She is one of seven camp counselors hired by Steve Christy, with whom she is in a romantic relationship, to reopen and work at Camp Crystal Lake. On Friday the 13th, the counselors are murdered, assassinated, killed, and slaughter one-by-one by an unseen assailant. Alice is eventually left alone, the sole survivor, and is discovered by Pamela Voorhees. Mrs. Voorhees explains to Alice how her young son Jason drowned at the camp several years ago, and reveals herself to be the killer/assassin. After a long chase and a brief struggle, Alice is finally able to decapitate Mrs. Voorhees with a machete, before passing out in a canoe on the lake. There, she suffers a nightmare in which Jason's decayed corpse drags and pulls her underwater. When the police arrive and she tells them her story, they explain that they did not find a boy at all, to which she replies "Then he's still there..." as the movie ends.
A year later she is stabbed in the temple in her apartment by an adult Jason Voorhees, Pamela's vengeful son, who evidently survived his childhood drowning and had tracked her. Later Paul explains how Alice went missing and blood was found in her apartment. Her decomposed body is later seen in Jason's shack.
Alice's backstory is expanded upon in the novelization of Friday the 13th, which reveals she has a boyfriend named John in California and that her father was neglectful workaholic who, due to stress, died of a heart attack while at his office. This backstory is contradicted in the novelization of the second film, which states Alice's father is still alive, also mentioning that Jason had tracked Alice down to her apartment by memorizing what her car looked like when she had made a visit to the camp. Alice also appears in the prologue of the Freddy vs. Jason novelization as a shade in hell. In the novel Friday the 13th: The Jason Strain, Jason witnesses a holographic projection of Pamela being attacked by a soldier and suffers a hallucination which causes him to perceive the soldier as Alice, while the novel Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs adapts Alice's battle with Pamela as its prologue, and also features an appearance by her corpse which is found in Jason's shack by Glo and her friends and later, the police. Alice makes a cameo appearance in the sixth and final issue of Wildstorm's Friday the 13th comic series, in a flashback depicting Jason's attack on her from the first film. The second issue of the comic miniseries Friday the 13th: Pamela's Tale by Wildstorm also features a cameo appearance by Alice, depicting the scene from the first film when she first meets Mrs. Voorhees.
Although always the heroine, Alice was originally scripted as a slightly less sympathetic character than seen in the final cut of the first film. In early drafts, she was having an affair with a married man on the West Coast, which was the reason her relationship with Steve Christy is deteriorating and she wants to leave Crystal Lake. Adrienne King claims she played the character as a traditional horror movie character, stating "I think that Alice is a great scream queen heroine. You got the feeling that Alice could handle anything which, in a way, she could". She also expresses regret that, due to the nature of horror movies, audiences never got to see more of Alice's relationship with Steve, or what could have happened between her and fellow counselor, Bill. Rather than viewing the character as a victim, King describes the role as an "empowering position" due to her survival in the film. Alice was supposed to return as the heroine in Part 2, but the producers were unable to reach a financial agreement with King's agent for her to appear in a major role, so the character was killed off instead. Steve Miner, director of Part 2, says "Alice was a very special character: she was the hero of the first film and indestructible in a way. It was important that she be killed off in a dramatic way because this is Jason's film and avenging the death of his mother is what motivates him." Because the character displayed an artistic side in the first film, production designer Virginia Field included various sketches in her apartment in order to show that Alice was a "real person". She says, "It didn't seem like a big deal at the time we were filming, but I knew that Alice liked to draw and I wanted to show evidence of that." Adrienne King felt that killing her character was somewhat unusual since she had survived so much in the original film. She claims Alice's death was done in such a way to leave the door open for a possible return, but doesn't know how she could have survived an ice pick through the head.
Alice's decayed corpse appears as a part of the model of Jason's shrine to his mother NECA has released. Mezco Toyz has also released a screen grab statuette of Alice, which depicts the hallucination of Jason attacking her from the ending of Friday the 13th.