It’s a well-established fact that Jeepers Creepers is a film of two halves, one which is totally effective and creepy (pun not intended; the perfect word for Jeepers Creepers’ opening act really is: creepy) and one which is totally derivative and hokey. There’s a simple reason: Jeepers Creepers is not just a film of two halves but of two competing and diametric impulses: one is concerned with human psychology (because its purpose is to creep insidiously into audience imaginations); the other is concerned with horror monster mythology and with physical and literal horror monster details. It turns out that these impulses are not compatible.
Warning: contains extensive spoilers.
Last year director David Robert Mitchell offered It Follows as a counterpoint to horror films in which the horror monster’s identity or motive or relationship to the protagonist is the film’s point and soul. To put it another way, the appeal of many horror films is calibrated towards that one moment in which the killer pulls off his mask or the protagonist discovers the truth of what she’s fighting.
There is a scene in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in which the titular character steamrolls a slow-witted henchman to death. We’re supposed to think that the joke is the henchman’s screams, which become more protracted as the steamroller moves very slowly towards him; but then the image of the steamroller crushing the henchman cuts to that of a rolling pin rolling dough in a suburban family home. We discover the real joke: this is the henchman’s home. His wife is about to get a call telling her that her husband is dead and then she’s going to have to explain her husband’s death to her son. What we’re really laughing at, of course, is the fact that we never think of the henchman as anything other than depersonalised cannon fodder (the joke is cemented by the portrait on the wall of the proud henchman in uniform and the reveal that his name is Steve). The scene’s closing line, uttered by the henchman’s wife, is “People never think how things affect the family of a henchman”.Read More »
If you’re talking about the significance of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, or about the glowing light in the briefcase, or even just about what’s physically in the briefcase, you’re really talking about what function the Pulp Fiction briefcase serves. Before you think about what’s in the briefcase, you need to know why Pulp Fiction even has a briefcase.