Quantcast Larry Zerner interview

actor Larry Zerner from
Friday The 13th Part 3
Actor Larry Zerner is proud to be one of the many victims of Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th series. He played the lovable prankster Shelly in Friday The 13th Part 3 and was responsible for introducing Jason to his trademark hockey mask. Icons Of Fright spoke to him about his experiences on Friday The 13th Part 3, the Fangoria Friday The 13th reunion, his commentary session for the upcoming Friday The 13th DVD box set & about horror movies in general. Visit him at Zerner Law .com. - by Robg., Mike C. 5/04

What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre?

Well, the first movie I ever saw that I remember scaring me was this old 50's movie called Them! which was about giant ants that lived in the sewers of Los Angeles. I remember seeing that when I was about five on television & it scared the crap out of me. And then growing up, I was a voracious reader of Stephen King and read everything he wrote 4 or 5 times. Those would be my earliest recollections.

Were you a fan of the Friday The 13th films prior to working on Part 3?

I had seen part one. Wasn't sure if I saw Part 2 then? Ya know, it didn't really have the type of impact that it has nowadays. It was pre-Jason. Pre-hockey mask...

And you started it all pal!

He did. I was just... there. (laughs)

Overall, what were the working conditions like on the set for Friday The 13th Part 3? The movies tended to come out rather fast. Was it a rushed production or did everything run fairly smoothly?

This was my first movie so I didn't have much to compare it to. But at the Fangoria convention I found out a lot more about the shoot because I had talked to Gerald Feil who was the cinematographer and he was telling me they had a huge amount of problems because of the 3-D.

So, our shooting schedule was twice as long as any of the other Friday films because of the 3-D. It was such a new process. I remember the first week of shooting they shot and ended up scraping it and starting over again. It was actually the store scene. Everything took hours to light, so we'd do a shot and then they'd move the camera to get the reverse angle and it'd end up taking 2 or 3 hours before we'd get called back. But as an actor, I was fairly insulated from that. I just went back to my trailer... well dressing room... in one of those mobile trailers & hung out.
What was it like for you to see Friday The 13th Part 3 on the big screen for the first time with your friends?

It was trippy. I remember going on opening night and it was a Friday the 13th. August 13th. It was a sold out house in Westwood. I had actually seen it before at the crew screening, but then seeing it with a crowd & hearing them react to the 3-D.

People would be yelling and it was just great. It's odd though because I think most people who see it now, see it on television, which is really just a different experience as opposed to seeing it in the theater, because the 3-D really just adds... a whole other dimension to the movie I should say! (laughs) I would tell anyone who hasn't seen it, that if they have the chance to see it the theaters, go see it in the theaters because it's a much better movie. So many of the shots are made to be seen in 3-D and on television they're kind of pointless. The snake jumping out & the rats coming out just seem meaningless unless your seeing it in 3-D & they're coming at ya. The scenes when the eyeball popped out or the arrow coming toward the screen, the audience in that first screening just jumped and started screaming and it was great.

It was sort of weird to see me up there, because you think "Hey, that's me! It’s a whole movie" and you think "I was there!" and it was the first time I’d seen myself acting. Then the movie was over and I’m walking out and everyone's yelling "There's Shelly. It's Shelly! It's Shelly," so right there I had a little touch of fame and it was interesting.
Other actors that have portrayed Jason Voorhees in the past have been known to keep their distance from the cast in order to instill a bit of fear into them for the movie. Was Richard Brooker intimidating in his version of Jason to you?

Richard was very friendly. If you remember, in part 3 Jason doesn't really have a lot of interaction with us. We have no scenes together! For everyone else, except for Dana there was pretty much just one scene. And you see him and you die. So, there was no chasing or fighting back. It was more like "Hey, who are you?" - BANG you're dead! So, he didn't need to instill fear. I would see Richard, in his makeup and he'd be sitting in a chair smoking his pipe . . and it was funny, him smoking his pipe in his Jason makeup.

You recently took part in a Friday The 13th reunion for the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in January of 2004. What was that experience like & how did it feel to meet all of Shelly's fans?

It was fun! You know, I don’t get recognized anymore. Maybe a couple of times a week, I’ll get an e-mail and someone will ask me for an autograph or want to talk about the film. But it's not a big part of my life. It's not like I get any attention for it anymore. But then to go to New York and to be in this place and there's thousands of people there and they're all Friday the 13th fans and they all know Shelly and all the other actors. It was a pretty amazing experience. It was fun to go and play a movie star for a weekend, because I’m not an actor anymore.

It was just great to also meet the other actors in all the other movies, whom we're all sort of in this weird club where we don't know each other but we have this connection. And we all sort of know it. I got to meet Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Lar Park-Lincoln, Kane Hodder, CJ Graham and everyone was great and it was just a lot of fun!

I had missed you at that Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention.

I was there for 2 days!

The way they set things up was a bit of a nightmare & by the time i got in the room, some people had left for panels. So, i had just missed you.

Were you there Saturday or Sunday?

I was there on Saturday during the day and it was really busy & hectic.

Yea, It was a very very crowded area. They didn't expect that many people and I guess they just weren't equipped to handle that big a crowd. I heard the wait was an hour to get in that room.

Oh yea! It took ME an hour to get in there! But it was worth it. Anyways, you recently recorded the commentary track for the upcoming Friday the 13th DVD box set with some of the other cast members from that film. What was that experience like?

That was good too. I had seen Paul Kratka and Richard Brooker about 2 years ago at a screening in LA and we got together and spoke to the audience.

But none of us had seen Dana in 22 years and it was great that she came down to do the commentary. And basically we sat in a little room & watched the movie along with Peter Bracke who's writing a book about the Friday The 13th series. We just tried to tell stories about what was going on and I hope the fans will like it. We were the only cast that Paramount asked to do commentary. I think more because of a time thing more then anything else. So, there are some director commentaries coming up on the boxed set, but there's only cast commentary on Part 3 and I just hope the fans like it.

I'm sure they will. I'd read that you did another film called 'Hadley's Rebellion'?

Yea, I had a very small part in that. I was 'boy F' or something and spent two days on it. It was written and directed by Fred Walton who did 'When A Stranger Calls', but this was not a horror movie. It's... not a very good movie either (laughs) ...and I don't think it was ever released in theaters.

I read you were a contestant on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'. True?


How'd that all come about? Were you just a fan of that show?

I'm sort of a trivia buff and the way you get on the show at the time was you just call up a phone number and answer some questions. You have to get 3 questions right, put these things in the correct order and if you get them all right you go into a pool of people and if you get picked you fly to New York. And that's what happened. It took a year of calling and answering the questions to get in the pool until I finally got picked. And then I got to New York and I was 18/100's of a second off the leader for the hot seat. So, I came in 2nd. But it was a fun weekend.

Did anyone recognize you from Friday when you did Millionaire?

No! Come on, no one knows who I am. I mean, I told them because they asked "What do you want to talk about?" They ask you in your pre-interview that in case you get in the chair. "What is Regis going to talk to you about? What do you do?" So, I told them. I gave Jason his hockey mask. (laughs) But once I was on, I saw on the Friday the 13th message board people talking about it. I mean, I was on for like two seconds! But some of the people on the forum I guess saw it and mentioned it.

I'm telling you. It's a rabid fan base!

Very rabid but very nice.

You've called the original 'Dawn Of The Dead' one of the greatest horror films ever. What'd you think of the new remake and what other films as a fan, do you appreciate?

Dawn of the Dead was the movie that when I saw it in the theater, just freaked me out more then any other movie. It just scared the crap out of me. I think I was about 16 when it came out. It was the only movie where after it was over, I had to keep looking behind me as I walked out of the theater. It's just a great movie. I saw the new remake and I liked it a lot, but it didn't have the power the first one did. The original is relentless. That opening scene in the original is just so chaotic and is just such a great scene. But I did enjoy the remake. Last movie I saw that I liked a lot was 'The Ring'.

You're also a fan of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, one of my all time favorites. How'd you first hear about that film? A lot of people now know him from 'The Lord Of The Rings' films. Have you seen some of his other early work?

Well, here in LA we have a great theatre called the Nuart, in which they show art films, independent films and horror films. They had a screening about 5 or 6 years ago for 'Dead Alive' and I read about it being just a great zombie horror movie. And I was a fan of Dawn Of The Dead & they said this was great so I went to go see it. I went to see it by myself actually. I couldn't convince anyone to go see it with me. But I checked it out & I thought it was so inventive. The myriad of ways that Peter Jackson comes up with to kill people. It's just clever and funny. It's such a great film.
Now that all is said & done, what'd you think of Freddy Vs. Jason? I know you said you were looking forward to it.

I liked it. I actually wrangled an invitation through a friend of a friend to the premiere. So that made it a LOT better! So, I was there opening night for the premiere and Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger were there along with a bunch of other stars. So I sat and enjoyed it. I thought the writers did a good job of combining the mythology into one and it delivered. Overall, it was a good night. I got to go see the film and got to go to the after party, and they had a good spread so THAT made the film that much better!

It took them a long time to put that movie together. In all that time, did the filmmakers ever ask some of the old cast members to make appearances in the Freddy Vs. Jason movie?

No. And I had spoken to Adrienne King at the convention and asked if they spoke to her about it. Because when I saw the film, I was thinking to myself it would've been great if both Adrienne King and Heather Langenkamp showed up. I mean, those 2 SHOULD have had cameos. They should have put them in there somewhere. So, I think they missed a good opportunity there. But I asked Adrienne and she said they never asked her about it. I figured if they didn't ask her, they didn't ask any of us.

How'd you initially get involved with entertainment law, which is your current profession?
Well, acting wasn't working out. I took the LSAT. I did really well. I went to law school to figure out what to do and law worked out really well. I enjoy being a lawyer and I represent a number of people in the horror field and it's great. I do copyright law and represent writers and producers. If anyone needs a lawyer, come to Zerner law.com & contact me.

Do you handle any music law? I might be able to use you for that one day.

No, not music. But if it's infringment, I can help ya!

Thanks so much for talking to us, Larry!

Visit Larry at www.ZernerLaw.com!!!

Special thanks to Mister Larry Zerner for supplying us with most of these great pics.

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