A Killer Cut: Interviewing the Producers of Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary
The 70’s and 80’s saw a Renaissance in horror cinema as writers and directors ushered in a new era of schlock and awe. Violence, graphic practical effects, and buckets of blood that would have all been left to our imagination during the B Movie “Golden Age” the 50’s and early 60’s was suddenly fair game as zombies and crazed killers cut a swath across the silver screen. Some of the most endearing and iconic horror movie figures were born along this blood soaked new trail and none of them more universally recognized or copied than Jason Voorhees. The towering, machete wielding, hockey mask wearing maniac of Camp Crystal Lake gave us some of the most enduring tropes of the slasher age.
Of the more than a dozen Friday the 13th movies, none stand out more than Part III. This was the first film to not only feature Jason with his now iconic hockey mask but reintroduced audiences to the wonders of a 3D experience in theaters. With red and blue tinted glasses, audiences were shocked and terrified by the horror jumping off the screen at them. It also marked one of only a few film roles played by the late Richard Brooker who brought new life into the looming killer by the shores of Crystal Lake. Executive Producer and Co-writer Sean Richards and Co-producer Ruben Angelo are taking audiences back to the summer of 1982 in their new documentary Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary. I recently got the opportunity to talk with them about the project. Here’s what they had to say:
Dan: To start off with, tell me about your careers on film. Is the audience going to recognize your work in the industry?
Sean Richards: I’m more or less a newcomer to the industry. I started doing some commercial work as an actor in 2012 in Northern Indianapolis before I relocated from Indiana to Arizona in 2013. I got more serious about my acting and met our Director (Kevin Phipps). He was teaching a Meisner course that I was in. Shortly after our introduction I mentioned the idea of a documentary and we started working on it in March 2014. I have been in a number of film projects (roughly 6 or 8) this past year I’m looking to do more in 2017.
Ruben Angelo: I began my career 25 years ago on films such as Boys on The Side, Quick and the Dead, and Hard Bounty in casting, production, and acting capacities. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of acting in 19 films and have branched into producing with my most recent release being the horror film The Conduit.
Dan: Tell me about Friday the 13th Part 3. It’s one of the more pivotal films in the series but what about it inspired you to do this documentary? What’s the significance of Part 3 to you?
Sean Richards: The idea for the documentary started when I heard that Richard Brooker (Jason, Friday the 13th Part 3) had suddenly passed away in April 2013. I couldn’t believe it. I had met Richard on various occasions in 2006 and he had always enjoyed talking over a cocktail, having a good time and mixing with the fans. I was really surprised when I heard about his passing. He was so young. I had also done some photography in my 20’s including an arranged visit to the part III set. I felt lucky to have been able to visit the property before the cabin perished in a fire in 2006. So, the idea for the project in the beginning was to share what I had with the fans and dedicate it to Richard. Then I met Kevin (Phipps) and the idea started to materialize into something more tangible. Since then, it has snowballed into something really special.
For me the significance of part 3 lies in the fact that it’s the first in the series where we see Jason as that iconic, hockey masked villain we’ve all come to know. Part 3 was a pivotal entry in the series in that it established a new look for this character that still remains some 35 years later.
Ruben Angelo: Friday the 13th Part 3 was always iconic to me as a child. I’ve always loved horror films but I was also fascinated with 3D technology. The combination of the two -plus the inclusion of a new element like the mask- made the film stand out in my mind.
Dan: Jason is a cultural icon and part of one of the most recognized horror franchises in the world. What sort of hurdles did you have to clear in order to shoot this documentary?
Sean Richards: One of the hurdles for me was getting the iconic part 3 score cleared for use. Harry Manfredini’s score is iconic and I absolutely wanted it to be a part of the documentary. For me, the music is as big a part of the franchise as the mask itself. I talked with Harry and mentioned the idea for the project to him. He thought it was a great idea and gave me his blessing. There were other hurdles as well that we are currently going through in post-production, but we are definitely doing this the right way and going to make sure everyone is happy prior to release.
Ruben Angelo: Whenever you encounter a franchise based project there are always rights and privileges to sort out and negotiate and this project is no different. All we have been doing is depicting our story as respectfully as possible in order to showcase our work as something that an audience would be interested in seeing.
Dan: What can you tell me about Richard Brooker? What about his legacy are you hoping to capture in this film?
Sean Richards: Without giving too much away, he was a great guy. He was definitely a very kind and caring person. Let’s just say he is absolutely a person who deserves for a project to be made in his honor. What we are looking to capture here is the essence of who Richard was for those who never had the opportunity to meet him.
Ruben Angelo: Sadly I did not have the opportunity to meet [Richard] Brooker before his untimely passing. As far as his legacy is concerned I hope the world sees him as a man who was very much dedicated to his fans as well as enjoyed the time and effort he put into his craft.
Dan: Can you tell me which of the cast members from Part 3 that you were able to interview?
Ruben Angelo: Paul Kratka (Rick), Larry Zerner (Shelly), Tracie Savage (Debbie) and David Katims (Chuck)
Dan: What do you think is going to excite fans the most about your documentary?
Sean Richards: One thing I think the fans will be excited about is the fact that we went with an all-natural look with our interviews. I remember watching these films as a kid and noting the irony in the visuals in that they were some of the most beautiful, rustic settings I had ever seen in any film. Just after darkness falls, death lurks. It’s a very stark contrast that you see in those movies – visually gorgeous forestry, lakes, etc…then death. So we definitely wanted to keep with that natural aesthetic as well as featuring the hockey mask and Manfredini’s score. Those are essential elements in part III and are represented in the documentary as well.
Ruben Angelo: I would say the most exciting thing about our documentary is the personalization, the story within a story structure that it has. We all want to feel like we know the folks who were a part of something like this that we’re going to cherish forever and this film gives them that experience.
Dan: You’re also trying to draw attention to the film communities in Arizona and L.A. What can you tell me about those efforts? What can the viewers do to help?
Ruben Angelo: Although our efforts have been placed in two key markets, our goal is always global acknowledgment and appreciation [of film]. There is a large fan base behind the series that wants to see more. We've been doing several pre-release interviews but also plan to do a few premieres; plenty of meet-and-greets, contests, and conventions in order to let the masses know our project is available. As for the viewers, I'd say share, share, share. If we’re well received the goal will be to do a few more documentaries.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part 3’s theatrical release. As for the late Richard Brooker, if you haven’t read up about this amazingly talented man then you’re missing out. A true performer and entertainer he helped bring new life to a terrifying tale. Be sure to keep up to date on the project by following on Facebook and on IMDB. Friday the 13th Part III: The Memoriam Documentary will be released later this year and there are several screening events and a premiere being planned. Until then, stay scary.
The Ruben Angelo produced horror film The Conduit is currently available on streaming services and pay-per-view.
Dan Lee is a horror fiend and freelance writer with a special place in his heart for monster movies and demonic possession stories.