It’s fascinating when a city or a prop or a vehicle becomes an important part of a movie. The power they have over the actual characters is surprisingly discrete yet compelling. Interestingly, the bleak Gotham city breathes life into Batman’s storyline (let’s just not forget the Batmobile). Anakin Skywalker leveling up to Darth Vader is not that flamboyant without the lightsaber. Stranger Things is not that creepy once we are out of Hawkins town. Similarly, if you have watched Victor Salva’s 2001 monster film Jeepers Creepers, you know what we are talking about. Yes, we are pointing right at the menacingly iconic Jeepers Creepers truck.
Jeepers Creepers: The movie
Jeepers Creepers, the 2001 horror film, was inspired in part by a terrifying true story. Victor Salva wrote and directed the film, which was executive produced by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, and it stars then-starlets Justin Long and Gina Philips as siblings Darry and Trish Jenner.
Darry and Trish become the targets of a demonic creature known simply as “the Creeper” after witnessing the monster loading bodies into a truck in Jeepers Creepers. In a tense game of cat and mouse played out across the desolate Florida countryside, the Creeper relentlessly pursues the siblings.
While The Creeper’s supernatural origins and horrifying appearance are, of course, made up, much of Jeepers Creepers’ central plot is based on true events. The Jeepers Creepers’ true elements are derived from a series of Michigan-based events in the summer of 1990. That’s all about the movie. Now let’s dive into our character of interest aka Jeepers Creepers truck.
The Jeepers Creepers truck
“I saw that awful truck too! With the license plate!” – Jezelle Gay Hartman
The truck in Jeepers Creepers is based on a real car. But the movie uses a modified version of a 1941 Chevy COE (Cab Over Engine) that came with a flatbed frame. It has a cow catcher that the Creeper uses to move bodies to his “House of Pain,” whether they are dead or still alive. To make it even creepier, the plate on the truck says “BEATNGU” which means “Be Eating You”. It is commonly confused with “Beating You” as in “beating you up”.
Most of these pickups had six-cylinder engines, but you could also get one with four cylinders. Most of the time, they came with the cab and frame, and you could make a flatbed for the back to fit your needs. The Jeepers Creepers truck was made to look like a box so that the monster could hide the bodies inside. According to the website for The Creeper Truck, three of these trucks were used in the film.
The people making the movie wanted to change them, so they used two-inch square tubing and sheet metal that was painted to look like old, rusted plating. A lot of the front bumper was built to make it look even scarier. They put a new Chevy engine and an automatic transmission in the pickup they used for the chase scenes, so it could go fast enough to catch the bad guys.
In the first scene, the Creeper scares Patricia “Trish” Jenner and her brother Darry off the road with the truck. But they let the truck go ahead of them. Later, they see the same truck parked next to an old, abandoned church. The Creeper is moving what looks like bodies wrapped in bloody sheets into a large piece of metal culvert sticking out of the ground.
When the Creeper saw that Trish and Darry were watching him, he drove the truck again to run them off the road. This time, the Creeper damages their 1960 Chevrolet Impala 4-Door Sedan by running into it. Then he walks away. When Trish and Darry are at a diner, they see the Creeper’s truck drive by the window. After the end credits, the truck blasts its horn as it drives off into the sunset.
Jeepers Creepers 2
Even though the truck didn’t show up in the second movie. But in the movie, you can see a car that hit a tree. Some think that the Creeper did it by driving the car off the road with the truck.
Jeepers Creepers 3
Set right after the first movie, this one starts with a group of police officers trying to kill the Creeper. They find out that the Creeper’s truck is full of dead bodies and has several traps set up in it. Spikes that come out of the back of the truck hurt a police officer who was looking into the car. As Sheriff Dan Tashtego and Sergeant David Tubbs talk, a spear shoots out of the tailpipe of the truck.
Officer Frank and Deputy Dana Lang are driving the truck when all of a sudden, the Creeper lands on it and breaks the chains. The two people watch the Creeper on top of the car as it drives away. The truck comes back, and the Creeper takes Frank away. Lang, however, is frozen with fear.
Other cars in Jeepers Creepers
In the movie, Justin Long and Gina Phillips are trying to get away from a crazy monster after seeing it throw a dead body down a shaft. The car that Long and Phillips drove was a 1960 Chevrolet Impala. This is one of two cars that were used in the movie. One of the cars has damage to the rear fender from when the Creeper hits the two with his truck.
Where are the trucks currently?
After their first appearances in the Jeepers Creepers movies, the trucks went their separate ways. In 2008, a collector in California bought one of them for $4,559 from a person in Florida. It looks like the old truck was the first one used in the movie, and the other two trucks were made to look like it.
This collector runs a website called The Creeper Truck, where he posts pictures of the Jeepers Creepers Chevy pickup and tells fans about any changes, he makes to it. Years ago, another collector bought one of the pickups. At that time, it still had the original engine in it. The last Jeepers Creepers truck used in chase scenes has not been found.
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