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Film / Jack the Reaper

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Jack the Reaper is a 2011 American horror feature film written and directed by Kimberly Seilhamer. The movie stars Tony Todd, Sally Kirkland, Douglas Tait, David Beeler, Chris Bruno, Joel Bryant and Stacey Carino.

A group of teenage students go on a field trip to visit a Railroad museum. They learn from a creepy museum director Mr. Steele, that someone named Railroad Jack is out there and if you ever see him then you are destined to die. After their visit, on the way back to High School, the bus crashes, and in the middle of nowhere is a creepy carnival the kids decide to visit. Waiting for them is Railroad Jack, picking them off one by one with his railroad pick axe.


  • Abusive Parents: All the signs indicate that Jessie is being sexually abused by her father.
  • Advertised Extra: Sally Kirkland gets second billing, but only has a few minutes of screen time, dropping Harold off at school for the field trip. Her character is not even named but is listed in the credits as Harold's Nana.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: After the bus crash, the teens find a carnival in the middle of the desert. When they get there, they find it fully functional but deserted. They start riding the rides, but things soon start to turn deadly.
  • Antagonist Title: The title refers to Railroad Jack: a seemingly immortal figure who appears to people and then hunts them down with a pick axe. He is actually a Grim Reaper, claiming the souls of those who die on the stretch of road known as Death's Door; hence the 'Reaper' part of the title.
  • Bald of Evil: Railroad Jack, the Powerful Pick-wielding demonic spirit of carnage, is completely bald.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Railway Jack appears multiple times along the side of the road: visible only to Jessie. Then he appears in front of the bus, causing the bus to crash.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: As Railroad Jack swing his Powerful Pick at Shawn, Maya jumps onto his back in an attempt to distract him and through his aim off.
  • Carousel Kidnapping: Maya is watching Sommer and Tina go round and round on the carousel, and then the carousel comes round again and Tina is gone; with just the blanket she had wrapped around her lying on the animal she had been riding.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: After the bus crash, none of the teens can get a signal on their phones.
  • Circus of Fear: After the bus crash, the teens find themselves next to a carnival in the middle of the desert. When they get there, all of the rides are lit up but the carnival is deserted.
  • Dead All Along: All of the teens (except Jessie) actually died in the bus crash. The adults survived, which is why they are not on the bus when they woke up. Railroad Jack is actually The Grim Reaper coming to reap their souls.
  • Disabled Snarker: Maya is deaf and mute, but still manages to snark effectively. When getting on the bus, she responds to Mr. Smith by Flipping the Bird, causing him to remark "That's one sign I understand". Later she makes her opinion of her cousin's infatuation with Jerk Jock Steven clear with nothing more than expressive facial expressions.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: No more than 12 hours. The story starts in the school parking lot on Saturday morning. At the end of the film, one of the paramedics records the time as being 7:30 pm.
  • Flipping the Bird: Disabled Snarker Maya does this to Mr. Smith as she gets on the bus.
  • The Grim Reaper: All of the teens (except Jessie) actually died in the bus crash. The adults survived, which is why they are not on the bus when they woke up. Railroad Jack is actually the Grim Reaper coming to reap their souls.
  • Hiding Behind Your Bangs: Shrinking Violet Jessie (who is implied to be being abused) usually has her hair hanging over half her face so she can hide behind it.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The bus crashes at a place called Death's Door.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The opening credits are accompanied by creepy children's voices singing "Ring Around the Roses". Later, when Jessie is on the bus alone and sees Railroad Jack on horseback, the same voices recite a nursery rhyme about Jack.
  • Jerk Jock: Steven, who wears a football jersey and spends his time tossing a football, picks on the albino Brian and the fat kid Harold; wants to bang every girl but refuses to commit to any of them; and—on being told that Maya is deaf—describes it as 'hot'.
  • Language Barrier: Maya is deaf and communicates via sign language. After her cousin Sommer is killed, there is no one to translate for her. Interestingly, the Big Bad Railroad Jack does understand sign language.
  • Powerful Pick: Railroad Jack's weapon of choice is a railroad pick axe.
  • Scary Black Man: Mr. Steele must be the most terrifying museum curator in history, and delights in telling the kids stories about all the horrific ways you can be killed by a train.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jessie (who is implied to be being abused at home) is shy and reserved, and given to hiding behind her bangs.
  • Teaser-Only Character: The sailor and his bride are killed by Railroad Jack in the pre-title sequence.
  • Teen Pregnancy: The opening scene has Shawn's girlfriend telling him that she is pregnant and that she plans to keep the baby. Later in the film, Shawn resolves that if he makes it out of this alive, he is going to stand by her and be the best husband and father he can be. He doesn't make it.