March 29, 1958 |
Martinez, California, United States
|Awards||Moxie! Award for Best Feature – Santa Monica Film Festival
1999 Rites of Passage
Born in Martinez, California, Salva had written and directed over 20 short and feature films before graduating from high school. To finance his filmmaking hobby, he often held two jobs during the week. His biological father abandoned the family and Salva stated that his stepfather was often drunk and physically abusive.
Like a lot of children growing up in the East Bay town of Martinez in the early 1970s, the adolescent Salva was very much interested in horror and sci-fi. His favorite monster movie was Creature from the Black Lagoon. In 1975, the local newspaper reported that a child (Salva) had sat through Jaws a record 55 times. Salva was expelled from the family at eighteen when he acknowledged his homosexuality to his mother and stepfather.
Salva describes his films as "atmospheric and macabre, with no happy endings, but not to be taken totally seriously". In the mid-1980s, his 37-minute short film Something in the Basement (1986) took first place in the fiction category at the Sony/AFI Home Video Competition. A horror allegory about a young boy awaiting his brother's return from a bloody war, the highly acclaimed film went on to win several national awards (including a Bronze Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival) and brought Salva to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola, who then produced Salva's first theatrical feature, Clownhouse (1989), which Salva again wrote and directed.
Child molesting and child pornography
In 1988, Salva was convicted of sexual misconduct with one of Clownhouse's 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.
Salva's career took a hiatus after his release – he did not make another film for five years. He worked as a telemarketer during the week and wrote scripts during the weekend, supposedly delivering them to well-known producers while posing as a delivery boy.
His next film, The Nature of the Beast (1995), which Salva wrote and directed, starred Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts and quickly became New Line Cinema's biggest direct-to-video title of that year. Salva based the film's characters on people he met in prison. Salva next made his first big-studio picture, Powder (1995), the tale of an albino boy with special powers that make him an outcast.
He next made Rites of Passage (1999), a coming-of-age thriller. The film depicts a homophobic father who unwittingly pushes his gay son into the arms of a psychotic killer. In 2001, Salva wrote and directed Jeepers Creepers, which was one of the year's breakout hits and set a world record for largest Labor Day box-office ever. Salva followed this up with his sixth feature film, Jeepers Creepers II (2003), breaking his old record and setting another Labor Day milestone. His next film, Peaceful Warrior (2006), was an adaptation of Dan Millman's best-seller The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
- "Victor Salva biography". Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Goldstein, Patrick (11 June 2006). "Victor Salva's horror stories". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Pierce, Nev. "Getting Direct With Directors... No.12: Victor Salva". BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Young, Neil (23 March 2004). "Neil Young's Film Lounge - Victor Salva Interview". Neil Young's Film Lounge. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Welkos, Robert (25 October 1995). "Disney Movie's Director a Convicted Child Molester: Hollywood: He says, 'I paid for my mistakes dearly', but victim of incident several years ago urges boycott of 'Powder'.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Gallagher, John (28 November 1995). "A fairy-tale ending". The Advocate. p. 25. Retrieved 6 March 2015.