RUTLEDGE, Ga. - Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park is known for many things; visitors flock to Rutledge to use the equestrian riding ring, hang out on the sandy beach, and play on the 18-hole golf course.
But for fans of horror movies, Hard Labor Creek State Park will always be known by another name – Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
The 1986 slasher film was filmed in Metro Atlanta, mainly in Covington (you’ll recognize the town square in at least one scene) and at Camp Daniel Morgan, one of two group camps located at Hard Labor Creek State Park. It might look a little creepy onscreen, but in reality, the state park is a place filled with family-friendly activities; located on nearly 6,000 acres in Morgan County, the park is known to many for The Creek Golf Course, a challenging course which has been named one of the best deals for golfers in the country.
"It was built in the ‘30s and ‘40s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, so it has a lot of historical value to it,” says assistant park manager Stephen Davis. “A lot of people think the name is derived from the creek that runs through the park, and farmers that used to work the land. The soil's typically hard, so that's hard labor."
Aside from being a big draw for golfers, campers, and sunbathers, Hard Labor Creek State Park is also a major attraction for fans of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, who particularly want to see Camp Daniel Morgan (which, by the way, looks basically the same as it did in 1986!). For military veteran C.J. Graham, who played famed villain Jason Vorhees in the film, shooting was an exciting and challenging seven or eight weeks: “Acting without giving voice or facial expressions, I command anyone to take a shot and try to do it in the mirror. It's practically impossible,” Graham explains. “So, a lot of posturing, a lot of physical characteristics -- tilting of the head just a quarter inch, just to get that significance over to camera. And then, being lucky because it came out well."
Proof that it came out well? Fans still flocking to the state park more than 30 years later. “They great dressed up like Jason,” says Davis. “It’s pretty neat.”
We spent the morning at Hard Labor Creek State Park, learning more about what makes this park something of a “hidden gem” here in Georgia and checking out a few of the famous filming sites, of course (1980’s Little Darlings was also filmed there, along with a few other movies)! Click the video player to see more!