It’s always tiring when a horror franchise decides to milk the same character up to the point of double-digit sequels. Does Freddy Krueger need to kill teenagers over the course of three decades? Is it really worth the effort to send Jason Vorhees or Leprechaun to space? That’s why it’s always refreshing when someone decides to make a new monster with a new mythology. Jeepers Creepers has received mixed opinions for mixed reasons. It doesn’t help that it was helmed by the highly controversial Victor Salva (more on that later), but you have to give it props for being original. “The Creeper” can hang with the baddest of the bad, from Leatherface to Michael Myers… Do I smell a spinoff?
Trish (Gina Philips) and her older brother Darry (Justin Long) are driving home for spring break through the Florida countryside. What appears to be a seemingly mundane road trip is soon interrupted by a mysterious driver that tries to the run the siblings off the road. Letting the vehicle pass, Trish and Darry seem to be in the clear, whoo, that could’ve been bad. Except that later they see the same truck pulled off near a shack where a man in black is chucking a wrapped body into a large sewer pipe. Channeling their inner Scooby Doo, Trish and Darry investigate only to a find hundreds of bodies sewn together in a chapel, missing certain parts. They flee the scene and ask around town until they meet a woman named Jezelle (Patricia Belcher) who knows the secret. It turns out that this mysterious driver is an immortal creature dubbed: “The Creeper”, who every twenty-third spring hunts for twenty-three days. It does this in order to harvest organs so that it can continue to survive. Ay yi yi!
The shocker moments are big and the creeper is a uniquely creepy adversary. Sadly, there’s an even creepier story behind the filmmaker. Victor Salva began his career producing the 1986 low budget horror film Something in the Basement which attracted the attention of Francis Ford Coppola. In turn, Coppola funded Salva’s next film Clownhouse (1989). The controversy comes in when it was discovered that Salva had sex with one of his actors, a 12 year old boy. Salva pled guilty and served 15 months in prison. You think that would kill a director’s career but with persistence and the help of Coppola, Salva found his way back in to the industry. Yuck, if there was ever a case of trying to separate the artist from their art. I still like the film but it’s not easy to say that. It’s disturbing sometimes how much more terrifying the real world can be than make believe.
When will PC’s and Macs get along?