Sunday, April 7, 2013

Re-Thinking Shelly: Larry the 13th

In response to my own article about Shelly as played by Larry Zerner some years back I propose that I have been a bit too harsh on this beloved character, a cult fan favorite if you will. Rest assured that my criticism was never meant to site Larry specifically. I had never intended it as such, but I’m afraid in re-reading my 30 Day Challenge response concerning my most loathed character, well… it just might be as easy to interpret that I was discussing Zerner himself as the character he portrays, Shelly in Friday the 13th Part 3, which was surely not the case. This site is generally unapologetic, irreverent at times and often brash. I like to say “fuck” a lot. I like to throw my shit around. It’s one step above a gorilla with a typewriter, and even gorillas are generally more socially savvy; they don’t shove the bananas up their arses before eating them. However, today I want to apologize to Larry if my article, written some time ago, offended him in any way and wanted to let him know that he truly is an amazing fellow. Gracious and kind and well spoken and just a general sweet heart.

This all comes about as I was able to briefly meet Larry at Monster-Mania this past March. I was excited to meet the man who gave Jason Voorhees his mask, in a sense. I had heard nothing but wonderful things but realized that for a time I was unhappy with his character Shelly. He seemed weak to me where he could have out done all of the other smoothies in Friday the 13th Part 3. I suppose I admired him in a way. He liked to scare the girlies. He was unabashedly himself. He almost ran down a hoodlum with his car and stood up for himself (even though he often did not). After writing up my Monster-Mania experience and actually hearing from Larry himself (consider this my retraction, Larry), I went back and reviewed what I had written. It was somewhat adolescent (most of my writing is), but I failed to realize that I am Shelly. We are Shelly. I mean… I WAS Shelly before I started writing this blog and getting invited to all the parties with the dancing girls making all the money. Bling bling goes my tri-cycle bell.

What Larry Zerner conveyed as Shelly was a character who was every horror nerd. He was shy, but knew how to be outgoing, just not in a socially acceptable manner. He would come up with pranks, wear masks, create scenes of terror for unsuspecting friends to fall into. He was one of us. A monster kid. A horror nerd. A compatriot. I’m still unsure as to why I didn’t see it before, but it could have something to do with comparing him to Franklin from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a wholly different character. We can learn something form Shelly, and it isn’t that he needs to stop being himself. Shelly doesn’t need to stop scaring the girlies. He just needs to stop apologizing for scaring the girlies. He’s got a great sense of humor; not everyone understands that but if they’d just give him the time of day, they might.

I am glad to have met Larry, to have a picture signed by Larry that I will frame and love and talk about. It should serve as a reminder that sometimes I need to think a little bit more about some of the lessor gods of the horror-verse and really think about where they fall in my understanding of horror, the genre and of the development of character stereotypes. Jason Voorhees as we know him today truly begins with Shelly. Horror fans begin as Shelly or as Danny Glick in Salem’s Lot or as Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. We’ve gotta stick together.

Larry, if you’re ever in northwest New Jersey and need a place to crash, you can have my bed or couch or floor or whichever room you like. Thank you again, and it was an absolutely pleasure to meet you. Sorry I didn't understand your character sooner.


1 comment:

  1. Dude, that's awesome. So important to remember and honor characters like him.