Killer Franchises: Jeepers Creepers

In 2001 the world was blessed with Victor Salvas’ Jeepers Creepers — a low budget American horror film that follows brother/sister combo Darry and Trish Jenner on their drive home for spring break.

Jeepers Creepers

After witnessing what they think is a man dumping bodies down a pipe leading into an abandoned church basement, the siblings are run off the road.

A brief discussion later (conforming to the unwritten rule of how to die in a horror film), they go back to investigate, where they discover the Creeper’s lair, and its dead bodies galore…

The Creeper — a demonic mysterious being of origin unknown — wakes up every 23rd spring to eat. It sustains its existence by eating the body parts of individuals who are chosen via the scent of their fear. Trish or Darrry’s scent catches its attention and it will not stop until it gets to eat.

Jeepers Creepers for me is traditionally scary. The situation the two protagonists find themselves in remains terrifying despite the characters seeking help from almost everyone they meet. The Creeper is quick to ensure anyone attempting to accompany or help Trish and Darry are soon dead. (A case in point being the decapitation of a police officer, followed up with some tongue eating.) What I also like is that it doesn’t rely on jump scares, choosing instead to use suspense and gives viewers hope that both siblings will survive.

This film holds a lot of nostalgia for me, which I’m sure adds to the charm. My brothers and I picked it up from Asda a couple years after it was released, and deviously waited for my mum to go to her weekly Weight Watchers meeting so we could watch it.

As one of the first horror films I’d ever seen, it caused me to lose about three gallons of sweat, which seriously annoyed my eldest brother who deemed this film an appropriate watch for an 11 year old. It’s true that Jeepers Creepers has a lot of mixed reviews, but I think it’s definitely worth a watch if you like horror films that don’t have too many loud jump scares, or if you’re not too keen on gore. If I had to give this film a rating it would genuinely be 10/10, and could well be my favourite film ever!

Jeepers Creepers 2

jeeperscreepers2bus

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003) takes place not long after the first film, with a school bus full of hunky football players and hot cheerleaders the chosen target this time around.

Far less amazing in every sense compared to its predecessor, the Creeper disables the school bus gradually throughout the day. Quickly, the adult characters are killed off, leaving an immobile bus full of scared teenagers.

The Creeper then hangs upside down, pushes his face against the window and sniffs out who he wants and then leaves (obviously he’ll be back). In a situation where sticking together and safety in numbers is probably your best bet, the group is divided — some of the students want the kids who were clearly chosen, to get off the bus.

This film sparked my realisation of morality, and if put in this situation, I’m not ashamed to admit that I would want the chosen kids kicked off the bus too. I was about 13 when I watched this film with my family, and shamelessly announced that if the situation called for it, I would offer them up to the Creeper to save myself. My mum wasn’t too impressed.

As tacky horror film sequels go, this one is particularly dire. The Creeper is overexposed and loses the constant fright he was able to bring to every scene in the first film. However, despite its inferior nature, Jeepers Creepers 2 is still pretty entertaining, and although not one of my favourite films, the frequent male semi-nudity is a welcome plus (can’t go wrong with some eye candy).

Jeepers Creepers 3

JC3

For years I have been holding out hope that Jeepers Creepers 3 would happen, and from what I can tell (after Googling it about a million times), it looks like it might actually be happening this year. The plot line circulating online is as follows; set 23 years after the first film, Trish Jenner is back. Now a mother, with a son named Darry, she sets out to kill the Creeper once and for all…

I’m hoping this instalment will explain the Creepers’ background; i.e. where did it come from, how old is it, and what exactly is it. If director Victor Salva gets this right, fans may be able to overlook the tragedy of the second.

I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a film (now I know how Star Wars fans felt in 2015)… I’m excited, nervous, but optimistic! The final chapter of the Jeepers Creepers story is long overdue and I hope it is delivered appropriately. The Creeper deserves a terrifying finale with a solid backstory. There is no room for error, and hot naked guys will not suffice.

Victor Salva – Do it right or don’t do it at all.

By Seema Chohan

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