Is Jeepers Creepers Based on a True Story?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is Jeepers Creepers all fiction, or could it be that there was some true story inspiration for such a terrifying opening, not to mention the bloody events that follow?

Victor Salva’s millennial cult classic Jeepers Creepers (2001) was an important film in the lives of many budding horror fans. Its story of a brother and sister’s road trip crossing paths with the twisted and deadly Creeper captivated audiences in its day. Though packed with genre clichés and predictable cheese, the film features one of the more imaginative and effectively chilling openings of the 2000s; a long and sparse shot of a rural stretch of road where an increasingly menacing-looking van approaches our protagonists’ car. While the rest of the flick doesn’t quite retain the nail-biting tension offered here, Jeepers Creepers still remains a fun and gory horror outing for nostalgic or less-demanding viewers.

The Horrific Story of Dennis DePue

Dennis and Marilynn DePue


Here we introduce Dennis DePue, a disturbed murderer and a direct influence on the character of the Creeper himself. Dennis’ story, and that of his wife Marilynn and their three children, follows unsettlingly similar beats to that of Salva’s 2001 pseudo-slasher, though the reality is far more horrifying than any fictional, bat-winged killer scarecrow could hope to be.

Marilynn had many, many opportunities to treat me fairly during this divorce, but she chose to string it out, trick me, lie to me. And when you lose your wife, children, and home, there’s not much left. I was too old to start over.

Dennis DuPue

Following building tensions on an already tense marriage, forty-six-year-old Dennis DePue had murdered his forty-eight-year-old wife Marilynn earlier that day, beating and pushing her down a flight of stairs, as reports go. He carried her body to the car, telling their children that he was taking her to the hospital. They never saw her again. her body found by an eerie old school bus also ties back to Jeepers Creepers as it is similar how the creeper stores his bodies.

DePue was found only when his story aired on Unsolved Mysteries. Having changed his name and attracting a new girlfriend, Mary, DePue was living happily as Hank when his story was made public. After he disappeared and Mary discovered who he really was, she contacted the police immediately and DePue was located within just four hours. After firing a couple of warning shots at approaching officers, DePue then turned the gun on himself, thus ending the grim saga.

Comparing the intro to DePue’s Story

AndersYdna on youtube got creative and spliced together the intro from Jeepers Creepers and the Unsolved Mysteries story about Dennis DePue to show the similarities. It’s a quick 10 min watch.

The Thornton’s True Story Inspiration

April 15th, 1990. A couple, Ray and Marie Thornton, set off on their weekly routine of a peaceful country drive outside of Coldwater, Michigan. Little did they know that their usual Sunday tradition would this week land them in the centre of a horrific and bloody mystery. As they drove south on Snow Prairie Road a strange van revved loudly from behind as it sped past them. Marie noticed that the van’s license plate began with “GZ”, exclaiming, “jeez, he’s really in a hurry”.

Some miles down the road, the Thorntons passed an old schoolhouse where they saw the mystery van a second time. The van was parked between the school and a huge tank, and its driver was carrying a blood-soaked blanket across the grounds. Not long after this, the now-clearly-dangerous stranger was behind them once more, this time tailgating them within inches for at least two miles. As Ray pulled off the highway, the van parked itself at the side of the road and the bold Thorntons decided to swing back in an attempt to see the rest of its license plate. When the mystery driver was seen changing his license plate, the Thorntons decided to head back to the schoolhouse where they found the bloodied blanket partly stuffed into a rabbit hole. They immediately went to the police.

Jeepers Creepers Film poster featuring a scary eye peeking through a sack

Is Jeepers Creepers Based on a True Story?

While many Jeepers Creeper fans will see a lot of similarities between what the brave Thorntons did (and saw) that day and the establishing minutes of Jeepers Creepers, the reality is no less harrowing than Salva’s reimagining. Although DuPue seems to have a direct influence on the Creeper it does not appear to be based purely on him.

https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Dennis_DePue
https://www.truecrimeedition.com/post/dennis-depue
https://reallifevillains.miraheze.org/wiki/Dennis_DePue

Is Michael Myers Real?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is Michael Myers Based On a True Story?

Halloween in Haddonfield is one of the scariest horror movie settings of all time.  With a lot of parties and ‘trick or treaters,’ there are people wearing masks everywhere, making evil harder to detect.  Speaking of evil, everyone knows the iconic, mute, white-masked terror that is Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise. But where did Halloween creators come up with the story, plot and Michael Myers himself? What inspired one of the most popular (and deadly) horror movie slashers of all time, Michael Myers?  Is Halloween Michael Myers Real or based on a true story?

The Real Story Behind Michael Myers and Halloween

Like any successful horror movie franchise, Halloween has grown throughout time.  A horror franchise grows with its sequels according to the demand of the audience and appropriate plot advances. But a lot of what Michael Myers is today, is owed to his original creators…the writers and staff responsible for putting together the original Halloween film. Here are some of the most influential contributions to making Halloween and Michael a scary slasher genre leader that it is today!

Dark History of Evil

Halloween story real
Michael Myers

The idea of Michael Myers can be traced back to Samhain, and true evil itself.  Debra Hill, who co-wrote Halloween (1978) got into detail in one interview mentioning Samhain itself and that evil was unable to be killed or destroyed. In a traditional Samhain belief, the souls from the other side can come back for one night. This spawned the concept of Michael Myers, a Halloween (Samhain by another name) killer who would keep coming back. Originally, Michael Myers was referred to as “The Shape” by direct John Carpenter. This was allegedly due to Michael always lurking in the shadows in the scenes. The term “the shape” also has some interesting roots in witchcraft meaning that the devil or evil can take the shape of others or walk in the shadows near them. Coincidence maybe, but interesting none the less.

College Studies to Horror Slasher

John Carpenter attributes some of his inspiration for writing Michael’s evil nature from a trip to a mental institution he took with one of his college classes.  Supposedly (according to Carpenter), the patients housed at this Kentucky mental institution were the most seriously ill of all mental patients.  Many of the patients exhibited creepy characteristics. One patient in particular, a young boy, provided Carpenter with a truly evil and deadly stare.  This experience ultimately led to the creation of the hacking and slashing villain and Halloween horror star, Michael Myers.

In the documentary “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest” Carpenter describes the boy in detail.

“This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized what was living behind that boys’ eyes was purely and simply evil.”

John Carpenter in “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest”

Stanley Stiers

Another potential influence is Stanley Stiers. Stiers is a tragic story of babies switched at birth by a cruel nurse. When the parents found our Stanley was not their real son they abused and neglected him. The final straw was Halloween night when he was denied trick or treating while his sister was able to go. The young boy murdered his family and his sister with a knife. Some horror fan sites believe this is the true backstory of Halloween and Michael Myers, but we have yet to hear that confirmation from Carpenter himself.

Creating Haddonfield

The two writers, Hill and Carpenter, had to come up with a fictional town that Michael could return to haunt. Haddonfield is a real place, only it is located in New Jersey. Hill grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and picked the name in honor of her hometown.  The street names throughout the movie were pulled from Carpenter’s hometown, Bowling Green. In fact, much of the script details were pulled together by combining the two writers’ childhood and hometown experiences together.

Character Creation

The writers decided it would be easiest to each be responsible for drafting the characters of their respective genders.  Thus, Debra Hill would write most of the female character dialogue and behavior; and Carpenter focused on Dr Loomis and Michael Myers. 

Additionally, some of the character names came from the Carpenter’s personal live. Laurie Strode was an ex-girlfriend of Carpenter’s. Michael Myers was the name of a producer Carpenter had previously known from another film.

A Terrifying Musical Score

John Carpenters Halloween Slasher Horror movie vinyl record cover with a pumpkin and a knife

A lot of the horror that takes place in a Halloween film, especially the original film, take place during super eerie sound tracks.  The suspense that builds during a Halloween film can almost directly relate to the background soundtrack, as the scarier the scenes: the scarier the music.  Carpenter played a huge part in the musical composition of the Halloween soundtrack and has suggested the soundtrack is one of the movies greatest assets.

Other Inspirations

Homage to Alfred Hitchcock is paid by way of two character names. Firstly, Tommy Doyle’s character was named after a policeman from Hitchcock’s 1954 “Rear Window.” And secondly, Dr. Loomis was a nod to character Sam Loomis (played by John Gavin) from Hitchcocks’ 1960 “Psycho.”

Final Words About Halloween’s Favorite Slasher

Michael Meyers Halloween Character portrait in black and white with white mask

In short, Halloween is not based upon a true story although Michael Myers is based on real people from the writers lives. However, it does not require it be based on a real story to be truly terrifying. And there WAS real inspiration for the making of Michael Myers. And there were several other real-life inspirations in the making of the Halloween franchise. Regardless of how the original concept was derived, John Carpenter capitalized on a timeless fear, as the audience still turns up strong for a good Halloween sequel!

Are you a TRUE Halloween franchise enthusiast? Check out Surprising Facts About the Halloween Movies for some real Halloween Movie Trivia!

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