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,