. So Harry came up with the brilliant idea of doing a P.O.V. for the character, thus establishing Mrs. Voorhees with the music. Which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I knew that the music he had for the P.O.V. camera, but he went through the entire movie and made specific notes down to where I blinked, he was showing me, and took breaths… And Mrs. Voorhees actually had her own music cues, P.O.V. cues and the camera had their separate music cues. So I thought that was phenomenally interesting. And watching it from the top with him, you know, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness. You did.’ and thank goodness because that way the audience actually had a chance. You know, that their was someone else and they were plugged into the music. You know, I watched it and I knew there was somebody ominous watching but I didn’t know specifically that that was a different music thread, then the camera P.O.V.

I love that, and I did notice it, but then again I’m a big horror geek and I’ve seen the film like 500 times… [Laughing]

Well that’s pretty damn cool… my goodness. Well Harry was like… I don’t know if being the geek you are, maybe you already know this, but when I moved from L.A. about four or so years ago with my husband, I came across a box, a dusty old box labeled “Friday the 13th” that had not seen the light of day in probably about twenty-five years… after I had my stalker situation in New York, I just threw everything from the movie into the box and taped it up. When we moved up here, I had my own art studio and that was the first time I’d really took a deep breath and opened it. And lo and behold, I look in there and there was my original wardrobe, my original boots, all my turquoise jewelry. But inside my jeans pocket were the actual, original notes that Sean Cunningham had written that night… that harrowing night that Betsy and I did the fight scene on the beach. What I did with these notes was, I decided, the first thing in my art studios - because something very incredible about the notes is there were exactly thirteen points, and this was something I knew Sean had no clue about - so I fancied up a poster for him and myself. And he was so blown away with it, like I said, the notes actually had the original coffee stains on them and everything. So I made him a poster and I made me a poster and he so loved it, it is the only piece of Friday the 13th art that he has actually hanging in his home. And he was the one who said, make a limited edition poster for the fans, and they will absolutely love you for it. Because it will give them something collectable. Stamp it with your art stamp on the back so no one can rip it off. Because he’s had a lot of stuff ripped off from the movie site, and books written in England that hasn’t even interviewed us. So he said, it’s really important to the fans that it is something that is true and real, and they’ll know if it’s authentic or not. But in these notes, which is so cool, is how he was reading along with them and we could actually freeze frame from one to two and see that cut, and then two to three would say like “P.O.V., Mrs. V” and then it would cut back. So there’s thirteen notes, that you can literally freeze frame along with that scene and watch it a whole different way. So we did that, which was amazing.

No, I didn’t know that… that’s cool.

So I have them now, and the fans are just eating them up. So when the editions over, it’s over. You know, I think it’s twenty-five or thirty dollars on my website. And I bring them to the conventions and the film festivals. It’s just something that is a little different and we went along… it was the first time we actually went along and watched it, so it was a lot of fun. So we each learned something from each other.

So that’s on your website?

Yeah, that’s on my website. And there is a lot of my art… my dark art on my website too. And there is, for instance, all the Polaroid’s… I am an artist, that was my thing… you know, it’s an amazing thing, like you were talking about, I have the most loyal and true fans that exist on the face of earth. Because they’ve just been waiting for me to come back patiently. And Peter Bracke wrote this book called - we call it the Bible - “Crystal Lake Memories”, I’m sure your very familiar with it.

He was the one who said to me, you know, you really have to reconnect with your fans. They have no idea why you’ve disappeared and it’s an international thing going on here, it’s global, it’s multi-generational. And this was probably about four years ago, maybe a little over four, just before I moved. And I’m just still flipped out. They’ve given me this whole new life that no one gets to get, you know. No one gets to have after the fact. And you know, I did do one and two but I did a lot of stuff after that and my art really saved me from the stalker thing and you can find all of that on my website. I’m [trying to] give the fans back something because they didn’t have any idea of what had happened to me. And I didn’t realize it was such a big deal until Peter made that clear to me. And I had all these Polaroid’s from the set that was in this box I told you about. And there’s like thirty Polaroid’s no one has ever seen before from there, from the set. You know, like Kevin Bacon and Harry Crosby and all the cast looming around. And the reason I mention it is because my fans are the ones responsible for the site. I am so not savvy with the net and they keep it up to date for me, you know what I’m saying…? And I answer my e-mails as much as I can and meanwhile, another fan/writer/producer put up a MySpace page for me. The fans need to talk to you… this is the kind of thing that, it’s a love affair with my fans. They’ve got me up and back to the point that I did a film [WALKING DISTANCE] this past summer with a script that was so amazing, by, like you, some young filmmaker who is passionate about the genre. His name is Mel House and he did one film called CLOSET SPACE and he just got his script to me and… you know, that is the one thing about these festivals and conventions I love is the interaction and giving a little back, like this past weekend and two weekends before. Just sitting down with young guys like yourself, and girls, that grew up on our film. I had no idea that it had that impact on so many talented and passionate filmmakers, writers, you know, producers. It just inspired so many people that I feel like somehow, I have to give back now. They’ve kind of brought me back around and now it is time to give back. So that is kind of why I’m doing the interview with you and why I’m going to all these conventions right now. Because it’s really about give and take.

I think the film just has something for everybody who grew up on it. I remember the first time I saw it in the theatre, when you find the axe in the bed, the film broke.

Oh no!

Yeah, I was so mad. I was so mad. They fixed it, but still…

Oh my God, but it broke the whole roller coaster ride for you.

Yeah. I was so hooked on those films, that I even made a Friday the 13th game…

I love it. That was another thing that someone ask at this last convention, they asked how did you come up with that strip Monopoly scene. And I said, that actually came to us like the day before. They needed more time and they made that up. And we were all thinking, ‘Is there a FRIDAY THE 13th edition of Monopoly?’

There should be… that’s a great idea.

There should be. I don’t have that much dialogue for the entire movie but one of my classic lines is, “I’m not passing Go without a glow.” and people remind me of that quite often.

My favorite is near the end, in that last scene…

My final, “Then he’s still there…”, yeah…

“Then he’s still there…” and then the echo.

I know, I know, it follows me wherever I go. I hear people behind me go… ‘Then he’s still there.’

You know you made my day just now by saying that [Laughing].

Oh yeah… well I have to thank Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller for that. Just geniuses, that happened to know everything that teenagers wanted to see on the screen at that time.

Now are you generally a fan of horror, or do you sort of shy away from it?

You know… I am a fan of good horror, you know what I mean? I’m not into torture. I’m not into the torture films, they don’t do it for me. But like, for instance, this last film festival… Oh! Coming up… check this one out. I’m going to Phoenix for the International Horror Film Festival in Phoenix and there, they’re awarding me a lifetime achievement award…

What? Awesome!

And I’m just beside myself going, okay, did they speak with my doctor and do they know something I don’t know. Because, I mean, I’m just flabbergasted that they would choose me first of all, you know. It’s kind of wild. But the reason I’m going to this is, I love the interaction when I go to these film festivals and come back and then think about it and think about… alright, I lost my tangent on this but… what did you ask me, I’m sorry…

I don’t even remember, I’m just enjoying your stories…

Oh my God… I don’t remember either.

Oh yeah, it was about whether you were a fan of the genre…

Right… so I got a case load of shorts that my husband and I had to go through to judge [Laughing]. So I really feel like I’m a true fan of horror when I’m judging these horror shorts, know what I’m saying?

Now you mentioned your return to horror in WALKING DISTANCE, what can you tell us about it? Who do you play?

Well originally, just backtracking a little, I’ve been reading scripts ever since I re-connected and this one was very different… you know, something extraordinary, sci-fi horror. It had me turning the page very quickly and it was a surprising ending. And my character actually, was originally written for a man. The one character they thought I might be interested in… I had to be very careful, my first role coming back, I didn’t want the fans going, why would she come back with something so small or little. I had to be kind of careful because the most important part of coming back… besides putting on my acting boots again and feeling all that energy coming through which was a little scary, but at the same time when it all worked out, it was just wonderful. It was a great experience. I was really looking for something good and this came across right about the time Betsy Palmer and I were dissed on the remake. So you know, timing is everything. And I’d been working out so I was feeling strong and this script came across and like I said, the role that they had originally offered, I turned down. But I said, you know, if you write another script I think you’re incredibly talented. And they came back to me the next day and said, well the role of Lou Strack who is one of the central characters of this… well, we’d like to offer it to you. So I said, are you serious, I will definitely re-read the script and let you know tomorrow. And it’s a very strong role, needless to say. And it won’t disappoint.

Now, in regards to the remake, did they approach you at all to be a part of it?

They did regarding a little cameo which would’ve been nice. They pulled Betsy around more than they did me. They said yes, they said no, they said yes, they said no. And then finally they said something along the lines of, we don’t want anybody from the original in our remake. You know, the remake didn’t seem like it was about the fans, it was about somebody else writing a story and putting a FRIDAY THE 13th title on it, ‘cause usually they make an homage for the fans. Especially Betsy turned 83 on November 1st and she admits proudly to it. And the first thing that comes to mind to me is, you know, I think Betsy truly deserved some sort of respect in terms of… my God, she really reinvented the killer. Wouldn’t it be nice to give her a little respect here. Especially if you are doing a remake of the original. And they saw it differently and went off and made their movie. And I get all these things on my website… I mean hundreds of people who are so plugged into this, saying I’m not liking this… and they shouldn’t have done that to Betsy, they shouldn’t have don’t that to you. You know what guys… it just shows you how strong this film is, it can survive anything and everything. And there’ll probably be a part twelve and a part thirteen because we have the original to thank for that.

5 Questions for Adrienne King

What is your favorite novel, horror or otherwise?

Oh my God… [Laughing] I can’t answer that because I have so many.

That is fine… that is a legitimate answer [Laughing]. Now the next question is, you’re stranded on an island and you can only bring three movies, what would they be?

Oh, okay… let me think. Definitely AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. Probably THE WIZARD OF OZ. And… FRIDAY THE 13th? [Laughing]

Yes! Finally somebody says one of their own movies! Hell, that’s one I would bring [Laughing].

I don’t know… I should probably come up with some better ones then that.

No… I like that one. You should keep it.

Honestly, I would probably take a trilogy of Audrey Hepburn films. I have a three pack here. I’m all about musicals and Broadway… I love stuff like that. Probably more than the Friday the 13th, I’d probably take something like SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER or something retarded like that.

Which you were in…

Oh, yes, yes… after watching Cloris Leachman last night [on “Dancing with the Stars“], I’ve decided, when I do this radio interview in Phoenix at seven A.M. on Friday before I get the award that night… I’ve decided I’m going to start a campaign for “Dancing with the Stars Horror Style” [Laughing]…


So tell your readers we wanna start a horror campaign for “Dancing with the Stars”. I didn’t know half the people on that one, did you?

No. I agree with you… we need good people that are interesting. Whatever you need, I’d vote for you [Laughing]!

See, so you think this could work?

I think so.

Yeah… why not.

Okay, we’ve gone through books and we’ve gone through DVD’s. What about, if you could play any historical figure, fictional or factual, who would it be??

Oh that’s easy. That goes back to Gene Kelly and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. I mean, you know, dancing and having parties in Paris… that sounds like fun to me.

Next up, it is strange to think of a horror legend sitting around watching television, but if you do what do you watch?

What do I watch…? Oh, well I watched “Entourage” last night or the night before. That was fun! Also one thing I’m starting to get into but I only saw one episode… it’s called “Mad Men”. That’s kind of cool too. I don’t watch a whole lot of T.V.

And finally for the last question, and hopefully someone out there will have the brains to listen to you… out of all the young filmmakers in Hollywood, who would you like to work with?

I’m thinking Zack Snyder’s pretty cool these days. I think I’d like to work with him.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected]

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