Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Director: Victor Salva
Two feuding siblings (aren’t they always) run into a murderous, cloaked creature on their drive home. The Jeepers monster proceeds to hunt them down on land (in a creepy, beat up truck) and in the air (yes, the monster has freaking wings). YIKES!
I caught this film at the Fantasia Festival in the tit-filled city of Montreal (lots of babes out…yum) and I’m happy to say that I had a blast! "Jeepers Creepers" avoids the current trend in horror movies and goes "old school" on our ass. Apart from one well put self-referential line (“You know the part in scary movies where somebody does something really stupid and everybody hates them for it? - Well this is it...!”) the flick is nothing like the recent spat of “hip” teen slashers and leans more towards the monster fares of the 80’s. THANK YOU!
Jeepers Creepers’ first half is rock solid. It has true moments of tension (the pipe scene is sooooo stressful and so is the truck action that’s straight out of “Duel”), it has clever dialogue (the bantering between bro and sis is on the ball), and it got honest laughs out of me (lots of situational humor). I was smiling most of the time watching this movie. Smiling out of amusement but also smiling out of pleasant fear.
I appreciated the movie’s blend of true horror with tongue and cheek winks at the situation. For example, the scenes with the truck honking relentlessly and trying to run the kids off the road had me by the balls but at the same time the truck’s license plate says “B-EATING-U” and that cracked me up. Must have been an interesting scene at the DMV when this nightmare on two legs got his slick plate done. The film has a few other situational pokes and they never bothered me. They’re slapped in there very subtly and actually enriched their respective scenes.
This could have been a near genre classic but the film does stumble along the way (mostly on a script level). First off, it includes a character that it didn’t really need. Yes, I’m talking about the damn psychic! God was she annoying! Her sole purpose in this film was to give the audience some kind of explanation about the creature’s motivation and to be honest, I didn’t want one. What made that damn psycho man-beast so scary was the fact that I knew nothing about it. Should’ve kept it that way and deleted that psychic broad.
The film also fucks up in regards to two scenes. The first being the one with the “cat lady”. Why was that scene in the film again? It didn’t have much purpose and just slowed things down. I mean, the whole time the characters were doing the RIGHT thing! Making them do dumb moves in order to get an extra murder in there felt trivial to me (why do they stick around once she says she has no phone? Would a phone have really helped in the first place???) The other scene that let me down was the “police station” scene. Here was a perfect opportunity to get some good old fashioned “bang bang” carnage going. What good are 50 cops with automatic rifles, if they’re not going to use them??? I really wanted them to shoot that damn beast or get to see a 5.0. slaughter!!!! No dice.
But "Jeepers Creepers" snatched me back with its gruesome ending. Ouch! I didn’t see that one coming! Overall, the film feels fresh, doesn’t shy on the gore, has a few memorable scenes, has appealing leads and has a groovy no bullshit creature who just wants to KILL, KILL, KILL! Come to think of it, the “run over” scene in the movie (you’ll see) is worth the price of admission alone; fun fucking stuff! This flick likes to scare you but also likes to have fun while doing it. “Jeepers Creepers...where did you get those peepers?”
We get our money’s worth. There’s a wall of corpses that’s pretty impressive, bodies stitched together, a kool beheading, some cop munching and a guy that gets his heart punched out. And there’s of course…the last frame…
Gina Phillips (Trish) looks like a more mature version of Katie Holmes and I really enjoyed her moments of stillness. She’s focused and does a good job. She’s also kind of cute. Justin Long (Darryl) is also on the ball. He delivers his lines with gutso, handles the emotional moments well and plays off Phillips like a champ. Both young adults have great chemistry.
T & A
Not really fair here, Mr. Salva. Why does Justin Long (nice rose tattoo…NOT!) take off his shirt but Gina Phillips keep hers on? Yes, I know Miss Phillips is strictly B-cup but I still wouldn’t have minded a glimpse at her oranges or maybe a butt shot! Salva plays favorites here. Sorry guys! NOTE: We also get to see lots of naked corpses in the film but unless some dead dude’s limp dick cranks your dial, you won't find anything here to salivate over.
Say what you will about Victor Salva (I know I’ve said some very mean things in the past about him) but the man has a great eye. He knows how to build suspense, he slaps in some really kool shots and sure knows how to paint a morbid picture. This baby looks good! He also got me with a few boo scares. Nice, dude!
An aggressive score that keeps up with the beats of the movie.
Distributor: MGM Entertainment
This DVD is a two-sided disk and it's jam packed with "jeeping" extras. Check it out!
IMAGE: We get the option of watching the film in "Widescreen" or "Full Screen". Of course, I went with "Widescreen" and was delighted with the crisp, vibrant and spotless image that rolled before my eyes. A perfect transfer.
SOUND: The DVD sports an English 5.1 Surround sound. The film's many creepy, crawly noises came through very clearly and the involving score was floating all over my living room. That's a good thing. We also get these options: "French Stereo Surround", "Spanish Stereo Surround" and English, French and Spanish subtitles.
EXTRAS: "Jeepers Creepers, where did you get those extras?" MGM goes all out here and gives us DVD fans exactly what we crave!
Audio Commentary: We can access this audio commentary on Side 1 of the disk. Victor Salva takes us through the ups and downs of making the film. He also gives us some background info on specific scenes, on the hardships of shooting in very hot Florida and expresses his feelings about the cast and crew. Salva gives us a very in-depth commentary and dead time is seldom. Gnarly stuff.
When you hit Side 2 of your disk, that's when the real fun begins.
Behind the Peepers: The Making Of Jeepers Creepers: You can watch these featurettes one a time or all in one sitting. Your pick!
Finding Trish and Danny (12 minutes): Here Victor Salva talks about his inspirations in regards to the two main characters and the casting process. We get to see some clips from Gina Phillips' and Justin Long's audition tapes and the two kids come in to talk about their characters and the movie. We also get to see some gnarly on-set footage.
Designing The Creeper (8 minutes): Brad Parker, the man who designed the creature, gives us his thoughts on the Jeepers script while Victor Salva gives us his two cents on the creature. We also get to see the "Creeper" on set and some way kool "creature" drawings.
Cars and Trucks (12 minutes): Salva talks about what he was looking for when he chose the film's 60's vehicles. He also talks about how he found the cars and we get to see some on-set footage, some "chase scene" takes and the techniques they used to accomplish the car sequences. The film's producer, Brad Parker and the Creeper (Jonathan Breck) also come in to give their takes on the vehicles.
The Creeper comes to Florida (8 minutes): Jonathan Breck ( who looks like a really kool dude) talks about his character. Makeup artist Brian Penikas, actor Justin Long, director Victor Salva also come in to blab about the beast. We also get to see Jonathan Breck's audition tape (the sniff test...scary stuff), the makeup sessions and we get some effect background info.
Night Shoots (11 minutes) We find out how they lit the night scenes, the hardships of the scenes, some on-set footage, some stunt footage some info on the CGI and some insight from stunt coordinator James Churchman. Ellen Breinnan (the Cat Lady), Justin Long, Victor Salva, Gina Phillips, Jonathan Breck and more also comment on specific scenes.
Composed by Bennett Salvay (12 minutes): Bernett Salvay (composer) talks about how it was working with Victor, his favorite scene of the film and his intentions behind his musical pieces in respect to specific moments in the film.
Once your done with the slick featurettes, mosey on down to the DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES which include:
- Original Opening
- Worried about mom
- Where there's a hell there's a way
- A drive to the diner
- Strip O Gram cop
- More Creepers More Tongue
- The Creeper Attacks
- Calling Home
- It's In the building
- Original ending
And if you still got some energy left hit these bad boys:
Photo Gallery/Last Look: An 8-minute montage of film stills and on-set pictures.
Trailers: We get the "Jeepers" original trailer and trailers for "Hannibal", "Silence Of The Lambs DVD", "The Terminator DVD" and "Carrie DVD".
This DVD treat also comes with a spooky animated menu and the requisite "Scene Selection" option. It's rare that a DVD exhausts me but this one did it! TALK ABOUT PACKED! MGM gives this one the Royal Treatment and starts the New Year off with a bang. I advise Horror DVD fiends to run to their local DVD store and get this puppy! It's a gem!
"Jeepers Creepers" has an original premise and it handles it fairly well. The humor is on, the scares are there, the gore is present and the ending kicks ass. The film does fuck up with that psychic pest and a few scenes that it could’ve milked way more but overall I had a good time with this psycho ride. I felt things I haven’t felt in a while watching it: fear and an honest sense of having fun. Now go see it and find out why it’s called “Jeepers Creepers”.
This film was shown at the Montreal Fantasia Fest 2001.
August 31, 2001 is the film’s official date of release in the USA.
American Zoetrope produced the film, which is Francis Ford Coppola’s prod company. Zoetrope also produced Salva’s early genre fare "ClownHouse".
Here’s a short article that appeared in The St. Petersburg Times while they were shooting "Jeepers Creepers".
-School board members are upset they weren't told that a movie director who is making a low-budget horror film near two Marion County schools was a convicted child molester. Members of the Marion County School Board had already agreed to let director Victor Salva and his film crew near Dunnellon Elementary and Dunnellon High School.
-When they approved the contract, board members weren't told that Salva was a convicted child molester who once videotaped himself having oral sex with a 12-year-old actor in California. Salva, sentenced to three years in state prison, served 15 months and completed parole in 1992. Salva is filming a $ 10-million horror film titled Jeepers Creepers in Marion County.