Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Welcome Christmas bring you cheer..."

"...Cheer to all Whos far and near,
Christmas Day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp.

Welcome Christmas while we stand,
heart to heart and hand to hand.

Christmas Day will always be,
just as long as we have we."

Friday, November 19, 2010


The end is nigh….!

Well, the end of the year, anyway. That's my new company logo. MENAGERIE ENTERTAINMENT has been around since 1995 when POWDER came to be and it suddenly made good sense to form my own company. MENAGERIE takes its name from my largest, most epic script and yet to be produced project of the same name.

The word is French and though translations vary, I liked the one that says menagerie is a magical collection of objects or creatures. I wanted a name for my company that suggested magic, mystery and a home for all the characters human and otherwise that might be created as I continued to make films.

I thought for this blog, I would do a combination shout-out and attitude of gratitude to some of the things that this year, have given me some laughs, some solace, and some food for thought.

All welcome stuff in the hardest year I've had in a long, long, long time.

As you will note, I spent much more time watching TV this year than I did going to movies or even renting them. I felt much less motivated to watch flicks this year. Less motivated than I have felt in a very long time.

Though in fairness, I don't like to go to the movies a lot when I am writing something. And I have been writing continuously the past fourteen months or so.

Sometimes other movies can cloud my thinking and my writing process. When I am shooting something it's the same way. I don't like to go to movies, even on location, because I can get derailed if I fill my head with too many other people's ideas, visions, stories, and the execution of those stories - when I am trying to stay focused and stay pure about executing my own.

But here are some of the things I have taken a liking to, or in some cases, become absolutely smitten with these past months:


The first season of this series -- and this really is one you need to start at the very first episode -- soon became my favorite of this year. Not only was the writing and acting top-notch, but JJ Abrams and the great minds that put this one together -- took on the X-FILES and did the concept even better, in my humble opinion.

At the center of this incredibly handsome and exquisitely photographed sci-fi drama/thriller is the relationship between Peter Bishop and Walter, his eccentric and brilliant scientist father.

I have to say, the performance of John Noble, an Australian actor (and director) -- and the wonderful words the writers have given him, have combined to create not only one of TV's most interesting and moving characters -- but Mr. Noble continues in my humble estimation, to give one of the finest performances series television has seen.

His deeply moving characterization, and again, this is combined with the terrific writing of the FRINGE staff, is easily one of my favorites in all of television history.

Season Two is continuing a very complex plot-line from Season One, and I do wish that they would soon get back to doing what they do so well --investigating the super-normal, the "fringe events" as they are called, but even if they don't, I count this show as one of sci-fi TV's greatest achievements. Go JJ, go!


This one really sunk up on me. I don't necessarily think of TBS when I think of good drama - but Ray Romano and Mike Royce's dramedy (is that still a word they use) hooked me and I faithfully watched all ten of the first season episodes.

I'm sure it's no mistake that I too am getting to that place in my life where I am one of those "men of a certain age", but this show continued to surprise me, move me and keep me coming back for more.

The tone of this show, and I mean 'the feel' of it, kept surprising me. Just at the moments when I thought it was about to become too jokey, or too violent or too predictable -- it didn't. In fact -- it always did the unexpected, often turned the tables on a predicament or redefined the situation by changing a character's perspective about it completely. You know, a lot like life.

It is thoughtful, dramatic, funny and powerful, but without ever shouting any of those things in your face. To me, for a television show -- that's an accomplishment.

It explores a trio of longtime friends in Los Angeles (the terrific Andre Braugher, Ray Romano himself (doing a fabulous job) and the pitch-perfect Scott Bakula. All three actors have been blessed with terrific characters and give in return, terrific characterizations.

They play three guys who have reached the point in their lives when they question what it's all about: Family, career, what it is to be a man -- now that may sound a little too mushy for some of you guys.

But it's not. This is a great and gentle guys show. But at its heart it is for guys and about guys, and all this stuff is handled beautifully and credibly.

Some of the stand-out episodes of their regrettably short ten episode season, have easily had some of the best writing I've seen on television this year.


Every one is already raving about this show, and I have to say, while I'm not much of a raver -- I will say that a lot of the time I catch an episode of this show -- it does make me howl.

It's ingenuity and humanity -- and it's good-natured and very insightful look at the twists, turns, loves, regrets, anxieties and joys of family are nicely explored here.

Several episodes I have kept in my permanent library -- always a sign to me, that there is something terrific, something that I want to hold onto, going on in that show.

And while the cast is across the board a truly terrific one, here's a special a shout out to Eric Stonestreet who plays one half of the gay couple on MODERN FAMILY.

Again, we have a performance of such heart and humor, -- in a gay portrayal that would normally make me cringe and demand that more "macho" guys be gay on TV -- Mr. Stonestreet's take on Cameron (his character) has completely won me over.

I not only feel great love for Cameron now, and adore and respect him as a man -- gay or otherwise -- but I realize it is Eric's performance (and some good writing) that has made what was originally the most uncomfortable character for me to watch on the show -- now a warm and pure delight to watch.

Bill Maher, John Stewart and my continuing crush on Stephen Colbert. These are the guys who I feel at least give us the news with less bullshit.

Even the Democrats are not safe -- something that took me a while to get comfortable with. But finally I realized that these guys -- as much as they might protest it -- may be some of the most important political voices of our time.

Because they are the only guys with the balls to stand up and say "That's bullshit" or " That is an outright lie." -- and then actually prove it, with actual facts, and not the fabricated lies of political parties and TV networks.

And John Stewart, when he doesn't let his self-deprecation take center stage, easily one of the greatest interviewers working on TV today. He asks intelligent questions, tough questions.

Admittedly, he has sometimes soft balled questions when you wish he wouldn't -- depending on the guest -- but most of the time, his political interviews seem razor sharp, yet always appointed with civility.

I find him as eloquent and educated a TV interviewer, as we have seen in a very long time. I know he jokes himself, but he raises the bar and puts most of his contemporaries on "serious" news shows, to shame.

Who else is doing this with the exception of Rachel Maddow and an often times uncomfortably rabid -- but still admirable -- Keith Oberman?

Who is standing up and exposing the muck of FOX NEWS? And pointing up the same bias to the left that you find at MSNBC?

My three musketeers, that's who.

And these guys, while they tell it like it REALLY is through humor and satire -- have a deep and genuine love and concern for the country I love, and call my home.


Not the first or the last time I'll be expressing my gratitude for one of my favorite shows and comfort food. Great for troubled times and not only is it still funny - but it still holds up. Can't say that about too many shows from the early 60s.

A rare color still taken during an episode where Rob Petrie auditions neighborhood talent for a local talent show. Here, he talks to his boss and producer Mel Cooley about his ventriloquist act.


One thing I never get tired of -- and never will is animation. I will still be watching cartoons from the old folks home on my last day on earth, you can probably bet.

My first, "I know what I want to be when I grow up" moment as a kid, was when I knew I wanted to be an animator. And I sent a picture of JONNY QUEST to Hanna-Barbera when I was nine or ten, and Hanna-Barbera sent me a very gracious letter (wish I still had it) that said when I got older, that perhaps I could work for them.


Anywho, of all the new animated shows this year, the one that keeps me coming back is SYM-BIONIC TITAN. While this strange little show clearly tries to straddle a lot of different genres and target audiences, in the process it results in a strange hybrid that has admirable strengths that overshadow its weaknesses.

The show creates a strange John Hughes-ish BREAKFAST CLUB meets STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND experience. There is teen-angst and drama in the form of alien teen PRINCESS ILIANA and LANCE, her teenage bodyguard.

The two, with the help of very capable robot companion -- hide out on Earth as their world is being plundered by dark forces.

While they try and assimilate into human life on earth (and navigate the dark forces of being the new kids at a new school) the battle back on their home planet results in some wonderfully sinister characters, repeatedly sending nightmarish creatures down to earth to locate and destroy the princess.

Even with a clear nod to TRANSFORMERS (a series I never watched or felt drawn to -- no pun intended) I have to say I really like this show and watch it each week like a kid might, on a Saturday Morning in his PJs with a bowl of cereal on his lap.

The human characters have a strangely "cartoonish" design -- almost comical. In fact, they almost look like "logos" rather than human beings.

And while that takes a bit of getting used to (since the story lines are often about their human dilemmas and backstories) -- the extraterrestrial creatures, space ships and the gigantic robot the two teens combine to become -- are always eye-popping as are the Godzilla-sized confrontations there are before the half hour is over, between the giant robot and the horrible creatures sent to destroy the Princess.

I can't help think that this story idea was once a concept for a live action feature film. Still I am glad it found some incarnation.


A big thanks to Aaron McGruder and a sad farwell to his creation which ran three terrific seasons on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. THE BOONDOCKS is one of the best animated series in years. If you've never seen one, you're missing out.

It is a, smart, touching, sometimes brutal, sometimes biting but always funny look at America. It offers insightful and sometimes squirm-worthy takes on the long and arduous journey of African Americans -- but don't think this is a Black show for Black people.

It also fearlessly and I think heroically charges at the universal subjects of racism, being gay, growing old, raising kids, crime, drugs, the media, and the terrible machine America is in danger of becoming.

And did I mention it was funny too? So long and great thanks for this very adult and very terrific animated series.


Not one for late-night talk shows, but TIVO has me watching the new Conan usually during a writing break in the afternoon.

And I gotta say: I'm glad he's back. As was true for the old Conan, I like the tone of his show and the self-deprecating but razor sharp zaniness of this man and his equally funny side-kick, the talented Andy Richter.


One of the most creative and talented people I have had the pleasure to know and work with is artist Brad Parker.

You've heard me gush about him more than a few times in this blog. Brad lives in Hawaii now and has retired from the movie business, but our child, the Creeper from the Jeepers Creepers films, gives us the status of say an amicably divorced couple with an adored child that will bond us together for the rest of our days.

The Creeper is our child -- a child who actually has four parents.

Me, who thought him up and put him into words, then Parker who took the words and sketched him into concept after concept, detail after detail, until you could look at our ancient, winged critter and get excited about him.

Then Brian Penikas, who took the script and the concept sketches and added his make-up FX genius to take the Creeper into a dimensional entity and a do-able make-up effect. Penikas modified and embellished The Creeper and became part of a complicated collaboration between drawings and practical application, until the Creeper was ready to stand before the cameras.
Brian Penikas (left) and the guys who made Breck the Creeper.

The fourth parent is obviously Jonathan Breck who is the actor who took the script, and the sketches, and the make-up and inhabited them, in the way only these special and magical creatures called actors, can. He added his take on The Creeper and there he is.
Actor Jonathan Breck at the Hollywood premiere of JEEPERS CREEPER II

Making The Creeper a strange, scary and mysterious child -- but with four very doting parents.

Nope, we weren't the first movie to be titled JEEPERS CREEPERS, just check out this Roy Rogers Western from the early days of Hollywood.

Brad Parker and I, have had occasion to work on only three films together (JC I and II and PEACEFUL WARRIOR) before he moved off to Hawaii.

I met Brad when I moved to Los Angeles more than fifteen years ago. We were both standing in line at the Hollywood Galaxy Theater on Hollywood Boulevard for the opening night of the newest screen sensation: JURASSIC PARK.

Our "monster movie nerd" antennae immediately extended and entwined as we started talking about stuff only kids who grew up on scary movies can talk about. Now we were kids in our thirties -- but believe me, lost boys can be sixty and still be lost boys.

And Brad and I were clearly lost boys -- both having moved to the movie capitol of the world and for similar reasons.

The Disney version of The Lost Boys in PETER PAN. Barrie's creation of a band of lost and abandoned boys, I have borrowed for my theory on artists in general.

What I didn't know and as I would find out, Brad was a truly fantastic artist in his own right.

Someone who had already created and published comics strips, worked as a conceptual designer for video game companies, and even did an eye-popping and incredibly handsome GREEN LANTERN graphic novel for DC Comics called "Fear Itself".

Brad developed his own look for the book, with artwork based on actual human beings he photographed for each character. The project took over a year, and was incredibly time consuming and expensive -- I think Brad made little or no cash by the time the book was finished -- but Brad's ingenuity and artistry -- and a lot of blood, sweat and tears -- resulted in an ultimately dazzling take on the graphic novel.

Brad was also funny in a zany, Monty Python, Pee-Wee Herman, goofy but very intelligent way that you just don't see much anymore. Many were the times in central Florida when we were shooting the first Jeepers movie that Brad would diffuse the tension by cracking the odd, zany joke -- in the face of tempers, despair and chaos, that sent all of us laughing -- back to sanity. Back to earth. Back to making our monster movie.

I don't know when I found this out, but Brad was also gay. Gay without screaming it in your face, which is how a shy boy from Martinez like myself, preferred it.

If all that wasn't enough of a match to make us fast friends, Brad was also a major Hanna-Barbera/Jonny Quest/animation and cartoon fanatic -- as were most kids of our generation.

Another dazzling page from Brad's work for DC Comics. Brad is and always was a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan, and I would have to guess Cathulu is his favorite critter in all of literature and legend.

I didn't know it then, standing in line with this guy at JURASSIC PARK, but Brad and I had started "the beginning of beautiful friendship."

All this backstory is presented because Brad isn't just someone I am eternally grateful for coming into my life, but he and I have been having some very thoughtful email exchanges as of late, asking questions about life, movies and what they have to do with each other.

Brad's fame is growing in the world of Tiki-art and he has been in several art shows on both continents. He was also profiled this year in an island magazine. Jeepers fans might enjoy the above pic of Brad's island digs and some Jeepers props Brad designed for the film -- including the Creeper's magnificent table.

Brad and I of late, have been asking the kind of questions men of a certain age start to ask, looking back on where they have come from, what their journey has been -- and what it should be in the future.

And of course wondering who they are, and what they have to show for it.

Everyone has a life. (Some people think they have more than one i.e: reincarnation or another longer, eternal life after this one) Some people think that if we destroy others, our life after this one will be filled with rewards that will make the next life even sweeter.

Some people think that if you don't recognize their beliefs as the only and absolute truth -- your next life will be lived in fire and pain, while theirs will be lived on streets of gold, and at the side of their heavenly father, where they get to sit forever and ever. (Sounds like a serious Lost Boy syndrome there if you ask me)

Some people think that after this life, there is nothing. Game over. That whatever nothingness we came out of, we will go back to.

Nobody gets the final word about any of these ideas because no flesh and blood mortal has died and returned to set the record straight. Though again, there may be beliefs that insist someone has.

The one fact that remains, at least for this life, is that we all have a finite period of time down here. What do we do with that time? And what's the point of what we do?

Artists, be they filmmakers, painters, singers, actors, sculptors, you name it: they think about these questions a lot. And the older you get, whether you're an artist or someone simply struggling to feed and clothe your family, the closer you get to the end and the further away the beginning of life? -- you start to ask these questions more and more.

One of the concepts we are batting about, is the question of whether our art gives our life meaning.

I think my art, my films (and it has taken me a long time for me to be able to call them art, but I see now that even the most commercial of my movies are in fact art) is just a way for this lost boy to tell the world how he felt, how he feels, and what he hopes for.

But do they give my life meaning? "Meaning" is a tricky concept. After so many years on this planet, and what I have been through personally -- both the highs and lows -- observing my own journey, I'm not sure I believe there is a meaning to life, or that there has to be.

I mean, not to get too Peaceful Warrior here, but Dan Millman's ideas (which are basically rephrasings of Buddha's teachings and others) life may be less about understanding its meaning and more about simply finding happiness.

Happiness for you, for the ones you love, and hopefully, as we start to have a more global perspective, for the rest of the world too.

"Don't worry, be happy" may be a little too dismissive and simple, but I am flirting with the idea that happiness may turn out to be the most sensible goal here in a life that continually hurts and bumps and roughs us up.

I heard a quote about happiness on the show I talk about above MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, that I think might also be the truth about what gives life meaning. It's so simple, but it struck me so true: It went something like, "The requirements for happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
I think art is communication. And I think communication is connection. And I think we all naturally have a need to connect. Lost boys are just that: boys who are lost. Who have no sense of their value or beauty because they didn't get what we most require in that very scary, very impressionable time of our early years: connection.

I think my art, my films, regardless of their subject matter, always carries the hope, that it will somehow resonate with others.

That Brad's paintings or my stories, or this guy's novel or that girl's song, will resonate with the world. That it will communicate what our journey is, or has been, or what we're afraid it will be -- whatever we are communicating in that particular piece of art.

So, I'm going to go on record here and say that, in fact, I'm not sure my art gives my life meaning. And that includes my more artful endeavors like POWDER or PEACEFUL WARRIOR or SOMETHING IN THE BASEMENT.

One of the Latin American posters for PEACEFUL WARRIOR

I don't know if anything truly gives life meaning or if anything can. But that doesn't mean life doesn't have purpose.

I think art gives life purpose. Not meaning really. Purpose. And I think art helps people and society and the world to look at itself. To see the things more dimensionally. To entertain us and maybe even enlighten -- by sharing different perspectives on what we fear, what we call good, what we call bad, or things that are simply misunderstood.

That makes art about as important to society as anything I can think of.

It can also be used for evil instead of good. Because art can lie. Movies can lie. My kind of art, the movies, are especially dangerous, because it can lie to the world -- and in an effort to simply make money -- send the world down on a very destructive path.

But I digress: art does keep me from going crazy. Making movies does give my life purpose and keep me from going crazy. From going dark. From sinking into deep despair. My filmmaking does that for me without a doubt. But it isn't a cure-all that keeps me bright and bubbly each day. I would say it keeps me afloat. I think that's the best way to say it.

I used to think making movies gave my life "meaning', but then I realized, what I was really talking about was purpose. Making movies gave me a purpose.

I want to tell the world stories, and I want to tell the world my stories. I want to give them hope, I want to give them thrills, I want to tell them what I went through, what scares me, what I feel deeply about, what makes me angry, what makes me joyful -- I want to share my struggles and my journey with others, and in the hopes (like the hope of all lost boys) that I will get love back.

I will get respect and warmth and admiration -- and most important of all: understanding. All things that carry the promise that the scared, lonely part of me, will somehow be soothed.

Does it really happen that way? Is that what our art does for us? Not sure.

I do know lost boys often make the best artists. They can also make a lot of destruction. Like most powerful things in life, they can cause brilliant light or great darkness.

I still wonder -- and my religious upbringing is screaming "nonsense!" in the back of my brain -- but I wonder if life and what happens in it, isn't controlled by some deity in the sky, but rather I wonder if life and what happens to us, isn't more often than not -- absolutely random.

And I know that's not as comfortable an idea as: everything has a purpose and someone is watching over us, up there.


I have spent a lot of my life angry at people. Angry at parents who didn't know how to be parents and drank and abused my brothers and sisters and I.

Angry at friends who I thought would be my friends forever and turned out to be nothing more than opportunists, "servicing the account" -- as George Carlin so aptly put it in one of his last stand-ups.

Angry at those who judge me, my journey, my films, or any other aspect of me -- without ever knowing me.

Angry at the ATM machine that won't reflect an accurate balance, or angry at Roger Ebert who has given a thumbs down to every film I have spent my life struggling to get made -- I mean, you can burn up all your energy on anger and hate alone.

Your whole life can be about anger and resentment. You can spend a lifetime blaming, accusing and getting lost in all the toiling that keeps us in darkness -- instead of taking that same enormous amount of energy and pouring it not into the dark but into the light.

Making choices that are about moving forward. Forgiving (not forgetting which is sometimes just not possible) but forgiving and using our energy to bring us happiness and move us forward in our journey.

Energy is a valuable thing. It's our life force. Do you want to piss your life-force away on anger, hatred and revenge? Is that the best I have to hope for? Getting even? Righting the wrongs that have been dealt me by punishing others? That's what my life is about. What will I have to show for it? Someone else's pain?

That's my life's goal? Somebody else's pain?

Rather than just giving myself things that bring me happiness. "The best revenge is living well," I remember Stephen King saying.

It's the kind of revenge that moves you forward, away from the dark, into the light and presents you with the happiness you deserve.

No amount of happiness lasts at the expense of someone else's pain. Eventually, there is only darkness at the bottom of revenge. And it's your darkness.

One of Buddha's truly great thoughts (and while I'm not a Buddhist -- I think there are so many of his teachings that prove true) is the one that goes: "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

When my life doesn't work, when I'm not where I want to be, when I am so pissed off that my life is not going as planned -- putting the blame on others, dwelling on my hatred for those who have wronged me, or plotting my revenge on them, has never changed the things I wanted to be different in my life.

Nor is it logical, when you think of your actions in the long term.

Hey, I'm no anger management expert or anything -- but in Hollywood, you go into meetings with a lot of people who have either rejected you previously, or you have heard them say bad things about you -- or you have heard things about them.

But going into a meeting in my biz or any others, you have to think about how to get what you need. The answer is never "I will get what I need from this person by telling this person off. Telling him what I really think of him. I will get what I need from this person by hurting them, or making them angry or defensive."

You have to think about your life the same way. Is this going to get me what I need and want in my life?

Is anger or revenge or holding onto a grudge going to get me where I want to go? Not in my experience. In my experience, anger and revenge and holding onto resentments -- will get you nowhere or worse.


I don't know if the meaning of life is something real.

"Meaning of life" feels like another concept that I'm not sure really exists. The same way I'm not sure "love" or "justice" really exist the way we think they do.

Not because I am growing into a cynical man, but because these concepts are really just words, and words mean so many different things to so many people, that I doubt their actual existence - as we define them.

They might be just concepts we hang on to, while we go about deciding that we are in love with this, and that this thing happened was justice, and that this thing gives my life meaning.

The Python boys may have said it best, when they suggested at the end of their film, that perhaps the meaning of life was simply to try and take good care of yourself and to be good to each other.

How can you call something love -- when what you call love might be hurtful and destructive to the person you are sure you are feeling love for? There are two sides to every relationship. That means two realities in every relationship.

Love could be stalking, then. Right? Is it really love if it's love on the one side and only fear on the other? So love is all perspective?

What about what we consider "good" and "bad". How can you call something good when it turns out to be someone else's tragic end or suffering?

How can you call something bad when the end result might be something amazingly good somewhere else down the line?

In the same vein, how can we call something just or justice, when by another perspective, this justice is seen as something unjust and horrible?

If all these things have to be decided individually and are each a matter of personal perspective -- then I would at least suggest that we have to look at the possibility that these things are simply constructs.

Not reality. Simply one reality.

Even with people in my life that I would gladly give my own life for -- I still wonder if "love" or "justice" or "good" and "bad" and even the "meaning of life" aren't all just concepts, rather than realities. Concepts that we simply strive to believe in, but don't really exist.

What if, like God, they have just been invented by us to simplify or make sense of stuff that doesn't make sense, that we don't understand or that scares us?


As I get older in life, and the end gets closer than the beginning -- it gets scarier and more painful, but simpler too: because this is the time we have.

Right now.

And public humiliation, abusive childhoods, sexual oppression, losing those we care about, broken hearts, fear -- whatever shit we have to deal with -- this is still our time.

And it may be the only time we have to do whatever it is that we want to do here.

When I get stuck and depressed and wonder what the hell I'm doing or if I deserve anything good? (A common occurrence in the life of lost boys)

I remember a wise line of dialog I heard recently: "You can wonder and regret and toil about your decisions and your life all you want, but: A hundred years from now? All new people."

That really hit me hard. All new people. In a hundred years, we won't be here and someone else will.

Everybody passes away. Nobody gets out alive. So shouldn't we be creating happiness? Making art, reaching out, touching, laughing, feeling -- bringing out and encouraging as much caring and compassion as we can?

Sharing ourselves through art, through action, and connecting as much as possible with the time we have?

Before it's all new people?

What do you think, oh reader who I am amazed made it down this far in the blog? I invite anyone out there reading this to chime in and join the conversation.


Hope number one: that Del Howison and I get our horror anthology DARK DELICACIES: THE SERIES up and running in the coming year.

Hope number two: that the third Jeepers film finally finds its financing in the worst economic climate the movies has ever experienced.


Three of the cast members of PEACEFUL WARRIOR found great success on TV this year. Tim DeKay is now the star of the series WHITE COLLAR on USA, Ashton Holmes was one of the stars of HBO's epic mini-series THE PACIFIC, and Paul Wesley has been the star of VAMPIRE DIARIES going on it's second season now.


My boys that have been part of my life for four years now. Two small rescue puppies, (above) Mac and Chewie -- were found abandoned on the streets of Los Angeles when they were small enough to hold in your hand.

Chewie was left for dead, with a leg missing (torn off by a much larger dog).

Found these two furry fellahs at a rescue when they came bounding out at me, tiny little fur balls, tails wagging, side by side. (Chewie has a kind of hopping/loping because he has only one front leg).

The rescue woman told us, they had stuck together like brothers since they first arrived at the shelter, so I felt I had no choice but to take both of them home and to this day -- as you can tell from the picture below, full grown now, they are still brothers and still side-by-side.

At the window in my room - the boys' favorite past time is squirrel watching, and occasionally squirrel chasing.

I have learned a lot from both dogs. Mac is sweet and even tempered no matter what shit his brother Chewie may pull. And Chewie is so full of piss and vinegar and boundless energy, that please don't tell him he has only three legs -- he won't know what you're talking about.

Maybe there is a great lesson there for all of us.


I'll close with this: I think our art gives our life purpose. And that might be more important or just as important as meaning. Purpose is something to do.

More and more, I think it might be simpler than we ever thought. For me my art is happiness (even with the terrible struggles and headaches it takes get it made) And happiness - which maybe the meaning of life - may be as incredibly simple as: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.


PS: One more thing I wanted to mention but chose not to put in the body of my blog:


Just a bit of anger and darkness that I need to add here to get off my chest, as the year comes to a close. I think it was a new low for FOX "NEWS". If they could get any lower.

Maybe I should be grateful to Fox News in the sense that the entire hideous organization -- the most anti-American network on television, does wake me up - about the political scene in my beloved country.

And for this I guess I should be thankful to Roger Ayles and Rupert Murdoch.

But that's like thanking Dracula for biting people and taking their souls. I mean, is it just me - or does FOX News seem to genuinely just hate people in general? It's almost chilling to watch as they clearly broadcast misinformation daily on a campaign of fear to their core audience: people who are already frightened, or worse: people who just can't come out and say they can't stand to see a Black man in the White House, and are willing to destroy the country to get him out.

Their agenda seems to be: get the Black man out of the White House, get the gays out of the military and exile them from "the privilege" of human rights. Take anyone with a different color skin -- and get them the hell out of my white country!

Forgetting this is a country of color. It always has been and it always will be. And that is in part what makes it great.

Hitler found a way to take the fearful and point the finger at the reason for their despair -- I see the same dynamic here. A campaign of fear to put even more money and power into the hands of people who wave the flag so they can hide behind it.

And what they are hiding is a terrifying disregard for the country, what it stands for, and more importantly for the well being of all the people in it.

FOX NEWS continues, without conscious or education, and much arrogance, to step into the forefront as the true The Evil Empire from the Star Wars trilogy.

How long will it take for people to see that there needs to be a rebellion -- but against the tea-baggers and the right-wing machine of fear, hatred and bigotry that wants to take America back, alright -- right back to oppression and a place where only a few chosen people have a right to freedom and the American dream.

All the Glen Becks, the Rush Limbaughs and Bill O'Reilley, (who still hasn't figured out what Colbert is actually doing each week) as they rake in their million and millions of dollars pissing up the backs of the people they claim they are on the air to save -- it's just awful.

And while O'Bama has been a disappointment, because he didn't stand up and take charge -- he is still head and shoulders above what we had just before him, and I would never think of trading him back to the bench, so that the men who crippled and bankrupted my country in the first place, for their own vehemently unpatriotic goals, could again take power.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Back again after a long, long absence. Again, sorry my visits to this site have to be so rare. I know many blogs are added to daily and are thankfully brief. I miss the mark on both those counts.

I would like point out at the beginning here, that many of the pieces of artwork that adorn this particular entry are works of Creeper art sent to me from all over the web. Sometimes by the actual artist and sometimes not. Like the dazzling portrait above of Mr. C. Reeper, by one Sharshel Yam.

As with much of the art sent to me based on my films, I do not own these pieces of art, and if you see one that is yours here and would not like it to be, drop me an email and I will gladly replace it.

This blog is meant to basically break radio silence. An update about where things are right now, which is to say -- clearly not much different from where they were before, or I'd be typing this blog from a hotel room on location somewhere.

While that may be a distinct possibility in the new year, for right now the vast majority of my projects, JEEPERS III, THE WHITE, THE WATCH, ROSEWOOD LANE, ALCATRAZ, DARK DELICACIES and HAUNTED, to name the more prominent ones -- are still circling financing in the ever-so-slowly improving financial climate of making independent features.

Have we had nibbles on some of them? Certainly. There are always nibbles on most of my projects.

Does AFM (The American Film Market) start today in Santa Monica California, where many indie films find financing? Yes, it does start today.

Are any of your films being shopped there or getting any closer to financing because of the AFM? Conceivably.

And what does that mean exactly? I will let you know next blog, or after the AFM is done and we see what we have. Until then: why get us all excited about anything?

October came and went with no substantial news about JEEPERS CREEPERS III (though Jeepers Creepers did play on MTV -- in a very scrubbed up version, and JEEPERS II played on AMC as part of it's MonsterFest. And thanks to everyone who wrote me and told me about them.

And about the Twitter fest JEEPERS one had a couple of weeks ago when MTV first played it. There were a lot of questions in those Tweets about JEEPERS III and when it would be seen.
Is there good news -- or even ANY news on that front? Well, in case you don't keep up with the trades here in Tinsel Town, with MGM now reverting to one of the greatest guys I have ever had to deal with since I started making features? Who knows?

Roger Birnbaum, who was president of Caravan Pictures at Disney and greenlit my film POWDER, is now about to run MGM with his Spyglass partner Gary Barber. How could that be good news for JEEPERS fans?

Because maybe there will be a new door opening for the long-awaited, and proven financial success story of the Jeepers Creepers franchise. The franchise that has made MGM its home for the last decade.

MGM can use some cash -- and Jeepers Creepers, the best kept secret cash cow in town, provided UA's biggest money makers, each year one came out.

JEEPERS CREEPERS I and II did more than just break world box office records for Labor Day weekends in 2001 and 2003. Jeepers Creepers III remains the most requested horror sequel for a genre franchise around.

The Creeper truly is money in the bank and maybe with MGM falling into the capable hands of Roger and Gary -- maybe the pieces will finally fall into place, that will set our Creature flying for another 23 days of fun.

Make no mistake, this is a ready-to-go third CREEPERS film, with a strong script and do-able budget and universal demand. It is also not just the third film in my planned trilogy , but also may serve as the unofficial kick off to my idea for a TV series of the same name, that takes place in the avoid-if-you-can Poho County.

Here for die-hard JEEPERS folks, is a splash page about JEEPERS III, that tells the whole story of why this film should be made and made now. (And remember -- all the images on this blog, can be viewed larger if you just double click them. They can also be dragged to your own desktop, if your computer works like my Mac does:)


POWDER got me thinking about a strange chapter in the life of my strange little film about an albino boy born with strange powers -- the effect of his pregnant mother being struck by lightning.

The film was what they call a sleeper hit in 1995. Meaning it came out of nowhere and did very well. Holding at the number two film in the country for two weeks and staying in the top ten for a month. (Even in the face of a damaging controversy concerning my missteps of a decade earlier -- over twenty years ago now)

When the film did well, Disney called and said they were going ahead with an idea for POWDER: The Series.

This didn't come as a great surprise to me -- Disney had already remade POWDER with John Travolta and Robert Duvall and called it PHENOMENON.

As Jerry Goldsmith explained it, to a very hurt and bewildered Victor more than a decade ago: "It's typical, Victor. The bastards saw what it (Powder) did with no stars and a ten million dollar budget -- and decided to try it again with stars and three times the budget."
You can judge the merits of PHENOMENEON yourself. The same way you can judge the merits of the scenes in THE GREEN MILE that seem to have been lifted right out of POWDER as well.

I can still remember Lance Henriksen calling me on the phone after having seen THE GREEN MILE and leaving a message, with that deep voice of gravel, on my machine that said, "Oh Victor. Oh you have to see The Green Mile. There is another Powder baby out there, man."

We called any film that lifted POWDER stuff (like Phenomenon) Powder babies. The same way I call beats and scenes in my own films "JAWS babies" etc. when I do the same, incorporating beats from my favorite films of the past, into the ones I am making now.

As for THE GREEN MILE, if the film version of Stephen King's novel, didn't take ideas and scenes right out of my film -- then it's one of cinema's greatest coincidences - since I have only read one Stephen King book in my life and that was THINNER. (Writing as, I believe, Richard Bachman)

So when I heard that in THE GREEN MILE, when the "uniquely gifted" prisoner is smuggled out of his cell one night, he is taken to the sheriff's house to heal the sheriff's dying wife with his special powers -- my teeth just about dropped out.
Frank Darabont and I have never discussed this -- and I am sure never will. Frank's a good guy and I think a good filmmaker, and the origins of scenes, lines and moments in screenplays, are a complicated thing. It would be a pointless conversation and one that would not resolve anything.

Lance told me to take them all (all the POWDER copycat beats) as compliments. You know ...Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Or the French call it an homage. Possibly just a nice word for robbery.

All I know is, when it happens to you? It does make your blood boil a little at first. But then I have to scratch my head and remind myself of all the moments in films I have probably borrowed -- though I hope I have never just stolen them outright as is the case with GREEN MILE and PHENOMENON.

I hope my borrowed beats I have used in my own voice to tell a new tale, not piggy-back on someone else's.

The point of this tale though, was that in being interviewed recently, for an upcoming biography of Lance Henriksen, I was told again, as I had been told before, that Lance's series on Fox, MILLENNIUM, started when X-FILES creator Chris Carter saw Lance in POWDER.

I find this another interesting fact, that in a way makes MILLENNIUM yet another "Powder Baby". Because it was a series about a cop with special powers of the mind. In other words, Frank Black in MILLENNIUM was basically Jeremy Reed in POWDER, only as a cop with pigmentation and some hair.

I remembered back when Roger Birnbaum told me that there was some plans at Disney to make POWDER a series and I thought, really? The series never came to fruition, unless you count Disney's KYLE XY -- a few years later, where again ideas and scenes from POWDER were generously borrowed, at least during the first season -- which was the only season I watched.

But again, I'm drifting. Here's what this was all about: My first draft of POWDER, believe it or don't, written well before 1994, had POWDER as a New York City Detective, who the precinct called "Spooky", because of his albino appearance (plus no hair) and his ability sometimes to solve cases by knowing things that simply could never be discovered through standard investigations.

The first draft screenplay of POWDER, typed on long pieces of prison toilet paper (another story for another time) was essentially a film about a strange albino detective on the trail of brutal killer.

Throughout the film, detective Jeremy "Spooky" Reed, kept being reminded of his childhood, and much like the format LOST used, much of the film were flashbacks to POWDER being raised by his grandparents, kept in a basement to protect him from the sun and -- then eventually adopted by the town's sheriff.

Even the sheriff couldn't protect him from the town's cruelty or fearful assumptions about the strange boy -- and his upbringing was a difficult one as he learned to navigate through bigotry and bullies.

Strangely enough, that sheriff, the one who became POWDER's protector and surrogate father -- would ultimately end up being Lance Henriksen in the final film.

After more early drafts of the script, it became clear to me that the strongest and most unique and interesting part of the story, was the story of POWDER as a boy. And so the story and script shifted. No POWDER as a detective.

Imagine how I felt when Lance Henriksen told me he was suddenly starring in a series where he was a POWDER-like detective? And the show's creator (I was a huge X-FILES fan) Chris Carter even saying that seeing Lance in POWDER was one of the origins for the series.

Lance, always a great guy and a gentleman, tried to get me onto MILLENNIUM as a director, but the producers were wary of hiring a feature director who would need to move at the fast pace of a TV series. (They clearly didn't trust me when I said, I spent most of my feature career shooting faster than most TV shows did)

With so many cop shows now (about a dozen too many spread around the networks) it makes me wonder what would have happened, if indeed Disney did move ahead with POWDER The Series, and if indeed their idea was similar to my original screenplay where POWDER was a detective.

Would we have scooped Chris Carter and his idea to make Lance a profiler who has special mental powers that allow him to see inside the minds of killers?

And what the heck would POWDER: The Series have looked like I wonder:

Another very early conversation, that is just beginning, is about my long standing idea to feature THE CREEPER in a series of graphic novels or a continuing comic. And would be me fulfilling a lifelong dream: writing for a comic book.
I mean, I think I wrote quite a few in my day, and illustrated them too. Sadly, all my teen-aged efforts have been lost to time. I took my cue from Marvel Comics (as much as I loved Superman comics as a young kid -- Marvel always seemed to have the stronger stories that gravitated me to them by my early teens)
My early comic books, the ones I wrote and drew, when they weren't about about idolizing and body-worshipping the local lifeguards at our summer cabin, (hey, I was a gay kid finding a way to explore some very scary -- and very powerful attractions) were often horror comics (what else?) and again I often took my cues from Marvel.

Trying to create a continuing saga. One franchise I thought they had overlooked in the comics worlds was DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE. And I remember trying to create a modern day version of this tale, in classic Marvel Comic Book form - somewhat like THE INCREDIBLE HULK I guess, because the Doctor's dark alter-ego continually messed up his personal life.

That was back in the day, when I actually started READING novels. Imagine that today? Some teenage kid reading Robert Louis Stevenson's JEKYLL AND HYDE? I also labored through Bram Stoker's DRACULA (a tough read for a kid) and faltered when trying to get through Mary Shelly's FRANKENSTEIN.

I wasn't an avid reader - but I was sure much better at it than I am now. I don't know if kids read today. Do they? Do they still make them read books at school? Novels?

But back to my own comic book universe: I can tell you that right around fifteen my artistic talent was at a high and my addiction to THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN comics, were at an obsessive level. I never missed one.

I entered the serial comic reading scene right at the time the great John Romita was drawing Spidey. I still recall the issues where Gwen Stacy's father is killed by falling debris, from a building courtesy of a battle overhead between Spidey and Doc Ock.

Police Commissioner Stacey was pushing a young boy to safety. as the debris fell. And it was a shocker -- characters in popular comic books didn't die back then. Ever.

Of course, the public blamed Spiderman for the Commissioner's death, but look at this magnificent cover art. Is there any question where a lot of my sense of drama and presentation came from?

How many filmmakers out there today can say they weren't (aren't) influenced by the incredible artists and writers at Marvel comics back in the 70s?

This was a great and defining moment for comics, because quickly after the death of Commissioner Stacey (if memory serves) came the famous issue of SPIDEY that the comics code refused to put their stamp of approval on, the issue where the Green Goblin's son, Harry, Spidey finds out is addicted to drugs.

It was a very real idea in the very fantiful world of action comics -- but typical of that particular period of THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN -- you got caught up in the human drama of the characters as much as you did the supervillians slugging it out with the old web-slinger.

Perhaps this explains the decade long popularity of SMALLVILLE which dips into that well every week? It's teen angst and super powers. A strong mix for the young and young at heart.

With the drama of Peter Parker and Gwen, and drugs and Harry Osbourne, (ignored in the movie versions) to me, and I was just a teen, they were hitting the dramatic beats just right -- it was just a terrific thing, and I couldn't wait for the next issue to come out.

Looking back, and even then, I think, the controversial drug storyline, and publishing the issue without the comics code stamp of approval was a very brave and responsible thing to do.

To broach that subject and to broach it to kids reading comics, it was just so right. And yet, to the Comics Code of America, who probably had a hand in censoring violent comics at one time -- were now censoring issues that should never be censored.

I'm not even sure the Comics Code still exists today.

But as always patient reader, I digress: The prospect of a continuing comic book saga of our flying demon, is one that puts a smile on my face. It is still many steps away from reality, but there is one picture someone sent me that sort of triggered the whole idea:

Someone was daydreaming even better than me -- a Creeper cartoon series? You're talking to someone who was weened on Hanna-Barbera action cartoons. When someone first sent me this - I do have to admit, my ticker skipped a beat.

I promise I will keep you posted on my journey of the Creeper comic, as details shape up. If anyone has an idea out there for who would be a great artist for the books, let me know.
Creeper sketch by Jarrett Fajardo

Since I missed having an actual Halloween Blog, I thought I would keep this one short and end with some of great Creeper art that gets sent to me from the worldwide web. Some of it has appeared to music on a program that I uploaded on a previous blog.

Maybe some of these great glimpses of the Creeper, in the eyes of fans and the good folks who hope like I do, that the creature will fly again -- will help put the good mojo out there that another Jeepers film should be on the way.
Love this crouching Creeper!

Actor Jonathan Breck tells me he gets a lot of fan art sent to him.

One thing about Jeepers artists I've noticed: they come up with some of the most original and coolest visuals I've seen. As seen above.

I've seen lots of depictions of Justin Long's Darry Jenner. All of them unique and startling, like this very cool one above.

Creeper art isn't just limited to paper and pen or computer screens, some bikers have created some pretty cool Creeper hogs!

Incredible detail work on the logo and everything!

I have to admit, when someone first told me that they knew someone who had a JEEPERS CREEPERS tattoo done - I thought they were pulling my leg! But there are quite a few I found out! To quote Bob Burns: How cool is that?

Let's make this blog uncharacteristically short (and hopefully readable) by ending it here. Wish there was more to share, but over the holidays things have a way of shaping up for film production in the new year -- and I have my fingers crossed, hopes aimed high, but at a realistic level, and if anything happens to drop the checkered flag on the Creeper or any other Salva sagas waiting in the wings -- you will read it here first.

Hope your Halloween was a happy one! And thanks to those of you who took the time to drop me a line!

Onward and upward,