GIRLS ON HORROR (Oct. 5): Pamela Voorhees




Role in the horror community: Original series villain

Claim to fame: Although without a moment’s thought, you might say the villain in Friday the 13th was Jason (poor Casey in Scream), it was actually Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mom. Previously a cook at camp Crystal Lake, she brought son, who suffered from a medical deformity, with her to camp one year. One day, while the camp counsellors were busy with “other things” (read: in the remake, getting it on), Jason went for an unattended swim and drowned. The next year, she comes back to avenge her son’s death and slaughters camp counsellors (particularly the promiscuous ones).

Weapon of choice: In the first film, anything sharp–a hunting knife, a machete, an axe. After she herself is slayed, her supernatural son becomes her killing vehicle.

Why she’s bloody brilliant: Although Jason later becomes the main antagonist of the series, his mother continues to be the driving force. Whereas the series began with Pamela killing for Jason, it continues with Jason killing for Pamela. Made much more obvious in the remake with Pamela’s words, “Kill for mother,” the original series relied on subtly through flashbacks and  hallucinations. There’s also a hint in the score. Often misinterpreted as “ch-ch-ch ah-ah-ah,” what you actually hear is “ki-ki-ki ma-ma-ma,” which supposedly comes from the line “Kill her, mommy” from the final scene of the first movie. Thinking of her this way, she’s the true villain of the series. Jason’s not avenging his own death, he’s carrying on his mother’s work.

Beyond that, she’s got a wicked back story that was later written through a comic, which lends an even deeper human aspect to her character (as if being emotionally wrought to the ends of murder after the death of her only and disabled son wasn’t tragic enough). Apparently, her first victim wasn’t actually a camp counsellor; it was her abusive husband. Furthermore, she led Jason through a sheltered life, so bringing him to camp was kind of a big deal for her. Not that I sympathize with a murderous madwoman, but she’s got some serious motive.

Note: If you haven’t seen Friday the 13th, don’t watch this clip.

Read more Girls on Horror posts.


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