Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jason Comes a-Calling for Friday the 13th.

Roy’s Hall sold out two screenings of “Friday the 13th.” Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

Life imitated art again last week as fans of slasher, horror and sci-fi movies along many just looking to have some fun crowded the streets and businesses of Blairstown to celebrate the movie that shared the date—”Friday the 13th.”

For the uninitiated, “Friday the 13th,” the 1980 movie considered to be the granddaddy of the slasher genre, was filmed in Blairstown and neighboring Hope and Hardwick. Several opening scenes featured several Main Street landmarks such as the mill and the theater that is today’s Roy’s Hall.

Several extensive scenes were filmed in the Blairstown Diner, where owner Gary Wishnia welcomed visitors from all over the country. Some have even visited from as far as Europe, he said.

“We’re having a bigger crowd this year,” Wishnia said as the day progressed. A couple tour buses deposited their riders later in the evening. Activities were set up outside the diner including an ax-throwing tournament. The diner this year partnered with Spirit Halloween popup stores to raise money for Spirit of Children, which provides costumes, accessories, party goods and all the other trimmings to local hospitals to hold Halloween parties for children.

Blairstown Diner owner Gary Wishnia welcomed visitors to the place where the movie was filmed. Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

The diner featured Slasher Burgers. Other movie-themed offerings could be had throughout the Blairstown Village area, including Kevin Bacon Cheeseburgers and Crystal Lake Martinis at the Post Time Pub and Killer Dogs at Sundae’s Ice Cream. The Blairstown Inn boast the Jason eats there on a regular basis.

Many people paraded the street fair along Main Street in full costume, where dueling Jasons could often be found. Not every day that one sees machete-equipped, masked serial killers walking the streets.

Jason returned to his old stomping grounds on Friday the 13th. Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

Even Freddy Kruger was there to recreate the epic battle depicted in the major crossover movies, “Freddy vs. Jason.”

Matt Keller, of Blairstown, the longest-serving Jason and considered the Dean of Jasons, again marched the streets, machete in hand, ready to greet out-of-towners with a little local color, posing for maniacal photos with visitors.

Real-life Camp No-Be-Bosco in Hardwick, just up the road from Main Street, and which served as the mythical Camp Crystal Lake, opened its gates to visitors as it often does on Friday the 13th. A private camp, sightseers are normally prohibited from entering the camp the rest of the year. Besides, it’s not known exactly where Jason has been living in the woods nearby.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.