“Jeepers Creepers 3” hit theaters for one night only on September 26, and certain plot points are rubbing critics the wrong way given the criminal history of writer-director Victor Salva. The 59-year-old was convicted in 1988 of the sexual molestation of Nathan Forrest, the 12-year-old actor and star of his film “Clownhouse.” Salva videotaped the sexual act and was also convicted of possessing commercial videotapes and magazines containing child pornography.
Salva only served 15 months of his three-year sentence, and he somehow went on to have a career in Hollywood in the years that followed. Disney hired him to direct their supernatural drama “Powder,” and Salva found his greatest success with “Jeepers Creepers,” the 2001 horror film that spawned a franchise.
“Jeepers Creepers” is currently on its third installment, and it has been drawing criticism not only because it marks another opportunity for the convicted pedophile to make a feature but also because it includes a character whose backstory involves being molested by her stepfather. Deadline reported last year that a casting notice for the main role of Addison was looking for an “18-year-old actress [to play a character] who at the age of 13 had been sent to live with her grandmother after her stepfather ‘started making overtures’ to her.” Gabrielle Haugh landed the role.
“Jeepers Creepers 3” does not depict any kind of child molestation, but it does include one moment where two characters are discussing why Addison no longer lives with her stepfather. One of the two characters is romantically interested in Addison and seems to understand why her stepfather would make “overtures” on her. “Can you blame him though? I mean look at her,” the character says. “The heart wants what it wants, am I right?”
IGN’s Adam Dileo originally singled out the quote for scrutiny in his review. He has since updated the article noting that the line was removed for the theatrical cut but was included on the screening link sent to critics who reviewed the film.
Salva’s history rightfully caused numerous production delays on “Jeepers Creepers 3.” The Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP) made an official warning against Silva and urged actors not to audition or accept a part in the movie after a casting call revealed Salva was looking for an 18-year-old to play a character whose stepfather made “overtures” at her when she was 13. Salva left this backstory in the film for the theatrical cut.
The director is already working on a fourth “Jeepers Creepers” movie. The third film will reportedly return to theaters for a second showing on October 4.