Interview: Victor Salva Talks Move to ‘Rosewood Lane’

Finally gearing up for production is director Victor Salva’s Rosewood Lane, which follows a talk show psychiatrist (Rose McGowan) who returns to her hometown following the death of her father and becomes the target of the malicious neighborhood paperboy who stalked and murdered him. The film, which will also star Jeepers Creepers vet Ray Wise, has been a pet project of Salva’s for several years now, and it will be the director’s first feature effort since 2006′s Peaceful Warrior, as well as his first horror film since Jeepers Creepers 2 in 2003.

B-D recently chatted with Salva to get more details on the project, in addition to asking the burning question: will we ever see Jeepers Creepers 3, currently in limbo due to distributor MGM’s recent financial difficulties?MGM has had it share of troubles since the first two ‘Jeepers’ films came out of United Artists under the lion’s umbrella, and that complicated getting ‘JC3′ (we call it ‘Jeepers Threepers’) made as well, but…it can be made without MGM“, he told us. “MGM doesn’t own the ‘Jeepers’ franchise, Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope owns it. And I think this might actually be the year the film gets made. I hope it is. The third installment has lots of goodies for the ‘Jeepers’ fans, and they have been so loyal – and so patient!

In the meantime Salva has his sights set on Rosewood Lane, which will function as a psychological horror film in the vein of some of his early inspirations.

Call it the natural spawn of a number of wonderful, scary, creepy things that I think shaped my ideas of what was scary and what was creepy“, he said of the film’s genesis. “There was an ‘Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ back in the ’60s called ‘To Catch a Butterfly’, a suburban nightmare about a boy next door who was this cruel boy and whose behavior is traced back to his abusive father (played by Ed Asner).

Salva’s other inspirations for the project include ‘The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street’ – a famous episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – in addition to ’70s slasher classics Black Christmas and Halloween. All of these titles, it should be noted, share a couple of common key attributes: 1) they take place in suburbia; and 2) they are primed not only to make audiences jump but to genuinely unnerve them.

Each of these films did something more than just make you jump and scream – they had true moments of creepiness that literally gave you chills and goose bumps“, said the director. “I think my own killer-next-door thriller ‘Rosewood Lane’ has its roots in all of those, and many more dark tales that put the terror right in your own neighborhood.

Nevertheless, Salva claims the film will still feature jump scares that’ll succeed in “hav[ing] you tossing your popcorn into the air“, in addition to…well, at least a little bit of the red stuff. Just don’t expect it to have the gore content of a movie like, say, Saw VII.

I think my films speak for themselves when it comes to graphic content“, he said of the movie’s blood-and-guts quotient. “I’ve never been afraid to use it, but I’ve never made a film that was dependent on it either. Gore is easy. Too easy. Suspense? True edge-of-your-seat suspense, where you can hardly stand not knowing what’s going to happen next? I think that takes craft and skill.

As for the franchise potential of Rosewood Lane, Salva won’t necessarily rule out the possibility of further entries if the film does well commercially. After all, as he well knows these things have the potential to take on a life of their own.

I don’t really plan any film as franchise“, he maintained. “But then, I didn’t plan ‘Jeepers Creepers’ to become one either. It just sort of presented itself, and I thought there was more to the story that could be told without rehashing what we did in the first film.

Regardless of how the film performs, Salva is already looking ahead at a host of future horror projects, even while remaining realistic about how tough it is get even one of those projects off the ground in today’s scarce financial climate.

Getting things funded was hard before, but it’s really hard now“, said the industry veteran. “So I have lots of balls in the air, as in potential projects I am hoping will soon see the light of day. I have a new horror franchise I created called ‘The Rattleman’ waiting in the wings, my ‘Jaws-in-the-snow’ thriller about polar bears called ‘The White’, a ghost story, a wonderful World War II horror story called ‘The Watch’ which is probably the film I get asked about most after ‘Jeepers Threepers’…

And also a terrific movie version of the TV series Del Howison [the actor and owner of 'Dark Delicacies', a store devoted to horror merchandise in Burbank, CA] and I have been putting together“, he continued. “‘Dark Delicacies: The Movie’, we call it. And it could turn out to be its own horror franchise since it is a horror-anthology format, where we would tell three tales of horror per film, in the spirit of the ‘Creepshow’ films and ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’.

In other words, even if JC3 never happens, Salva is committed to bringing fresh and interesting projects to the table for horror fans. And if Rosewood Lane succeeds, it could become the currency essential to getting them made.