Have you ever been on a long road trip before. One of those trips where you set out in excitement and maintain a thrill for a good while, but then hit a certain plateau of boredom. Where the road just seems endless and no matter how much you press on that gas peddle, you never seem to make any progress? Highways can be pretty boring in their endless ways. But what if the highway was meant to keep you safe. When you’re on the highway you can often see places in the far off distances. Buildings mixed into the forests or wedged between rolling hills. You see them for a moment as you pass by, but think nothing more. By sticking to the highway we swiftly pass by the things around us. But take a different road and let our curiosity get the better of us and it could mean certain doom.
Jeepers Creepers is a 2001 directed by Victor Salva and starts Jonathan Long, Gina Philips, Patricia Belcher and Jonathan Breck as the Creeper. The movie did fairly well in the box office but received mostly negative reviews. I don’t really know if this movie is loved or hated. It didn’t get good reviews but has spawned two sequels. Maybe you will let me know if I am wrong in including it in this marathon.
Darry and Trish who are traveling home from college when they discover an underground crypt full of dead bodies. The suspect and owner of this crypt hunts down our two victims and will do nothing until they are dead. He turns out being a demon that comes to life every twenty years to feed.
It took me a while to convince myself to do this movie for my marathon because I’ve never really discussed Jeepers Creepers with many people. For some reason I always felt like it is fairly overlooked. But I for one actually really enjoyed this movie and believe it deserves some recognition. It’s one of those movies that will give you a quick jolt to the late night horror cravings and the Creeper alone deserves to be stand in line with the famous baddies we all come to love.
It’s a simple film that follows very basic principals. For instance I really think it does a good job in creating a story without an A/B plot line. Movies… usually ones that involve travel, tend to have a point A position and then end with a point B location. Movies tend to alter these straight line stories but for the most part it is pretty clear. On the way there are pit stops but the end has a clear and present ending. Think about House on Haunted Hill. There is a basic path that is taken. You start in a house which is point A but getting out is point B. Point B means everything! It is the goal in which our characters find survival and closure! It lets us know everything is going to be ok and the bad guy is either dead or long out of reach.
Jeepers Creepers starts off way after point A (which we don’t know anything about) and just takes place in the middle of getting to the destination. We’re told they’re going home but it doesn’t mean anything to us. As far as we know, mom and dads house is thousands of miles away. Darry and Trish are opened to this terrible situation and there is no end in sight. The Creeper is constantly coming after them. Nothing they do stops it. They run it over with their car and even an entire police squad is trying to save them but the Creeper keeps coming. Most of the film is shot in this car on this long country road. They stop at certain locations but only for a while… but they’re still on the fucking road! The road is long and never ending. This creates a sense of inescapability! There is that word again, inescapability! It’s my theme for this entire Horror Movie Marathon and Jeepers Creepers does this great job at taking an atmosphere that is actually visually vast and making it so small!
The end of this movie is one that takes us by surprise and brakes the mold of cliche films. There is no happy sunset ending. Point B is a miserable place where we never want to be. In a dark cold cellar while some monster is gutting us like fish. Which is good because it keeps the fear and terror going in our minds. That music plays through the screams and it haunts us because we knew what was coming. It’s kind of refreshing and one that leaves an impression. It’s not to say the film doesn’t follow certain tropes like the stupid kids that make the wrong decisions. But this movie gives that idiocy a certain logic. What are Darry and Trish supposed to do? Other than going down an old rusty pipe into a crypt of dead people… which is just terrifying beyond all measure. Everything the kids do is pretty simple and understandable. They’re kids! They don’t have any guns or know what this thing is. We’d be as pathetic as they are.
The movie is full of great tension and moments that should electrocute our senses. I love the atmosphere of the long and ever moving road through the American countryside. Things build and progress to the absurd. At first the movie comes off as a simple slasher teen angst kind of movie but moves beyond that into something deeper and more sinister.
The Creeper is a monster that revives every twenty some years and is allowed to feed for a short period of time… wait… this… kind of reminds me something? Let me think, who else sleeps for about three decades and emerges to feed on people? What could IT be? I know that I know IT. Maybe if I ponder some more on IT. Hmm, nothing is coming to mind but maybe later I can come up with IT and tell you what IT is. But the Creeper feeds and only eats body parts it needs. So if you stab out its eye it will need an eyeball. My only question is what does it do when it has all the body parts? Either way, he is great and for about the first half of the movie we’re only able to see him as this caped mysterious figure. I thought he was an old man at first. We’re in as much shock and awe as Darry and Trish are when we find out the finer details. But even then its still mysterious.
The Creeper sniffs out his prey and needs fear from his victims to know what he need…. wait this another thing that reminds me of that one thing I can’t think of! What is IT! So what if it’s a copycat! Actually to be honest, not only does he mimic IT, but he kind of looks like the Kraken from Clash Of The Titans. Regardless I love the Creeper and I love this movie. I love how the song is meant to warn the kids whenever they’re in danger. The film does change in the third act and thats where it loses the more scarier elements. But it adapts for the situation and it is rewarding. Let’s be honest, the early 2000’s wasn’t what we would call a time of good horror. This movie is one that does use practical effects and for that alone, it should be given much praise.
It reminds us that it is better to stay on the main roads and that there are creepy things lurking in the shadows of remote locations. So be aware the next time you travel. Don’t take back roads and ignore the oddities you see on the side of the street. Keep driving on and keep your eyes to yourself! Also, have a great day twenty seven of Horror Movie Marathon!