The Ghosts of New Jersey Summer’s Past

Friends, sun, sand and the sounds of the ocean mean it’s summertime for me ! 

I grew up spending summers at camp when i was in grade school or heading to the jersey shore as a teenager . Wildwood, New Jersey was my second home . My grandmother lived in Wildwood almost her whole life. I would pack my bikini in a bag (yes that’s what it was called), Banana Boat suntan lotion (no spf) , boom box ( young people google that ) , acid wash jean shorts , rock tee shirt , puka shell necklace and flip flops and off I would go for 3 months. 

During the day I would go to the beach and at night if it was nice out I would head to the Wildwood boardwalk to visit my favorite attraction called castle Dracula. 

As a kid who enjoyed anything and everything that had to do with horror, this was the biggest and coolest attraction at the jersey shore . It was open from 1976-2002 until it mysteriously burned down.

You could walk through the castle or take a boat ride around the outside into the tunnels of castle Dracula all while listening to the haunting classic Dracula tune . 

If it was raining and you couldn’t go to the boardwalk then it was movie night .

Back then we had video stores where you could rent a movie for the night on a VHS tape. The video store was the size of a bathroom. I loved going there because they kept the horror movies in the back of the store in a special setting called “horror “. It was next to a small room that blocked off by a black velvet curtain with a sign out front saying “ adults only “. We would sneak over to the horror section with great anticipation of what the new releases were . 

 

My first summer rental was 1983’s Sleepaway camp. This movie has become a cult classic to horror fans . I attended camp when I was in grade school so I was always fascinated with camp horror films. Angela is sent to live with her Aunt and cousin after a family tragedy . Ricky and Angela are sent to Camp Arawak for the summer when mass killings start happening all around them . In the craziest most memorable twist of a horror ending it turns out “ Angela” who is actually her brother Peter ( who was supposedly killed in a accident ) is the one who was doing all the killings . 

This slasher movie didn’t disappoint it had death by curling iron , sexual subtexts nudity and plot twist and turns .

My next go to movie in the summer is 1975’s Jaws . 

This story is about a small New England beach tourist town that is suddenly under attack by a great white shark . The chief of police with the help of a local fisherman and a marine biologist set out to kill the shark before anymore people are attacked . Steven Spielberg did such an amazing job of creating fear for everyone who ever liked to go to the beach and swim. It is a timeless classic that no matter how old you are every time you step into an ocean that jaws theme music will always be in the back of your mind .

1980’s Friday the 13th introduced everyone to Jason Voorhees . Having gone to overnight camp this movie scared me to death . A boy named Jason Voorhees drown to death at the fault of the camp counselors at crystal lake and the camp was shut down . Against all warnings people return to camp crystal lake and face the consequences. Jason’s mother takes revenge on the teenagers one by one . In the end you see Jason pop up out of the water at the last minute. This is a must see every summer . This movie started a huge franchise that spans over 12 movies . Summer camp horror movies have certain guidelines . Summer camp isn’t just arts and crafts , row boats , volleyball and swimming . Whatever you do don’t have sex , don’t skinny dip and don’t shower . 

I remember at our overnight camp the bathroom cabins were made out of wood . The floor boards were slightly spaced apart and the boys would sneak under the cabins and try and watch us all shower . 

The problem is all everyone does at summer camp is try to sneak away without the counselors seeing and make out in the woods! 

My final summer go to movie is 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer . 3 words: Jennifer Love Hewitt. This movie is about a group of teenagers that just graduated high school and are out drinking and driving celebrating when they accidentally run over a fisherman and then dump his body . A mysterious note shows up saying “ I know what you did” and then the teenagers are being killed off one by one by a mysterious man with a hook for a hand . 

Jennifer love Hewitt plays the main scream queen and I think she was everyone’s crush in the 90’s. For the ladies we had Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze JR to fill the roles of the hot high school jock and the sensitive hot guy . This movie made me think of the countless times we had bonfire parties on the hidden beaches in south jersey and drank mad dog or Boone’s farm . Celebrating the school year ending and summertime fun. The moral of the story is don’t drink and drive and dump dead bodies into the ocean! These are my favorite summertime horror movies through the years. If you haven’t seen them check them out . 

Summer nights are filled with warm breezes, chilled sand beaches , beautiful clear skies with bright stars, lightening bugs , bonfires and time spent winding down with friends and family . These movies are classics that stay with you just like those warm summer nights .

Until next time hugs and hisses, 

Jenny

About Jenny Marie 8 Articles
Here’s my top 5 picks 1. 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi I am a huge fan of classic horror 2.1978 Halloween 3.1994 The Crow 4.2003 Identity 5.1973 The Exorcist ( I have only watched this movie a handful of times because it absolutely terrifies me ) A little bit about me .... I am a fan of slasher movies , in particular 70’s -80’s era . I prefer Vampire movies over Zombie movies . I will not watch anything that has to do with religion . I grew up Catholic and the Exorcist terrified me . I just don’t enjoy that type of genre . The church scared me enough growing up . Sci -Fi Horror doesn’t really interest me too much . Thrillers are my second pick to watch over slasher movies . Some of my favorite directors are John Carpenter , Eli Roth , Steven King and Rob Zombie . I look forward to sharing my experiences and opinions to all of you .... “ Welcome to my nightmare, I think your gonna like it , I think your gonna feel you belong “ - Alice Cooper