Within the horror genre, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who has never heard of the iconic machete-wielding killer of the Friday the 13th franchise, Jason Voorhees. Unfortunately, in 2006, the filming location for Friday the 13th Part 3 was destroyed in a fire. Following the death of Richard Brooker, the first person to don the hockey mask as Jason in Part 3, filmmaker Sean Richards set out to create the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary. Dedicated to Richard Brooker, the documentary tells the story of Friday the 13th Part 3, the original film location and the life of Richard Brooker. PopHorror was fortunate enough to sit down and chat about this project with Sean.
PopHorror: Hey Sean, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me! It’s awesome whenever someone in the industry is willing to have a phone conversation about their work.
Sean Richards: It’s my pleasure.
PopHorror: So, to start off, how long have you been in film?
Sean Richards: Well, I started pursing film in Indianapolis in 2012 where I got on board with my first agency. From there, I did a few commercials here and there. There’s one agency in the area that I know of for a city with over a million people (laughs). There weren’t many jobs to offer with so many people wanting work. So in 2014, I relocated to Arizona, where I met Kevin Phipps, who has been doing film for a number of years in the Phoenix area. I worked on a couple projects with him and he became my director for the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary. When I moved to California in late 2014, I focused my attention solely on production for the documentary. So my acting was put on hold because it took everything I had to work on the documentary. Once it went into post-production, I was able to pursue acting again in film.
PopHorror: Is the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary the first time you’ve done work behind the scenes?
Sean Richards: I did help out on various film sets when I was living in Arizona. But as far as being involved in every aspect of a project, this documentary would be my first time. We really started getting into it around June or July of 2014. That’s when we did a little filming and sequencing about what happened the night of the cabin fire and then the interviewees started coming in as word of mouth spread about the professional job we were doing.
PopHorror: Speaking of production, what is your role in creating Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary and how did you come up with the idea?
Sean Richards: The documentary initially started the day I heard that Richard Brooker passed away, which was April 8th of 2013. A friend of mine who is involved in the horror circles reached out to me and told me the news. And the documentary was kind of this instantaneous idea that popped into my head that day. It was about 8 years before when the cabin in Friday the 13th Part 3 film had burned to the ground and I had done some video and photography of the set, stopping by on my initial trip to California in 2003. And I felt very grateful that I was able to visit the set while it was intact. So, the day I heard Richard had passed, I knew I wanted to share what I had of the Friday the 13th Part 3 film set prior to the fire and dedicate it to Richard.
I tried to get the project going when I was in Indianapolis, but nothing materialized until I moved to the Phoenix area and met Kevin. When I pitched the idea to him, he seemed interested, but we needed more than just the video and photography. We needed a script and a story. So, I came up with a script backdating the whole Friday the 13th Part 3 production and who Richard Brooker was. I also discovered what happened the night of the cabin fire through the arson detective’s archives.
PopHorror: Since we’re touching on the topic, what did happen that night of the cabin fire?
Sean Richards: Well, I would really love to answer that for you, but that would take some of the fun away from the documentary (laughs).
PopHorror: Well, that makes me want to see the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary more, actually (laughs). So, I presume that you knew Richard Brooker personally?
Sean Richards: I did. I initially met him in Orlando, Florida. The third time was at an event where he came up and tapped me on the shoulder. He invited me to have a drink with him at the bar. We had about a 20-minute conversation about life and that’s the last time I saw him. So, yeah I definitely got a sense about whom he was and I learned even more through all of the documentary interviews. I learned about his life and who I suspected he was and much more. He was a good guy, very intelligent, and he had a very interesting journey while he was here.
PopHorror: I read that the documentary had some crowd funding. Why did you decide to go that route and how much of the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary was crowd funded?
Sean Richards: Well, the crowd funding was to help get the initial production off the ground. I think we raised about $1,800, which we used for filming the reenactment sequence of the cabin fire. And then we did another fun sequence the next morning. It was the first filming we actually did, which helped get the rest of the production together.
PopHorror: As a whole, what can we expect from the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary?
Sean Richards: It is going to have a lot of interesting information in it, for sure. For me, it kind of runs of the gamut of emotions due to all the stories involved. It has fun stories that might make you laugh and others that might make you cry. There’s happiness, there’s sadness, there’s some fun scares and there’s a lot of nostalgia. It’s a very reflective piece. It’s a memoriam documentary and a tribute to Richard. It shows why Friday the 13th Part 3 matters and why Richard Brooker’s story matters. So, I think it’s going to be a journey for anyone who watches it and I think the Friday the 13th fans will enjoy it.
PopHorror: What major challenges did you come across while making Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary?
Sean Richards: Oh yeah, there were challenges in making this project, for sure. Trying to get production rolling in Indianapolis was a struggle and it didn’t pan out. And then when I met Kevin, it started to come together a little. We got a script together and shot some sequences, but it stalled for a little bit. But, I kept plugging away at it, reaching out to people who were involved with the Friday the 13th Part 3 or maybe knew Richard. Then I met an individual who introduced me to Paul Kratka who played the boyfriend lead in Friday the 13th Part 3. We talked and he sounds exactly how he did in 1982 (laughs). His voice is still very distinctive and a great narrator’s voice. We pitched the idea to him for the project and he came aboard. And he did a terrific job. He is a really professional guy to work with and he helped us to secure more interviews.
There are people we wanted to be a part of this, whom we reached out to, but whether they had their own personal reasons or wanted to keep their memories private, we respect their decision. Then there were some delays as well during post-production. We had to find the right editors for this project because once everything was said and done, we had a lot of stuff to go through. What I learned was that I had to find editors who really appreciate and enjoy the franchise to do the depth of work that needed to be done to put this together. That was an undertaking in itself. To find those types of editors took quite awhile. But we did find Joe and Brian, and they were the right guys. They did a terrific job, despite a lot of technical difficulties. So, as far as the challenges go, it has been a rough ride. It really has. But was worth it.
PopHorror: Having started the project several years ago, I can imagine.
Sean Richards: Yeah, it’s working all the angles and making sure we’re doing this with the upmost quality, class and respect for Friday the 13th Part 3 and Richard Brooker. Especially when it’s your first project, it isn’t an easy sell. If you don’t have anything under your belt, it makes it difficult, for sure. So, to make it more than just video and pictures (laughs), it took a lot of work.
PopHorror: It sounds like it’s been a journey! What was your favorite part about working on the Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary?
Sean Richards: There were a lot of favorite parts of making the documentary. I would say discovering all these stories and sitting down with my interviewees and discovering all this new information. Everybody had something different to tell, whether it was about Friday the 13th Part 3 or about Richard. It was really interesting that no two people had the same thing to share (laughs). Another fun part of it for me was seeing it come together, because you don’t know what you really have until it starts to take shape, finding its own rhythm and flow. Seeing it come together was very rewarding.
PopHorror: After completing a project that you’ve put so much into, I can imagine the feeling. How about Richard? What is your own personal favorite memory of him?
Sean Richards: The thing that really spoke volumes to me about Richard and probably the most important reason why I chose to pursue making this documentary was how I first met him in Orlando. He wasn’t in the greatest mood that day. I shared my photography of the original cabin while it was still standing. He wasn’t very interested. He just said, “Oh, yeah that’s cool, great.” I thought to myself: “Okay, he doesn’t want to look at those. That’s fine.” Then I had a hockey mask for some fun picture ideas. And he said, “Nah, we’ll just get a picture together. That’s cool.” I was looking forward to meeting him and it was a somewhat disappointing experience.
A couple months later, I was at another event with some friends. I had met the people I wanted to meet for the day and, as I was walking by Richards table, he looked at me and said I looked familiar. He asked if we knew each other. I told him that we met a couple months ago. He responded with, “Oh no, that wasn’t Orlando, was it?” I told him it was. I was surprised to hear a genuine apology for that day, explaining that he is from England, was jet lagged, wasn’t in the right frame of mind and didn’t feel well. He said he probably shouldn’t have been there, but he had made a commitment.
PopHorror: Oh wow, it’s not often you get an apology like that.
Sean Richards: Yeah, totally, and that spoke a lot about his character and who he was. That definitely meant a lot to me. In any situation in life when someone is off-putting or straight up rude, it’s always nice for someone to recognize their behavior and apologize. I’m sure Richard met a lot of people. And for him to remember our interaction from a couple months prior, own it and apologize showed a lot of character. I thanked him and we took a picture together. Later that night at the convention hotel, a transformer blew, causing a power outage and a group of us hung out with Richard during a blackout party.
PopHorror: That’s a good memory, for sure. Sean, I would like to thank you once again for taking the time out of your evening to talk about your upcoming project. I am sure I’m not the only one who is now looking forward to viewing this tribute to such an iconic horror classic.
Sean Richards: Absolutely, no problem! It was my pleasure and it was good talking with you as well!
The Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary is set to premiere later this year for the 35th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part 3. Details have yet to be released for the documentary’s availability to the public. As soon we we know, you’ll know!