Jeepers Creepers is an old-fashioned spooker that owes as much to Steven Spielberg’s Duel as it does to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Behold the film’s mesmerizing opening sequence: a car, a Winnebago and a rusty truck partake in a maddening game of highway peek-a-boo. When the film’s terrifying Creepers starts shedding his skin, the film’s consistently tense mood is compromised somewhat by a climax more campy than scary. Trish (Gina Philips) and Darryl (Justin Long) are the poster children for the Curiosity Killed the Cat generation. They head back into Creepers territory once they’ve successfully dodged his road rage. Director Victor Salva keeps the excitement going despite fumbling with the been-there-done-that self-reflective humor (“You know the part in scary movies where somebody does something really stupid and everybody hates them for it? Well, this is it”). Surely, the film’s rest-stop set piece must count as one of the more impressive horror set pieces in recent memory. Mr. Creepers plays tongue-hockey with a police officer’s severed head. In the background: a sign celebrating the deliciousness of meat. Even at its most puerile, Jeepers Creepers has bite: Eileen Brennan is a hoot as the crazy cat lady, surpassed only by Patricia Belcher’s eccentric psychic (Miss Cleo with Midwest flava). The film has been tailor-made for the Fangoria crowd—not only is Mr. Creepers fond of sucking face but check out his human-maché Sistine Chapel (he plays old 45s while threading together the corpses of his victims). It’s impossible to separate Jeepers Creepers from Salva’s past indiscretions (he served time for abusing the male lead of his 1988 feature Clownhouse). The anger, brutality and strange eroticism of the film’s final confrontation between Darryl and Creepers suggest that a real-life bogeyman was working behind the camera.
- Victor Salva
- Victor Salva
- Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Eileen Brennan, John Beshara
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