Real-life events have inspired plenty of horror movie icons over the years. Some of the more notable films inspired by real people have included the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even Nightmare on Elm Street. However, many people might be surprised to know that Jeepers Creepers was inspired by a real-life killer.

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The main reason for this is that The Creeper, as he’s come to be known, is quite original. Though he has a demonic appearance and hibernates extensively, the horror villain cuts close to the bone when it comes to real-world terror. After all, many people have gotten quite nervous when decrepit vehicles try to violently overtake them on an isolated road.

However, the real-life inspiration for Jeepers Creepers may be a little surprising. This is where Michigan resident Dennis DePue comes in. In 1990, he was the subject of a police manhunt after his wife was found dead in an abandoned schoolhouse. According to reports, DePue had shot her in the back of the head after she filed for divorce.

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Dennis DePue Creeper 2

This may ring familiar for some fans of the franchise, with the Creeper dumping his victims in an abandoned church. It would be two people who saw the killer dump the body that would wind up inspiring the film. The pair happened to be driving in the same car when they spotted DePue dumping the body.

The killer would subsequently follow the duo in a decrepit van for several miles. This is where the most obvious similarity to Jeepers Creepers lies. Fans of the franchise would recognize this as a retelling of the first film’s opening secrets. The only major difference is that the horror film’s killer is a monster that would subsequently go on to hunt the pair.

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As a final touch, it appears as though the two eyewitnesses even played the same license plate game as the couple in the film.