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Blood, Death and Wine: Part 2

I was too young and had consumed too many cheap, glazed doughnuts the first time I saw "Friday the 13th."

The events that led to the rotting of my brain began when my mother had switched shifts temporarily and couldn't be there at night with my brother and me. She had to find a baby sitter for a couple of weeks.

Not being the type of people who thought it necessary to vet a person charged with their children's care and safety, my parents decided to dump us off at the home of a woman named Penny who advertised in the Casey, Ill., newspaper. I think Penny got the gig because her ad was the first one they saw in the classifieds.

Penny's house was hot and dark and, within 30 minutes of being there, her teenage daughter stalked downstairs, told me that she was a witch and asked if I had ever seen the "Hellraiser" movies.

From what I remember, the witch couldn't find "Hellraiser" and opted instead to screen "Friday the 13th" on the living-room television. Penny walked in the room right as Jason Voorhees' mother was stalking her first victim.

"You're not showing them that, are you?" she asked.

The witch glared at her mother and shrugged. Penny replied with a shrug of her own and went back in the kitchen to work on crosswords or something.

We spent the rest of the night watching slasher flicks on VHS with the witch, who at one point told me she was planning on running away from home and, perhaps, murdering her ex-boyfriend before she left.

The next morning, my mother picked us up. We met her at the car with an armload of said VHS horror flicks — almost 40 hours of filth, nudity and bad dialogue locked into little, plastic rectangles.

We got home and immediately threw on "Friday the 13th" once again. We wolfed down doughnuts and watched one Adrienne King, who played the iconic role of Alice, survive a gauntlet of horror to become, along with Jamie Lee Curtis of "Halloween," one of the first Final Girls of horrordom.

I recently spoke with King, who now lives a quiet life in Southern Oregon. She is promoting a "Friday the 13th" mini-festival tonight at Valley View Winery. The event will feature the unveiling of King's new "13th"-inspired vino Camp Blush. At dusk, there will be a screening of "Friday the 13th" and a Q-and-A session with King.

Here are some highlights of my conversation with the Final Girl.

Crawler: Congratulations, you have a Wikipedia page. You've officially made it. Have you read it?

Girl: I have not! I read a couple of paragraphs, and it was all bogus. I could freak out reading things like that. I guess one day I should change it. I can do that, right?

Crawler: I wouldn't know, as I don't have a Wikipedia page. (Head drooping sadly.) So it's been more than 30 years since "Friday the 13th" hit. And it's still going strong. Are you shocked by this?

Girl: All of the original reviews slammed the movie. They said it wouldn't see the light of day. Well, here we are in the light of day, and we are showing it to fans at the Valley View Winery 33 years later. Looks like the reviewers, including Janet Maslin in the New York Times, were wrong.

Crawler: It's funny — it seemed like they were attacking the genre and not the actual movie because the acting and direction of "Friday the 13th" were pretty good.

Girl: It was good. We were all working off Broadway. Me, Kevin Bacon (who met his end via spear through the throat moments after having sex) and Betsy Palmer (who played Jason's murderous mother) ... were all off-Broadway actors hitting the pavement and making it happen. The difference between "Friday the 13th" and other films that don't become cult classics is that our cast truly made the film, along with Tom Savini's brilliant special effects and Harry Manfredini's music that pulled you into the story all the way to the end.

Crawler: These same reviewers said this movie would contribute to violence, especially toward women, as if watching it would make you a serial killer. It's ironic, because it seems that you've become an empowering hero for women. At least it seems that way reading your Facebook page.

Girl: Not only women, but men who are bullied. I've had high-schoolers tell me they come home and put on "Friday the 13th" because they see how Alice survives, and it gives them fire to get through the next day. I've been a part of anti-bullying campaigns for the gay community, but I am anti-bullying of anyone.

Crawler: Southern Oregon, particularly the Applegate, has become a magnet for cult-movie heroes. There's you and Bruce Campbell living within miles of each other.

Girl: Bruce is a great guy. I was boarding a plane in Medford that was heading to L.A. recently, and he playfully tripped me and asked what I was doing. I said, "Going to the same (horror-movie convention) as you!"

Crawler: Ash (Campbell's character in the "Evil Dead" flicks) and Alice on the same plane. That's a geekgasm right there.

Tonight's event starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes free popcorn. Wine will pour, and blood will flow. Call 541-899-8468.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.