Horror fans are the most loyal in the universe. Take a knife in a terror flick and never work again, you will still be a legend in our eyes. Thus, the news this week of the death of actress Gloria Charles hit the scare community with a profound sadness. Charles not only created a singular badass with her take on Fox in the beloved Friday the 13th, Part 3, but she is also one of the only minority actresses to cause a significant impact in that iconic series. She was definitely the fiercest of that lot, threatening the campers played by Larry Zerner and Catharine Parks with snarling zeal before she found herself on the wrong side of Jason’s wrath, forever earning her a place in our hearts…and horror history. All the others, including (but not limited to) Renee Jones (Jason Lives), Diane Almeida (The New Blood) and Kelly Hu (Jason Takes Manhattan) were stereotypical victim types.
It is also significant to note that, while Fox may have been the role that she was best known for, Charles had a number of other credits to her name. She shared valuable screen time with Richard Pryor in the comedy Brewster’s Millions and added eclectic flair to a variety of television shows. The roles may not have been large ones, but her kindly police officer on a first season episode of the violent cop procedural Hunter is such a far remove from her work in Friday 3 that it seems a shame that the wide variety of her skills wasn’t given a larger play in the often difficult world of entertainment.
Still, one hopes that in the decades to come, the cultural and social impact of her role in the world of horror will keep her beacon forever shining, brightly.
She deserves it.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!