Jeepers Creepers | BEATNGU – Relive the horror masterpiece on Blu-ray

On a desolate country highway, two homeward-bound teens Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long) are nearly run off the road by a maniac in a beat-up truck… and later spot him shoving what appears to be a body down a sewer pipe.

But when they stop to investigate, they soon are marked by unstoppable evil known as the Creeper (Jonathan Breck), which awakens every 23rd spring for 23 days to renew itself by feasting on human body parts.

Director Victor Salva’s 2001 horror was a huge hit on its release (bringing in nearly $60m). Produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope, it put Salva back on the road to success after his reputation nose-dived following his 1988 conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor.

It’s been a while since I revisited the film, so this new Blu-ray from 101 Films was the perfect excuse to do just that. I must say, Salva has crafted a modern horror masterpiece, that benefits from its black humour and dark sexuality. The excellent young leads bring a genuine sense of fear to their roles, and there’s a lovely cameo from the late Eileen Brennan (AKA Captain Lewis in Private Benjamin).

The action set-pieces are well-staged, especially the Duel-inspired chases, and Breck is terrific as the Creeper, who so deserves a place in the pantheon of modern horror characters. Oddly, he doesn’t get a mention in any polls that I could find.

What also sets this horror apart, is the homoerotic subtext bubbling under the surface. The Creeper seems to favour handsome teenage boys to feast on (just check out the cute guy Darry finds in the church basement) and the orgasmic look on his face when he gives a dead cop a tongue kiss is so transgressive. And it’s pretty obvious which side he plays when he rejects Trish when she offers her life in place of her brother’s.

Then there’s the 2003 sequel (it did even better business – over $63m) which really ramped up the homoerotica? In that one, the Creeper targeted a bus of shirtless high school jocks, who spend most of the time peeing together and accusing each other of being gay.

For his third film, which got a limited run in 2017 and mixed reviews, Salva downplayed the gay subtext (although there are some boys on bikes who come a cropper). I caught it on Netflix and while it’s not a patch on the first two, it has its moments. But the best is how the Creeper’s truck plays a significant and very deadly role this time round. I’d love a toy model, complete with working booby traps. How cool would that be?

There are hints of a fourth entry, so maybe Salva’s underwear-sniffing monster will return another day. But in the meantime, its time to relive the original horror on Blu-ray.

Special Features

  • Commentary with writer/director Victor Salva and stars Gina Philips and Justin Long
  • Commentary with director Victor Salva
  • Jeepers Creepers: Then and Now
  • From Critters to Creepers: Interview with producer Barry Opper
  • The Town Psychic: Interview with actress Patricia Belcher
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Bonus DVD: Behind the Peepers – The Making of Jeepers Creepers

About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on November 12, 2020, in Horror, Must See and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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