‘Jeepers Creepers’ And The Real-Life Horror Behind Fright Flick Franchise

Jeepers Creepers will be returning to the horror frontline, according to a recent announcement from Myriad Pictures, according to ComicBook), and it’s got a pretty big name behind it as producer.

Francis Ford Coppola (director of the Godfather trilogy) will be taking that credit, while the original blockbuster’s director, Victor Salva, will return to the director’s chair.

The story centers on a flesh-eating creature known as the Creeper, reports IMDb, which has a penchant for terrorizing teens in rural areas.

The first film scared up $59 million worldwide on a budget of just $10 million, notes Box Office Mojo, while its sequel, Jeepers Creepers 2, added another $63.1 million to the worldwide till on a budget of $17 million.

It’s undeniable that the films had an impact and that they delivered enough jumps and jolts to keep audiences coming back for more, but what most of those audience members didn’t realize when watching the first two films is that there is a real-life horror story connected to the series, and that it centers on director Salva.

Salva, the writer-director of both the 2001 original and its 2003 follow-up, spent time in jail for an incident that happened on the set of another horror film he did earlier in his career, the 1989 shocker Clownhouse.

Clownhouse tells the story of three young brothers alone in a big house around Halloween. They are terrorized by three escaped mental patients who have murdered a trio of traveling circus clowns and taken their identities.

One of the young boys, star Nathan Forrest Winters who was 12-years-old at the time, was being molested on-set by Salva.

He had previously worked with Salva on the set of the director’s short horror film Something in the Basement from three years earlier.

Vice shares more of what happened as the molestation went on.

“Things took a turn for the truly awful when Salva enlisted 12-year-old Nathan Forrest Winters to stay behind for extra rehearsals. It later emerged that, during these sessions, Salva forced his young star to give and receive oral sex. All the while, Salva kept the camera rolling to add to his burgeoning child porn collection.

“Eventually, Winters told his parents what was going on, and Salva’s house was raided by the cops, who discovered the tapes and sentenced Salva to three years in a California jail and a lifetime on the sex offenders register.”

Salva would only serve 15 months of his sentence for raping a 12-year-old.

Jeepers Creepers 3 will begin shooting next year.

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]