Don't misunderstand Justin Long: He has a healthy respect for Scream, the ultra-ironic splatter flick that pumped new blood into the scary-movie industry. But he still is frightfully confident that thrill-seeking cinephiles will prefer his new film, Jeepers Creepers, about a pair of siblings terrorized on a road trip by a supernatural bogeyman who makes the Blair Witch come off like Betty Boop.

"Scream was great," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "but then they made 20 other pictures just like it, and the audience just gets sort of sick of that. Jeepers is more like old-fashioned horror: It's horror that trusts itself and the genre, and doesn't rely on satire or slasher [effects].

"I think it will be a breath of fresh air," he continues, "for people who haven't seen a classic horror movie in theaters before, or who are too young to remember Rosemarys Baby or Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Now, before dismissing the Ed co-star's fearlessly positive assessment of Jeepers (which opens Friday) as nothing more than a paid testimonial, bear in mind that the 23-year-old is an expert on features designed to be watched through eyes half closed in dread. "I'm sort of a jaded fan of horror movies," he explains. "I grew up on Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween and all those, and I was freaked out by Jeepers. It truly is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.

"I knew what was going to happen," he adds, "and it was still that scary to me. I didn't want my character to die!"