While most admirers of the genre possess a few Jeepers Creepers’ horror collectibles, there’s no better feeling for a gore aficionado than being the most knowledgeable fan and scoring some juicy, behind-the-scenes facts about their favorite, gruesome flicks. So, since everyone loves a winged creature that feasts on the flesh and body parts of humans, here’s your opening to learn about the intriguing elements that bring the Creeper to life. Who knows? Your Jeepers Creepers’ horror collectibles might be looking a little light after you discover these exciting details behind the bloodcurdling plot.
The opening scene bears a striking resemblance to an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries”
While director Victor Salva has said that the film is complete fiction, hard-core fans believe that the first 20 minutes closely resembles a 1991 episode of the TV series, Unsolved Mysteries. The show documents cold cases and paranormal phenomena to encourage the audience to provide information that may help to solve unexplained events. The specific episode in question centered around the case of Dennis DePue, a Michigan man who allegedly killed his wife in 1990 and dumped her body behind an abandoned school.
How did the opening of Jeepers Creepers mirror the above case? Well, the eyewitness account of a couple cited on the series and the first scene has a lot in common — two people driving down the road playing license-plate name games and their pursuit by a mysterious vehicle. While individual shots from the film also resemble shots from the TV episode, the obvious differences are that the vehicle from the true account is a van rather than a truck and the derelict building was a school rather than a creepy church located along a deserted highway.
The Creeper’s truck was really a piece of junk
The very large, rusted 1941 Chevrolet Heavy-Duty COE (Cab Over Engine) delivery truck was as decrepit in real life as it was in the horror film. The exhaust system didn’t work, and after every take, the driver had to open the door to let out a cloud of smoke.
The “deserted” highway wasn’t peaceful enough
The memorable movie was shot in Ocala, northern Florida, and the stretch of road that much of the filming took place on wasn’t muffled enough for Scala’s vision. So, to create the deserted ambiance the horror filmed needed, local homeowners were asked to uproot their mailboxes temporarily to allow for filming.
The church was actually abandoned
The small chapel above the Creeper’s lair was a real abandoned church that stood at 3602 SW 110th Avenue. After the film’s success in 2001, it became a popular tourist attraction, only to mysteriously burn down a short time after.
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