Dearest critters, you better believe we are not taking one step further down the trauma path without first acknowledging the passing of the beloved mother of modern horror, the sweetly stupendous and stupendously sweet BETSY PALMER. I think we can all agree that whichever gremlin is responsible for sabotaging her car to the degree that she simply had to accept the part of Mrs. Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13th in order to purchase a new one, is the greatest gremlin who ever lived. PALMER may not have been crazy about the role at first but she never revealed her reservations on screen; instead she delivered a wickedly wily performance that was impossible to forget and echoed in the minds of many long after the credits rolled.
Long ago in Kindertraumaâ€™s first year of operation, we did an extensive list of trauma-mommas that ended with our top ten favorites. Not only did Pamela Voorhees land in the top ten, she easily claimed the number one position because duh, a-der and furthermore a-doy. Hereâ€™s what we said back then:
â€œNo other mother brings it like PAMELA VORHEES. No other mother has that voice, that smile, that commitment. The entire franchise and many other horror films that followed it in its wake owe their eye teeth to BETSY PALMER. Even as a decapitated head in a refrigerator, she owns it. Even as a crazy sweater shrine, she brings it. BETSY PALMER IS THE ULTIMATE TRAUMA-MOMMA! GET IT? GOT IT? GOOD!!!â€
I was going for facetious with my praise of the acting talents of a decapitated head but if you think about it, I had a point. PALMERâ€™s performance in the original FRIDAY movie was so indelible that a mere prop easily reiterated its frightening power in PART 2. Iâ€™ve never been able to figure out how folks could fail to see that PALMER and the Mrs. Voorhees character were the vital beating heart of the FRIDAY THE 13tTH series but you can certainly see the results of that seemingly obvious fact failing to register in the soulless cardboard reboot.
Letâ€™s not get negative though- Iâ€™m here to praise the PALMER. Let it be known across the land that Kindertrauma loves her times infinity. And let us all take a lesson from BETSY. Keep doing what you love and give it your best even when it seems like there will be little payoff. Itâ€™s not always about instant gratification; a stupid looking seed planted today could produce unknown bounties in the future. Also never listen to critics when it comes to horror because they are complete idiots and above all else, if you are hired to watch kids at a summer camp, watch them! Pay attention! Donâ€™t be making love when you should be paying attention! Some of those kids should be watched every minute!!! Some of those kids areâ€¦.not very good swimmers.
Beautifully stated, Unkle L! I recently watched the first Friday with a friend that had never watched it before. The movie still packs a punch and that has a great deal to do with her fantastic performance. I am so glad you were able to meet her in person!
What a great tribute to a great lady. Betsy will be remembered forever. And even if she had never done Friday the 13th… hey, at least she got to fool around with James Dean!
I will never forget that summer afternoon back in 1981 when I first saw that group of counsellors meet their bloody ends on our new BetaMax top loader while my Mom slept obliviously on the sofa.
Then Mrs. Voorhees showed up and really effed me up!
“Look what you did to him!!”
Indeed Ms. Palmer- look indeed.
Great tribute. So glad she came to appreciate how much horror fans loved her and her role in movie history. She will be missed.