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Jeepers Creepers
Review written by: Alex Sandell


Hooks, body bags and some really creepy
fucker lit only by moonlight . . . who could
ask for anything more?

Jeepers Creepers is a horror movie catered toward two different types of horror fans:  the, "if this isn't so incredibly tense that I pass out, I'm gonna want my money back" Texas Chainsaw Massacre folks and the, "I sure wish they'd go back to making fun little monster movies with men in rubber suits, again" audience.  I tend to be personality type "Texas" (I never thought I'd hear myself saying that), but I also enjoy the hell out of a lot of those cheesy monster movies of yesteryear.  Yet, like an unused needle in a back alleyway, I am a rarity.  Fans of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre don't generally tend to dig The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and vice-versa.  So, when screenwriter and director, Victor Salva decided to mix the two, it was almost like he was committing commercial suicide in a way not seen since Scientologists teamed up with Hollywood to put John Travolta in dreadlocks and moon boots.  

Based on the reaction from a lot of the mainstream clones . . . er . . . "critics," the pairing of a serious suspenseful gasp of dread with a slimy slippery demon-beast cyclone of cheese wasn't the best coupling since someone stuck their chocolate in someone else's peanut butter.  Still, being the non-mainstream "unused needle" that I am, I actually found the combination quite pleasing, and have decided that there's no wrong way to view a Creeper.  Jeepers Creepers is so different in its first half than it is during its second that I essentially have to review it as two separate movies.  

The first "movie" is very reminiscent of all of my favorite horror films, from Phantasm to Psycho to Night of the Living Dead to Rear Window to Silence of the Lambs to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.   The film slowly builds in intensity, and finally brings you to the point where your throat begins constricting and you pray some guy in the back of the theater will yell "boo," just to break the tension.  

A brother and sister decide to take the "long way" home from college, and are driving through the middle of no where when this vehicle that looks like an ambulance used to transport the recently deceased to Hell, decides to try and ram them off of the road.  The "Hellbulance" finally passes them, and they're left gasping for air, not sure of what just happened, or why.  They calm down, and continue their drive, only to see the eerie vehicle parked by an old church, and a man dumping white bags, covered in what looks like blood, down a chute.  The bags appear to have humans inside them.  Are there really people in those bags, tied up and bloodied?  What if some of them are still alive?  Does the man dumping the bags know he's been spotted?  If he does, will he come after the unfortunate pair, looking to rid the world of these sibling witnesses?  This setup, and the buildup to what is to come, is the kind of true, unrelenting horror that is rarely found, ironically enough, in the horror genre.  If Jeepers Creepers would have stuck with this style, it would have gone down in history as one of the most intense, terrifying horror movies ever created.  But, as I said, the film is really like two movies in one, and the second "movie" is nothing like what I have just described in the first.

Where the first "movie" is very reminiscent of all of my favorite horror movies, the second "movie" is very reminiscent of all of the horror movies that become my favorite if I'm drinking a few beers with a bunch of friends and am looking for something cheesy to laugh at.  These B grade films range anywhere from An American Werewolf in London to Bride of Re-Animator to The Creature From the Black Lagoon to Fright Night to Pumpkinhead.  This is cheese horror, and it is found plenty of times in the horror genre, but it only works about 10% of those times.  This is one of those times that it works (even without the beer goggles).  

How could you not like the psychic that appears for no reason, without explanation, only to explain things that she has no explanation for ("I don't know how, and I don't know why, but it can come back and eat every 23rd spring for 23 days!")?  How could you not like a bunch of inbred cops being slaughtered by a guy in a rubber suit and cowboy hat?  And, more than anything, how could you not love the sappy bubblegum song from the 30's, "Jeepers Creepers" being used as the musical cue to indicate something scary is about to happen?  Obliterate that ominous theme from Jaws, forget the foreboding "ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma" of Friday the 13th, and avert your attention away from those apprehensive piano notes in Halloween; in Jeepers Creepers we get a peppy little love song that our great-grandparents sang along with telling us that "The Creeper" is about to strike again!  My mom sung me this song continually when I was a kid.  I never thought this little lullaby would turn into the theme to a horror movie.  Maybe THAT'S why I had so many nightmares . . . THE CREEPER IS COMING, THE CREEPER IS COMING!  Gee, thanks mom. 

Two movies in one.  What a bargain!  Pick your favorite, and go with it.  If you feel like being scared, settle in for a damn frightening forty minutes.  If you feel like watching a corny monster movie, stick around for the next forty.  Either way, it will be a refreshing change from all those damn ghost stories that have passed themselves off as "horror," lately.  "The Creeper" of Jeepers Creepers makes those wimpy little ghosts that Hollywood has been shoving down our throats ever since the surprise success of The Sixth Sense look like little more than Casper.  Last but not least, there is no heavy metal music during the movie, and this is a miracle, in and of itself.  If you're a big fan of horror, you could do a lot worse than Jeepers Creepers and, sadly, over the last 15 years, or so, you couldn't do much better.

What does it make you feel like eating?

Peepers.

What are you selling us here???

I didn't notice any product placements.

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"Multiple Movie Disorder" - Jeepers Creepers

On a scale of 1-10?

First half:  10 

Second half:  7

Overall rating:  8

Agree? Disagree? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com 

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Text (Copyright) 2001 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].  If you copy this, without my permission, I'll get my mom singing "Jeepers Creepers" into a loudspeaker in front of your home, and, trust me, once she's started, she doesn't stop!

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