- Monthly Theme: Giant Monsters
- The Film: Jeepers Creepers
- Country of origin: U.S.A
- Date of U.S. release: August 31, 2001
- Studio: United Artists Films, American Zoetrope, et al.
- Distributer: United Artists
- Domestic Gross: $37.9 million
- Budget: $10 million (estimated)
- Director: Victor Salva
- Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, et al.
- Screenwriter: Victor Salva
- Adaptation? No.
- Cinematographer: Don E. FauntLeRoy
- Make-Up/FX: Michael Arbogast, et al.
- Music: Bennett Salvay
- Part of a series? There was a sequel released in 2003, Jeepers Creepers 2.
- Remakes? No.
- Genre Icons in the cast? No.
- Other notables?: Yes. Hollywood star Justin Long. Comedy legend Eileen Brennan.
- Awards?: Best Feature at the 2002 Crystal Reel Awards.
- Tagline: “What’s eating you?”
- The Lowdown: Jeepers Creepers came out in 2001 and was a big success. It was the fourth film made by director Victor Salva after his 15-month incarceration for sexually molesting a 12-year old child actor on the set of his first feature, Clownhouse (1989). Salva had already made Powder (1995) just after being released from prison, which is that film about the hairless albino psychic boy who like, gets his clothes ripped off of him by a gang of other boys and then thrown in a muddy puddle so that he gets real dirty and he uses his electrical powers to like, kill people but then he revives those people so it is miraculous. And Disney fucking distributed that movie, even after the 12-year old boy who Salva molested came forward in protest and begged them not to. But anyways, Jeepers Creepers is about a sourfaced girl and her twink brother driving through an undetermined rural environment that is sort of Southern Gothic, sort of Midwestern corn fields. Then a scary truck tries to run them off the road and then they see the driver of the truck dumping bodies down a drainpipe and one thing leads to another and soon they’re being hunted by an ancient crop demon who rises every 23 years to smell the underwear of college boys with very little body fat (oh, and kill them and eat their “soft parts” and turn them into sex dolls that he Superglues to his ceiling).
If you haven’t seen Jeepers Creepers our discussion will include massive SPOILERS.
Kristine: Jeepers creepers, where’d you get those peepers?
Sean: So, did the movie scare you?
Kristine: No. Well, let me qualify that. For the first third of the movie, I was nervous and excited. You know what the scariest part was?
Sean: Is that when you turned on all the lights?
Kristine: I didn’t turn on all the lights.
Sean: You said you were going to. And I bet you played this song.
Kristine: Well, I didn’t.
Sean: But is that when you said it?
Kristine: Yes. So the scariest part was… The truck.
Sean: That horn right? It was the scariest sound.
Kristine: The horn was scary. That truck was really scary and harkened back to Mick stalking people in his truck in Wolf Creek. And the creature looked scary when he was dumping the bodies in the drain and when he stalked back to his truck to chase them down. When I thought he was human he was scary.
Sean: For the first 30 minutes were you like, Um I thought this was a monster movie?
Kristine: Yeah, I forgot it was monster month. I’m sorry, but a giant bird creature is not scary to me.
Sean: I agree that the first third is the best part. And the truck and him staring at them while they passed by was totally scary.
Kristine: I had intense feelings of dread and anxiety when the sister was waiting by the drain, looking out for the truck in case it came back.
Sean: In fact, the second two-thirds are so ridiculous it undercuts the first third… Right?
Kristine: I actually thought it ended up being a pretty shitty movie.
Sean: So now’s a perfect time to mention how the sister was such a total cunt.
Kristine: You think?
Sean: Yes. That actress might have something to do with it.
Kristine: I didn’t feel that way. A little princessy, but see you next Tuesday? I don’t know.
Sean: All shrill and yelling at everyone. Um, storming into the restaurant and being like, ‘Where’s your phone, Waitress!?’
Kristine: Yes, that’s true and then she was also cunty to the Magical Negro.
Sean: She was a horrid bitch.
Kristine: I was going to say, when she was yelling for someone to call the police and no one responded and she was all, “HELLLLLOOOOOO?”
Sean: I know. I was like, I want you to die.
Kristine: I hate the sarcastic “Hello? Is anybody home?” And then when she was yelling at “Jezelle” the Psychic Aunt Jemima… But wait. Sean. That role.
Sean: That Big Mammy was insulting to America and to the black community and to everyone. It was the biggest bullshit.
Kristine: I was kind of shocked by that character. I can’t believe people actually wrote that.
Sean: Right? How she was all, “I drove all the way down here to tell you!” Like she has nothing better to do then worry about spoiled white kids? As if.
Kristine: They were just throwing every “black lady” stereotype in the damn pan and frying it up. She’s a psychic…but she’s a God-fearing Christian. She’ll sacrifice herself to save these brats she doesn’t know. And she’s fat with no sign of an interior life. Just “Ugh” all around.
Sean: I wish she’d been like, “I drove down here to tell you, you’re gonna die and I’m happy about it. BLACK PANTHERS!”
Kristine: Yes. I amneeds to be a new black movement of ladies dressed in their best church-going duds saying things like that.
Sean: What about the sheriff being like, ‘Fat Mammy, get out.’ Like he’s yelling at a disobedient pickaninny?
Kristine: Oh, I know. Like she’s a child. Or like she’s Rosie O’Donnell in Riding the Bus with My Sister.
Sean: I mean the racial politics of Jeepers Creepers are just…
Kristine: Beyond the pale.
Sean: I died. I had completely forgotten about that character. When she showed up I was like, ‘Oh Christ this bitch.’ It all came back.
Kristine: I have to say, once of the worst and most recent examples of this kind of thing is fucking Jennifer Hudson from Sex and the City: The Movie. Louise or whatever. Come on, SJP.
Sean: In the Jeepers Creepers credits, it should “Magical Negro” next to her name. That is the character.
Kristine: Yes, it is. The sad thing is, it made me want the creature to rip her head off.
Sean: So, what about the Crazy Cat Lady? And by the way, she is credited as “The Cat Lady,” Poor, poor Eileen Brennan. She livened things up a bit, but it was still ridiculous.
Kristine: I thought she was unnecessary and whatever. I mean, all the cats swarming was kind of cool.
Sean: Oh god, I always find swarms of cats to be revolting. I was squirming on the couch and puking when they were all running around, with their shrieking mews and their disgusting high-pitched meowing. I like cats one on one, but get a bunch of them together and I am out.
Kristine: I thought the whole point was that the cats are restless because cats and birds are natural predators and the creature is a prehistoric bird whatever and it was dumb. This movie… was dumb.
Sean: I don’t think it’s supposed to be a prehistoric bird. Isn’t it like, a crop demon? A gargoyle type thing?
Kristine: I just can’t bring myself to care what it is. It’s dumb.
Sean: But the only way the movie is even bearable is if it’s an ancient primordial crop demon. At least, to me. Ok, the worst part of the movie, I thought, was when they keep trying to hit it with their car and it is like, dancing a jig over the roof. I was dying laughing.
Kristine: That sucked. He was like, those lumberjacks who dance on logs. Okay, here’s my screed on the monster: It really drove me crazy that the creature is supposed to be some ancient beast, like you said, a primordial demon driven by thirst… but then does all these distinctly humanoid things like dreams up a “witty” novelty license plate? And has a catchy theme song?
Sean: You are killing me with the license plate.
Kristine: He comes up every 23 years right? So the song could only have been around for like 3 feeding cycles…
Sean: The song is so stupid. The song makes no sense.
Kristine: But it is his thing. What did he whistle before Louis Armstrong? It makes no sense.
Sean: When Big Mammy sings it I fell off the couch.
Kristine: Oh god that phone call was so dumb.
Sean: But the people who made the movie were all, ‘This spooky song will be playing, all old-timey-like, it will be so so so creepy.’
Kristine: And how the movie tried to incorporate the license plate thing by having Justin and Cunty Sis play that dumb game? Just weak and just no. Okay, so one thing I derived a small amount of (I suppose) pleasure in was this: You know I saw Insidious in the theatre. Isn’t there a marked similarity between “the Creeper” and that demon? Specifically with the crazy, up-beat old timey music (“Jeepers Creepers” and “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”) and also both creatures in their weird work rooms, bent over sewing machines? I mean, those are not common attributes for horror creatures, in my limited experience.
Sean: Yes, I guess there is a connection.
Kristine: Sean. It was the same.
Sean: Though I liked Insidious, but that scene you’re referring to was my least favorite part of it. The demon was so much scarier when he was more peripheral and mysterious. That scene turned him into like, a Looney Tunes character.
Kristine: Oh, I liked Insidious far better also. And yes, that part was dumb in Insidious and it’s ridiculous in Jeepers Creepers.
Sean: I mean, even the demon’s dumb hat in Jeepers Creepers just made me roll my eyes.
Kristine: It’s like, no. He feeds. I might buy he makes a human nest. But he does not have a pedal sewing machine and a gramophone. He is not Buffalo Bill.
Sean: Right? I did think all the bodies all over the ceiling of the cave was a cool image. But that was before the movie went downhill.
Kristine: His whole floor-length duster was also dumb. I hate that look, anyway.
Sean: The duster jacket was ridiculous. He was the guy at the beginning of Hardwarewho finds the M.A.R.K.-13 in the dunes.
Kristine: What was his name?
Sean: The “zone tripper.”
Kristine: Yep, that’s not the look.
Sean: It’s so, ‘I think I am goth, but really I am a douche.’
Kristine: Exactly. Ok, time to address the gay situation in this movie. In terms of the nest of human bodies, there was a cursory female body or two (including that large-breasted uggie sewn to the guy) but it was overwhelmingly male.
Sean: The movie eroticizes Justin Long to the fucking nth degree. It could care less about the sister.
Kristine: I agree about Justin. The fetishization of his pubescent body was glaring and uncomfortable. Also, rosebud.
Sean: The navel rose tattoo is so weirdly feminine and not even in a gay way. It’s like something a cowgirl named Dixie would have.
Kristine: I asked you this via text and I’ll ask again, Do men have rosebud tattoos on their midriffs? Is that a thing?
Sean: No. Not even the queeniest queen of the gay club would have that.
Kristine: Also, not to be crass, but rosebud is a very common euphemism. Correct? I mean, come on.
Sean: I guess… What about his milk-white skin with his shirt off? What about the fact that Justin Long’s character writes his name in his underwear? And the waitress was like “That man was sniffin’ your laundry real real good!”
Kristine: Okay, I kinda liked that hick waitress. “And he a-liked what he was smelling!”
Sean: It’s like, the demon is a pederast. He is a gay stalker and he wants Justin’s literal body.
Kristine: He is a gay stalker.
Sean: I mean the whole fucking movie is just a big metaphor for queer desire and it is gross because it is homophobic. It is this 1950s idea of the gay man as a Creepy Mary all staring at kids on the playground.
Kristine: I will give the creature a very small nod that when he licked Justin and Sis’s faces it was legitimately terrible and creepy. The monster wants to consume what he wants to become, taking what he needs from these bodies and he needs Justin’s rosebud…
Sean: I was laughing, literally, when the sister was yeling “Take me!” at the end. I was like, ‘That’s not going to happen, honey.’
Kristine: Oh god.
Sean: She didn’t get it.
Kristine: Well, it was stupid that the movie tried to make it a mystery – who does the creature truly desire? Him or her? And we are like, I think we know, movie. Next.
Sean: I want you to run up to some couple leaving a gay bar and scream “Take me!” at the older one.
Sean: “I’m the one you want!” They’d probably be like, “Oh, sweetie” and buy you a drink. I wish the demon had patted her on the head.
Kristine: The creature scooping Justin up and taking him up, up, up and awaaaaay was beyond dumb.
Sean: Oh I kind of liked the downer ending.
Kristine: It’s fine for Justin to die.
Sean: I was like, I hope Justin is naked and the demon is cropdusting him.
Kristine: I was just rolling my eyes with irritation at that point. Another thing about the song… The movie doesn’t even really commit to the concept of the song. Like, they throw it out there a couple of times and then forget about it. So stupid.
Sean: So did you research the director of this? Because he’s infamous.
Kristine: I didn’t know a thing about him, and then I researched. Holy fucking shit.
Sean: I mean, boyraper. And it was one of the kid actors from his first movie… Clownhouse.
Kristine: I’ll tell you what surprised me when I watched the film, and then I was shocked by after I researched the director: Frances Ford Coppola’s involvement. What the fuck?
Sean: Oh that makes sense to me.
Sean: Doesn’t it seem like Francis Ford has no moral compass? And willl put up with almost anything for art’s sake? I’m sure he was like, “Victor is an artist…”
Kristine: I think of him as all, wine and family.
Sean: They’re all sociopaths. They’re like the Sonoma Grapevine Massacre.
Kristine: Look, the child rape thing is very upsetting. But what is just crazy is that he then goes on and makes this very homophobic movie that eroticizes a young male body. And, if my reading is correct, Jeepers Creepers 2 is even more gay.
Sean: I know.
Kristine: Can he just not help his compulsion?
Sean: Well, my theory is that this is his movie about his own desires, and making it might have started out as some weird penance for what he’s done. But then along the way it just got twisted back into total perversion.
Kristine: I don’t know…
Sean: HE is the crop demon. And he is othering himself.
Kristine: I think he truly cannot help making this kind of movie. I mean, I get that he is the creature.
Sean: But the monster is still the hero of the movie. And wins. He gets his boymeat.
Kristine: …And his needs are fulfilled. Right. It doesn’t help that the director is physically such an icky creep.
Sean: What do you think the significance was that he wanted Justin’s eyes? And the movie ends with the camera swooping into his empty socket and then the monster sticks his staring eye into the hole.
Kristine: Um, to fit the song. Blah blah, voyeur, male gaze, blah blah. I am not impressed.
Sean: He also ate Justin’s dick, I’m sure. They just didn’t show that part. So what did you think of the brother/sister dynamic?
Kristine: It was okay, I guess. Like everything else in this movie (except the exceptionally scary truck) I thought the squabbling siblings who ultimately band together was a lazy characterization. You?
Sean: I guess, I liked Justin. Him being so scared was the only thing that energized the second half of the movie. But them together… I just hated her so much.
Kristine: I liked when he was in shock and she was yelling at him.
Sean: I like a good “mouthy bitch” character but… I think in the hands of another actress, the role could have worked.
Kristine: What about when he was on the phone with not-so-bad mamma jamma and Sis kept trying to snatch the phone away just because she was nosy?
Sean: That whole phone thing pissed me off. But I would say watch the first 1/2 hour of this movie, then shut it off.
Kristine: I also didn’t like her ‘90s fashion. Those clunky, square-heeled boots and stonewashed jeans. No, ma’am.
Sean: Can I also point out that the director used the same trick three times of showing us something approaching in the background that the characters don’t notice. And it got lazier and dumber each time. The first time worked, but then I was like, how fucking unobservant are these assholes?
Kristine: He is too busy being a perv to be a good filmmaker.
Sean: My boyfriend was just like, ‘No one would go back to the pipe and look in.’ He was like, ‘This is not real.’
Kristine: Oh, of course he is right. That was ridiculous but I generously looked past it.
Sean: But the worst part is the sister gets a line about “In horror movies…” That made it worse.
Kristine: I am literally groaning out loud.
Sean: “This is the part in the horror movie where the audience is screaming at the character to not do something so stupid….” I was choking on rage. And I bet they thought they were so sly and clever to do that and it is just the most infuriating thing.
Kristine: Tell me about the sequel. What’s it like?
Sean: That Cracked article did a great job summing up the sequel. It is just the gayest thing ever. Like in this one, when they’re both peeing and the camera is lingering on Justin Long’s clenched buttocks as he shakes it off and then the sister pops up in the background from squatting and the camera like zooms away from her. I mean, it is egregious.
Kristine: The camera recoils from her leaky vagina.
Sean: That’s why the cat lady and the mammy are quadruply offensive, because the movie nothing but a bunch of mean stereotypes about women and how atrocious and unattractive and shrill they are.
Kristine: I agree, and I thought the dead couple that were sewn together was a hateful mockery of heterosexuality.
Sean: Oh good call. With his class ring all a-glitterin’.
Kristine: And her comically oversized breasts and blow-up-doll mouth and long, pointed nails. A mockery of femininity. I need to know what the perception of this movie is. Are there people who claim it is awesome?
Sean: Um, I mean the movie was a sleeper hit. It did well and lots and lots of teens/college kids made it a success. Thus, the sequel. The sequel didn’t do so well. Victor Salva also made… Powder.
Kristine: I never saw that movie and it has no appeal to me. You know, the backstory about director mostly just shocked me, but then I read about how the abused boy’s family pleaded with Hollywood to not allow him to work and they were ignored, and it started making me feel really uncomfortable. Is he working these days?
Sean: Right now he is making Jeepers Creepers 3.
Kristine: You lie
Sean: Called Cathedral. In part three, the sister is all grown up and has a son, who she names after her dead brother. Blah blah. More opportunities for some light twink fetish action.
Kristine: I want Justin Long to do an interview and say whether or not he felt molested by Salva. That name, by the way.
Sean: And he wants part three to set up a TV series
Kristine: Make it stop.
Sean: About “the Creeper.”
Kristine: That’s another thing, that name. I mean, everyone calls sexual predators “creepers.” This guy is too much.
Sean: Also, talk about building a career on the one crappy success you had once.
Kristine: Too much.
Sean: Did we commit a hate crime just by watching this?
Kristine: Against gays or women or black people? Which?
Sean: Are we accessories after the fact?
Kristine: I think we are. I do feel strangely compelled to say again I thought the truck scenes were very tense and kind of awesome. It also resonates with my life as a commuter in Dallas.
Sean: I agree – the truck stuff was great. That horn was totally terrifying.
The Girls Rating: Something this gay should be better, dammit. AND Busted! AND This is a horror classic because… why, exactly?
The Freak’s Rating: Something this gay should be better, dammit. AND This movie is hate speech.