The Terrifying Reason "Friday the 13th" Star Adrienne King Asked to Be Killed Off
A scary real-life situation made the actor choose to leave the horror franchise.
Today is the rare Halloween month Friday the 13th, which has given horror fans double the reason to watch a scary classic tonight—specifically, one of the movies from the Friday the 13th franchise. The series kicked off in 1980 with the release of the first film and has continued on for 12 movies total, with the most recent—a remake of the original—released in 2009. The first Friday the 13th starred Adrienne King as Alice Hardy, the camp counselor who was able to survive killer Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer). With her role, King became one of the most iconic "final girls" in horror movie history, but when her fate in the second film, 1981's Friday the 13th Part 2, was revealed, viewers were shocked.
It turned out, King asked to be killed off in the second movie because of something scary that was going on in her real life. Read on to find out more about her terrifying offscreen ordeal.
King was being stalked.
In a 2015 interview with Uproxx, King opened up about being stalked around the time that Friday the 13th was released. She said the stalker followed her from New York City to Los Angeles to London.
"For a year and a half, we didn't know who the stalker was," King shared. "You have to remember there were no video cameras, no security cameras around, no cell phones. I would get very bizarre things. I would get, for instance, Polaroids under my door of what I had been doing the day before or the night before in a Chinese or Italian menu."
She added that the person began stalking her because she reminded him of someone else.
"The guy was not a 'horror fan.' He just happened to have seen the movie with some friends, because everyone was seeing it," King explained. "And when we eventually figured out who it was, it had nothing to do with whether I lived or died or anything. It had to do with the fact that I reminded him of someone in his past who had done something horrible to him. Very bizarre. Very strange."
King said that her complaints to authorities about the stalker were not taken seriously. "The cops would say, 'Well, what would you expect? Look at the movie you did,'" she recalled.
She asked to be killed off in the second movie.
WARNING: Gory content in the video above.
Because she was still dealing with the stalking situation, King did not want to continue on with a major role in the Friday the 13th sequel, which was released just one year after the original. Instead, she asked for her character to be killed off. (Still, King clarified that her character didn't technically die, because Alice's death was shown as part of a nightmare.)
"The reason my character died was, we had a meeting about it, because when Part 2 had come, a stalker was already present in my world," she told Uproxx. "I couldn't handle doing another film and dealing with what no one else seemed to want to deal with. It was worse because we didn't know who the stalker was and it was drawn out and this person was so brilliant. Stalkers can be brilliant, they can have a lot of money, and they can have a lot of contacts politically."
King ended up getting accepted into The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, which proved to be somewhat of an escape. She also increasingly focused on her visual art, which she said turned "very, very dark" due to her situation at the time.
King found healing through horror fans.
After a year and a half, King's stalker was arrested. She found that it was too difficult to return to acting onscreen due to the anxiety she experienced, and she went to therapy to work on overcoming her trauma. She did not start acting onscreen again until 2010.
King told Uproxx that bonding with horror movie fans at conventions helped in her healing, particularly after she attended her first convention in 2004.
"Huge convention and there had to be 800 people in the audience, my first question for the Q&A at the panel was: 'Why did you leave in Part 2? Why did you let them kill you?'" she said. "It was at this point when I told them the story in a nutshell, I didn't draw it out, but enough to let them know I hadn't left them. Honestly, not a dry eye in the audience. And we're talking big, tattooed, Harley Davidson guys. They came up to me afterwards and said, 'I want you to take my number and if anybody ever bothers you, you tell me.' I actually have two FBI agents on my speed-dial. Serious fans. And that's what healed that little piece of my heart that still needed healing that I didn't even know needed healing."
She is rejoining the Friday the 13th franchise.
In 2021, King reprised her character of Alice Hardy in Jason Rising: A Friday the 13th Fan Film. Now, she's set to officially rejoin the franchise. King has been cast in Crystal Lake, an upcoming Friday the 13th prequel series that will stream on Peacock. (Crystal Lake is the name of the camp in the movie franchise.) It is unknown what role she will play.
In Jan. 2023, King posted a photo of herself in a canoe on a lake on Instagram—echoing the final moments of the 1980 film—and wrote, "I'm so excited to be going back to CRYSTAL LAKE! There's so much I wish I could share with you regarding the new series but you'll just have to be patient. So worth the wait!"
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