Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday the 13th: A Trip Back To Camp Blood VERSION 2

Alright, so it's actually Saturday the 14th at this point . . . but who's really keeping track? Actually, come to think of it, somewhere in the Friday the 13th series, this blog post would be perfectly acceptable as taking place on the "very next day" (see Part II and Part 3D. So, anyway, enjoy this photographic tribute to original Friday the 13th!

One of the coolest things about growing up in New Jersey was some of the amazing history and connections to things I'm interested in. Let's see, you got the home of The Misfits up in Lodi, there's the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the Jersey Shore, and of course, Troma Films. But, this
one definitely takes the prize -- in 1979, a small group of filmmakers headed by Sean S. Cunningham were making a little Horror picture that they were hoping would become the
scariest movie of all time.

Little did they know.

Taking a page from John Carpenter's Halloween and Bob Clark's Black Christmas,
Cunningham's aptly titled Friday the 13th shot in northern New Jersey in and around the towns of Hope and, of course, Blairstown. Camp Crystal Lake itself is actually a local Boy Scout camp called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which is still active today.

Our first location is Main Street in downtown Blairstown. Seriously, this is pretty much the hub of Blairstown and the Friday crew utilized a lot from this location. Through some creative editing, the small strip of Main Street becomes all of the town of Crystal Lake. In the film, the first "present day" footage we see is of Annie, the cook for the soon-to-reopen Camp Crystal Lake. She crosses a small bridge as she enters town and heads.

As you can see in the photos, not much has really changed. I have no idea what happened to the original bridge, but I'm sure the concrete needed significant repair work over time.

Still, regardless of the changes that have taken place, it really is a sight to behold as you first
turn onto Main Street. If you're turning left onto the street, you cross the bridge, with the wall on your right, leading to the Old Mill.
Built in 1825 and acquired by the Blair Academy in 1903, the Old Mill was eventually placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, so I'm pretty sure it ain't going anywhere.

In the film, Annie walks through the Old Mill's classic arch ways.

This location is right next to the bridge, so this one of few geographically correct locations in the film. As you can see in the pictures here, nothing has really changed.

It's also worth noting that the road to Camp No-Be is actually the one in the picture that winds of
f and up to the left. So, um, Annie . . . you're going the wrong way!
Here, Annie lazily wanders through the tunnel before exiting through one of the arches.

The smaller arched windows have been updated with solid panels of wood, though still keeping the original color scheme. I'm also pretty sure the overhead lights were added in re
cent years, though.

Annie walks through the second arch.

This is where things get interesting....remember what I said about the producers using some clever editing to make Main Street seem a lot bigger than it actually is? In the start of this scene, Annie comes in from one end of the street and here, she's coming from the opposite end.

In the screen capture, I'm not really sure what the red building Annie is walking down in front of was back then. As you can see in the modern pic, the building has since been painted a ghastly light blue color and is now the Historic Blairstown Theatre. Why is it blue? I have no idea, but it's pretty much an eyesore as far as I'm concerned.

It looks like the building right next to it has had a bit of a facelift, as well.
Next up is one of the most famous locations, which to this day, remains pretty much identical as to when Enos, the truck drive, drops Annie off at "the crossroads" . . . the Moravian Cemetery in Hope, NJ.

Hope Township is actually south of Blairstown on Rt 519, so Annie has quite a trek ahead of her if she's still walking to Camp Crystal Lake, don't you think so?

I remember the first time I actually went to Blairstown to check out the locations back in 2003; as we were heading north on 519, I looked down the road to the left and immediately recognized the location. The Moravian Cemetery is just outside of the actual crossroads in Hope, NJ and, as you can see in the photo, still looks pretty much the same.

The next location is the Blairstown Diner, where Steve Christy has a meal before making his way back to Camp Crystal Lake. And, personally, I think Sandy was totally flirting with him and trying to pick him up.

The diner, as it appeared in the film, looked pretty much the same on the exterior until at least 2004 . . . Unfortunately, sometime in that year or the next, the diner was remodeled and "modernized" so to speak. I never did get to see it with the DINER marquee lit up (the place used to keep very odd hours, so I might have driven all the way up there in the evening, only to find it closed!). The interior of the diner is now very different, resembling your typical American diner establishment, with a large dining room area.

Inside, Steve Christy sits at the counter as he finishes his coffee and Sandy tries to work her magic on him. "Two and a quarter."

In the film, Sandy's back is the front of the diner. I'm not sure if there was a large dining area in there (behind Steve, a little further down the wall) as it stands today. And, frankly, I don't remember it that way the first time I got into the diner back in 2004.

In the first pic above, we're standing down by where Steve sat in the film. There is no longer a counter there, only booths. During filming, I'm not sure there was a counter where there is one, so it's possible it may have just been relocated to the other end of the front.

In this pic, taken in 2004, I'm sitting where Steve sat. At this time, the diner still had its original green paint scheme and the layout looked similar. To my left was where the booth behind Steve sat; it was pretty much removed or in the process of being removed, as I remember it.

At that time, my wife (then my girlfriend) Sandee and I were hesitant to go into the diner, as I'd heard urban legends that the locals are too fond of their town's connection to a cheap slasher movie from the 1980s. So, as we walked up to the counter and ordered a Coke, Sandee was able to take a pic of me (she was standing where the small booth is behind Steve Christy in the screen capture). I do remember that booth was either completely busted up and removed or in the process of being removed, as I don't recall an actual seat or table in that spot.

I used to go up to Blairstown every Friday the 13th and have lunch at the diner and, as it stands, it's not a bad little place! The food is great and the service is friendly and inviting. I highly recommend the chicken fingers and fries!

Needless to say, when we were there on Memorial Day, the staff of the Blairstown Diner were incredibly friendly and inviting. Though they were closing due to the holiday, we were welcomed inside to take as many photos as we needed! Thank you Blairstown Diner staff!

That's all for now . . . stay tuned for Part II of "A Trip Back To Camp Blood" when Constriction Pictures will actually visit the original Camp Crystal Lake itself!