Category Archives: Movies

Going Viral

Nope, not the flu.

A few weeks ago, there was a Twitter post from Eric Alper, which asked an innocent question: what movie disturbed you as a child? He often asks questions like this, and because I had a great example, I responded:

This is the scene in Invasion of the Body Snatchers when the results of an unfortunate man/dog pod combo come running up to the character played by Brooke Adams, who of course screams. What I shared was a gif file that shows the scene, and it’s really disturbing. You can see a video of it here.

I accidentally made this scene even more disturbing during my teens. I was changing channels on our old-school cable box (no remote). It was on top of our TV, so as I was reaching up to change channels from my spot on the floor, my face was right in front of the TV. And, as I passed the lone HBO channel we had back in the day, this creature was RIGHT THERE.

I screamed louder than Brooke and pulled the neck of red turtleneck I was wearing over my face, much to the amusement of my brother and mom, who were in the room at the time.

Haha.

So legit, this has always been a marker of disturbing movie scenes for me.

I responded to Eric’s post and went away for a bit. And then I came back to my iPad and saw my Twitter notifications were more active than they usually were. A lot more active.

Someone made a Twitter moment of the question and some of the responses, including mine. And since mine had a gif, and was really freaky and long forgotten/never seen by many, it blew up. Not like millions of impressions blowing up, but enough.

These were the results a day or so later:

Crazy. For one gif. I will likely never see this response again. Also notice that after all that, I gained one follower. So it’s fun to see people flip out over something you shared, but nobody is really taking it to the next step. And honestly, that’s okay with me. It’s not a life goal of mine to have thousands of followers. Some people ended up seeing a good sci-fi movie as a result. Works for me.

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Filed under Movies, Social Media, Writing

Following Annie

Yesterday I took a trip to two New Jersey towns–Blairstown and Hope–that were featured in scenes from the 1980 horror movie, Friday the 13th. Both appear early in the film, when we’re following the perky and independent Annie, who signed on to be the cook at Camp Crystal Lake and is getting there on a combination of foot power and hitchhiking.

My visit was for research, as I’m working on a story about the Blairstown connection for the next issue of Weird NJ. The museum in town has hosted movie-themed events for the past three Friday the 13ths, with the next one on schedule for April 13, 2018. So the story is about those events, but also a little bit about why these locations got their screen-time in the fall of 1979.

And yes, there are spoilers here for anyone who has never seen the movie.

I re-watched the movie twice in preparation for my visits. The last time I saw it was decades ago, probably on cable TV. But back then I just watched it for the scares, and even if I was aware that some of it was filmed in New Jersey I didn’t make it my focus. So now I watched as Annie stops at some old gas pumps to pet a dog, walks over a bridge, and walks past a few storefronts that have clearly seen better days. Today, it’s much nicer and has a variety of shops you can visit, plus the Blairstown Museum.

She goes through this cool walkway at one point. It looks like only the tiniest of people can walk upright in it, but it’s kind of like a Tardis.

And she walks down this street, past a performance venue called Roy’s Hall. In the movie, Roy’s Hall is painted red.

She stops in a restaurant (interior is from a location in Hope, I think) and asks how far it is to Camp Crystal Lake. The locals all look at her like she’s crazy, and one woman encouragingly refers to it as “Camp Blood.” But the friendly local oil tanker driver is willing to drop her off a little closer to her destination, so they leave. But only after Crazy Ralph comes up to them and tells Annie that she and the rest of the camp staff are “all gonna die up there.”

Annie is dropped off in front of this cemetery, which is in Hope.

I’ve been past this spot it many times before, as a kid on my way to my grandparents’ home in Knowlton, NJ. And it never clicked in my head that it was THAT cemetery. Or that we probably visited my grandparents in the fall of 1979, when they were filming the movie (though in Hardwick – at the camp where most of the slashing takes place).

This is the last we see Annie among people she can trust. She soon hitches one last ride, and despite her sweet charm, she can’t make the driver, aka Pam Voorhees, aka the killer, aka not Jason, understand that. She’s just one of a new crop of teenagers that must die. I didn’t visit the locations where these final scenes from Annie’s life were filmed – there’s nothing really distinct about them that would stand out today. Wooded roadways are wooded roadways.

This most recent viewing of the film has established Annie’s character as one of my favorites. I suspect that if she had been a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake in 1958, she would have kept an eye on Jason.

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Filed under Cemeteries, Horror, Movies, Weird NJ