Booze Talkin': Can you see Jeepers Creepers 3 if you hate Victor Salva?

Reading a few Facebook comments on a story we recently posted right here on AITH, something struck me as a little disturbing. I’m sure every single one of you have experienced the terror of the name calling, the threats and the sheer insanity that comes with a controversial post and the brutality of the comment section. This particular one involved the upcoming sequel to JEEPERS CREEPERS. People were passionate about their beliefs and unfortunately it was an ugly sight to see. They ranged from, "If you support Victor Salva, you support child molestation," to, "If you can’t separate the art from the artist, you suck." Like it or not, JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 is coming, and for those that are still invested in the film, they’ll be able to judge for themselves whether it was worth watching or not.

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Let me start off with this: I don’t like Salva. In fact, I find him to be a human being with very little merit. I did see the first JEEPERS CREEPERS - for free - but I have no desire to watch anything else from the director. I did however catch part of JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 on the SyFy channel and it was actually a bit gross knowing his history so I happily changed the channel. I’m also a parent. For me, it is impossible to embrace his work. I was having a conversation with my filmmaker friend and we talked about hypocrisy. Yes, there is a ton of it and I’m absolutely guilty of it at times. I have watched Roman Polanski’s work and I’ve checked into Woody Allen’s world as well. Where is the line of what - or in this case who - I will support when it comes to going to their movies? I don’t think I’ve watched a Woody Allen film since I was assigned to review one quite a few years ago - likely a reaction to stories that continue to spread about his own questionable behavior.

If you are unaware of Salva’s history, it is easy to look up. In 1988, the man was convicted of “misconduct” with one of the stars of his horror feature CLOWNHOUSE. I’ve no interest in writing about every last detail, but his crimes included oral sex with his young actor and filming one of the encounters. He also had a whole stash of child pornography in his home. If you want to look further into the case, you certainly can. Either way, Salva was sentenced to three years in prison and he only served fifteen months. Technically, the man did his time, and he is back to making movies. In fact, JEEPERS CREEPERS became a hit in 2001, several years after he completed his parole in 1992.

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People have argued that the crime committed by Salva was so long ago and he paid his debt to society so he should be left alone. On the other side, many movie fans still can’t get past what he did and who he did it to. When Salva had a hit with the 1995 fantasy POWDER, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures film starring Sean Patrick Flannery, you have to wonder if audiences just didn’t care or they were not knowledgable about the filmmakers disturbing past. Things of course have changed with the advent of Twitter, Facebook and the like. With every story on another JC movie, you have tons of people calling out Salva. Yet you also have a few fans still wanting to see the Creeper back in action. At this point, nearly every single genre fan knows the history, and it is up to them to make the decision to support the sequel or not.

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Here is the thing, I cannot watch a JEEPERS CREEPERS film, or any movie Salva has made. His crime was so utterly despicable that I cannot separate the man from his work in this particular case. It doesn’t help the way he portrays his young male cast members… It’s goddamn creepy. Am I being a bit hypocritical? Is it because I think he is a lesser director than the likes of Roman Polanski? Yes, but I don’t believe that pertains to my reasoning. Both of their criminal activities were terrible. Both did awful things to children. Perhaps it is the way the sexual abuse occurred and the situation the young victims were put into. Either way, it is my own personal reaction. Is it flawed? Probably. And you can even disagree and question why I’m willing to despise one and go a little easier on the other. It is a slippery slope that I question myself.

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Even with my disgust for Salva, he has somehow managed to bring a few impressive names to the ongoing story of the Creeper (is that name fitting or what). I’m a fan of Ray Wise. Meg Foster is a miracle of an actress. And both Gina Phillips and Justin Long are fine actors as well. Ultimately I believe we shouldn’t let our own misgivings stop others that can look past the real life horror this man inflicted. Genre fans are a loyal bunch, and honestly that is more often than not a good thing. It all comes down to that mysterious line in the sand that I mentioned. If you as a genre fan enjoy Jonathan Breck as the Creeper, that is fine. I may not agree or understand, but my rules and personal beliefs are not yours. In fact, I can appreciate somebody who can see past such a controversial figure. We all are willing to give our morality a break at times and step into the darkness for a bit. For me, I won’t step into this particular darkness, but should we really fault those who do?

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin', but I wonder if can you hate Victor Salva but still watch JEEPERS CREEPERS 3. For me, personally, that would be impossible. For others, however, it may be something they can do. Victor Salva served his time and has had a couple of successful films, and we all know money talks when it comes to show business. It is up to you whether you can support the art and not the man behind it. However, the knee jerk reaction to that shouldn’t be comparing those who can to the man and his criminal past. In fact, quite the opposite: we could all benefit from serious conversation about this horrific crime and what we can do to help victims speak out against abusers. Ultimately, it is up to you, but the name-calling and hate-fueled rhetoric helps no one.

Extra Tidbit: Can you separate Salva's work from his criminal past? Let's be courteous here if we can.
Source: AITH



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