Short film honors horror icon

The hockey mask may be the most iconic image in horror movie history, but few know who the psychotic killer was. Sean Richards’ documentary film reveals that.

Richards, an actor, a writer and a producer, presented his documentary film “Friday the 13th Part 3: The Memoriam Documentary” during this semester’s first Media Arts Speaker Series event.

Fueled by childhood nostalgia for ‘80s horror movies and respect and admiration for an old friend, a first-time filmmaker set out to create a work that would capture the spirit of an iconic franchise.

“These are all iconic characters. It’s part of our cinema history,” Richards said. “It was the 80s, it was boom time for horror.”

Tracie Savage, a Pierce Media Arts professor, acted as Debbie in “Friday the 13th: Part III” and was interviewed for the documentary. She helped organize the film viewing and Q&A.

“The idea for tonight’s event was to motivate young filmmakers to just get out there and do it,”  Savage said. “Here’s this guy who has never produced a film before, and here he’s got a 40-minute film that is produced wonderfully.”

Richards said he was motivated to make the documentary film after learning that Richard Brooker, who played psychotic killer Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th: Part III,” died of a heart attack in 2013, the year of the film’s 30th anniversary.

“First and foremost, it shares Richard Brooker’s journey. It’s a personal touch behind the scenes,” Richards said. “You see who they are portraying the characters on the film, but you don’t see who they are, so you get to know them on a personal level.”

Richard McMullen is an actor who returned to school full time as a film major. He attended the event because he is interested to learn about professionals breaking into the field.

“Anybody out there who wants to be a documentary filmmaker that, if your project is something that may have been done a bit before, it may make it more difficult to see your project through, but still he was able to do that,” McMullen said.

Savage acted as Debbie in “Friday the 13th: Part III” in her last role before going to college.

“It was absolutely a blast. I worked my entire childhood since I was 2, and I was going away to study journalism,” Savage said. “I knew that I was pretty much done with acting. I got this role, and I thought, ‘Well, it will pay for college.’ I didn’t know that it was going to turn into the cult film that it is.”

Richards said he met Savage at a horror convention 15 years ago, and he contacted her through Larry Zerner, who played Shelly in the original film, to be interviewed for the documentary.

“Looking back on these interviews, everyone one brought their own brand. Tracie brought professionalism and great stories,” Richards said.

The documentary presents behind-the-scenes footage, photos and personal accounts from the actors and crew, which Richards said is important and interesting to fans of the genre.  

“As horror fans, you get to know the people behind the production,” Richards said. “You share their experiences of a time that’s unfortunately in a capsule; the horror movie has changed quite a bit, so I’d like to preserve that.”