The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

In the Dark: Jeepers Creepers

Eric D. Snider

It is a well-known fact that your average Hollywood movie requires the efforts of hundreds of people, from obvious positions like actors and producers to less-obvious jobs like ego strokers and cocaine dealers. All these people must work together to produce a work of art like, say, "The Godfather" or "Leonard Part 6."

I have a theory, however, that some movies are made by only one person, filling all the behind-the-camera roles himself and employing only the onscreen actors. No cinematographers, designers or screenwriters. Just one guy.

This theory stems from the fact that some movies are so stupid, there's NO WAY a large group of people could have worked on it together without SOMEONE along the way saying, "Hey, wait a minute. This is really, really dumb."

For example, "The Mummy Returns." At one point, Brendan Fraser's character has to reach a certain point before the sun rises on it, and we see the shadow of the sun advancing across the ground. Brendan succeeds in beating the sun to wherever he's going, which means he's running about a thousand miles per hour.

Did no one ever notice this? Even if the screenwriter or director didn't mention it, surely the caterer or the shoe-shiner or someone on the Universal Studios Tour would point it out. (That movie also was made without the benefit of a plot, which seems like an even more glaring omission.)

Or "What's the Worst That Could Happen?," the recent Martin Lawrence comedy whose title does not open the door to very many friendly answers. All the work it takes to make a movie, and no one along the way ever said, "Oh, shoot! We left out the funny parts!"?

The latest evidence of my Lone Filmmaker theory is "Jeepers Creepers." Here is my proof:

1. It is acknowledged to have been written and directed by the same guy, which means the bulk of the work was already done. Rent some cameras and scout out some locations, and you're there.

2. That one man is Victor Salva, a convicted child molester. Who in their right mind would want to work with him? Not only did he make this movie by himself, he had no choice in the matter.

3. There is a monster in this movie. It is a monster that rises every twenty-three years for twenty-three days to kill people and eat their various body parts so that he can use them for himself.

3a. How would eating someone's, say, ears allow you to then use those ears for hearing? They'd be all munched up in your stomach. If the monster ripped off people ears and stapled them to his own head, that would make sense (sort of). Wouldn't someone have politely pointed this out to Salva?

3b. Why every twenty-three years for twenty-three days? That fact is mentioned, but never becomes relevant. It is never brought up again. The protagonists do not survive by avoiding the monster until his time is up, nor is there any kind of countdown. Wouldn't a crew member have suggested that Salva either omit this point or else make it relevant?

4. The monster tries to pass himself off as a human by wearing a human's skin and driving a beat-up truck. This truck has a licence plate that says "BEATINGU."

4a. Who taught the monster how to drive? How did he get the truck? How does he buy gas? If this were a person who killed people, it would make sense. But I am not using the word "monster" figuratively, like when we say, "Hannibal Lecter is a monster" or "You're charging me $200 just to replace a fan belt, you monsters?!" It is an actual non-human person-eating monster, an animal or alien of some kind. It does not have a bank account, because it does not have a name or a face. If I had even read the script before Salva started filming, I'd have mentioned this to him.

4b. Why does a inhuman killing machine need a personalized license plate? Does the monster have a sense of kitsch? Does he have pink flamingoes on his front lawn, too?

4c. More to the point, how did he GET the personalized license plate? Are we to understand he walked into the DMV in his crusty old human flesh-suit and said, "Me need personal plate, say 'Be Eating You.' What? Is seventy-five dollar? Is highway robbery!"? Once again, I think another person hanging around the set would have whispered this plot hole to Salva.

I cannot conclusively prove my theory, of course, as I don't want to get close enough to Victor Salva to obtain the necessary smoking-gun evidence. But one thing is certain: "The Mummy Returns" was really stupid.