The year was 1980, the film was "Friday the 13th," and the star was Adrienne King. After being immortalized on screen as the woman who killed Mrs Voorhees, King disappeared from the spotlight. Now, almost 30 years later, Adrienne has a new website and a renewed connection with her fans. I sat down to talk to her this past weekend about getting back in the game, as well as a few pressing questions I've always wondered about.
I'm sending out 8x10's with twizzlers and milk duds to the soldiers and stuff like that. That's the way I guess a lot of them deal with (the war) when they get a chance, they'll pop in "Friday the 13th" and to them that's their way of getting away from it all.
So your site site just launched a few months back right?
Ya, in April, Friday the 13th.
How long have you been planning it?
I guess it goes back to when Peter Bracke kind of filled me in. He's the fellow who wrote "Crystal Lake Memories." He let me know about the fan base. (He let me know) how huge it was and I knew there were fans out there, but I had no idea how many of them there were. I kind of just got to play all over again, 25 years later. With all my paintings and my art I just figured if I could ever get my act together it would be fun to have a website, and kind of have the best of all worlds on there, a little bit of "Friday the 13th" and a little bit of art, and be able to talk to my fans.
So you must be getting a ton of fan mail right?
Unbelievable. (laughs), totally unbelievable. And I found out, and I had no way of actually knowing thiese things since I'm basically computer illiterate. There's another Eric in South Florida that I'll have to introduce you to, his name is Eric Lee Nash and he's (another) guy who's behind my website. He's been on me for probably 5 years constantly writing to me, and he's the webmaster. So I bumped into him last year at Screamfest in Orlando, and he finally said "come on, let's just go for it." So that's kind of what happened. He told me in July that we had over 22,000 hits (laughs) isn't that amazing?
It kind of just amazes me, baffles me, but I'm just so enjoying it. And I get the most incredible fan mail. I even got stuff from soldiers in Iraq, which really blows my mind, that I've had that kind of impact on so many people in so many different places. It never ceases to amaze me.
It's definitely had an impact on people. A lot of people I know that are into horror films had some sort of experience when they were young, probably too young, where they fell in love with horror films. For me that was "Friday the 13th."
Ya, ya, it hnink that's a great way of putting it. it's like a common thread that you all had, I guess it's the innocence you know. It's a strange thing but, there is an innocence about the original "Friday the 13th." It wasn't too over the top, it was something everyone could kind of relate too. Simpler times you know. Terrorism wasn't on everyone's mind. Jason was the worst that could happen to you I think (laughs).
I think "Innocence" is a great word for it actually.
And it's kind of weird though. You wouldn't think that would necessarily apply to a horror movie (laughs), but I think it was. I haven't seen it recently, but when I do... I'm not sure when the last time I saw it, I think it was at a convention last year. But with the audience it just, it holds up miraculously to me. Because it kind of just plays to that innocence. Everyone can still relate to that basic inner fear. It never changes no matter how old you get I guess.
So you did Fangoria radio about a month ago right? How did that go?
It went great. I'm guessing it's probably why I got so many hits on the website. I can only imagine, Because I haven't been out there doing much. it's not like I'm a marketing genius or anything.
I mean the fans have alway sbeen there. But with the internet it became really easy for us to connect with each other.
Ya, I think that's the greatest part of this whole thing for me, you know, is just connecting to all walks of life. And I'm telling you, the extraordinary stories that I get, like I said some soldiers have been writing me and that's a trip and a half. It's just amazing to me. I'm sending out 8x10's with twizzlers and milk duds to the soldiers and stuff like that. That's the way I guess a lot of them deal with (the war) when they get a chance, they'll pop in "Friday the 13th" and to them that's their way of getting away from it all.
Which is ironic, but actually makes sense if you think about it.
Ya, it kind of does when you think about it and kind of dissect it. It's a wonderful vehicle for relating to fans, and hearing everybody's story. And now I've got the time to listen, and respond, and it's just wonderful.
If I was to come back and do something, it would probably be something low budget and with a young director because I honestly believe that's where the creation comes from.
So do you keep in contact with anyone from the film? I had read that you do some appearances with Ari Lehman and Betsy Palmer.
Ya, Betsy definitely. We've rekindled our relationship which has been so wonderful because the first time around when we made the film we were kept away from each other. Sean kind of kept us apart from one another, he didn't want us bonding. We had to actually be "actors" (laughs). So we really didn't get to know each other while we were shooting, although she was only there for 10 days anyway. Since the conventions we've become really really super close, and she invited me to her apartment last year. I brought my niece to New York to see "Wicked" for her birthday, and wonderful Betsy invited us over to her apartment and cooked us dinner. She related wonderful stories about her and James Dean hanging (laughs). It was just a wonderful, wonderful time.
I actually finally got a copy of the book that Peter wrote. And this is rather ironic, but at the conventions everyone's bringing their first and second editions up, and I still didn't have a copy of the book because they ran out so quickly. Finally I get a copy last year and I bring it with me to New York, I guess to get Betsy's autograph (laughs), and she tells me she doesn't have a book so I gave her mine. So now I still don't have a copy. (laughs) There's something in me that won't allow me to get it off of Amazon (laughs). So Peter send me another book please!
Sean I stay in touch with, but I actually haven't talked to him in about a year, besides the Fangoria interview where we were kind of on a call together, but not really. I saw him over at his house in LA when I was out there last summer. That was kind of fun, and we talked about a bunch of stuff. And other than him, Ari, because I see him at the conventions. Amy Steele, we email each other from time to time and I saw her last year at the Orlando convention too. So, as the conventions get more popular I guess I'm getting reunited with more people.
Ya they're popping up everywhere these days.
Aren't they? I'm going to Little Rock Arkansas next month! (laughs)
Well all those movies from the late 70's and 80's, they were mostly made on shoe-string budgets, and it's really kind of a cliche to ask actors and actresses "did you think we'd still be talking about this movie 30 years later?" And the answer is always no, of course they never thought that.
Exactly, exactly. And if you ever thought 25 years later that there would be a world wide, global, multi-generational fanbase, you couldn't even concieve of it. So the answer would obviously be "no" to that. The fact that they're talking about remakes and there's still sequels being pondered, it's just amazing.
So I had been reading that your day of shooting on "Friday 2" kind of turned out to be a negative experience for you?
Ya, well this is the other thing about reconnecting with fans and doing interviews, it kind of opens the cobwebs of my mind. But ya, that was a bad experience. The stalking had just kind of started a month or two before that. And they were wrapping on the sequel and they all wanted to go home (laughs). It was one of those things. It wasn't pleasant, but it did what was necessary. I was the thread that connected 1 and 2.
And they had mentioned too that they had told you you would be left alive?
It was supposedly going to be left open, and to this day even Sean says "we could bring you back, don't worry about that." Did they actually KILL kill me? Or did they just allude to it?
So then there was like a 13 year period where you weren't working in film that much. Was that as a result of that whole experience?
You know what, ya, after the stalker I was a mess. It was something that really screwed me up. I had no basis, no foundation on how to handle something of that nature. I don't think many people did back then. Now it's part of life and people know how to deal with it. Judges know how to handle that stuff and the police take it serious but back then they just didn't. Unfortunately if anything else, something horrible has to happen for someone to wake up and realize that something has to be changed, but, in the meantime physically I was okay, it was just mentally I was a basket-case. Do you know the movie "Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman?
No, haven't seen that one.
You should see it sometime. it's a good movie, and that's what I felt like I had been through. Just mental torture, psychological warfare. And it kind of made me re-evaluate what I really wanted. And even though I loved acting and I love the business, and I'd spent my life in it up to that point. I also had another passion that I could fall back on, because I painted my way through it. As opposed to falling into serious depression, I painted it out. And my painting has really kind of allowed me to express the horror that was going on in my life.
The bottom line was that I had no control over what was going on, and that was a scary thing. You start spinning. I did some interesting things, like I went to school in London to try and figure things out. Could I get past it? I studied Shakespeare and I basically put everything in my back pocket and truly, truly to this day, know that that experience is in my "acting pocket" if I ever want to pull on it. And who knows, some day it might be useful. But back when I came back to the states in the 80's it was like, I just couldn't do it.
So my agent said "why don't we groom you for voiceovers." And this was before Voiceovers were known to be the coolest thing in the world. And I went into voiceovers and had an incredible career, and did something called "looping" and "ADR," Additional Dialogue Recording. In itself it's a fabulous way to act and improv and not be on camera. You get to play around and do a multitude of voices and characters within the same movie or TV show, and without makeup or hair. You know, so that's pretty cool. So that's what I ended up doing. I stepped away from on camera but I stayed plugged into the business.
So you weren't even born when it came out! ... That to me is still what's so amazing.
That actually leads into my next question. I was wondering have you been getting scripts from young horror directors? Because they love actors from their favorite childhood films (laughs).
You know, I haven't yet, and I'm surprised. Because quite honestly, if I was to come back and do something, it would probably be something low budget and with a young director because I honestly believe that's where the creation comes from. When there's no money and just the creative juices are overflowing. That's the magic, to me, and I've had a couple of people ask me, but I haven't actually gotten any scripts yet.
I've gotten a couple of scripts, but they were for something on the Net that wasn't really a film. I'm actually considering that because one of them was a friend of mine who used to work at Fangoria. He asked me if I'd do a cameo and I said I'm always open now, because the fear is gone, and oh god it's so huge. The fear is gone and if something came up that sounded really wonderful I would come back. But at the same time I'd have to be careful because, if I came back after all these years in something that was horrible (laughs) I could never live that down. So it has to be something genius.
So you're definitely open to it?
Ya, ya, it would be fun. Anything's possible. I'd love to come back as some serial killer (laughs). Avenge!
Well this could be the call out to those young directors, you could get flooded after this.
Ya right (laughs). It's very funny actually. My husband, his background is film, and he's produced a bunch of movies and distributed them. And George Romero's one of his dear friends. So here we find a place way hidden in Southern Oregon, gorgeous country, but you don't see your neighbors. And we move here and find out that Bruce Campbell lives down the road! (laughs) In LA, off of every exit there's all these signs on the freeway pointing to different shoots going on. Off of every exit it's an arrow pointing this way and that, it's pretty weird, but it's pretty funny, because here I am driving down last summer on this rural country road, and there's one of these signs pointing to "My Name is Bruce." So you never know, it's a trippy kind of world.
Ya, that movie looks awesome. It occurred to me when I was looking at your filmography... have you ever heard of the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Well you hold the distinct pleasure of being only 1 degree away from Kevin Bacon.
Ya! Which makes you two huh!
Um, ya actually, I guess it does. (editor's note: this was the happiest day of my life)
So can I ask you how old you are?
Ya, I'm 25.
25? Oh my god, so you weren't even born when it came out!
Nope, I wasn't (laughs)
Oh my god. And that to me is still what's so amazing. You're a fan, you're talking to me and you're taking up your time on a Sunday for a film that was out before you were born. There's something special about that.
Absolutely. Well I just had one more question for you, and this is one for me becaues I've always wondered this. I always find that conversation between you and the character of "Steve" at the beginning of the film to be really ambiguous. What was your interpretation of the relationship the two of you had?
It is, it was. The conversation, as far as I'm concerned, as far as what I had going on in my mind as far as back-story, I figured that they didn't really have a relationship. I think what happened was the night before we were "toking" and perhaps got a little lusty, and I don't think much happened, but I was fooling around with my drawings. And I think he was hoping a lot more would happen. That's kind of where I came from with it. Does that kind of answer your question?
Ya, and I feel less crazy to know I'm not the only one who thought it was ambiguous.
Ya exactly. And the whole thing with the script is there was no back story so each one of us created our own. The fact that she was an artist, well I was an artist. I had my sketch pad with me, and while we were filming I was sitting up on the lifeguard sand drawing all the time. (I was) doing little sketches of the actors as they were hanging on the beach. So that kind of worked it's way into the script. Then all of a sudden when part 2 happened they said "don't forget to bring your sketchbook."
Well that's another interesting thing, this little film with not a lot of meat to the script turned into such a cult phenomenon.
Exactly. Go figure huh... (laughs)
Ya, I think that's a pretty good way to end it. Thanks for stopping by!
Well thank you.