The best and worst creepy movies shot in New Jersey
We talked about horror movies recently for two reasons. One, it's close to Halloween, duh. Two, my 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter recently saw a classic horror film made in 1980. The Shining, adapted from the novel by Stephen King. Were they creeped out? Nope, not one bit. I was shocked. The catatonic Danny's chant of redrum (and the backwards reveal in the mirror), the dead woman from the tub, the disturbing twin girls who wanted him to come play with them forever, and ever.
So I guess it's just too dated? Not enough cool special effects? I don't know. But in talking with callers about horror films it got my mind spinning on ones that were shot in New Jersey or at least in part in New Jersey. There are great ones, but there are terrible ones as well. In time for Halloween here's a short list, starting with the truly awful ones.
Best and worst creepy movies shot in NJ
Cannibal Campout is a 1988 movie about teenagers in the woods attacked by, what else, mutant cannibals. This movie was so awful it received a user rating on imdb.com of only 4.2. This film was shot in various New Jersey locations with no permits and secret locations according to that same site.
Christmas Evil is no Christmas film. A guy who works in a toy factory was mentally scarred as a child learning Santa isn't real and he snaps and goes on a killing spree. Shot in Glen Ridge, NJ, Montclair, NJ, Edgewater, NJ, and Englewood, NJ.
The Deadly Spawn from 1983 is about alien creatures invading a small town. If you ever see this dog, know that the house scenes were shot in Gladstone, NJ and the basement scenes were done in New Brunswick, NJ.
Don't Go in the House is from 1979 and follows a disturbed guy who was abused as a child by his mother by being burned. Years later he goes after women with a flamethrower. Scenes filmed in Port Monmouth, NJ, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, the Strauss Mansion Museum in Atlantic Highlands, NJ.
Frankenhooker is a horror comedy where a med student tries to recreate his decapitated fiancee by building her a new body assembled from street hookers. Oh, THAT old plot! Imdb.com says it was shot in part in New Jersey (yes, vague).
Okay, on to the better movies. If Creepshow seems cheesy like the bad ones above, it was by design. But the stories are actually solid and make you think, like the twisted revenge plot hatched by a scorned lover and filmed at Island Beach State Park, NJ.
Now the really good ones. Fallen is from 1998 and stars Denzel Washington and John Goodman. A serial killer is executed but then killings resume in the exact style. Shot in part in New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
I Am Legend is the story of a plague's sole survivor. Filmed in Mt. Airy, NJ, West Amwell, NJ.
The Village, by director M. Night Shyamalan, is about the strange happenings in an isolated country village. For all I know this is the only major motion picture filmed in part in Pedricktown, NJ.
War of the Worlds from 2005 stars Tom Cruise fighting to keep his daughter alive when Earth is invaded by aliens. Shot in part on Ferry Street in Newark, NJ, JFK Blvd in Bayonne, NJ, and Howell NJ.
Friday the 13th might be the ultimate filmed in New Jersey horror movie, as it was shot entirely in the Garden State according to imdb.com. And does anyone remember that Kevin Bacon was in this movie? Filming locations include Camp Nobebosco in Blairstown, NJ, the Blairstown Diner, Blairstown, NJ, Freehold, NJ, Harwick Township, NJ, Hope, NJ.
Joker, which won Joaquin Phoenix an academy award for his stunning performance of a mentally ill man in a movie that is far more than a Batman prequel. Scenes filmed in Jersey City, NJ, Market St. in Newark, NJ, Newark Paramount Theater, Newark, NJ, Hudson County Courthouse, Jersey City, NJ.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.