A few weeks ago I took a trip up to North New Jersey for a meeting with a client and was able to tie it into an awesome weekend visiting Jay from The Sexy Armpit and Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. I have been buds with these guys for years and now that I think about it, a whole decade! Jay was such an incredible host and the fun we all had together really can’t be matched. There is some kind of magic that takes place when three Halloween nuts get together with booze and tacos. A lot of tacos.
While getting to see the magic behind Jay and Matt’s genius was something that can keep a long time fan on a high for quiet some time, I want to talk about a trip we took that Saturday. The season had not officially begun but the Purple Stuff podcast was well under way entering its third show that evening. The air was still summer but in our hearts it was cool, gray and a touch spooky. We were on our way to the filming location of a much-loved movie, Friday the 13th which was located about an hour northwest in a town called Blairstown.
On the way there we listened to Jay’s amazing Halloween soundtrack and I was able to geek-out listening to Matt and Jay discuss ideas, Halloween news and nostalgic stories. Without getting into details, it was a treat for a longtime reader. We took the rental car and Jay was able to fight the notorious New Jersey drivers without incident and got us to the little town unscathed. And looking back, it was a pretty easy drive in comparison to other places I have lived, especially on a Saturday afternoon.
Right away we started to recognize certain buildings and landmarks from a visual study Jay and I did earlier in the morning while watching Friday the 13th. One of the first spots was the diner which was a biggie on the list. Before we left, we all agreed that pie and coffee had to be eaten there, preferably in the spot where the camp head counselor sat before he was gutted. But that goal proved to be a little lofty. When we pulled in to the parking lot we could see a silhouette of a waitress waving us off. Jay was only trying to turn around but still there was something weird about that diner and although there were definitely people inside, it didn’t seem open.
Pulling out of the parking lot everyone decided we would hit the Diner on the way out and head to the town center to take photos and talk to the locals. But that’s when it started to get even weirder. There weren’t really any locals around to talk to! It was as if there was a huge festival in a neighboring town and everyone went there. It was a few days after I finished reading Stephen King’s Salem Lot and brother, it was almost identical to the description. Walking past the empty little shops and business, I couldn’t help but imagine sleeping vampires covered in musty tarps slumbering in the back rooms. I am sure everyone else was thinking the town was just boring.
Nothing has changed since the filming back in 1980. NOTHING! The bank is still in stone, the little road that the doomed hitchhiking girl strolled down is there and even the store front Crazed Ralph gummed, “You’re all dooomed!” is still there in an untouched perfection. It was everything a fan of the Friday the 13th fan could ask for.
While taking an uncomfortably quiet stroll through the fifty yards of the town center we did come upon a thrift shop. Bingo! Well, kind of. It was a weird little shop and only certain things were for sale. Judging from the quality of the stuff, I don’t know what they were holding out for. But it was still neat to see Matt and Jay do their thing which make great future posts we all love.
We got some pictures, I took video but really, within thirty minutes we saw it all. It was time to try the Diner again. As strange as our first encounter was before, it got even stranger when we tried to go in. There were clearly people inside but the doors were locked. It actually didn’t even seem like a fully operating diner but rather a crappy rundown place full of crockpots and hotplates to appease the ragged local. Again, the jerk of a waitress shooed us away from the window. So we just walked across the street to a tavern.
This was a welcome break but when we walked in it felt like the record scratched and everyone turned around to see the “outlanders”. We sat down and ordered a few drinks and fried artichokes while conversing with a sweet waitress. Again, our eyes scanned the surroundings for signs that this place was in the movie and Matt brought to mind that this place could be the tavern from F13 Part 2. A quick search on the phone led to nothing because there was absolutely no service in the bar. So I ventured outside to find out that no, F13 Part 2 was filmed in Connecticut. Bummer.
After a rest we returned to the car in search of the crown jewel, Camp Crystal Lake! The real spot is a boy scout camp called “Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco” and believe it or not, parents send their kids there. All we wanted to see was the lake and possibly recreate the Jason/canoe scene. But there was a problem.
The winding road through the dense woods soon became littered with “No Trespassing” signs as we got closer to the camp. By the time we reached the camp entrance it was as welcoming as Check Point Charlie dividing East and West Europe. It was evident that if you even thought of getting out of your car, there was a good chance of getting shot, arrested, eaten by a bear or having your arm ripped off and beaten to death by Jason. All things that we were not willing to spoil the weekend with. But we did find a creek that certainly came from the lake! That is something, right?
Did I forget to mention we were quite possibly chased out-of-town by a crazed person in a pickup? That happened too. Jay is a pretty big dude so at least if things turned sour he was on our side. Still, it added a bit of psychopath to a setting that needed one.
So, we left the sleepy little town of Blairstown and headed back to civilization richer for having seen the location of one of our favorite movies. On the way home we stopped at a dollar store and I saws in person Matt and Jay and their search for Halloween gold. The day was one to remember and started this Halloween season off with a bang.
Later that night, after a few hundred drinks, I tried to film an intro for the video from earlier that day and boy did I muck that up! I could not for the life of me remember the name Blairstown. I kept wanting to say Birketsville or Blairsville or Chicago. Anything but the right name, Blairstown, so Jay came in and saved the day. What a natural.
Big thanks to Dinosaur Dracula and The Sexy Armpit! Fantastic people and great friends. Now watch me fuck this video up six ways to Sunday.