I was recently asked to review Jeepers Creeper 3, the long-awaited third entry in the franchise. But, mysteriously for a horror film being released around Halloween, I just couldn’t find a screening. I looked high and low for one, but for some weird reason the studio seemed to be keeping a very tight lid on things. Could the film really be that bad? Were they trying to bury it? Was it simply not finished?
Maybe it’s because the director, Victor Salva, is a convicted pedophile who molested a twelve-year-old boy on the set of his film Clownhouse (*shudder*) and was caught in possession of child porn, which led to him being sentenced to three years in prison (of which he only served 15 months). And now that word has (once again) gotten out about this, screenings of Jeepers Creepers 3 are being threatened with demonstrations and boycotts.
Yeah. It’s probably that.
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Perhaps proving that it’s not what you’ve done, it’s who you know, Salva picked himself up after the whole child rape thing and forged a successful career in Hollywood. He was responsible for Disney’s Powder (a film subsequently criticized for symbolically defending Salva’s history) and two Jeepers Creepers movies. Now, he’s back, with Jeepers Creeper 3. Or he would be, if it was getting a proper release.
With several critics having already seen the threequel, we’ve learned that Salva wrote a molestation subplot into the film and launched a casting call to find someone willing to play a 13-year-old girl fleeing her abusive stepfather. During the casting process, the Union of British Columbian Performers even put out a notice to warn parents of the director’s conviction. From what we understand, the screener supplied to critics contains a scene in which someone says of the abuser, “Can you blame him though? I mean look at her,” and that one character justifies his actions by saying, “The heart wants what it wants, am I right?” (Not sure Woody Allen is the best person to quote here).
All this leaves a distinctly bad taste in the mouth for anyone who manages to find a screening of Jeepers Creepers 3 – which is by all accounts a pretty terrible moviegoing experience. Naturally, though, Salva is already hard at work on Jeepers Creepers 4, which will probably be about a misunderstood monster called Sictor Valva who’s cruelly tempted by those annoyingly sexy 12-year-old boys.