23. jan. 2014

Horror-Unrated Retrospekt #3: Et Interview med hovedrolleindehaver Adrienne King fra 'Friday the 13th'.

Efter 4 år har vi valgt at lukke og slukke for Horror Unrated. Med tiden fik vi hevet en hel del spændende og dybdegående interviews i hus, fra de store kendte horror stjerner til ukendte independent filmskabere. Personligt er jeg meget stolt over den række af interviews vi endte med at få på Horror Unrated, og enkelte står stadig som nogle helt unikke. Bl.a. interviewene med instruktøren af 'Don't Go in the Woods', James Bryan og David Winters - manden bag 'The Last Horror Film', som begge velvilligt satte sig til at scanne gamle billeder filmpris-certifikater ind til os som vi kunne bruge i artiklen. Og danske Heini Grünbaum som i 1999 lavede 'Flænset', gav sig rigtig god tid til virkelig at gå i dybden med sine svar. Den dag i dag er det så vidt vi ved, stadig det eneste interview der findes med ham på internettet.
Af forskellige årsager valgte vi at lukke for Horror Unrated d. 12. november 2013, og da undertegnede tidligere har været skribent for denne fantastiske blog, Sørensen Exploitation Cinema Proudly presents, valgte jeg og bloggens ejer at flytte de mange interviews over på bloggen så de kunne få nyt liv, og forhåbentlig blive læst og nydt af nye læsere.

- Claus Reinhold.

HORROR UNRATED: Hi Adrienne and welcome to Horror Unrated. It’s great having you here. A few years ago you took on acting again with the movie Walking Distance and also The Butterfly Room which also stars Ray Wise, P.J. Soles and Camille Keaton. How has it been for you, coming back to the screen?

ADRIENNE KING: It’s been an amazing experience reconnecting with all my Friday the 13th fans. Walking Distance was released by Lionsgate December 6th last year in the US under a new title, Psychic Experiment. It’ll was my first on-screen appearance in a movie since Friday the 13th Part II so I was very anxious to see how the fans would react to seeing me in a movie since I’m thirty+ years older. Now, that could be very scary!

HORROR UNRATED: Before Walking Distance, or Psychic Experiment as it’s called now, your last film was Friday the 13th Part 2, and I know that after the success of the first Friday the 13th movie, you were being pursued by a stalker. That must have been a very bad experience for you, but what can you tell about that whole affair, and was that the reason you left acting back then?

ADRIENNE KING: Yes, the stalking experience was ugly and nasty. In the early 80s, stalking was not considered a crime and therefore was not taken seriously by the authorities. This terrifying situation went on for close to a year before it was stopped. Ironically, I was a living nightmare that was more horrifying than anything I had witnessed on the big screen. Needless to say, the experience shook me up for a while. But it’s a long time ago and I’m very happy to report that I survived and am much stronger for the experience. It was the reason I went into voice-overs and looping.
The wonder of it all is that I’m a survivor in real life just like my character Alice was in Friday the 13th. I think that’s why I have such a supportive die-hard global three-generational fan-base, because we’re all survivor’s in some way, aren’t we? And it makes me very human and approachable to my fans because we can all relate to surviving in this world, especially as things seem to be getting much tougher everywhere.

HORROR UNRATED: So how did you get involved with Psychic Experiment and director Mel House?

ADRIENNE KING: Well, I met Mel House through a writer/producer friend, Ted Geogheon, whom I met at a Fangoria Convention in Chicago. It’s all about networking at these conventions. So, Ted told me that his good friend Mel House was trying to get a script my way. I had read so many scripts over the course of two years before I found something original and brilliant in the horror/sci-fi arena. I knew that my fans would never forgive me unless I came back in something super phenomenal and outrageous.
Psychic Experiment is about a walled community where nothing is as it seems. Bizarre things are happening though. People are disappearing, strange illnesses, and disfigured human spectres in the shadows. The story focuses on several people and how their lives gradually unravel as the layers of reality are slowly peeled back to reveal the dark truth that lies beneath.

HORROR UNRATED: It sounds really interesting. You play Louise Strack in the film, but what can you tell about your character? And how did you experience the shoot and your collaboration with Mel House?

ADRIENNE KING: My role was originally written for a man, Lou Strack, and when the director Mel House offered me such a strong challenging role I asked him if he was going to change anything. He said “Just her name - you can handle the rest!” So I’m Louise Strack, a strong woman who’s immensely dedicated to her scientific facility to better mankind but whose research has taken a few bizarre twists and turns.
We had a great cast including Reggie Bannister from Phantasm, Debbie Rochon and Katie Featherston from Paranormal Activity just happens to be one of our young co-stars. It was a wonderful but very warm experience shooting during the Texas summer. We all had this “dig-in deep and work hard” independent attitude and Mel House inspired amazing energy and talent which permeated throughout the entire cast and crew. I’ll always be a strong supporter for the indie scene where passion and art prevail.

HORROR UNRATED: The Butterfly Room and The Innocent are your latest efforts, but are you back for good now or do you take it one day at a time?

ADRIENNE KING: I take it day by day because I have so much going on in my life right now. I’m still trying to figure out the balance because I also love to stay home by the river and paint. I recently had my first one woman art show in London at the Misty Moon Gallery and sold some of my original “dark art” paintings. I now have a permanent corner at the Misty Moon Gallery in Ladywell if you happen to be visiting the U.K. I have created giclees of my paintings because the fans have been asking for affordable prints which are so beautiful.
Also, I’ve combined forces with Valley View Winery in Southern Oregon where we live and have successfully launched my Crystal Lake Wines in the spring of 2010. Unfortunately, we can’t ship outside the U.S. but it’s really taken off with our coast-to-coast toasts on Friday the 13th’s and all my “campers” are invited to take pictures and videos which we post on www.crystallakewines.com. We’ve gotten great notices and awards, and have spawned an on-site serial entitled Back to the Lake and recently debuted Back to the Lake Part 2. The wine is selling so well. We have a crisp Chardonnay, a jammy Cabernet Sauvignon (which is to die for) and then my favorite comfort wine, Survivor’s Syrah. My artwork adorns the labels and my painting of “Alice in Canoe” is featured with varying canoe colors. So this business is taking some of my time now, too.
As for The Butterfly Room, it is in post-production with Italian director Jonathon Zorantenello. It looks very creepy - something like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane meets The Bad Seed. I can’t wait to see it.

HORROR UNRATED: Let’s go back in time, back to when you landed the part of Alice in Sean S. Cunningham’s now legendary slasher movie Friday the 13th. How much acting had you done prior to Friday the 13th, and how did you come to know about the audition?
ADRIENNE KING: Believe it or not, I started acting in commercials at the tender age of 6 months old. So I laughingly respond now, that it’s not like I had a lot to say about it back then. I must have enjoyed it though because I kept on working as a child model and actress on and off throughout my school years. Of course, by the tender age of 8, I landed the role of Melinda in Inherit the Wind for the Hallmark Hall of Fame series and worked with some extraordinary actors like Ed Begley, Melvyn Douglas, Dianne Baker and Murray Hamilton. It was directed and produced by George Schaeffer and I had a full summer of rehearsals and taping with the best of the best in the 60s. I was hooked for life after doing that riveting play within a television show.
I studied with some wonderful teachers as a child and gained incredible experience performing in New York City. I auditioned with every other young actor and actress in New York in the summer of 1979. Ask Sean Cunningham and he’ll tell you that they saw everyone! I was signed to a commercial agent at the time but you really needed (and still do) a theatrical agent to get an audition with the movie’s casting directors. In this case it was the legendary Barry Moss and Julie Hughes. I’ve always believed that if you can’t get in through the front door then try the back one, and if that doesn’t work, then try the side window, and in this case a very good friend of mine, Bill Love, had a boss whose good friend’s girlfriend, Pat, worked in the same office as Barry Moss. We were all over the possibility of making my audition happen. It’s all about tenacity and networking. So, I got to audition for Barry, which led to an audition with Sean Cunningham which led to call-back after call-back and reading with several different potential cast members and then a screen test. I’m pretty sure I nailed it with my scream! Incredibly, I was to become the heroine, Alice, the sole survivor of Friday the 13th.

HORROR UNRATED: So who was present at the audition and what did they have you do? I recently did an interview with Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp and she told me that director Robert Hiltzik just wanted her to sit and pretend to eat a candy bar, which she felt was kind of strange. But how was your audition?

ADRIENNE KING: Well, nothing quite that bizarre. Sean Cunningham, Steve Miner, Barry Moss, Julie Hughes were there over the course of many, many call-backs. I read with many potential Kevin Bacon’s and Harry Crosby-types. Like I mentioned previously, I believe my scream put me over the top.

HORROR UNRATED: Were you a fan of the horror genre back then or did you become one after making Friday the 13th?

ADRIENNE KING: Well, a little of both. I remember enjoying some of the old monster movies, and in the 60s growing up in the States, we watched Chiller theatre on Saturday mornings. Then I found out that I really enjoyed being scared by The Exorcist and Carrie but it wasn’t until I got to join Tom Savini in his art studio at the camp while filming Friday the 13th and actually saw the way his special effects were created that I was able to share his incredible artistic insight into horror films and how the scares were conjured up and devised. He is truly a brilliant artisan and teacher.
HORROR UNRATED: So when you had landed the part of Alice Hardy and filming began, how was things on set and how was it working with Sean Cunningham?

ADRIENNE KING: Sean had a couple of small films under his belt but this was his first break-out movie. One of my favorite memories was while the crew was setting up for the scene where the camp counselors are playing on the beach, I remember sketching them from up in the lifeguard’s chair looking down on Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby and Mark Nelson doing push-ups - pumping up for the next scene.
Everyone was so happy to be there and be part of something that we were all sensing was very special. It was one of those freeze-frame moments, sunny and warm and I remember it like it was yesterday. I hope to find that sketchbook someday.

HORROR UNRATED: Betsy Palmer is now famous as the infamous Ms. Voorhees. How was it working opposite her in the film’s final act?

ADRIENNE KING: It was everything you see on film. Betsy was as tough as they come and she didn’t hold anything back. She taught me very quickly to give it everything I had. As soon as that sun set until it rose again the next morning, Betsy Palmer and I got down and dirty. No holds barred!
And Sean had written the entire scene down on two pages of steno note paper. My action and Betsy’s and Tom Savini’s too, you know, the way it should be shot with all the close-ups and angles.
So, we all survived that brutal all-nighter on the beach. Sean tosses his notes into the garbage can. I screamed at him and grabbed them out. I guess that I wanted to make sure I had something tangible to both prove and remind me of everything we’d just gone through, just in case this scene (or movie, for that matter) didn’t make it through post production. Remember, at this stage we were just a little independent movie that almost ran out of money before it was finished shooting at camp.
Now, that’s pretty amusing, isn’t it? But, it’s all true! Thank goodness, I did! Who knew that Sean Cunningham’s hand-written notes from that night would be such a valued piece of Friday the 13th history and memorabilia? His coffee stains and all. And it has “13” points; total fluke. I’m so pleased to be able share those notes having created my limited edition Friday the 13th poster for the fans with Sean’s original 13 director’s notes. I was thrilled to see that this poster is framed and it’s the only piece of Friday the 13th art that Sean has hanging in his office.
HORROR UNRATED: Okay, that’s a great story and I have actually seen the poster – it’s pretty cool. So after the release of Friday the 13th and its subsequent success, how did that affect your career?

ADRIENNE KING: Unfortunately, few weeks after the release of Friday the 13th, I encountered the stalker from hell which spun me and my world into a wicked couple of years. Remember, this was before they had laws regarding stalking and it was before cell phones.

HORROR UNRATED: Are there any memorable stories or anecdotes from Friday the 13th you wish to share?

ADRIENNE KING: Twice during our time at Camp Nobebosco (North Bergen Boy Scout Camp aka Camp Crystal Lake), the producers had to come up with more money for the extra cameras we needed to shoot the famous end scene on the lake. We shot that last scene on three different mornings; the last time with three cameras including a slow-motion camera before achieving perfection.
I remember sitting on the warming plate in the camp kitchen on that October early dawn as I heard the radio DJ announce, “Good Morning Blairstown, it’s 28 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is) outside!”. And I was going into that freezing lake without a wetsuit! Ari and Tommy were already out there setting up the shot and nobody had wet suits. I had one change of clothes and only one pair of boots. I fell out of frame on the first try- thank God we got it on the second because I had no more dry clothes. You see, I told you it was low budget.
I also remember there was a screening for the buyers which I think was Paramount and Warner, and I was allowed to quietly sneak my mother in to the screening to see the movie. I’ll tell you, she screamed and bolted out of her seat five feet into the air when Jason jumps out of the lake in the end. Now, that was fun and I always say I think that was the day the producers sold the movie.
But you know, we had a wonderful time back then. We started filming right after Labor Day and the weather was warm and beautiful when we shot the opening scenes. I would sketch Kevin, Harry and Mark from the lifeguard stand as they did push-ups or Laurie and Jeannine as we lounged on the beach. Everyone there was part of the indie film excitement that permeated the camp. My memories of those weeks are vivid and will be kept alive by the fans forever.

HORROR UNRATED: When you did Friday the 13th Part II it wasn’t Sean Cunningham directing, it was Steven Miner. How was that?

ADRIENNE KING: As far as Friday the 13th Part II goes; it was done in one torturously long night which happened to be the last night of shooting for the entire film on a Holiday weekend so the crew wanted to go home desperately. One of my least favorite memories has to be when the props-man forgot to check the “retractable” ice-pick before the scene and needless to say: it did not retract - OW!

HORROR UNRATED: Oh, I can only imagine. I have heard that you’re not too fond of the Friday the 13th sequels. Can you elaborate on that?

ADRIENNE KING: Personally, I just think some of the sequels got a bit convoluted and weren’t being responsive to the original history of the film. I listen to what the fans have to say and most of them are so hungry for a real Friday the 13th sequel. I wish the studio would give them what they want. Some of the fans got together on a Facebook page called Friday the 13th Retribution. It’s about bringing back the survivors from sequels final girls to take on Jason. Amy Steel and I thought this would be a lot of fun but, of course, it’s up to the studios. You see, I’ve always maintained that Alice’s demise in part II was all a bad dream within a nightmare! So she’s really still alive in the deep woods somewhere painting & probably drinking lots of Crystal Lake wine.

HORROR UNRATED: Haha, I hope so. So have you ever been asked to come back in other sequels in a cameo as another character or anything like that?

ADRIENNE KING: Both Betsy Palmer and I had an “almost” invitation a couple of years back from the producers of the re-make which was directed by Marcus Nispel, but then they retracted their offer. I think it was better off that way in the end.

HORROR UNRATED: Friday the 13th has had its 30th anniversary and is still going strong. What is in your opinion, the obviously everlasting appeal of this film?

ADRIENNE KING: I can only surmise it comes down to relating to the original characters established and hopefully having escaped the boogey man, or woman in Alice’s case, who haunts the woods. I think they teach courses in film school on this very subject now.

HORROR UNRATED: I know you have attended a few horror conventions, and I’m guessing there are plenty of Friday the 13th-fans at these happenings. Have these conventions and the fans made you see Friday the 13th in a different light or do you feel like you have learned something new from going back to these movies?

ADRIENNE KING: I embrace each and every one of my fans and enjoy hearing stories of how my films and/or character have affected them. It’s still amazing to me, although overwhelming at times, because the stories are often quite poignant. Like I said, we’re all survivors, in one way or another. That’s why I now refer to my fans as “happy campers”.

HORROR UNRATED: Great, then we are indeed “happy campers” here at Horror Unrated. That’s all the questions from me Adrienne. I’ll say thank you so much for taking time to talk to Horror Unrated and the best of luck to you.

ADRIENNE KING: Thank you so much for your patience, Claus. Hope this was worth the wait.

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