Jeepers Creepers 3, the third installment in the horror franchise, was released in theaters in 2017, however many viewers were turned off by filmmaker Victor Salva’s criminal history.
In 2001, with the debut of Jeepers Creepers, the world was introduced to the relatively hip creature known as “The Creeper” (Jonathan Breck).
The Creeper is a demon-like creature that appears every 23rd spring for 23 days, during which time it subsists on human flesh and organs. Victims of this technique don’t stand a chance, obviously. Though it cost only $10 million to produce, Jeepers Creepers earned $59 million worldwide.
Since it was so well received, a sequel, Jeepers Creepers 2, was released in the summer of 2003. The sequel to the horror classic Jeepers Creepers did not fare as well with critics as the original, but it nevertheless produced a profit of $63 million on a budget of only $17 million.
After a long period of inactivity, the Jeepers Creepers franchise finally returned in 2017 with the release of Jeepers Creepers 3.
While the first two Jeepers Creepers movies passed without much fanfare, the advent of the internet and social media presented an intriguing new wrinkle for the third feature. Because filmmaker Victor Salva is a convicted pedophile, this severely complicated matters.
Why Jeepers Creepers 3 Was so Controversial
Although the internet was already in existence at the time of the release of the first two Jeepers Creepers films, Google did not yet exist, nor did social media as we know it today, and websites like Wikipedia were still in their infancy.
Consequently, when Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 were released, most viewers were unaware that the series’ writer/director, Victor Salva, had been convicted in 1988 of various crimes related to his sexual assault of a kid, including recording one such occasion on tape. Salva was given a three-year prison term but only served fifteen months.
After finding the script too terrifying to read in one sitting, Philips decided she wanted to star in it. She tried out for Trish three times by herself, and then once with the group of actors who were being considered for Darry. Long was one of them.
As for Long, he “assumed they were going to cast a name. But I went in on a lark, and it clicked,” while Philips “had an intense focus” during the audition process and “it was her authenticity that got her the part,” according to Victor Salva.
Coppola successfully argued that Long and Philips should star in the film instead of the “big name stars” that American Zoetrope had initially planned to cast.
Trish and her brother Darry Jenner are coming home for spring break from college. A rusty truck follows them closely across the Florida countryside before it finally pulls away. After that, they see the same truck stopped next to a derelict church, with the driver slipping what look to be victims covered in bloodstained sheets into a big pipe protruding from the ground. The motorist spots their vehicle driving past and gives chase, eventually forcing them off the road.
As soon as the truck pulls away, Darry talks Trish into returning to the chapel. Darry, suspicious about the source of the noise, creeps inside the pipe with Trish holding on to his feet.
Darry is accidentally dropped by Trish, and he sinks to the bottom of the drainpipe. He enters and discovers a dying guy with stitches running down his stomach, as well as hundreds of bodies sewed to the walls and ceiling of the basement, including the bodies of a prom couple that had gone missing 23 years earlier.
Darry escapes the pipe and locates Trish, and the two of them depart the area in an attempt to call the police from a diner. While they’re having breakfast at the diner, an unknown woman calls and says they’re in danger.
She then turns on a record player and plays “Jeepers Creepers.” They disregard her warning and leave with two police officers giving an escort, which further adds to their confusion.
The police find out on the road that the church caught fire, destroying any possible evidence. The driver then proceeds to attack the police, murder them, and load their bodies into the truck. After seeing the destruction, Trish and Darry flee in their car.
The two go to the home of a lonely old lady and ask her to call the police. When she looks out into her yard, the driver kills her and then shows their inhuman face to Trish and Darry.
Trish repeatedly drives into the driver but is frightened each time she watches a huge wing rip through its trench coat and flutters in the air. The two leave the diner and travel to the police station, where they are met by psychic Jezelle Gay Hartman.
She reveals that their pursuer is an ancient creature called “the Creeper,” which sleeps for twenty-three years and then emerges on the 23rd day of spring every year to feast on human body parts, which it then uses to rebuild its own body.
She also explains that it uses fear to locate its prey and that it has detected a pleasant scent coming from Trish and Darry.
After arriving at the police station with a wound, the Creeper cut the electricity and ate numerous convicts to recover. Many law enforcement officers try to apprehend the Creeper, but it manages to kill several of them and escape.
While Trish and Darry are cornered, Jezelle tells them that one of them will meet a dreadful end. Darry interjects, “Who?” and Jezelle glances at Trish. After finding them, the Creeper spares Jezelle and locks Trish and Darry in an upper chamber to interrogate them.
After giving them both a quick smell, the Creeper rejects Trish in favor of Darry. Trish sacrifices herself to save her brother Darry, but the Creeper flies away with him after escaping via a window.
Trish is brought up by her parents the following day, and a chastened Jezelle goes back to her own place. Darry’s eyes and the back of his skull are stolen by the Creeper, who is thereafter seen in a deserted factory.
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