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This Villain was Headlined on August, 2015.

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You let him drown! You never paid any attention. Look what you did to him. Look what you DID TO HIM!
~ Pamela Voorhees' breakdown.
"Kill her, mommy. Kill her. Don't let her get away, Mommy! Don't let her live!" I won't, Jason. I won't!
~ Pamela Voorhees speaking to herself as her son Jason, and the origin of the Ki-Ki-Ki-Ma-Ma-Ma leitmotif.

Pamela Voorhees (nee Sue, born. 1930 - died. June 13, 1979) is the overarching antagonist of the Friday the 13th franchise. She was the main antagonist of the first film, Friday the 13th. In the original film she was known simply as Mrs. Voorhees, the mother of Jason Voorhees, who drowned to death as a child, which drove her to murder those who she deemed responsible.

Unlike her son, Pamela used the element of surprise to kill her victims. However, similar to her son, Pamela liked to terrorize her victims by propping up dead bodies, throwing them through windows, and using various weapons to complete her murders.

She was portrayed by the late Betsy Palmer, who reprised her role briefly in Friday the 13th Part 2.


Early life

Pamela Voorhees was born circa 1930. She married Elias Voorhees, a miner in Cadiz, Ohio, as a teenager, and lived with him in a trailer located near Camp Crystal Lake, where he would abuse her physically and verbally. In 1946, a 16-year-old Pamela learned that she was pregnant with a son. Elias' fate after this revelation is unclear, but it is assumed that either he walked out on her, or was killed by Pamela with an axe after beating her, as depicted in the comic, Friday The 13th: Pamela's Tale, and mentioned in the 2017 game.

Friday The 13th

In Friday The 13th (1980), Pamela Voorhees was responsible for the murders at Camp Crystal Lake. In 1957, her hydrocephalic son, Jason, drowned as a young boy in the lake of Camp Crystal, while he was being bullied by most of the other campers, and to make things worse, all of the counselors weren't paying attention, instead they were having conversations and sex. Due to Jason's supposed drowning, Pamela Voorhees began to seek vengeance upon any counselor that she deems "responsible". In 1958, a year later after Jason's drowning, two of them, Barry and Claudette try to have sex inside a barn, only for Pamela to catch them in the act and murder both of them with a machete; Barry gets stabbed in the stomach and Claudette, while her death is off-screen, gets the machete slammed into her throat.

After the murdering of Barry and Claudette, nobody luckily suspected Pamela of the crime and the camp was soon shut down, giving the nickname "Camp Blood" by the locals. In later years, while the camp was elected to be reopened again, Pamela poisoned the water and ignited the cabins to prevent it from re-opening.

In 1979, Steve Christy reopened the camp with the help of his friend, Alice Hardy. Friends of Alice; Ned, Jack, Brenda, Marcie, and Bill came to help. Seeing this occurring, Pamela began to return back to the camp to prevent it from once again being reopened. While driving her way to the camp, one of the counselors, Annie, gets hitchhiked by Pamela. Fooling Annie, she drives past the camp and after Annie tells her to stop, the young girl is forced to jump of the vehicle and runs into the woods, while Pamela pursues her. In the woods, Pamela catches up to Annie and slashes her throat with her Bowie knife; she places her body in her vehicle and continues back to the camp. After spying on the counselors, she starts to attack while a storm occurs starting off with murdering Ned off-screen by slitting his throat. Jack and Marcie, after having sex, are soon killed by Pamela; Jack gets an arrow pierced into his neck while Pamela hides underneath the bed, and Marcie has a felling axe slammed into her face in the bathroom. Next, she lures Brenda outside of her cabin during the storm by mimicking a child's voice asking for help. While Brenda looks around, Pamela turns on the archery range's lights to distract her before killing her off-screen once again.

After the storm stops, Steve Christy comes back to the camp after having to go to a dinner, only for him to be greeted by Pamela (who remains unseen to the audience). While he recognizes her, Steve Christy unexpectedly gets stabbed in the stomach by her. Alice and Bill, noticing everyone has disappeared, begins to investigate; during this, Pamela severs the phone lines and puts a stone in Ned's truck's engine to prevent them from escaping. She soon turns off the generator, which prompts Bill to investigate while Alice stays back to sleep. Bill is killed off-screen by Pamela slicing his throat and pinning his body with arrows in the back of the generator room's door. After discovering Bill's body, Alice begins to barricade the cabin just before Pamela throws the body of Brenda into the window before escaping to her vehicle. While Alice begins to sob over Brenda's body, Pamela drives her vehicle up to the cabin to fool Alice thinking it's Steve. In a friendly manner, Pamela greets Alice and comes inside with her. While seeing the body of Brenda, she begins to tell Alice about the story of Jason's drowning.

Did you know that a young boy drowned, the year before those two others were killed? The councilors weren't paying any attention, they were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was Jason. I was working the day that it happened, preparing meals. Here. I was the cook. Jason should have been watched! Every minute! He was... He wasn't a very good swimmer. We can go now, dear. (Alice: I think we should wait for Mr. Christy.) (Pamela chuckles evilly) Oh, that's not necessary. (Alice: I don't understand.) (Pamela memorizing Jason drowning) (She talks to herself) I am, Jason. I am. You see, Jason was my son. And today is his birthday. (Alice: Where's Mr. Christy?) I couldn't let them open this place again. Could I? Not after what happened. Oh, my sweet, innocent Jason. My only child. Jason. You let him drown! You never paid any attention! Look what you did to him! (Alice: NO.) Look what you did to him! (Pamela then attacks Alice with her vengeful rage).
~ Pamela Voorhees to Alice Hardy showing her true nature, and preparing to kill her.

Showing her true nature and revealing herself to be the killer, she attacks Alice with her Bowie knife before the latter grabs a fireplace poker and damages the madwoman with it before fleeing. While she chases her around the camp and discovers the bodies of Annie and Steve in the process, she hides inside the food storage closet. Pamela, now armed with a machete, finds her inside before Alice renders her unconscious with a frying pan, believing she killed her.

Afterwards, she goes to the lake to relax before Pamela regains consciousness and attacks her once again with the machete. The two struggle to kill each other, but Alice gains the upper hand and decapitates Pamela Voorhees with her own machete, killing her. When Alice decapitates her, Pamela's hands begin to unrealistically clutch in the air and move around from her head separated from the body before she succumbs to her wounds.


Unknown to the shaken Alice who boards a canoe to rest, Jason Voorhees, who resurrects after drowning to death, witnesses this and begins to take revenge upon his mother's death by taking his mother's severed head, her pants, her machete, and her sweater to a makeshift shack that he made in the woods where he places his mother's belongings on an altar. In Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Jason begins to continue his mother's legacy and murder spree by tracking down Alice and, after placing his mother's head inside a refrigerator, murders his mother's killer with an ice pick to her temple.

While an officer chases down Jason to his shack, he sees his mother's head and belongings on the altar (although unseen to the audience) inside the shack before Jason slams a hammer into the officer's head.

During the sequel's climax, the last survivor of a nearby training camp in the Crystal Lake, Ginny, flees from Jason into his shack in the woods, where she sees the altar. Using her child psychology skills, she places Pamela's sweater onto herself and temporarily convinces Jason that she is his mother. This fails, however, when Jason sees his mother's head behind Ginny and attacks her. In the end, Jason gets his mother's machete slammed down to his shoulder by Ginny while struggling to kill another revived counselor named Paul and she soon discards his mother's sweater outside the shack.

In the end of Friday the 13th Part III (1982), the last survivor named Chris Higgins has a dream hallucination where Pamela Voorhees, with her head attached for some reason, grabs her and pulls her under the water.

While a group of residents go to Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), they see Mrs. Voorhees' tombstone before passing.

In Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Freddy Krueger appears as Pamela Voorhees in order to convince Jason to help him murderer the residents of Elm Street. Interestingly enough in 2003, Betsy Palmer was asked to reprise her role in Freddy vs. Jason, but she turned it down since the role wasn't a big role.


In the 2009 remake, Pamela appears in the beginning of the film played by Nana Visitor. In a similar manner to the first film, Pamela chases an unnamed female camp counselors and explains to the girl about Jason. Just before she is about to kill this counselor, she gets decapitated before doing so (minus the unrealistic hand movement after her beheading like in the original). A young Jason, revealed to have never really drowned after all, sees this and attempts to avenge his mother by grabbing his mother's machete and a locket that she had. Throughout the film, an adult Jason kidnaps a woman named Whitney Miller and keeps her as a prisoner, due to her bearing resemblance to Pamela.

Friday The 13th: The Game (2017)

Pamela Voorhees reappears in the 2017 Friday The 13th video game as its secondary antagonist (or deuteragonist, if looking at Jason's perspective), as her decapitated head in her son's shack and a voice in Jason's head, encouraging him to kill the counselors. There are tapes scattered around the game's locations that appear arbitrarily, which consist of Pamela being interviewed by the police about Jason's drowning at Camp Crystal Lake. The tapes reveal that Pamela had a discussion with Tommy Jarvis' father about her son's death, and that Elias Voorhees is not Jason's biological father in the game's continuity. An unknown man beat Pamela up, and raped her, impregnating her with Jason. Pamela never reported him to the police or saw him again, because she was only concerned about finding a way to take care of her son. Pamela married Elias for protection, but ironically, he instead abused Pamela and Jason. As a result, Pamela had murdered Elias, and claimed that she did so because Jason told her to kill him. In the last and twentieth cassette tape, the police decided that she was too psychologically unstable to say anything helpful, and eventually release her. Pamela furiously declares that Camp Crystal Lake "now has a death curse", moments before subsequently leaving the police station.

She returns in the game mode, Virtual Cabin 2.0, appearing as her severed head once again. To access the Virtual Cabin's updates, the player must enter "mother" as the password. To get one of the four badges needed to unlock the Jason display room, the player must use the telephone near the Cabin's entrance and call 1(555)342-9277. Pamela will angrily answer the phone, responding with "Who is this? Where is my boy?!" After getting all four badges to open the Jason display room, a bloody telephone inside the room will ring. When the player answers, Pamela will say "You can bring him back, you know. There's always a way." Pamela will then hang up, and the camera will rotate to reveal her head behind the player, as she laughs maniacally. If the player revisits the Cabin, they are required to change the computer's date to June 13, 1979, which was the date of Pamela's killing spree and death. After this, the telephone in the Jason display room will ring again. When the player picks up, Pamela will menacingly cackle, and tell the player "You should have been watching him." After Pamela hangs up, the player will be in a temporary hazy state, and several Jasons will be missing from their cases, with Part 3 Jason now roaming outside the cabin. To complete this phase of the Virtual Cabin 2.0, the player must collect three badges to unlock the gasoline needed to escape with the boat. One of these badges requires to put in the code "5312" to unlock a fridge outside the Cabin. Unlocking the fridge will reveal Pamela's head. The player must collect it and place it in Jason's shack, behind her sweater. Doing so will have a rock move to the right to reveal one of the badges on top of her sweater. There is also the possibility that Pamela Voorhees may be implemented as a playable killer in the game in the future, but the developers admit it would be difficult (but not impossible) to accomplish, and would require some more time and resources.


Pamela's Victims

  1. Elias Voorhees: Axed to death.
  2. Barry Jackson: Stabbed in the stomach with a machete (which would become her son's iconic weapon).
  3. Claudette Hayes: Neck slashed with machete.
  4. Annie Philips: Throat slit with a hunting knife.
  5. Ned Rubenstein: Throat slit off-camera.
  6. Jack Burrel: Arrow through neck from behind.
  7. Marcie Stanler: Axed in the head.
  8. Steve Christy: Killed off-camera.
  9. Brenda Jones: Shot with an arrow, thrown through a window, tied up with rope (all off-camera).
  10. Bill Brown: Throat slit and shot with 3 arrows.

Weapons used by Pamela

  1. Hunting Knife
  2. Arrows
  3. Rope
  4. Axe
  5. Window
  6. Machete
  7. Her son (her ghost sometimes motivates Jason Voorhees)





  • Betsy Palmer's role as Mrs. Voorhees made her even more famous. Originally, however, she starred in the original Friday the 13th because she needed a new car and was not fond of her role as she called the script a "piece of shit". However in later years before her death in 2015, she was more respected in her role as the character.
  • Betsy Palmer was interviewed about the role in the documentaries, "His Name Was Jason" (2009) and "Return To Crystal Lake" (2003).
  • In 2004, Sideshow Collectibles released an 12" action figure of Pamela Voorhees. This highly detailed figure comes with an axe, her Bowie knife, a machete and a bow and arrow.
  • An action figure of Pamela Voorhees was also released in "NECA Friday The 13th 25th Anniversary Box Set", together with a Part II Jason figure.
  • The floating head of Pamela Voorhees was a secondary boss in the 1980's NES video game of Friday The 13th. Her shrine is located deep within a series of caves, and defeating her yields her sweater, which will give the player some protection from Jason.
  • Betsy Palmer was asked to reprise her role as Pamela Voorhees for Freddy vs. Jason film, but turned the part down after she read the script and was being offered a lower salary than what she originally received from the first film.
  • As a factual error in the original film, Pamela's hands can be seen clutching and making fists in the air. In reality, this would not happen as the brain is disconnected so no action such as this can be possible, and would instead result in twitching.
  • Pamela's first name was never revealed until the fourth film, where her grave is shown at one point in the movie.
  • The character of Pamela Voorhees was created by director Sean S. Cunningham and writers Victor Miller and Ron.
  • Actress Nana Visitor played the role of Mrs. Voorhees in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake directed by Marcus Nispel. The character's role in this film was greatly truncated from the original and she only appears in the beginning of the film moments before she is decapitated in front of her son Jason.
  • Many of the "prowler" scenes from Friday the 13th were actually played by stunt man and special effects assistant Taso Stavrakis. It is Taso driving the jeep in the beginning of the film with Robbi Morgan (Annie) and it is he who slices Annie's throat with the hunting knife. In the uncut version of the film, Pamela's hands are seen groping about in front of the camera after Alice beheads her. These are actually Taso's hands. It has become a joke among the crew members that Pamela Voorhees has exceptionally hairy hands.
  • The dates of birth/death of Pamela Voorhees is indicated on her tombstone in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
  • Freddy Krueger once used his powers to assume the form of Mrs. Voorhees as part of a ploy to fool Jason.
  • Actress Kathleen Garrett provided voice samples for the character of Pamela Voorhees in the teaser trailer for the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th. She is credited in the film as voice artist.
  • She and Roy Burns have similarities due to them being a parent to the sons that were killed, which caused them to snap, and later become killers to get revenge on anyone that were evolved with their son's death.
  • This was Betsy Palmer's first role since The Last Angry Man (1959).
  • Betsy Palmer tells fans she has no idea who this character in the hockey mask is since her son Jason drowned in 1957. Although ironically she has posed with Warrington Gillette and other hockey-masked Jason actors in funny "mother and son hugging" pictures at the fan conventions.
  • Betsy Palmer was fifty-three when the movie was filmed.
  • Roseanne regulars, Estelle Parsons and Shelly Winters were both being considered for the role of Mrs. Voorhees. Not coincidentally; they both wound up playing shrill harpyish mother characters on Roseanne as well.
  • One critic, Gene Siskel, was so angry at Betsy Palmer's role in the movie (which had angered many of her fans), that he published her address in his magazine, and encouraged people to write her and protest her. He published the wrong address.
  • Betsy Palmer, a method actress, gave Mrs. Voorhees a detailed backstory. She imagined that Mrs. Voorhees hated sexual transgression, because she had Jason out of wedlock with a high school boyfriend, and her parents ultimately disowned her for her sins because that "isn't something that good girls do."
  • Top-billed Betsy Palmer does not actually appear on screen for more than thirteen minutes. A stand-in male actor was used for the first seventy minutes of the film, in which she is never supposed to be recognized.
  • At one point, Mrs. Voorhees slaps Alice around a few times. Having worked on-stage for years, Betsy Palmer was used to really striking her co-stars with a cupped hand along the jawline to achieve the scene. Sean S. Cunningham had to tell her about faking the blows and cheating with camera angles.
  • Betsy Palmer worked on the film for ten days, for which she received one thousand dollars per day.
  • Betsy Palmer was padded out and had to wear lots of layers of clothes to bulk her up, because Sean S. Cunningham wanted her to look more masculine.
  • Sean S. Cunningham wanted to make the Mrs. Voorhees character "terrifying", and to that he believed it was important that Palmer not act "over the top." There was also the fear that Betsy Palmer's past credits, as more of a wholesome character, would make it difficult to believe she could be scary.
  • Betsy Palmer insisted that Sean Cunningham put her in the beginning of the movie; at the diner, or waving to Annie on the road as she is hitchhiking to Crystal Lake, so that the audience will have some clue who the killer is. Sean Cunningham said "Nah!" Though the killer was unforeseeable and though the rest of the movie was panned by the critics, the ending ended getting a lot of praise from critics, particularly the jump scare at the ending when Jason jumps out of the water, and Palmer's chilling Lunch Lady performance.
  • Years before the film was even conceived, Betsy Palmer spent her summers growing up on Crystal Lake in Warsaw, Indiana.
  • Originally Pamela Voorhees was going to struggle with Barry and Claudette and lose her small finger from one of her hands in the fight as she is killing them. Later at the ending, when she is confronting Alice, the audience would see that Pamela has no pinky finger on her right hand (as she is telling the Jason-drowning story), suddenly revealing her to be the killer. Special effects limitations did not allow Cunningham to film it this way. Instead we see Pamela (masked and anonymous at the beginning as the killer) driving her jeep at the beginning as she stages the killing of Annie. At the ending, when Pamela drives up to the camp to confront Alice, she is driving the jeep again; this is the audience clue that she is the killer.
  • Some people may be surprised that Pamela was the villain of the very first Friday the 13th film and not Jason. This plot point was actually used in the 1996 movie, Scream, where Ghostface asked the same question to Casey, who also thought it was Jason.
  • Estelle Parsons was originally signed on to play Mrs. Voorhees, but eventually declined. Her agent cited that the film was too violent, and did not know what kind of actress would play such a part.
  • Shelley Winters was the first choice for Pamela Voorhees, but she wasn't interested.
  • Dorothy Malone, Wes Wall and Louise Lasser were considered for the role of Mrs. Voorhees.

See also


Friday-the-13th-wide.png Villains

The Original Voorhees Family
Jason Voorhees | Pamela Voorhees | Elias Voorhees

Ali | Fox | Loco | Roy Burns | Victor Faden | Junior Hubbard | Ethel Hubbard | Dr. Crews | Melissa Paur | Tamara Mason | Wayne Webber | Charles McCulloch | Homes and Jojo | Robert Campbell | Freddy Krueger | Frisell | Jason Voorhees (remake) | Trent Sutton | Elias Voorhees

Jason Voorhees

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