An interview with Matthew Keller – the other Jason of Blairstown, NJ
The Eagles have swoop, the Phillies have the Phanatic, the Flyers have Gritty and Blairstown, NJ has Jason. If you have visited Blairstown during a Friday the 13th celebration you more than likely have taken a photo with Jason Vorhees. When I visited The Blairstown Museum, Jeannette Iurato spoke of Matthew Keller who dresses up as Jason. She had said that when the fans come to town, they also come to see Matthew as he has become a local celebrity in regards to Friday the 13th.
I wanted to know more about the man behind the mask! And I was very excited when told me that he would love to have an interview. I have to say that Matthew is a very humble man. He is a huge fan of the original Friday the 13th due to it being filmed in and around his home town. He dresses up for the fans as he loves meeting them. He dresses up not to scare but to have a great time.
Matthew has lived in Blairstown since he was 6 years old. He lives on Main Street which was used during the filming of the movie. He currently is the manager of the Blairstown Inn which he has been working there for the past 23 years. If you happen to be in town, be sure to grab a meal. From what I hear, the burgers are great!
He first watched Friday the 13th when he was 12 however he was only allowed to watch the scenes that were filmed in town. He did not watch the movie in its entirety until he was 17. Fun fact, Matthew had mentioned that when he was younger, people were allowed to go to Camp No-Be-Bosco to use the lake if they wanted to. You just had to remember to open and close the gate.
Matthew said when the 80’s slasher films had a resurgence in the 90’s, that’s when he started to notice the fans come to town. Blairstown is a very small town. A town where everyone knows one another. It is very easy to spot someone who is not a resident. He also mentioned that when there was a Friday the 13th, there was an influx of patrons at his restaurant.
His passion for the movie increased as he started to see more and more fans come to town. That is when he decided to put a costume together. He went to a local Halloween shop and purchased a mask. He purchased a pair off coveralls at a thrift store and found gloves on the street when he was riding his motorcycle. His weapon of choice is a chainsaw. Matthew joked that his costume is a mishmash of Jason, Michael and Leatherface.
Matthew has been dressing up as Jason for the past 10 years. The day before a celebration, he will go to the police department with a copy of his photo and his information just in case someone was to call in a report that Jason is roaming the streets. Even though everyone knows it’s him in costume, he still does this. He dresses up as Jason for the fans and he has created a pretty big following. If you view The Blairstown Museum photos, you will see many photos of Matthew with his fans.
When the Blairstown Museum opened 4 years ago he met Jeanette and they formed a lifelong friendship. Matthew had informed Jeanette of the fan base that comes to town due to the movie. Jeanette stated that his influence has played a part when the museum started to display items from the movie. Blairstown is lucky to not only have Jeanette but Matthew as well. Between the two of them, more and more fans come to visit Blairstown.
At the time of this interview, The Blairstown Museum is getting ready for their Friday the 13th weekend extravaganza. The new Friday the 13th Museum is set to open on 9/13/19. Jeanette and her team of volunteers are putting together a weekend the fans will never forget. The festivities will begin on 9/12/19. In addition, the town store owners get into the fun of the celebrations. From drinks made in Jason’s honor to $13 haircuts at the barber shop. For more information for the event, go to the Blairstown Museum Facebook page or at blairstownmuseum.com. If you happen to visit, please be sure to tell them that South Jersey Jason sent you!