Jeepers Creepers

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Jeepers Creepers is a 2001 horror/monster movie directed by Victor Salva, and starring Justin Long, Gina Philips and Jonathan Breck. It takes its name from the song "Jeepers Creepers", which features in the movie.

The movie centers around two siblings, Darius "Darry" and Patricia "Trish" Jenner, as they take the scenic route home from college in Trish's banged-up old car, and their strange and frightening encounter on the lonely highway with what seems to be a crazed, obnoxious driver of an ominous green truck, who attempts to run them off the road. Later, from a distance, they witness the driver of the truck, dumping what appears to be bodies wrapped in bloodstained bags down a pipe, adjacent to an abandoned church. Seeing them, the driver of the truck engages the two in a terrifying road chase, but they manage to escape. Darry, against Trish's wishes, decides to go and investigate the old church in case there may be someone alive, only to make a horrific discovery. Much later, they discover that the driver of the truck is not initially as he seems...

The movie was a surprise success, and was nominated for several awards, winning one of them. A 2003 sequel, Jeepers Creepers 2, followed, which wasn't as well received as its predecessor. A third movie, Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral (previously thought to be titled The Creeper Walks Among Us) - and possibly a fourth movie - have since been announced by MGM, but currently seems to be stuck in Development Hell. Interestingly, the script for the third movie apparently sets up a TV series.

Unmarked spoilers below (for those of you who still don't know the identity of the truck driver), be warned.


Both films contain examples of[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Appendage Assimilation: The Creeper kidnaps people, takes whatever body parts of theirs he wants, and then leaves them to die.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Creeper wears one.
  • Big Bad: The Creeper.
  • Black Comedy: A few scenes with the Creeper. See Evil Is Funny below.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jezelle. She makes it clear that she hates having horrific dreams and visions and not knowing why she has the abilities she does. Minxie could also qualify.
  • Body Horror
  • Cannibalism Superpower
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In many cases, the Creeper removes the desired organs/appendages while the unfortunate victim is still alive, then leaves them to die a slow, agonising death.
  • Downer Ending / Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The first movie, but not the second movie (which ends on a somewhat open-ended and bittersweet note).
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Creeper.
  • Evil Is Funny: The Creeper, although relentless and frightening, is also shown to have a twisted sense of humour, such as the scene in the first movie with him suddenly remembering to throw the head into the truck, and a scene in the second movie when he's choosing which of the teens he wants to eat. Then there's his Vanity License Plate...
  • Expy: The Creeper sometimes looks a bit like Freddy Kruger (mostly because of the deformed body and hat).
  • Eye Scream:
    • The Creeper removes and eats Darry's eyes, in order to gain use of them - while Darry is still alive. The last scene shows a close up of a deceased Darry with his eyes removed, with the Creeper looking through the gouged hole.
    • In the sequel, The Creeper himself gets a javelin right through the eye, and sticking out the back of his head.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Well, you'll die eventually, but only after the Creeper is done removing your organs.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Creeper is completely naked at the climax of both films. He doesn't have any visible genitalia, however.
  • Genre Savvy: After running the Creeper over in Trish's car:

Darry: "Is he dead?"
Trish: (preparing to run the Creeper over again) "They never are."

    • Earlier:

Trish: "You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it."

    • Jack Sr. in the second film, after the Creeper is wounded, proceeds to stab it over and over again until it finally stops moving (though only because its time is up).
  • Gorn
  • Heroic BSOD: Darry has one after discovering the Creeper's lair, having become horribly shaken and disturbed by what he has seen.
  • Hillbilly Horrors
  • Leitmotif: "Jeepers, creepers, where'd you get those peepers?..."
  • Mad Artist: The Creeper does some very, um, creative things with his victim's remains. Not only does he sew the corpses together into a twisted kind of tapestry, he also makes some of his weapons from human remains, such as his throwing stars. [1] He also has a talent for carving, as evidenced by his little self-portrait carved into his work table, and the intricately-carved designs on the hilt of one of his knives.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • The scene near the beginning of the first movie, with the truck coming closer and closer...
    • Later, when Darry and Trish argue about the song on the car radio, while the Creeper standing upright on the roof of the police car is visible behind them through the rear window.
    • When Darry is in the church basement and bends over to tie his shoe, you can clearly see several of the Creeper's victims' bodies pinned to the walls and ceiling before he notices them. A few seconds earlier, if one looks closely, some bodies can be seen in the darkness before this reveal.
    • In the sequel, as the other characters look away, the audience witnesses the Coach suddenly get snatched by the Creeper into the sky, leaving only his flare behind.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: There are many times more male than female victims in these movies.
  • Nice Hat: The Creeper often wears a wide-brimmed hat to help hide his inhuman features.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: The Creeper practically defines this trope. No matter how much abuse he takes, he always gets back up again to kick some serious ass. Of course, he does get weaker the more damage he takes, but he is still highly dangerous even with a limb missing or part of his head destroyed. Heck, in Jeepers Creepers 2, even after having part of his head utterly destroyed, he's still not dead.

Jezelle: "I think it's eaten too many hearts... for it's own to ever stop."

  • Nobody Poops: Averted - Darry and Trish stop to pee in a field on the way home, and several male characters from the second movie stop to take a leak when the bus stops due to a puncture for the first time. Interestingly, according to Word of God, Justin Long (Darry) was actually peeing for real in the former scene, and Salva just decided to Throw It In.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Off with His Head: Happens to Gideon in the first film, and to Dante in the second. There's also the tale of the prom couple Kenny and Darla: "They never found her head." Darry later discovers that she did indeed lose her head - and the Creeper sewed it back on.
  • Oh Crap: Darry and Trish have a great Oh Crap moment when they see the Creeper's face for the first time and realise that he isn't human.
    • At the beginning of the second movie, Billy gets one when he looks at one of the scarecrow's feet and sees claws...
  • Once Is Not Enough: Subverted. While once is not enough (being hit with a car, being stabbed with a harpoon, etc), really, neither is any other amount of times. It will never stay down. Though damaging it enough will slow him down at least.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The axe the Creeper uses to cut off Gideon's head is never seen again for the rest of the film or in the sequel, aside from its brief appearance as one of the weapons that landed on Trish's car after Car Fu'ing the Creeper. Also shown in the Creeper's hand on the third film's poster.
    • The Cat Lady.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Darry and Trish are very rarely referred to as Darius and Patricia. The sequel has Deaundre "Double D" Davis and Andy "Bucky" Buck.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Although it's never made clear if the Creeper is an actual demon or not.
  • Picky People Eater: The Creeper.
  • Psychic Powers: Jezelle, whose powers are the subject of much skepticism by the other characters (at least initially). Minxie from the second movie also develops them, and is plagued with dreams/visions of Darry telling her about the nature of the Creeper.
  • Ravens and Crows: Lots of crows are drawn to the Creeper's lair in the church basement, and the other lair he sets up in an abandoned factory. Crows are also present whenever the Creeper is around in the sequel.
  • Regularly-Scheduled Evil
  • The Reptilians: The Creepers appears somewhat like this.
  • The Reveal: That the driver of the truck is actually the Creeper, and is very, very far from a crazed human Serial Killer, but that he is an ancient demon that feeds on human beings (and then preserves their corpses as a form of art). He grows more and more monstrous as the film goes on, shedding clothes and revealing more of his horrifying anatomy.
    • Also, when the end of the film reveals which sibling the Creeper wanted all along: Darry (and his eyes).
  • Say My Name: "DARRY!"
    • "BILLY!"
      • "SCOTTY!"
  • Scary Scarecrows: The Creeper poses himself as the scarecrow in the Cat Lady's yard. Then disguises as one in Jack Sr.'s cornfield in the second film. Which is creepy as hell.
  • Shout-Out: Steven Spielberg's Duel, from the "bumper-cam" shots of the truck riding their tail to the line about the truck being "souped up." The truck is also the same style as the killer truck in Spielberg's film.
  • Slasher Smile: The Creeper does this quite frequently.
  • Super Strength: The Creeper is way stronger than something of its build should be. In the second film, it's able to drag a pickup truck while in-flight, having been speared by a (presumably quite heavy) harpoon launcher bolted to the back.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill
  • To Serve Man: The Creepers feasts on human beings every 23 years, for 23 days. However, he only eats parts of them that smell good to him (he possesses an incredible sense of smell), or parts of them that will regenerate something of his that he has lost.
  • The Voiceless: The Creeper (the only noises he makes are primal cries and grunts), although a deleted scene does reveal that he is capable of human speech, and confirms Darry's fear that the Creeper does indeed know his name.
    • There was also, apparently, a scene planned for the sequel in which the Creeper was to be heard speaking, although that scene was never filmed.
    • He's also heard whistling the song "Jeepers Creepers" in the first movie.
  • Wall Crawl: The Creeper is capable of this.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: The Creeper's assorted lairs. He decorates them with the preserved corpses of his victims, stitching them together and attaching them to the walls and ceiling.

The first movie contains examples of:[edit | hide]

  • Acting for Two: A minor example. Jonathan Breck, who plays the Creeper, also appears as one of the cops towards the end of the film.
  • The Alleged Car: Trish's car.
  • Almost-Dead Guy/ Famous Last Words: Just before we lose the Dying Boy, he whispers something into Darry's ear, apparently "Hide".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: How the film ends.
  • Bowdlerise: For some reason, some versions of the film omit Darry's screams from the final scene. They can, however, be heard if the Director's Commentary is on.
  • Car Fu
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The Cat Lady, of course!
  • Creator Cameo: Victor Salva briefly appears as one of the corpses in the church basement. Later, an old photo of his serves as the album cover for the "Jeepers Creepers" vinyl in Jezelle's house.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Subverted. Darry would have died even if he hadn't checked out the church basement.
  • Curse of the Ancients: Very much averted with the Cat Lady.

I'll blow your fuckin' head off!

  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Trish and Darry have their moments.
  • Dies Wide Shut: The boy Darry finds in the church basement.
  • Domestic Abuser: Trish's (only mentioned; never seen) ex-boyfriend is implied to have been one towards her.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Justin Long and Gina Phillips didn't see the Creeper truck for the first time until they were on-set. In addition, Jonathan Breck made sure he didn't meet either of them until they were all on-set together.
  • Evil Detecting Cats
  • Final Girl: Trish.
  • Foot Focus: Trish's bare feet are focused on for a few seconds at the beginning of the first movie, including a shot of her bare soles pressed up against the car windscreen, followed by a shot of her delicately removing her feet from the windscreen.
  • Foreshadowing: Jezelle, while looking right at Darry:

It eats lungs, so it can breathe. And eyes... so it can see...

    • The lyrics to the song "Jeepers Creepers" itself foreshadow Darry's fate heavily.
    • The carving of what appears to be some kind of demon in the worktable. At first, it could be interpreted that it is the work of a serial killer who worships the devil. Later, it becomes clear that it's a self-portrait.
  • Game Face: The Creepers does this at the end to intimidate the cops, just before he flies off with Darry.
  • Groin Attack: What the Cat Lady does to Darry. With the butt of her shotgun. Owww.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Trish attempts one when she begs the Creeper to let Darry go and take her instead. It doesn't work.
  • Incest Is Relative: Darry calls Pertwilla County, Florida the "Incest Capital of the World". In addition, he assumes it's what was wrong with the mad driver at first.
  • It Got Worse: Darry and Trish think that being run off the road by a maniac in a truck is bad initially. From that point on, things do indeed get much, much worse for them, and it never really stops.
  • Jerkass: Trish comes across this way with regards to how she treats Jezelle.
  • Jump Scare: The first blare of the truck's horn. Also, the scene following Darry's discovery in the church basement - Trish desperately attempts to start her car after she sees what she initially thinks is the Creeper truck returning to the church, only to slump back, relieved, when it turns out to be a different vehicle. Cue Darry suddenly slamming himself against the car window, completely scaring the crap out of Trish (and the audience).
    • The moment when Darry discovers what he assumes to be a corpse in the basement... then the "corpse" suddenly starts thrashing around.
    • The rats.
  • A Love to Dismember: Subverted. What the Creeper does to Gideon's severed head initially looks like this, but it turns out he's dining on the poor guy's tongue.
  • My Car Hates Me
  • Never Mess with Granny: The aptly-named Cat Lady, to an extent - she may be old and frail, but she certainly isn't afraid of whipping out her shotgun to deal with anyone who trespasses on her property (and those who threaten her "babies").
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Trish and Darry are very, very bored at the start of the movie. Things soon heat up, however...
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Used many times, to great effect. A good example would be the first Meaningful Background Event of the Creeper truck coming up behind Trish's car - it looms up on her and Darry quickly and silently, and there is no music score.
  • Police Are Useless: Both averted and played straight.
  • Red Herring: Some lines were deliberately intended to imply that Trish is the doomed sibling to throw off the viewers. As it turns out, Darry is the one who dies.
  • Running Gag: Darry's jockey shorts, dyed pink in a college prank.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: The Cat Lady.
  • Something That Begins With Boring: Averted in the sense that the siblings' vanity-plate-decryption highway game actually becomes relevant to the plot when they try it on the Creeper truck.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The titular song, as well as Henry Hall's "Here Comes the Boogeyman" during the credits.
  • The Stinger: After the credits of the first movie, there is a quick shot of the Creeper truck, horn blasting, driving across the road.
  • Suddenly Voiced: A deleted scene revealed the Creeper can talk.
  • Take Me Instead!: Trish tearfully begs the Creeper to take her instead of Darry, but, after some consideration, he goes with his original choice.
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night: A working title for the film was "Here comes the Boogeyman."
  • Titled After the Song
  • Together in Death: A more twisted example than most: Kenny and Darla's preserved corpses, as a part of the Creeper's human tapestry, are tightly holding hands.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailer completely gives away the fact that the Creeper is... not human. Additionally, the end of the trailer shows a shot of the Creeper about to take off with Darry. It's only show for a split second, but still...
  • Unhappy Medium: Jezelle Gay Hartman.
  • Urban Legend: The tale of Wheaton Valley High students Kenny and Darla - which Darry later discovers to be true.
  • Vanity License Plate: The Creeper's license plate reads BEATNGU. Darry (incorrectly) guesses the meaning as "Beating you" - it's actually "Be Eating You".
  • Volleying Insults: Trish and Darry occasionally engage in this, playfully.
  • What a Piece of Junk!: The Creeper's 1941 Chevy COE is old, seriously beat-up and crappy-looking (not to mention creepy as hell), but it can effortlessly catch up to Trish's car. It is strongly implied to have a souped-up engine.[2]
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It is never made entirely clear if the Cat Lady died as a result of being attacked by the Creeper, or if she survived.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Rats?: It seems likely that Darry may have a fear of rats, if his reaction to seeing a load of them in the pipe is anything to go by.

The sequel contains examples of:[edit | hide]

The speculated third film contains examples of:[edit | hide]

  1. The first one seen is made of bone and melted down dental filling, with a single tooth for decoration, the second one is made of bone and Darry's belly button.
  2. (Speculated to be the result of a 383 chevy crate motor with a supercharger)