Horror’s Icons: The Creeper
A VILLIAN WITH A HUNTING SEASON
This week we will look at the villain from Victor Salva’s Jeepers Creepers series, The Creeper (Jonathan Breck). The simple name may make people think that this is just another run-of-the-mill villain but he is actually one of the more unique horror icons that I have looked at. His killing ritual is strict and for a reason. When hunting season is open for The Creeper, it is best to stay away from the small town he calls home in the Florida countryside.
The Creeper is an immortal creature that hunts every 23rd Spring for 23 days. He kills to obtain certain body parts. When he consumes these particular parts, it then becomes a part of his body. He chooses his victims by sensing their fear and decides what part of their body he will take for his own. He will store the rest of the body of the victim in his hideout. After his 23 days are up, he vanishes and will not return until it is time to return in 23 years.
THE ROAD TRIP FROM HELL
In Jeepers Creepers (2001), a brother and sister, Trish (Gina Philips) and Darry (Justin Long), are driving through the Florida countryside to go home for spring break. But their peaceful drive soon becomes a nightmare when they are almost run off the road by an old, rusted truck. After avoiding the truck and letting the truck go ahead, they recollect themselves and continue on their journey. Not that long after this though, they see the same truck off the road. By the truck is a dark, mysterious man that is dropping a body wrapped in bloody sheets down a pipe. The figure then looks up to notice them watching him. He gets back in his truck and tries to run them off the road again. They manage to escape again but Darry’s curiousity will soon get them closer to The Creeper than they want to be.
Darry insists on going to where The Creeper was dumping the body to inspect it a little closer. He leans down the pipe with Trish holding his feet but falls down after she loses her grip. After coming to, he sees dead bodies everywhere and manages to escape through a passage into an old church that is nearby. They immediately head to a local diner and call the police. While there, they get a mysterious phone call from a woman but don’t heed her warnings. The police say that the old church has burnt down and there is no evidence of what Darry says he saw.
The police then arrive at the diner and escort Darry and Trish away. But while driving, The Creeper attacks them and kills the policemen. Trish and Darry try to find refuge in an old lady’s house but she is soon killed too. Then Trish manages to hit The Creeper with her car and continues to run over him. They think they have killed him until a huge wing busts through the killer’s coat and begins to flap uncontrollably. They leave the scene and head to the police station to wait for their parents to arrive.
Once there, they are visited by a woman named Jezelle who informs them that she was the woman that called them at the diner. She explains the story of The Creeper and that he wants one of them but doesn’t know which one. The Creeper attacks the police station and abducts Darry then leaves.
The next day Trish is picked up by parents and is taken home. As for Darry, he was taken to The Creeper’s new hideout and The Creeper has gotten what he wants. While the 1938 song “Jeepers Creepers” plays in the background, the audience has learned that The Creeper is now equipped with Darry’s eyes.
BACK FOR SECONDS
The Creeper would return in 2003’s Jeepers Creepers 2 which takes place just three days after the original film. The Creeper abducts a young boy from a farm while pretending to be a scarecrow. Then, we cut to the next day, which is Day 23, the final day of The Creeper’s hunting season. But on his final day of hunting, The Creeper may have won the lottery when a school bus passes through town filled with high school football players, cheerleaders, and coaches.
The bus is going down the road when all of a sudden they have blowout. After further inspection, they realize that a man-made looking weapon is stuck in the tire. They get the tire fixed and begin to leave. After a little while though, they suffer another blowout. This time they ask a car that is passing by for help. But when they do, coaches start to go missing. Then the bus driver. The Creeper is setting the stage for a bountiful final day of killing.
After this, everyone begins to argue whether they should stay on the bus or go for help. The Creeper shows up keeping the kids on the bus for now but then leaves again. His little visit kept everyone in one place and gave him time to choose who he would take. Just when they appear to be stuck, help shows up. Jack Taggart Sr. (Ray Wise), the father of the young boy that was taken in the beginning, shows up to help the kids. The Creeper soon reappears but is impaled and injured. After The Creeper leaves, everyone tries to leave the bus to escape. Not long after though, The Creeper returns and fights with Taggart. Taggart shoots The Creeper with a harpoon and repeatedly stabs him. Taggart think The Creeper is dead but the fact is that the day has ended and so has his time to kill.
Fast-forward to 23 years later. A group of teenagers drive out to Taggart’s farm. They are led to a barn where the lifeless body of The Creeper is bound to a wall. The elderly Taggart Sr. is sitting in front of The Creeper holding a harpoon gun. After being asked if he is waiting for something, he replies “Give it a day or two.”.
WAITING TO SEE WHAT IS NEXT
The final chapter in the trilogy has been talked about for a while. Apparently the film, titled Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral, has been announced as happening by MGM and Salva already has the story set. The third film will feature the return of Trish from the first film. She now has a son named Darry, named after her late brother, and she has recurring nightmares that he will suffer the same fate as her brother. Bothered by this, she sets out to destroy The Creeper once and for all with the help of Jack Taggart Sr. and Jack Taggart Jr.
MGM has also announced that they would like a fourth film in the series that would be shot with the third film. But I’m sure fans, just like me, are just waiting for the third film first. There is not a whole lot of information available yet, but I have read that series director/writer Victor Salva has talked about taking the third film to the Wild West to explore the early days of The Creeper. That is a pretty interesting concept if you ask me.
But until more becomes official, fans can only speculate and hope. Youtube is littered with fan-made trailers and videos so it is pretty apparent there are people waiting for the next chapter of the series. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait 23 years like The Creeper. I think by 2026, I may not care too much anymore.
Well, The Creeper is done. For now. And next week I’ll get into someone who is creepy in his own right. And creepy is a simple way of describing this complex horror icon. Next week, we will look into the depths of Hell as we bring Pinhead to Blog4Dat for the next installment of Horror’s Icons. Thanks for reading.