Mugshot of Salva in 2000
|Born||March 29, 1958|
Martinez, California, U.S.
|Residence||Palmdale, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
|Awards||Moxie! Award for Best Feature – Santa Monica Film Festival|
1999 Rites of Passage
Victor Ronald Salva (born March 29, 1958) is an American filmmaker. He is best known for directing the films Powder (1995) and Jeepers Creepers (2001). The latter of these has been expanded into a franchise with two sequels that he has also directed.
His ongoing career in filmmaking became controversial after his conviction in 1988 for charges relating to his sexual abuse of a 12-year-old male actor who was starring in one of his films, Clownhouse, videotaping himself in the act of doing so, and possessing commercial videotapes and magazines containing child pornography.
Born in Martinez, California, Salva was raised as a Roman Catholic. His biological father abandoned the family and Salva stated that his stepfather was an alcoholic and physically abusive. The adolescent Salva was very much interested in horror and sci-fi; his favorite monster movie was Creature from the Black Lagoon, while in 1975, the local newspaper reported that Salva had sat through Jaws 55 times. By the time he graduated from high school, Salva had written and directed more than 20 short and feature films. To finance his filmmaking hobby, he often held two jobs during the week. Salva was expelled from the family at eighteen when he acknowledged his homosexuality to his mother and stepfather.
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 sexual abuse and child pornography
In 1988, Salva was convicted of sexual misconduct with one of Clownhouse's underage stars – Nathan Forrest Winters, who was, at the time, 12 years old – including videotaping one of the encounters. Commercial videotapes and magazines containing child pornography were also found in 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 was The Nature of the Beast (1995), a direct-to-video mystery horror film which Salva wrote and directed. It starred Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts and 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 a breakout hit and set a record for the largest Labor Day box-office ever. Salva followed this up with his sixth feature film, Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), breaking his old record and setting another Labor Day milestone. Principal photography began in February 2017 for another sequel, Jeepers Creepers 3, which was released in September of that year.
His next film after Jeepers Creepers 2 was Peaceful Warrior (2006), an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical book Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. The film depicts the emotional and physical trials of a young gymnast and his awakening under the tutelage of a mysterious spiritual guide portrayed by Nick Nolte.
Salva described his films in 2001 as "atmospheric and macabre, with no happy endings, but not to be taken totally seriously".
- Goldstein, Patrick (11 June 2006). "Victor Salva's horror stories (Page 3 of 4)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- 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.
- "Victor Salva biography". Tribute Entertainment Media Group. 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.
- All Time Box Office – Top 4-Day Labor Day Opening Weekends: 1982–Present. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
- Scott, Ryan (February 21, 2017). "Jeepers Creepers 3 Begins Production in Baton Rouge". MovieWeb. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Young, Neil (23 March 2004). "Neil Young's Film Lounge - Victor Salva Interview". Neil Young's Film Lounge. Retrieved 6 March 2015.