Maybe it’s just me, but more desolate states like Alaska or Wyoming seem to be the perfect setting for a horror movie. New Jersey, admittedly, is not the first to come to mind. However, filmmakers over the years have managed to get pulses pounding with the Garden State as their backdrop. From cult classics (pun intended) to straight-up slashers, we’ve rounded up seven scary movies that are filmed right here in NJ.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
While the real events that inspired “The Amityville Horror” might’ve happened in Long Island, the ‘70s film has an undeniable connection to New Jersey. The haunted house, which viewers come to find is overrun with supernatural forces, is really located in Toms River. However, there are a few other spots in the Garden State that you can spot during your streaming session. St. Peters Church in Point Pleasant was also used for filming, in addition to the grounds of Lakewood’s Georgian Court University.
Don’t Go Into The House (1979)
Part slasher, part psychological thriller, “Don’t Go Into The House” tells the story of a disturbed young man named Donny who was abused by his mother, both verbally and by being repeatedly burned. As he grows older, his affinity for fire and murder strengthens. The main shooting location and the house in which Donny and his mother resided is now better known as Strauss Mansion Museum in the Atlantic Highlands. It’s also a great spot for those interested in ghost hunting.
Friday the 13th (1980)
One of the most famous movies across all genres to be filmed in the Garden State is “Friday the 13th.” The plot of this classic horror title centers around a group of teenage camp counselors who are suddenly murdered one by one. Camp Crystal Lake, the fictitious setting of the film, is actually Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco located in Hardwick. Other Warren County filming locations included Blairstown and Hope Township.
The Prowler (1981)
In “The Prowler,” a WWII veteran wreaks havoc on the fictional town of Avalon Bay, New Jersey 35 years after the double-murder of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend. The seaside setting for the film was actually Cape May, and the dance scenes (both past and present) were shot inside the Inn of Cape May at 7 Ocean St.
13th Child (2002)
This 2002 thriller is based on the book, “The Jersey Devil,” written by James F. McCloy and Ray Miller Jr. Similarly, “13th Child” explores one of the state’s scariest legends. In the movie, South Jersey locals are being killed off by a supernatural creature that resides in the Pine Barrens. The film itself was shot right here in New Jersey—more specifically throughout Wharton State Forest, Batsto Village and Hammonton.
The Village (2004)
We all remember the Amish horror classic, “The Village,” by M. Night Shyamalan, right? Although centered around residents of an isolated Pennsylvania community, parts of the 2004 movie were shot in the nearby Garden State. Pedricktown in Salem County is said to have been one of the tri-state area shooting locations to appear in “The Village.” Here they filmed two scenes. The first, when Ivy nearly gets run over by a truck. The second, when a driver pulls over at a gas station to inquire about the village.
Satan’s Playground (2006)
This one could hit a little too close to home for NJ residents. In “Satan’s Playground” a family on the way to a camping trip gets stranded in the Pine Barrens when their car breaks down. There, the vacation takes a treacherous turn when the family members begin being killed by the infamous Jersey Devil. Director and NJ native, Dante Tomaselli, shot the film in the actual Pine Barrens region.
Know of any other scary movies filmed or set in NJ? Let us know in the comments.
Main image by Brigitte