Jeepers Creepers 3
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Jeepers Creepers 3

When Jeepers Creepers first came out in 2001, I was surprised I enjoyed it to the extent that I did. Noe of the factors contributing to that assessment was how it was able to break several standard expectations that are typical of slasher of the most glaring examples is that the movie started with a young man and woman driving along a Florida road. They are on spring break, and the understandable expectation is that before the first attack they are going to hook up. With a pair of attractive young people, sex is inevitable. The twist inserted was that they were brother and sister. Unfortunately, this installment suffers from the well-documented effect known as diminishing returns. Each successive movie in a franchise has a substantial chance of less acceptance from the audience and critical community. By the time of this third offering, the level of originality has been reduced to a glimmer of the original film and even its first sequel. At the broadest level, this is a variation of the supernatural slasher flick with the popular variation of the activity cycle. The menace, aptly named, the Creeper, awakens every 23rd spring to hunt for organs from humans to replace its own old or damaged ones. His active period is 23 days and as he is an ancient demon he has had considerable opportunity to perfect methodology. Although existing from the dawn of time, the Creeper can adapt utilizing current technology. His current preferred method of hunting relies on a truck with a cow catcher on the front bumper and a body that is bulletproof. It looks like an old clunker, but it can reach speeds of 100 mph. The attachment at the front is useful for plowing through roadblocks and overturning the cars of potential meals. Gearheads will note the truck is a 1941 Chevrolet cabover truck that is short and squat in appearance. This juxtaposition of familiar tropes and anachronistic contrivance was a substantial part of the appeal the franchise developed with its fans.

The time span of this opus occupies the events between the first film and Part 2, the prequel. Dubbed an ‘interquel’ by some, it is intended to fill out the events immediately after Part 2 and clarify how the connect to the main storyline. One potential plus in favor of this unusual placement for s third movie in a trilogy is that the same filmmaker wrote and directed all three installments to date, Victor Salva. This helps a nascent franchise to establish a coherent and contiguous canon, particularly crucial now that even the casual fan has access to a myriad of commentary forums and Wikia sites. A perennial favorite is always expanding on inconsistencies. Working against any hope of a successful third movie is the numerous reports that the script had been retooled several times effectively completely altering most aspects of the story. Just to clarify that point. The use of ‘effectively’ is not intended to imply that any aspect of the screenplay is an effective way to relate a cognizant narrative to the audience. Rather the script was quite effective in further degrading the downward spiral of quality that began in the is a regrettable trend that afflicts too many horror films. Originally, the film was to be titled, ‘Jeepers Creepers: Cathedral’ taking place during the next feeding cycle after the original, 23 years later. From the notes I’ve read about this concept is could have had the potential to extend the story in a less contrived fashion and be better suited to entertaining the fans. By attempting the squeeze, another movie between the prequel and original the amount of new material was severely limited. This is due to the constraint of having to revisit characters and circumstances and manufacture some excuse to revisit old territory.

The movie opens in medias res with a frantic chase. A man is fleeing for his life barely avoiding being hit with a shuriken. Just as he reaches the road the Creeper (Jonathan Breck), swoops down, grabs him and flies off. A man is watching from his car where he watches the gruesome scene. The terror is punctuated by a hand falling from above. The lawman that believes in the supernatural, Sheriff Dan Tashtego (Stan Shaw) is on the case trying to find some way to stop the creature’s feeding frenzy assisted by the beautiful Latina Deputy Dana Lang (Joyce Giraud). The truck used by the Creeper is located but it is protected by a plethora of booby traps such as death metal spikes that are propelled out from the truck’s body at the first indication of tampering. This has always been one of the weakest plot contrivances of the franchise. The creature is ancient, yet it is heavily dependent upon twentieth-century technology. It obviously an old Ford truck for transportation, not when flight, at a respectable rate of speed, is an option. That aerial prowess allows for blitz attacks that carry off the organ donor/dinner in a fraction of a second.In the other films, especially the first, better level of the performances and much more coherent screenplay were able to minimize the distractions created by borderline ridiculous tropes. The question hangs in midair, what methods were used by the Creeper before the advent of the internal combustion engine.

One of the human searchers has a machine gun mounted on his truck in something that could have been borrowed from an episode of the ‘A-Team’ or a ‘Mad Max’ movie. A slasher movie frequently can come across as tongue in cheek or darkly humorous. Many of the most enduring slash and dash franchises have become famous for the comments made by the witty antagonist such as the groan-inducing puns that are such a significant part of what fans of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ so entertaining about Freddie Kruger. The Creeper is the silent killer type but his trick out truck as in some fashion an evil Bond car loaded with all manner of deadly surprises. I have been a fan of the actress Meg Foster for a substantial portion of cinematic fascination. With her uniquely piercing blue eye Ms. Foster has been a journeywoman actress for decades including one of the best alien invasion/socio-political thrillers of all time, ‘They Live.’ Here she portrays Gaylen Brandon, a woman with a psychic link to the Creeper. She discovers a sack containing the severed hand of the demon. When Gaylen touch it, she immediately fell into a hypnotic state. When she revives, she informs the Sheriff that the hand contains secrets about the Creeper's origins, the third film in a trilogy is often a reasonable place to include the requisite exposition of the creature’s origin, but this method of revelation was forced and contributed to the already overly convoluted storyline. The fourth installment is in the works. I hope it is better, but I’m not very confident that will be the case.

Posted 1/04/2018

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