RIP Betsy Palmer (1926-2015)
Sad news for the horror community was announced last night, as slasher icon Betsy Palmer passed away from natural causes at the age of 88.
Beginning her career in the 1950’s Palmer is best known to genre fans as the vengeful Mrs Voorhees in the original Friday the 13th (1980), the mother of classic killer Jason. Despite only initially taking the role to pay for a new car and infamously claiming “What a piece of shit! Nobody is ever going to see this thing.” Palmer eventually embraced her role as the deranged if not protective mother who went on a murder-spree, ridding Camp Crystal Lake of all its wayward teenagers in revenge for the careless death of her son. She reprised the role in a cameo for the sequel Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) and took part in documentaries including Camp Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013) and Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006). She attended horror conventions and enjoyed meeting her fans who held a certain enthusiasm for the horror genre and her work in the Friday franchise.
With Pamela Voorhees, Betsy Palmer was responsible for bringing a memorable and shocking villain to life. Little did audiences know that the knife-wielding maniac was non-other than an unsuspecting, charming former Camp Cook. Palmer gave one hell of a performance switching from sweet-natured lady to all out psychopath at the turn of a hat. If it wasn’t for Palmer’s heart-pumping reveal during Friday the 13th’s finale it may not have reached the level of iconic status that it has. Mrs Voorhees helped lay the groundwork for more interesting roles for women in slashers, not just the final girl type or the vapid cheerleader who inevitably gets decapitated. Having Mrs Voorhees as the killer also contributed to Friday not just being a another Halloween knock-off.
Betsy Palmer was and always will be a horror legend that will be sadly missed by all her fans.
Her Legacy will live on.
RIP to an unforgettable woman of horror.
Hayley Alice Roberts.
For more of my work on Friday the 13th and Mrs Voorhees, check out: