There are two very things about first arriving on the grounds at Camp-No-Be-Bo-Sco; 1.) the road to the camp is much longer than you'd believe and 2.) it's crazy just how much of the film was shot in such a small area of the camp!
The first location we'll look at is where the Camp Crystal Lake sign stood in the beginning of the film as Ned, Jack, and Marcie arrive.
No, it doesn't quite look like it did in 1979 when Friday was shot, but I'm 99% sure that this is the exact same location as it was shown in the movie. Note the totem pole...and the placement of the fictional sign versus the real sign. You figure 30+ years later and there was bound to be some trees cut down and buildings erected, right?
The first location we'll look at is actually from the first shot in the film. This would be the cabin that Jack and Marcie spend a lot of time in and, ultimately where one of the film's most famous kills occurs.
When we were at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in May 2011, the cabin (known as the Pond House) was actually being renovated. In a true face palm moment, we weren't sure just how important this little cabin with a ladder in front of it was to the Friday the 13th legacy!
If you're standing looking at this cabin, almost directly behind you is our next location...the main cabin, Van Dusen.
I'd say at least 75% of the movie takes place in and around this particular cabin, so this would be the Horror equivalent of hanging out in the Los Angeles location of Mighty Mick's Gym from the Rocky series. Words can't describe how cool it was to be RIGHT THERE.
Inside, it looked pretty much the same as it did in the film....
Here in the main room, the most notable and recognizable bits are the fireplace and the large beam through the center of the ceiling, which Alice slings her rope around as she barricaded herself inside once her friends' bodies started piling up.
When first walking inside, the fireplace is to the left (the piano, as you can see, was in the left corner) and, to the immediate right is the doorway leading to the kitchen...
Here, Mrs. Voorhees pulls her dramatic "Steve should have NEVER opened this place again..." speech while standing in the doorway.
One thing I should point out is how hellish HOT it was inside this cabin! Granted, I can't say I've spent too much time in log cabins and it was the end of May when we there, but damn....it was as hot as a docker's armpit in there. I can only imagine how much hotter it would be under several camera lights!
Moving through the doorway and into the kitchen, we come to another area known to Friday fans as a hotbed of action....
Here is where a lot of unintentional laughter arises out of fans, as Alice cannot seem to screw the cap back on the coffee she makes later in the film! Obviously, this part of the cabin has changed significantly since filming, but the vibe is still there. I'm also guessing all of these green tables aren't normally stored in Van Dusen, being as they're clumsily in the way.
From this pic, to the immediate right is a source of trivia that I'm sure a lot of fans are already well aware of...
The pantry door (and the pantry itself). Of course, in the screenshot above, Alice and the gang are about to meet Crazy Ralph, self-proclaimed prophet of doom, who has somehow been hiding in the pantry! In reality, the door is actually just another entrance to the cabin; the pantry was an add-on by the Friday production crew. When watching the movie, in any daytime shots of Van Dusen, you can clearly see the add-on of the pantry and that it really doesn't go well with the rest of the building.
To the left of the "pantry" door, we've got a window/corner that I'm sure was the seed for many sleepless nights and terrifying nightmares for kids in the 80s....
Here is the window that Brenda (actually make-up effects master/stuntman, Tom Savini) is sent crashing through. I must admit, this was a pretty cool site to take in considering just how classic Brenda's body coming through the window is!
Back outside, we'll move over towards the large cabin that doubled as the bathroom/shower area where Marcie eventually catches an axe to the face.
In the photo above, the young couple is fooling around before Marcie gives Friday fans another bit of Comedy Gold when she recounts her awful childhood nightmare where rain turned to blood. Sorry for the lack of a close-up, as I was going for the angle that Neddy saw as he watched the lovebirds from a far....in the location pic, I've circled the area where Jack and Marcie are playing balance beam on an old log. In the screen shot, you can see a makeshift bridge off to the right....which has been converted into a pretty sturdy bridge with arches, as you can see in the location shot.
Moving in a little closer to the building, you'll see the entrance for the bathroom as it was portrayed in the movie....
In the location shot, you can see a doorway on the left side of the cabin (just under the foliage in the foreground) which served as the door shown in the screen cap.
In reality, this cabin looks to be some sort of bunk cabin as it was crammed with bunks.
Looking out from the cabin is, of course, Crystal Lake itself. In reality, Crystal Lake is known as Sand Pond....
One of the most standout points of reference for this location is, of course, the large mountain off in the distance, looming over the lake like some sort of horrible memory campers would prefer to forget. I'll admit, standing on the dock and looking out towards that mountain, after having seen it so many times in the movie and in stills, really made things connect for me....it was like, "I'm here!" One of the other cool things that I don't think is too visible in the pics above is that there's a wire stretched across the water (probably some sort of utility wires) and it's pretty visible in the movie actually!
On the shoreline, another standout landmark is the lifeguard tower. In the film, it's a skeletal structure, though over time it's been modified and painted brown (as I'm sure you've probably seen in a lot of other locations photos over the years).
Next, we've got the lake itself...in the pics below, I'm not entirely sure where the canoe was when Jason popped up at the end for one last scare (though I'm sure there's a die hard or two out there who can pinpoint EXACTLY where it was...).
Certainly one of the most memorable props of the original Friday the 13th are the large, wooden raft pieces that the young counselors are using to assemble the dock early in the film. Sure, in the pics above, it's clear that the camp has upgraded to something more substantial than old, white pieces of wood....but, those original rafts are still there!
Who wouldn't love to have one of these at their house??
Wrapping up, I must say that there's a pretty special feeling being on these grounds where Friday the 13th was filmed. When I lived back in New Jersey, I'd make it a point to take a trek up to Blairstown almost every Friday the 13th since 2003 and try to have lunch at the diner. This visit to the camp was actually the first time I'd ever set foot on the grounds (as it's actually a pretty difficult place to find if you're not sure where you're going!).
Though I haven't been back since this visit, the last I heard about Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco was that it had been sold to the nearby Blair Academy and would soon be converted into "athletic fields". I can't really say if there have been developments in that process or not since then...but when we were there it still seemed like an active Boy Scout camp preparing for a new summer season. These days, unfortunately, the website hasn't really been updated and there really aren't any updated photos in the site's gallery.
So, if you happen to be in the area and feel like taking in some Friday the 13th sites, always remember: be respectful. Though I've heard urban legends of the Blairstown locals looking down at Friday fans and generally trying to forget the legacy of the film on their hometown, I can't say that I've ever experienced any negative vibes from the locals myself. The same goes for the camp....do a search on-line and I'm sure you'll read any number of stories about the camp turning fans away (can't say I blame them though, since they are a thriving business dedicated to the Boy Scouts and all that stuff...but hey...).
Thanks for sticking around all this time between blogs to check out this final chapter!