The origins of the monstrous Creeper from the Jeepers Creepers franchise has never been established; even writer/director Victor Salva has said he doesn’t know the creature’s backstory, though he has hinted its history will eventually be told. Jeepers Creepers 3 will arrive in US Theaters for 2 1-night-only screenings on September 26th and October 4th. While I suspect we’ll get more details about the enigmatic fiend, I’m also sure it will retain many (if not most) of its secrets.
[For a summary of writer/director Victor Salva’s criminal past and why many horror fans are choosing to boycott Jeepers Creepers 3, follow the link embedded in this article. We are also including a link to a statement from Nathan Forrest Winters, Salva’s abuse survivor. We support everyone who chooses to boycott this film but will continue to bring interested readers unbiased reporting.]
Official Synopsis: Taking place on the last day of the Creeper’s twenty-three-day feeding frenzy, as the skeptical Sargent Tubbs teams up with a task force hellbent on destroying the Creeper for good. The Creeper fights back in gory glory as its enemies grow closer than ever before to learning the secret of its dark origins.
The film features Meg Foster, Gina Philips, and Jonathan Breck.
Related Article: Horror Fans Launch Petition to Boycott “Jeepers Creepers 3”
Either way, Jeepers Creepers 3 will surely change the trajectory of future explorations of the creature’s origins. For this reason, it seemed the perfect time to review the most prominent fans theories I could find regarding The Creeper’s roots. These theories range from plausible to highly unlikely—though all of them are interesting enough to ponder.
Have a read and let us know what you think in the Comments section! Which of these fan theories regarding the origins of The Creeper do you find most compelling? Do you have a theory that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Let’s discuss!
The Creeper Was Human Once
An early leak from someone who claimed knowledge of the script for Jeepers Creepers 3 claimed The Creeper was originally human. The leak stated: “The Creeper will be shown in the 1940’s as an old man, a deranged doctor who pays a witch for immortality. When the witch realizes she’s been paid with counterfeit money, she allows the doctor to keep his immortality but curses him.” This claim was later debunked (source) (https://horrorfreaknews.com/leaked-jeepers-creepers-3-info-debunked-upcoming-horror-movies/20095), but doesn’t mean there isn’t another backstory planned for The Creeper where it was once human; this remains the most popular fan theory.
The Creeper is Mothman
Next to Bigfoot, Mothman is American’s most celebrated cryptid. Sometimes regarded as a harbinger of doom, Mothman became ingrained in popular culture following the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, WV in 1967. Similarities between Mothman and The Creeper include: Both creatures can fly, both creatures confront drivers on dark highways, both creatures are known for their terrifying eyes, and both are known to disappear for long periods of time. While I personally doubt the Mothman theory, it’s a surprisingly solid hypothesis and may reveal one of Slava’s subconscious influences.
The Creeper is Pazuzu
While I think it’s especially unlikely that The Creeper is actually a manifestation of Pazuzu, the demon who tormented Linda Blair in 1973’s The Exorcist, the theory is still interesting enough to merit a mention. In mythology, “Pazuzu is the demon of the southwest wind known for bringing famine during dry seasons, and locusts during rainy seasons. Pazuzu was invoked in apotropaic amulets, which combat the powers of his rival, the malicious goddess Lamashtu, who was believed to cause harm to mother and child during childbirth. Although Pazuzu is, himself, considered to be an evil spirit, he drives and frightens away other evil spirits, therefore protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.” While this sounds nothing like what we know of The Creeper, the backbone of this theory has to do with the statues seen in The Exorcist; they depict Pazuzu as a winged creature with an animalistic snarl (not to mention a huge dong). What do you think? Cousins?
The Creeper is an Alien
If you’re thinking this is the most outlandish theory of this list, you might be surprised when you hear the details. There’s a scene in Jeepers Creepers 2 where the Creeper grows a new head after taking a devastating fall. The fingered hood that held his previous head remains, and separates for a moment, revealing a series of arms [Pictured Above]. Could this be the actual creeper? An alien parasite that assimilates parts of humans, absorbing their knowledge as it becomes a freakish amalgamation? It starts to make a lot of sense when you really think about it.
The Creeper is a Gremlin
This is a personal fan theory, and it has more to do with identifying Salva’s inspirations as opposed to a literal comparison. Obviously, The Creeper isn’t an extra-large version of one of Joe Dante’s Gremlins (although the variety of mutations seen on Gremlins 2 might make it a possibility); he doesn’t burst into flames in the sunlight and Gremlins don’t have the regenerative powers of The Creeper. When you put the two creatures side-by-side [Above], however, the aesthetic similarities are uncanny! The Creeper even sports a single shock of white hair, just like evil gremlin Stripe. It could have been a subconscious influence, or a deliberate nod and “Thank You” to Dante.
“The Creeper is a Gremlin” theory gained steam recently with the release of the most recent trailer for Jeepers Creepers 3—although it connects to another gremlin. In the trailer below, The Creeper shakes his finger at a would-be attacker in a condescending “tisk-tisk-tisk” manner before taking flight. This struck me as an exact duplication of the Terror at 20,000 Ft. segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). When Jonathan Lithgow confronts a gremlin on the wing of an airplane, he gets the same “tisk-tisk-tisk” finger. Compare the two scenes below.
In the clip below from Twilight Zone: The Movie, see the gremlin and “the finger” around 1:10.
In the trailer below from Jeepers Creepers 3, see “the finger” at 1:25.
What do you think? Is this a direct shout-out to Twilight Zone: The Movie and, if so, is Salva connecting Creeper lore with gremlin mythologies? It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
Perhaps someday we’ll know for sure.