The Scariest Movie Ever Made
Some of you have almost certainly seen the 2003 film, Jeepers Creepers 2. On the surface, it’s a pretty solid little horror movie, with some clever gimmicks, good scares, and a decent amount of – perhaps unintentional – dark humor. But let me tell you why, at its core, it is very likely the most frightening movie ever made.
The director/writer, Victor Salva, served 15 months of a three year sentence for molesting (he videotaped the incident) a 12 year old actor, Nathan Forrest Winters, who was starring in his ultra-creepy 1989 film, Clownhouse. Later he would direct the 1995 movie, Powder, which was made by, believe it or not, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios. But let’s not get off track…Take a look at the plot of Jeepers Creepers 2: It begins with a hideous winged creature, The Creeper, swooping down from the sky to snatch up a little boy while his father watches, helplessly. Then the director moves on to a team of half-clad high school football players and a few stray cheerleaders (clearly, Salva/The Creeper prefer young men) who, after their adult caretakers are done away with, find themselves trapped inside their crippled school bus while the unseen creature hunts them down, one by one. It selects its victims via smelling (more like inhaling) their fear, which tells it what, if any, body parts it desires from a particular person. It then, literally, consumes them. In one scene, the kids manage to damage The Creeper’s head quite severely. In response, the creature “takes a kid under his wing,” slices off his head, and consumes it. Then it removes its own head, in the place of which another head begins to grow, in the form of its victim. When the transformation is complete, The Creeper takes on its original form, forever having stolen a part of its prey (head, brain, mind, identity, etc.).
So where am I going with this? On the director’s commentary track, the cast can be heard laughing and joking with Salva. He sounds like a nice guy, and, on the surface, he probably is. But I believe Jeepers Creepers 2 is Salva’s unsettling catharsis to the world. The Creeper represents the darker half of the director’s soul; his alter ego. It seems to be a horrific manifestation of Salva’s forbidden fantasies and desires, as if, in his heart of hearts, he knows that he wants nothing more than to hunt down, creep up on, and “consume” helpless children paralyzed by fear, who, as victims made a part of their predator, would be forever without the ability to escape (akin to Salva “immortalizing” his molestation by videotaping it). The end of the film, in which the creature is stabbed ferociously to – a temporary – death, by the little boy’s father, is, in my eyes, a sort of disturbing masochistic penance-through-cinema for Salva; a man who wound up in prison for acting on impulses that, ultimately, The Creeper is free to express with impunity. Because, in the end, it gets to hunt every 23 years for 23 days. Nothing (no one) can stop it.
And THAT is fucking scary.
By Jon Neralich