Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21 Movie 1

I really like "Jeepers Creepers" (2001). It has a simple premise but a good cast and nice execution. A brother (Justin Long) and sister (Gina Philips), driving home for spring break, have a frightening encounter with an aggressive truck driver (Jonathan Breck). They later spot the truck parked by a boarded up church where the driver can be seen throwing what appears to be human bodies bundled in sheets down a pipe in the ground. After another, more violent encounter with the truck and driver they make the decision to go see if those people they saw thrown into the ground are still alive. What they find is far worse than anything they could have imagined, and now they find themselves relentlessly pursued by the truck driver, a man-shaped creature that cannot be destroyed, who appears every 23rd Spring where it feeds for 23 days, picking human victims that have something it needs to keep its own body going.

This movie succeeds because its primal in the same way that "Duel" or "Jaws" is primal. Something terrible is out to get you and you have no idea why, and no way of stopping it. All you can do is run and hope to last long enough to get away. The truck driver (actually called the Creeper) is a perfect example of less is more, and letting teh viewers imagination fill in the gaps. While he remains nothing more than a human silhouette, he's really effective, but when we get to see his features he's sort of like a hillbilly Freddie Krueger with additional appendages.

The one drawback to this movie, and it's a pretty big one, doesn't pertain to the movie itself, but to director Victor Salva, who is a convicted sex offender. While I'm sure that in the twenty years since his conviction, he's gotten his act together, I can't forget that there was a twelve year old victim involved, who clearly hadn't gotten over it by 1994 when he came forward to remind people about what Salva had done when his Disney movie "Powder" was about to be released, and I'm sure he's still coping with what happened to him to this day. I'd remembered this incident, but didn't connect it to Salva until I just looked him up on imdb.


Dane said...

I liked this movie too, it kind of surprised me how different and well done it was compared to what I thought it would be.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, why mention the director's past?
Perhaps you felt that this would somehow support the victim?

Salva was convicted, served his time and has expressed deep remorse for his crimes (according to IMDB). Yes, his victim boycotted one of his films, but that was in 1994. There's no mention that the victim has objected to Salva getting on with his life since then, is there?

So again, what was your motivation in bringing this up? With all due respect, I'm enjoying the effort and thought that you're putting into your blog, but I think you might have wandered into mean-spirited sensationalism with this post.

John Rozum said...


You bring up a valid point and I went back and forth on this a couple of times. I am generally a seperate the art from the artist kind of person, otherwise there wouldn't be a lot of books to read, movies to watch, or music to listen to.

My intentions here were not of a malicious nature. I did point out in Salva's favor that I doubt he's committed any such acts since, and I'm sure he hasn't.

As I also pointed out my being acceptance that Salva has moved forward with a clean life is not the same as his victim being forgiving and willing to put this behind him. Whether he objects to Salva's new life or not, I couldn't say. Even if he's okay with it I'm sure he still carries some emotional scars.

The only reason I did this is that there are a lot of people out there uncomfortable with supporting someone who has taken sexual advantage of a child, and I felt it was fair to warn them. Molesting a twelve year old boy and going to jail for shoplifting or possession of illegal narcotics are something entirely different.

No mean spirited sensationalism was intended.