Every now and then a horror movie comes along that actually creeps me out. I can say at this point, and after over thirty years of watching horror films, that it's usually a character in a fright film, and not necessarily the effects, that gets to me.
I have long felt a dread for werewolves in movies, something I've touched on many times at my message board, Monsterland Forums. Other horror movie characters, many iconic now, have established their rightful place in my own personal pantheon of scares, including Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Pinhead and Freddy Krueger. I've seen these antagonists many times in their respective films but the one horror movie villain that chills my heart the most is "The Creeper", as he is commonly known, and the lone, and very formidable antagonist of Jeepers Creepers, a horror film directed by Victor Salva and released to theaters in the U.S. in late August, 2001.
Without revealing any major spoilers the film chronicles the harrowing experience of Trish and younger brother Darry, returning home from Spring Break on an isolated rural highway in north Florida. Through a chain of events these two college co-eds eventually come up against a hostile and flesh eating monster who, according to the local psychic, comes out of slumber every twenty three years...in order to eat for twenty three days. (no other details)
Many things work great in this film: the monster never speaks and very little is revealed about the creature. The beast's physical appearance is much like a man's during the first part of the movie, in and of itself creepy: the monster deliberately conceals itself in tattered clothing to conceal it's real apperance. Also, the sense of dread in this film never wavers and when I first watched Jeepers Creepers I got the impression, a correct one turns out, there would not be any campy or quasi-humorous ending to the movie. The whole film is a very grim and serious affair. The makeup effects used to render "The Creeper" are, not surprisingly, very good. Jonathan Breck, who portrays "The Creeper", looks truly like a monster from hell in this film.
Those horror movie fans who haven't seen Jeepers Creepers should check this film out. I have the movie on Region 1 DVD.
A sequel was released, also directed by Victor Salva, in 2003.
The film's trailer: