Growing up in the 80’s there was a plethora of horror films to watch. We were in the decade of the “Slasher Genre”. In 1978, the movie that kick-started it was Halloween. One year later, Friday the 13th went into production.
I do not recall what age I was when I first saw Friday the 13th, but I do remember it was during the month of October. Back before there was digital cable boxes, you were limited in channels and at the time, I had station WPIX Channel 11 (now the CW). If you did not have cable to watch uncut movies than this was your go to channel. During the month of October, they would broadcast various horror movies in what they dubbed “Shocktober”.
Each week, they would have a theme and one week during October was Friday the 13th. I was instantly hooked. As I grew older and earned an allowance, I would go to the mall on Saturday’s to SunCoast Pictures and I started to purchase horror movies. The first movie I purchased was Friday the 13th.
I remember the first time I put the tape in my VCR, I was watching Friday the 13th uncut!! When Annie was helped into Enos’s truck and he closed the door, it said Blairstown, NJ. Hold the phone, my favorite horror film was made in my home state!? The internet had yet to come out and I did not have any maps of NJ at the time. But I quickly researched that Blairstown was a mere 4 hours from me. Unfortunately, I would not be able to visit Blairstown for another 17 years.
Flash forward to 2010, I am camping at Harmony Ridge Farm and Campgrounds located in Branchville, Sussex County. While sitting by the fire, I put Blairstown, NJ in my GPS and discovered that Blairstown was a mere half hour drive from where I was staying. Needless to say, I took a road trip the next day. When I arrived in Blairstown, I felt like I stepped back in time to 1980 when the movie was released. Not much of the town has changed since then.
I was able to walk through the old mill you see Annie happily strolling through. Behind the mill is a small bridge that overlooks a beautiful lake and Blair Academy. From the bridge you have a great view of Main Street when Annie is walking through town. Not too far from Main Street is the Blairstown Diner where Steve Christie had his fateful last meal. (I will talk more about the beautiful town of Blairstown and the Blairstown Museum in a future article.)
After walking around town and visiting the local shops, I had to find Crystal Lake! I googled the camp where the majority of the film takes place. The name of the camp is actually Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco about 20 minutes away. The camp is a Boy Scout Camp that was established in 1927. If you read the great Crystal Lake Memories when the crew was scouting locations, they stumbled across the camp by accident.
The filmmakers had secured a camp to film however they got lost and found Camp No-Be-Bo Sco instead. After filming it was taboo to speak about Friday the 13th being filmed there however this would be a benefit in the years to come to the camp.
As you may already know, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is strictly off limits however this does not stop Friday fans from walking onto the camp. As I made my way down the street it is located on, I began to get chills when I saw the sign. Unfortunately that was short lived as I made it as far as the parking lot when I was asked to turn around.
My next visit to the area would be in 2018. With my love of all things horror and Halloween being my favorite time of year (plus my birthday is 10 days before Halloween), my wife and I planned a trip to go to Blairstown. Again being the rebel that I am, I took the fateful drive to the camp. This time, I made it a little farther. I made it past the parking lot and I started to see the lake to my left! Unfortunately, once again, my plan was foiled. There were scouts at the camp. So I made a quick U-Turn and said good bye to Camp Crystal Lake. It wouldn’t be until a month later until I received an email that I would never forget.
To be continued…..