Why Is Jeepers Creepers 3 So Controversial?

Jeepers Creepers was a 2001 horror film/ Terminator knock off featuring a brother and sister being chased by an unstoppable monster that had marked one of them as lunch. It cost 10 million, made 60 broke the record for the highest ever Labor Day opening weekend four-day gross, holding the record until the 2003 release of its sequel, Jeepers Creepers 2. Not bad for a film with a mere 45% on Rotten Tomatoes. I caught it and found it to have an excellent first half before inevitably descending into silliness in the third act.

As stated, it was followed by a sequel, imaginatively titled Jeepers Creepers 2 which had a higher budget of 17 million dollars but made only 63.1 million. It has a mere 22% on Rotten Tomatoes and a generic plot in which a bus full of high school stereotypes are picked off by the same creature. Again, I caught this in cinemas but can’t bring myself to recommend it.

Now, there were rumors of a third installment for years but the film entered development hell and I figured that was where it would stay. The series has some cult following and online presence but the films were made so long ago and  so it was with some surprise that I learned a third film was being shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although at time of writing I have no idea if this is going to receive a cinematic release or going straight to DVD and I cant find any information on it’s budget, nor can I find anything resembling a release date. I can confirm that Horror Icon Adrienne Barbeau dropped out after allegedly being cast as to play a character named Gaylen Brandon. Posting onto Facebook she stated that “Contrary to what has been reported, I will not be joining the cast of Jeepers Creepers 3. It’s a great script and if you liked the first two, you’ll love this one.”

The film was originally supposed to to begin filming in April 2016 until production was halted when Victor Salva was boycotted from filming in Canada for his criminal past. And here’s where things get awkward.

The director of all three Jeepers Creepers films Victor Salva,  was convicted of sexual misconduct with one of  his directorial debuts underage stars – a 12-year-old boy – including videotaping one of the encounters. Commercial videotapes and magazines containing child pornography were also found at his home. Salva pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct, oral sex with a person under 14, and procuring a child for pornography.He was sentenced to three years in state prison, of which he served 15 months.He completed his parole in 1992.

A point I wish to make very, very clear is that unlike Roman Polanski who fled the United States having committed a similar crime rather than face prison, Salva served his time. Inevitably, there have been a number of online petitions and protests against the sequel happening at all. And the call to cancel the movie has only grown since it went into production. There is some heavily speculation that Barbeau learned of Salva’s sordid past and decided she couldn’t be a part of the movie any longer. This has not been confirmed by anyone directly involved with the movie, and is only speculation at this point. There is a petition at change.org that is catching some fire. It states the following.

Jeepers Creepers 3 is currently in production. The director and creator of this franchise, Victor Salva, used his position to rape a 12 year old boy in 1988 during the filming of the movie Clownhouse. He was convicted and served a measly 15 months in prison. As the three largest movie theater chains in the US, I urge you to not show this movie at your theaters. The profits from Jeepers Creepers 3 line the pockets of a pedophile. Monsters belong on the screen, not behind the camera. I also urge other members of the horror movie community to take a stance. Spread the word and don’t watch this film!”

There were similar incidents preceding the first two Jeepers Creepers films but thanks to the internet, this information is now far more available than in previous years. One particular point of concern about Jeepers Creepers 3 came after Salva issued a casting call for the part of a young girl called Addison who flees her abusive grandfather. In its circular to local talent agents, the Union of British Columbia Performers noted Salva’s 1988 conviction for molesting a 12-year-old boy, Nathan Forrest Winters, who had acted in two of his films. Stating:

“It has recently come to our attention that a casting breakdown has gone out for a feature film entitled Jeepers Creepers III, and that the director of the film, Victor Salva, was convicted of sexual misconduct in 1988,” read the circular. “The conviction allegedly resulted from misconduct involving a minor whom Mr Salva was directing at the time. At this time we would like to remind our members and their agents that, under Article A2702 (Safety & Welfare of a Minor) of the BC Master Production Agreement, a performer has the right to refuse work if they believe that the nature of the work is unsafe.”

Deadline reported that the casting notice, published on the Breakdown Services website, called for an 18-year-old actor to play Addison. The site nevertheless removed the message

In 2006 the film-maker made a public plea for forgiveness while promoting the independent film Peaceful Warrior. “I pled guilty to a terrible crime, and I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to make up for it,” he told the LA Times. “For almost 20 years, I’ve been involved with helping others, I’ve been in therapy, and I’ve made movies. But I paid my debt to society and apologised to the young man. And all I can hope is that people will give me a chance to redeem myself.”

Whether he deserves redemption or the right to make films again is not in my hands. According to the law, he has paid the legal penalty for his crimes  and is therefore free to pursue his chosen career as long as he is capable of finding work.

But the question as to whether or not he should be in the directors chair again is a different matter entirely. Salva mostly directs films that he has written but there is no legal imperative for him to be allowed to do so and as I have stated, neither Jeepers Creepers film has done anything particularly unique or inventive. I am still baffled as to why a third is film is being made at all outside of the directors past.

But what do you think? Should Salve still be able to work in Hollywood making films? Should there even be a Jeepers Creeprs 3?

Comment below, let me know.

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One thought on “Why Is Jeepers Creepers 3 So Controversial?

  1. Surely how he works should be restricted particularly with young children. I wouldnt want to work with him. I cant see any point in a third film. i agree the first film started with promise, but disappeared into silliness.

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