Tomorrow’s the premiere of my fourth feature film, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn. It’s also my first fully English-language movie, and first “American” picture, although, truthfully it’s half US and half UK co-production. Nevertheless, it’s a milestone in my career for many reasons.
Jeepers Creepers: Reborn wasn’t an easy one to make. But then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a director is that none of them are. It’s kind of part of the deal: making a movie is hard, hard, lemon hard.
With this in the back of my head, Reborn was a beast of its own, though. Firstly, and this of course was a spin on the whole industry, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the moment we were about to start prepping. It took months to figure out ways to basically re-invent the whole production process in order to be able to shoot the film.
We didn’t do ourselves any favors either by having loads of complicated VFX sequences, emerging filmmaking technologies (virtual sets), and of course, re-creating the Creeper, whose makeup took hours every day. Not only that but also, the setting was to take place during a busy horror film festival, which requires of course loads of extras – and as we remember, one of the main things with the pandemic is to reduce contact between people, avoid large groups and so forth. So, the hand we dealt ourselves was a plentiful one, but circling back to the original point about filmmaking, it always is. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be interesting, challenging and wouldn’t resonate on the screen. To quote David Bowie, on creativity: “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
But that’s all semantics, in the end, what counts is the film itself. A production goes through multiple stages of rebirth – it’s kind of like shaping a Frankenstein monster: the script gives it a shape, casting and crewing up gives it form, filming brings it to life, edit makes it move and finally, post-production puts all the nuts and bolts together. But you never fully know what kind of a monster you’re creating, not until it’s out there.
I’m very proud of our movie. We had a great crew that quite literally put their lives on the line due to the pandemic to make the film happen, and worked hard, harder than can be required ever – they definitely were no guns-for-hire but gave every drop of their creativity and inspiration on the screen. The cast jumped onboard a production during the hardest possible time in film history to make movies and delivered stellar performances. And our post-production team worked under very tricky conditions and brought us a beautiful cut, great visuals and music and sound.
And of course, our producers, who had been pushing for years to get the film made, and fought through thick and thin to get it out there. Jake Seal, Terry Bird and Jamie Thompson among many other producers worked and believed in the Creeper world and fought to get the best possible crew to realize their dream. I was honored to be invited as a director on Jake’s behalf, and enjoyed working with them through the process.
And now, it’s out of our hands, and up to the audience to watch and enjoy. I would’ve loved to join the premiere in the States, it wasn’t logistically possible for me this time.
So party on, folks, and have a creepy time at the cinemas!
P.S. I’ll write about the design process and the idea behind the new Creeper later on, after people have had a chance to check the new monster on the screen, just not to spoil the fun in advance!