Haunted Hawleyville: Visits From Jason and Freddy

Jason Bait?

There’s something about us cluster-dwelling humans that makes us want to leave our cities and sprawling suburbs behind. Whether we head off for a hike in the park or an overnight camping trip, many of us seek out the woods to “get back to the basics.”

What sounds does the thought of a walk in the woods bring to mind for you? Leaves rustling in the trees and crunching under your feet? The far-off cawing of a bird in flight? The babbling of a stream? For me, it is all of the above, and because I’m a child of the 70s and 80s, another sound comes to mind too.

Che-che-che. Ah-ah-ah. Che-che-che. Ah-ah-ah.

It is hard to capture the breathy, terrifying sound in letters. But it is there, just the same, lurking in the back of my imagination. As I take in the gentle noise of nature on a hike, I can’t help but remember that sound from my TV screen. When the woods go silent, I look around and remember his ski mask and his lumbering, purposeful stride.

 I spent far too many teenage nights watching him hack up rowdy teens on camping trips to not have Jason Voorhees cross my mind when I’m communing with nature.

When I catch a “Friday the 13th” movie today, they seem silly and fake. They went a little too far when they sent Jason into outer space. But back then, he was IT in terms of being scary. And it wasn’t just me who thought so.

My mom was absolutely terrified of Jason.

My strongest recollection of her Jasophobia is from a family vacation we took when I was about 13. My mother, father, aunt and uncle rented a house in Deep Creek Lake, MD for a week of walking in the woods, boating, swimming and living life off the grid. They packed up me, my sister and my two cousins and we headed west for a family vacation.

The house was huge, with a furnished basement and several bedrooms. It stood on a wooded hill overlooking the magestic beauty of Deep Creek Lake. Rocky steps led down to a private pier. Looking across the lake, we had a beautiful view of the mountains. All around us were trails, woods and endless water.

In retrospect, I can’t blame Mom for the fact that our isolated home-away-from-home made her think of Jason. After all, his scariest act was popping up out of the wooded lake where he was supposedly lying long dead. And my cousins and I had brought along enough “Friday the 13th” videos to keep him fresh in our minds.

Mom heard sounds in the woods at night and was reluctant to sit outside. Never mind that my dad was a mountain man at heart and my uncle a county sheriff, so we were pretty well-protected. What are a cop and a huntin’ hillbilly against the dude in the hockey mask?

By day, we’d go down to the pier and swim. Mom would come along with us kids and lie in the sun while we splashed and played. About midweek, we made our usual afternoon trek down the hill to the pier. For the first time, we noticed that someone had carved a name into the wood.

That name? “Jason.” Mom was certain it hadn’t been there before.

As if that wasn’t enough, one night she and Dad left us kids with my aunt and uncle and drove to the other side of the lake, where there were bars and restaurants. They went to a resort bar to have a few drinks. A tall stranger came and sat with them and talked for a while. Mom thought he seemed “off,” that his eyes were weird and his conversation odd. When they finally got around to exchanging names, he gave his readily.

“I’m Jason.”

Well, that was it. Mom loved vacation, but I’m pretty sure she was about done with this one. For her, our gorgeous lakefront rental was more than motorboats in the distance and summer breezes rustling in the trees.

The sound of che-che-che, ah-ah-ha was everywhere.

I don’t recall being scared myself, other than in that delicious teenage horror-movie kind of way. The “Jason” coincidences just added a slice of adventure to the trip for me. Maybe even then he was a bit over-the-top for my fearometer.

But for mom, it was a different experience. All our vacations after that were to the beach.

_________

Jason wasn’t the only off-the-wall crazed killer of my childhood. For many, he was actually eclipsed by Nightmare on Elm Street’s hideously burned Freddy Krueger and his slashing knife-hands. After all, to get hacked by Freddy you didn’t have to be some teenager on a camping trip off having sex in the woods. You just had to go to sleep.

Jason Voorhees only came along on our vacation because he was permanently fixed in my mom’s imagination. But Freddy really did come to my home.

As a teenager, I worked in small video store. When new releases came out, we got all sorts of cool promotional items. For one of the Nightmare on Elm Streets, the marketing aid was a life-sized, incredibly real-looking cardboard Freddy Krueger. He stood in the middle of our store, inviting movie renters to take him home to their nightmares. He was taller than me.

The year Cardboard Freddy hung out with me at work, my sister had a slumber party. She told us she wanted it to be scary. Mom and Dad left that up to me. My boss let me borrow Freddy. My friends Joyce and Rocky lived across the street, and we snuck Cardboard Freddy home from the video store into their house.

The night of the party, Joyce and I set the girls up in the living room with the lights out and an “Elm Street” movie on. We watched for about an hour, Joyce and I giggling at the frightened squeals of the younger girls. Meanwhile, Rocky lugged Freddy out of their house and across the street in the cover of darkness. He set him up on our front porch, right at the doorway. Then he knocked on the door and dashed behind a big bush.

My sister and her friends ran to open the door while Joyce and I hung back. They threw it open, and Freddy stood leering at them through the screen door, his knife-hand in the air and his eyes full of malice.

Oh man, the SCREAMS! The girls sprinted away from the door and into the kitchen. One of them slammed the door shut tight. A few clutched me and Joyce. We pretended to be shocked and scared too. Then one of them, the brave gal in their group, started grabbing for a kitchen knife while another looked for the phone to call the police.

We figured the gig was up then, and let the girls in on the joke before they could bother the cops or run around with knives.

That was when all hell really broke loose. One of the girls, Alyssa, lived around the corner with her mom and grandparents, and wanted to play the same trick on them. Joyce and I had gotten such a kick out of the kids’ reaction that seeing if we could scare some grownups into peeing their pants sounded like fun.

Ok, so maybe I wasn’t the best of babysitters.

We lugged Freddy around the block and to Alyssa’s back yard. Joyce and I set him up on their back porch the same way Rocky had positioned him at our front door. All the girls ducked behind the truck in their parking pad. We knocked on the door and fled to join the girls.

We waited in the dark, watching Freddy’s hulking shadow. Then Alyssa’s mom threw open the door, and light washed over our ugly cardboard buddy. We saw her mouth form a big, frightened “O,” then the door slammed shut and Freddy was alone again.

Not for long though. Moments later, the door opened again. This time, Alyssa’s grandfather stood there. With his shotgun pointed at Freddy.

We called out to him from our huddle behind the truck. When he heard our voices, he lowered the gun. Eventually, he laughed, but only after he told us what dumbasses we were first.

The funny thing? I was terrified when he showed up with that shotgun, wondering if we’d gone too far. My buddy Cardboard Fred looked a little too real for his – and our – own good. But in spite of my very real fear that maybe my juvenile prank would get someone hurt, I distinctly remember the following thought also flitting through my head.

“Oh, shit. If Cardboard Freddy gets shot up, my boss is gonna kick my butt. Or fire me.”

They may have just been movie creatures, but Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger definitely left their marks on my childhood. What about you? What were the scary movies you grew up with? Did they frighten you or seem silly?

I never did watch my two creepy dudes come together in Freddy vs Jason . Did you? Which one comes out on top in your vote for “Creepiest Creep of the 80s?”

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About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Haunted Hawleyville, humor, Weird and Spooky Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Haunted Hawleyville: Visits From Jason and Freddy

  1. L.S. Engler says:

    Oh, man. I would have loved to have seen that conversation with your boss. “So, tell me again what happened to the cutout?” That’s brilliant! And probably a sleepover memory your sister and her friends will never forget, either.

    I’ve always been more of a Freddy girl than a Jason one; invading one’s dreams is a better invasion of the sacred, and far scarier for me. I have seen Freddy vs Jason, and it’s mostly…not memorable. Pretty chintzy, but that’s what I expected it to be, too.

    For me, though, the creepiest will always be Pennywise from IT. Probably showing my age (or lack thereof) here, but I still haven’t actually seen the movie, except for one moment when I was wee tiny and my parents were watching it and I caught just enough of it to sufficiently be creeped out by clowns for the rest of my life. Yeeesh.

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve already been digging a lot of creepy flicks lately, but I think tonight will have to be another marathon of a few more!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Oh my goodness – I am right there with you on Pennywise! I just re-read “IT” about a year ago, and it was just as terrifying and haunting to me as my first read of it as a teenager. Maybe moreso, because on that second read I was closer in age to Bill and the others who were going back to face this horrific childhood monster …

      There’s a marathon of the Halloween movies on either SyFy or AMC (I can’t remember which this week). I’ll miss tonights because of football, but may watch a few this week to see if they spark any Michael Myers memories : )!

  2. Love this 2 characters. I used to follow each sequel when I was younger and my heart can withstand the horror and suspense. What’s halloween without them. Thanks for an exciting post. So much great memories for me…. Have an exciting October!

  3. Stacy Green says:

    LOL. First off, your poor mother! What a strange series of coincidences. And I loved these two characters – both movies scared the hell out of me as a child. Michael Meyers was equally scary, and that’s one we watch every year.

    As for the Freddy prank, that’s PRICELESS! I wish you’d gotten that on video, lol.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Oh yes, Michael was seriously scary! Just mentioned in a reply to a previous comment that there’s a Halloween marathon on this week, and I want to try to catch at least some of it! I was thinking as I was writing this post about how much I wished it had happened in the digital age – back in my teens, before there were digital cameras and the ease of uploading pics on a computer (or even at home access to the net!), I was horrible about taking pictures during special memories like these!

  4. tsonoda148 says:

    No maam, didn’t watch Freddy vs Jason. My horror adventures stopped with the Friday the 13th movies. OMG, I took it all way too seriously, and am convince I’m scarred for life as a result. I won’t even watch horror films now. I do enjoy a good murder mystery, but a realistic one. I think the scariest move I ever say was “When a Stranger Calls” and that famous line, “Have you checked the children?” LORDY. I ’bout peed my pants. I need to stick to romantic comedies.

  5. kimkiminy says:

    Hilarious! It was Freddy for me. Here’s a great similar story:
    One Halloween night at my house, my BFF Stephanie and I spied our hated neighbors’ kids, alone at home, watching a slasher movie. I think it was a Jason movie. We snuck over to their backyard. With their inside lights on, they couldn’t see us outside in the dark. Steph stationed herself by the circuit breaker panel and waited for my signal. Watching the movie through the window, I waited for the best possible moment, then gave the signal. Steph flipped all the breakers, killing the electricity. I’ll never forget the screaming we heard. It was magnificent.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      What a great prank! There are a few people I’d STILL love to get with that one! I won’t, but it would be soooo much fun. There’s something about creepy movies and being a kid that just go so well together!

  6. akamonsoon says:

    My Dad actually vacationed as a child at the place where the Friday the 13th movies were filmed. It was at Lake Warmog in Connecticut. We got to visit once or twice while growing up. I’m sure he was happy the movie came out long after their trips ended. How frightening for your Mom to be at the lake, too and have all those coincidences happen.

    Freddie Kruger was definitely the scary one of our generation. I think there is even a picture of him in my highschool year book. That was a great prank you pulled! LOL! I’m really glad that the shot gun was never fired. Wow!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      That is so neat about your Dad vacationing where the Friday the 13ths were filmed! I think it would be kind of fun to watch a few of the movies to refresh my memory and then go there and try to find the various places where scenes were filmed!

  7. I never got into those scary movies, being a highly sensitive person and all. I don’t like to be scared or surprised. You tell a great story, though, about your encounters with those scary figures. Well done!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I loved scaring myself with creepy movies as a kid living with mom and dad, a college student living in an apartment with other girls, and when I was married. When my ex and I split and I lived alone for a while, I discovered that I did NOT like them so much! Now I enjoy them again with Lee. So I guess I’m too sensitive to watch horror movies and then go to bed in an empty-except-for-me house, but like’em when I have someone else to battle the monsters under the bed with me : ).

  8. Jess Witkins says:

    Oh I would’ve been SO MAD if you pulled that prank on me, Pam! I’d also have to get you back.

    We had a couple of those cardboard cut outs we used for pranks too. We had one of Elvira! And my brother put one of Brad Pitt with a wig on in his window that stared across to the neighbor’s house. My mom was so mad at him for trying to scare people.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      My sister sooo wanted me to come up with some kind of prank that were scare her friends. Originally, I didn’t think my boss would let me take Freddy out of the store, so my plan was for my friend John to dress like a vampire and hide in the attic. Sis knew that plan and it was what she expected, so even she was shocked when the Fredman showed up instead! I’d have cracked up about the wigged Brad Pitt – that’s awesome! I always wanted to be Elvira for Halloween … one of these years!

  9. Jeff says:

    Great stories, both of them! I quit watching Jason, somewhere along the time he “Takes Manhattan.” I also never saw Freddy Vs. Jason. But I loved the Friday the 13th movies back in the day. Did you catch Robert Englund in one of the Masters of Horror episodes? Creeeeepy!!

  10. Too funny. My son loved Jason & Freddy both, though I think Freddy won by a smidge. He also loved what the movies did for his social life. The girls would come over to watch the movies with him and they would bury their faces in his chest or neck when they got scared. Once I caught on I made them give up the blankets I kept on the couch to bundle under. I think they were shocked that I figured it out.

  11. Aurora, HSP says:

    Didn’t like either but sure wouldn’t have minded you as a babysitter – LOL All I remember is babysitters spending hours on the phone or having me fetch and carry for them, I’d have carried the Freddy for you even though he creeps me out 🙂

    • hawleywood40 says:

      My babysitter growing up was always my grandmom so I guess she taught me how to try to make it fun! That cardboard Freddy really creeped me out too – he was SO sinister and ugly. But I guess I got immune after looking at him in the video store at work every day : ).

  12. Pingback: Happy Halloween! « Jess Witkins' Wicked Blog

  13. Pingback: Yo’ Momma (And Yo’ Momma Alone) | Hawleyville

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