Pamela Voorhees

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Pamela Sue Voorhees
Friday the 13th character
Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees in a publicity still from Friday the 13th (1980)
First appearance Friday the 13th
Last appearance Friday the 13th (2009)
Portrayed by Betsy Palmer[1][2] (Part I-Part IV)
Connie Hogan[2]
Marilyn Poucher[3] (Part III)
Paula Shaw[4] (Freddy vs. Jason)
Nana Visitor[5] (Friday the 13th (2009))
Gender Female
Spouse(s) Elias Voorhees (husband)
Children Jason Voorhees (son)
Primary location Camp Crystal Lake
Signature weapon Bowie knife

Pamela Sue Voorhees is a character in the Friday the 13th films, and the main villain of the original Friday the 13th film. She is a former camp-cook and the vengeful mother of Jason Voorhees, the main villain of the series.

In the original Friday the 13th film, the character introduces herself as Pamela Voorhees, and makes reference to her son named Jason who drowned in the lake in 1957.

The character was portrayed by Betsy Palmer in the first two films. During the character's brief appearance in Freddy vs. Jason, she was played by Paula Shaw. According to the actress herself at conventions, Betsy Palmer was asked to reprise her role as Pamela Voorhees for the Freddy vs. Jason film but turned the part down after she read the script, as she stated in the "Friday The 13th Reunion" available as a "special feature" on the 2009 Paramount release of the "Uncut: Special Edition".

Nana Visitor played Pamela Voorhees in the 2009 reimagining of Friday the 13th.



Friday the 13th[edit]

Pamela (whose maiden name is never revealed) was born in 1930 (revealed in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter). At age 15, Pamela became pregnant by a man named Elias Voorhees. Very little is known about their romance and short marriage, aside from the fact that Pamela kept a class ring which belonged to Elias which she then wore on her ring finger of her left hand (as seen in several scenes in the first Friday the 13th film). On June 13, 1946, at age 16, she gave birth to a hydrocephalic boy and she named him Jason, as shown in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Because of his deformity, Pamela never sent Jason to school, and was extremely overprotective of him.

Pamela got a job as a cook at Camp Crystal Lake. On a fateful day in 1957, Jason, infuriated by the constant teasing and harassment from other children, snuck out of his cabin late at night to prove that he could swim. The counselors were not watching him at all, as they were at a party in one of the adult cabins. Jason was never recovered from the lake and was presumably drowned. Pamela blamed the counselors for his death because she was working the day that it happened.

After Jason's death, Pamela begins suffering from schizophrenia and hears her son's voice telling her to kill the people who were responsible for his demise. In 1958, a year after Jason's death, Pamela brutally murdered two counselors (Barry and Claudette) in cold blood without showing any remorse because she believed they were responsible for her son's death. Camp Crystal Lake was closed after the murders and was nicknamed "Camp Blood" by local residents. When the owner tried to re-open the camp in 1962, Pamela returned, poisoned the water, and set several fires - the first film establishes that nobody knew who was responsible for these incidents. The camp was shut down once again, and did not re-open until 1979. Pamela lived in a house which bordered the Camp Crystal Lake property.

On Friday, June 13, 1979, the new owner of Camp Crystal Lake, Steve "Steven" Christy, and seven young counselors - Annie, Alice, Bill, Ned, Marcie, Jack, and Brenda - return to the deadly and dangerous campground to prepare it for reopening, even after several ominous warnings of a death curse by the local residents. Pamela, who does not want the camp re-opened for fear of another tragic accident, is enraged and goes on a savage killing spree; she slashes Annie's throat in the woods with her bowie knife, lures Ned inside a cabin to slit his throat, pierces Jacks's throat with an arrow from underneath the bed, slams a felling axe into Marcie's face inside the bathroom stalls, and brutally attacks Brenda at the archery range. When Steve Christy returns to the camp, not knowing of the murders, Pamela shines a flashlight at him before stabbing him in the chest.

Bill investigates the generator which has been turned off, and she slits his throat before pinning his body with arrows to the shed door. With Alice as the last remaining counselor, she finds Bill's body and barricades herself in the main cabin. After terrorizing Alice by throwing Brenda's body into one of the windows, she drives her jeep towards the cabin to lure Alice out, thinking Steve has returned. Outside, she greets the frightened Alice in a friendly manner and cites herself as a friend of Steve Christy. When she enters inside the cabin with Alice, she sees Brenda's body and begins to discuss about Jason's drowning in which she blames the counselors for not paying attention to his incident. As she begins to have visions of Jason's drownings, she turns violent and draws her bowie knife to attack Alice, but the surviving counselor knocks her with a fireplace poker. When Alice flees into the gun storage, Pamela violently slaps her before Alice stuns her by smacking the butt of a rifle into her face. As Pamela searches around the camp saying in Jason's voice "kill her, mommy!", she finds Alice inside a food closet and as she attacks with a machete, Alice renders her unconscious with a frying pan. When she later awakes, she finds Alice at the shore and attacks her once again. During the struggle, Alice gains the upper hand and she finally decapitates Pamela with her own machete, killing her; her hands unnaturally clutch in the air before she succumbing to her demise.

Later films[edit]

Two months later, a mysteriously revived Jason carries out his own revenge by killing Alice. Jason had kept his mother's severed head, using it to frighten Alice by placing it in her refrigerator - before taking it along with his mother's corpse to his shack deep in the woods. The shack contains a shrine Jason has built for his mother, and he also stores the bodies of some of his victims there. After he is hit in the shoulder with a machete (the same machete with which his mother was killed) and left for dead at the end of his first killing spree, he leaves his crudely-made home and his mother.

Pamela Voorhees is initially laid to rest in a run down, roadside cemetery seen in The Final Chapter. When Jason is killed by Tommy Jarvis a few years later, it is presumed that her body is relocated to Eternal Peace Cemetery along with her son.[6]

Although Pamela does not share her son's immortality, she does reappear in later films. The character is seen again in the climax of Friday the 13th Part 2 in which Betsy Palmer reprises her role when Jason sees his mother talking to him while in reality it is one of Jason's potential victims trying to fool him. Pamela is seen again in Friday the 13th Part III when lone survivor Chris Higgins has a nightmare which ends with Pamela's corpse (played by the Second Assistant Director, Marilyn Poucher), wearing her blue sweater with head attached, reaching up from the lake to pull her under. She is seen again in Freddy vs. Jason (played this time by Paula Shaw), seen in Hell commanding her son to kill the children of Elm Street; however, it turns out that it is actually Freddy Krueger masquerading as Pamela in order to manipulate Jason for his own ends. Pamela appears very briefly in the more recent Friday the 13th reboot in the beginning credits chasing a young girl (presumably Alice). She is decapitated, as in the original film, and a young Jason Voorhees finds a locket containing pictures of him and his mother. Jason hears her voice telling him to "Kill for mother."

In an interview, John Carl Buechler revealed he had originally intended to have a scene in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood in which heroine Tina Shepard has a surreal vision in which Pamela's severed head appears in Jason's arms, repeatedly yelling "Help me mommy!" The scene was never shot, due to being deemed too over-the-top.[7] Reportedly, the character was to make another appearance for Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday in a flashback.[8] Jason X was originally meant to feature an appearance of Pamela in the holographic projection of Camp Crystal Lake that Jason is distracted by in the film; one idea was to even have Jason attack the virtual Pamela to show just how evil he had become.[9]


The cover of Friday the 13th: Pamela's Tale #1, which reveals much of Pamela's early life, such as her pregnancy with her son Jason.

The severed head of Pamela Voorhees is a major character in the first book of Eric Morse's Camp Crystal Lake series. In the novel, hunter Joe Travers finds an unmarked gravestone in the forest and digs nearby to find a wet cardboard box containing the still living head, having been reanimated by Jason's cursed mask. Pamela then gives him directions to the location of Jason's buried hockey mask, which he digs up and puts on, thus becoming possessed by Jason in the process. Carly, the novel's heroine, later discovers the head still in its box, still in the grave. During the final showdown with Pamela and the hunter, she destroys the head with a shotgun blast, killing Pamela.[10]

In the non-canononical Jason vs. Leatherface comic miniseries by Topps Comics, Pamela is renamed "Doris" for unexplained reasons and appears in two flashbacks, one in the first issue and another in the second; in the first flashback, brought on by Jason being asked his name by Cook, she appears, face obscured, encouraging a young Jason as he writes his name on a chalkboard.[11] The second flashback, provoked by Jason seeing the Hitchhiker abuse his younger brother Leatherface, has her killing Elias Voorhees with a machete while he attempts to beat Jason.[12]

The comic one-shot Jason X Special by Avatar Press features Pamela coming back from the dead by possessing a swarm of nano ants. Discovering Jason has been captured by a bio-engineer named Kristen, Pamela releases him and guides him to a camp near Kristen's laboratory populated by androids, who Jason begins to destroy, quickly becoming disastified with these victims due to the fact that, as Pamela states, "they aren't real." At the end of the comic, Pamela, after Jason is launched into space by Kristen, gets revenge on the bio-engineer by possessing her lover Neil and forcing him to stab Kristen in the stomach and slit his own throat. In the sequel to the one-shot, the two-issue miniseries Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X, Pamela appears only as a fragmented memory shared between Jason and his clone (which was created using a portion of Jason's brain). After Jason disposes of his clone and assimilates the portion of his brain it possessed, his memories of Pamela (who he and the clone did not recognize) are restored.

In the novel Jason X: Death Moon by Black Flame, a character, while in a holographic version of Crystal Lake, stumbles across an underwater recreation of Pamela's grave in the lake and is attacked by a zombified version of her created by Dr. Armando Castillo. In Friday the 13th: Hell Lake, the character Gretchen Andrews, after an encounter with Jason, seemingly becomes possessed by Pamela. Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs involves Pamela possessing characters who come into contact with her severed head.

In 2007, a two issue comic miniseries titled Friday the 13th: Pamela's Tale, detailing much of Pamela's history, was printed by Wildstorm; the comics take place before the main events of Friday the 13th and feature Pamela picking up Annie, one of the Camp Crystal Lake counselors in-training, and recounting her past. She reveals that Elias abused her while she was pregnant, which may have caused Jason to be born deformed. Driven by what she believed to be the unborn Jason's voice, Pamela killed Elias with an axe, blew up their trailer and dumped her husband's body in Crystal Lake. After killing Elias, Pamela moved to Crystal Lake and got a job as a chef at a diner, later being hired as Camp Crystal Lake's cook by the Christy family. After telling Annie her origin Pamela, as in the film, slits her throat, but treats her body as if it were still alive afterwards. The miniseries ends with a recreation of the scene from the film where Pamela meets Alice at Camp Crystal Lake. In the two-issue miniseries Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Pamela appears in a flashback to when she first brought Jason to Camp Crystal Lake in the first issue and the end of the second issue has Jason visiting his mother's grave.

In the six issue comic miniseries Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, by Wildstorm and Dynamite Entertainment, Pamela appears in the first issue of the miniseries, in a dream sequence of Jason's, where Freddy Krueger uses her to manipulate Jason into seeking out the Necronomicon. The fifth issue of the series, in which Pamela makes a cameo appearance on a portrait in her old house, and also implies she may have used the Necronomicon in an attempt to resurrect Jason after he drowned.

2009 film trailer controversy[edit]

Initial teaser trailers for the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th contained dialogue from the original 1980 film that was spoken by Mrs. Voorhees to Alice. Upon release of the trailer, Betsy Palmer was notified that the voice sounded like her, yet she had never given permission for the studio to use her voice. After contacting Paramount's legal representative, Palmer was given a chance to listen to the recording first hand. After hearing the voice, Palmer concluded that they had taken an audio sampling of her from the original film. In their defense, Paramount stated that they had used a voice double. Bill Neil has gone on record stating that he was present when Kathleen Garrett was in the recording studio reciting the dialogue from the original film, and that he was the one that originally placed the dubbing into the first trailer. Neil states that Palmer's voice is tied to the music and sound effects of the original film, making it impossible for them to have taken a clean sample for their trailer.[13]

Other media[edit]

Pamela also appears in the Friday the 13th video game for the NES. Her severed head is a mini-boss in a hidden cave. It floats around after lifting itself off a pedestal surrounded by candles, reminiscent of the second movie. Just as Jason has to be defeated three times to complete the game, Pamela can also be fought three times, and each defeat earns the player a unique item — a powerful weapon (usually a machete or axe), then her sweater, and finally the pitchfork.[14]

Action figures of Pamela have been released by both Sideshow Collectibles and NECA.[15][16]


  1. ^ Sean S. Cunningham (Director) (1980). Friday the 13th (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures. 
  2. ^ a b Steve Miner (Director) (1981). Friday the 13th Part 2 (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures. 
  3. ^ Steve Miner (Director) (1982). Friday the 13th Part II (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures. 
  4. ^ Ronny Yu (Director) (2003). Freddy vs. Jason (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema. 
  5. ^ ScreenGeeks Radio » Updated: Nana Visitor Is Mrs. Voorhees!
  6. ^ Tom McLoughlin (Director) (1986). Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures. 
  7. ^ Pit Of - Interviews
  8. ^ Pit Of - Interviews
  9. ^ Thirteen Questions with Todd Farmer
  10. ^ Morse, Eric (1994). Friday the 13th: Mother's Day. Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-14292-2. 
  11. ^ Nancy Collins (w). "Goin' South" Jason vs. Leatherface 1: 30/4 (October 1995), Topps Comics
  12. ^ Nancy Collins (w). "A Day in the Life..." Jason vs. Leatherface 2: 22/6 (November 1995), Topps Comics
  13. ^ "Betsy Palmer on the New Friday the 13th". Shock Till You Drop. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  14. ^ LJN (1988). Friday the 13th. Nintendo Entertainment System. LJN. 
  15. ^ Mrs. Pamela Voorhees from Sideshow Toys
  16. ^ Part 2 Jason and Mrs. Voorhees Figures from NECA

External links[edit]