Amid all the controversy Jeepers Creepers 3 was released on September 26th for a one night only release. Excited horror fans flocked to the theaters to see their favorite Creeper return for another night of horror. Although the film is billed as a sequel, it is not. Collectively the first three films work as one large movie, rather than separate entities, as they all occur in the same timeframe.
Jeepers Creepers is set around the return of a beast with a brutal ritual of slaughtering unsuspecting innocents. The franchise is most recognized for its modern gothic aesthetic and spooky isolated atmosphere – oh, and of course the “in the closet” Creeper killer.The movies are one part creature feature and another part horror mystery. The third film capitalizes on the mystery component of the films by alluding to the discovery of the Creepers origins. The film frustratedly doesn’t answer the mysteries but instead teases the audience by revealing characters that have seen the truth….”they know WHAT he is”. By the end of the film fans are hungry for answers but will have to wait for the forthcoming sequel, the first “real” sequel continuity wise since the original film in 2001.
The film doesn’t really have any memorable scares rather loud noises to make you jump — which is effective in a movie theater but obviously disappointing for the viewer. We go to horror movies to be deeply scared, not to be clutching our ears in pain. I could just be an old bitch with tinnitus, but oh well. Although the film isn’t that scary it effectively establishes more lore about The Creeper which ignites the horror mystery quality surrounding the film. Beyond the basic complaints and disappointment from fans – no real origin answers, Salva a convicted child molester, not much Trish – my issues with the film center around the new “creeper mobile” and the missed opportunity to establish a gay horror icon.
First off, why did his death on wheels truck get an upgrade? I figure the creators thought it would be a good addition to give The Creeper more untouchability, more power and a new weapon. But because it was never touched upon in the previous films, the new story mechanic feels forced and gimmicky to give the Creeper a bigger advantage. As if he needed one! Do we have to remind people that The Creeper is a superhuman cryptid demon whatever-the-fuck from the beyond? Now he has a truck that is indestructible! Yikes! I have a problem with this new addition because of the continuity of it all, yes its cool, yes it provides an outstanding double penetration kill, but it was never touched upon in the previous films. Additionally, it was unneeded as the Creeper is a very competent movie killer without the improved ride. In a way, it downgrades the powers of the Creeper because now his car is evil too and can easily trap, kill and violate his victims.
My next gripe centers around the loss of gay subtext. The previous films HAD TONS of hints and teases of gay identity, themes and sub plots. The third film does have some instances but basically drops the big gay ball that The Creeper could be a homo. Why doesn’t this franchise just take the big ol’ gay leap and become a full on mainstream gay slasher? All the materials are there…subtle gay innuendos, the victims are often men, his pleasurable deep inhaling of muscled meat…
Lets face it, The Creeper is the gay horror icon that we have always craved (sorry Babadook). Now, that may not be the direction the creators want the series to go, and I’m not saying it has to be this big gay spectacle, but give us SOMETHING! I am only enraged because I see you adding these little nuances to make the audience question the sexuality of the antagonist and yet it goes NOWHERE. Lets face it, we’re out of the early 90’s and early 2000’s, gay people are showing up left and right in every other media; the franchise needs to embrace this key component that separates the film from it’s peers.
Oh and there were moments in the film where this potentially genre changing sub plot could have excelled! We could have gone into uncharted waters! Jeepers Creepers 3 could have challenged the horror movie misconception that horror always needs a final girl. Why not a final boy for a change? I sure thought they were going that route when impaled bad boy motor racer Kirk is abducted, not killed, by the Creeper. Oh yes I was tinged with excitement hoping to see some stimulating chase pursuits, odd head turns, barely escaping and the like. But instead, they went with the cutsie granddaughter. They continued with the tired formula ; that it always needs to be a girl in distress. Again, the film doesn’t have to be a period piece about the Creeper coming out of the closet all fluffy duffy bullshit but it needs to own up to films gay undertones and not forget them.
Besides that Jeepers Creepers 3 is a solid sequel with beautiful composition and a detailed fleshing of the myth that is The Creeper. It establishes a deeper understanding of the franchise (besides the missing gay undertones) and raises hope for the series as a whole to return again. I have my rumor sniffer out there, and it is speculated that a fourth will spring. But with Victor Salva’s past criminal activity it may never see the light of day. After all it did take 14 years for the third to be produced — this is just a little reminder that nothing in Horror is ever guaranteed.