Victor Crowley from Hatchet? Gabriel from “Malignant”? No, for editor Pascal the Creeper from “Jeepers Creepers” is the coolest horror icon since the early 2000s. The horror ripper runs unabridged on free TV this Sunday.
The time of the big horror icons is largely over. Even if Freddy Krueger (“Nightmare on Elm Street”), Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”), and Michael Myers (“Halloween”) still make it into cinemas in the present, there is still a lack of sequels, which fill in the style-defining footsteps just as impressively. The Creeper from “Jeepers Creepers“, which will be broadcast on Tele 5 today, April 3 at 10:10 p.m, certainly can’t keep up with Freddy and Co. Still, for me, the winged beast is the best and scariest horror monster since the early 2000s.
You don’t have to worry about any cuts in today’s TV broadcast – Tele 5 is showing “Jeepers Creepers” uncut thanks to its FSK 16 rating. But if you don’t manage to watch “Jeepers Creepers” on TV today, that’s no problem. The horror film is currently also available as an Amazon Prime Video subscription. You can also get the film on Blu-ray and DVD via Amazon.
That’s what “Jeepers Creepers” is about
Before I go any further into the film and the Creeper, here’s the synopsis: Siblings Trish (Gina Philips) and Darryl (Justin Long) find themselves on a lonely highway on the long way home from college. When the two are suddenly harassed by a creepy truck, it is only with great effort that they can avoid an accident. A short time later they see the truck again on the side of the road next to a dilapidated church. They watch as the driver throws conspicuous bundles, apparently stained with blood, into an earth tube – and then looks exactly in their direction.
Again, they are almost pushed off the road by the stranger but are just able to meet the angry attacks of the old truck. Unsettled by what’s really in the bundles, Trish and Darryl return to the old, derelict church. As they examine the burrow, Darryl loses his footing and falls into a gloomy vault. What he discovers there exceeds his worst guesses. But the horror has only just begun…
A fearsome monster icon on a manhunt
Especially in the first half, “Jeepers Creepers” is a really gripping horror film that scores with its atmospheric density. Director Victor Salva proves here how important it is to take the necessary time to build up a suspense scenario conscientiously and to let the (supernatural) terror really work its magic. He then appears in the form of the Creeper, which we only get to see in all its monstrous glory after a little more than 45 minutes.
When the Creeper gets more and more screentime in the second half, “Jeepers Creepers” succumbs to a certain formulaic that makes the bloody events relatively predictable. The fact that the film is still at least worth seeing is actually due to the Creeper itself. For me, the winged monster from hell, which has built a house of torment for itself, is the best original horror icon in recent film history.
“Jeepers Creepers” gives the antagonist its own mythology, which isn’t new, but it turns out to be extremely atmospheric for me. Where the background of this character in the sequel “Jeepers Creepers 2” and the prequel “Jeepers Creepers 3” is constantly being expanded and thus also watered down a bit, there are only threatening approaches to be seen in “Jeepers Creepers”. It is a creature from hell that hunts people for 23 days every 23 years.
It’s a bit reminiscent of Stephen King’s horror clown Pennywise from It, who appears every 27 years and causes fear and terror. In addition, the design (especially the mask work!) of the Creeper is absolutely terrific. The beastly creature, whose terrifying appearance resembles a snarling demon, is fortunately staged in “Jeepers Creepers” for the most part with handmade effects. This makes the horror all the more palpable.
By the way: With “Jeepers Creepers: Reborn” we can expect a fourth offshoot of the series this year, which has now been directed by Timo Vuorensola and is supposed to be part of a new trilogy.