Victor Ronald Salva (born March 29, 1958) is an American film director and screenwriter. He directed 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 molestation of a 12-year-old actor who was starring in one of his films, videotaping himself in the act of doing so, and possessing commercial videotapes and magazines containing child pornography.
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. Salva was raised Roman Catholic. His biological father abandoned the family and Salva stated that his stepfather was often drunk 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. In 1975, the local newspaper reported that as 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.
In 2004, Salva described 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.
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 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: Cathedral.
His next film after Jeepers Creepers 2 was Peaceful Warrior (2006), an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical inspirational best-seller Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
He then returned to the horror-thriller and supernatural powers themes for his films Rosewood Lane in 2011 and Dark House in 2014.