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I Won’t Be Watching or Supporting ‘Dark House’… And Here’s Why

Dark House

In my years of blogging and writing about horror movies, I’ve learned to separate art from the artist, which is something I always try my best to do.

When you become an active part of this community, you get to know people on a personal level, and sometimes it’s admittedly easy to like a movie because you like the person who made it, just as it is sometimes easy to dislike a movie because you just plain dislike the person who made it.

Not that I’m a professional critic or anything, but I always try to cast aside those feelings, good or bad, and judge movies based solely on their merits as movies. In other words, I don’t want to praise movies because friends made them, and I certainly don’t want to ignore or trash movies, simply because they were made by people that have rubbed me the wrong way.

That said, there was a movie released last week called Dark House, and though I admit to being tempted to rent it On Demand, if only because I like to write up reviews of new horror releases – that is, after all, part of my job – I simply cannot bring myself to do so. And quite frankly, I wish all horror fans felt the same way.

I’m sure that many of you reading this right now are already well aware of the sickening story of director Victor Salva’s past criminal history, and though I hate to even type some of the things I’m about to type, I feel it’s important to do so. Stories like this one shouldn’t be forgotten, and though Salva has for whatever reason been allowed to continue making movies, and spend his days in the Hollywood system rather than the prison system, that doesn’t mean we have to support them.

Clownhouse

Years before becoming a household name amongst horror fans with 2001’s Jeepers Creepers, Victor Salva directed a film called Clownhouse, released in 1989. 29-years-old at the time, Salva molested the 12-year-old child star of the film, even going so far as to videotape the sexual exploitation.

Salva pled guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, one count of oral sex with a minor and three counts of procuring child pornography, and he was sentenced to a mere three years in prison, for his actions.

Yet another example of the failure of the American justice system, Salva was paroled after serving just 15 months of his sentence, and it wasn’t long before he resumed his career as a Hollywood filmmaker. After returning behind the camera for 1995’s Nature of the Beast, he was even put at the helm of the 1995 film Powder, which was financed by Disney.

Yes. A convicted child molester made a film for Disney. Chalk it up to Hollywood’s forgive and forget policy.

Starring Saw’s Tobin Bell, Dark House is the first film from Salva in a few years, and as I mentioned up above, it was just released last Tuesday on home video. Is it good? Does it suck? Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. Nor do I care. This has nothing to do with what I think of Salva as a filmmaker and everything to do with what I think of him as a human being, and though I do always try to separate the two, this is one case where I find it impossible to do so.

It infuriates me that Salva is not only a free man, but that he also gets to do what he loves doing for a living, and though there’s nothing I can do about either of those things, what I can do is refuse to support him and his films. And even if I wrote up a scathing review of Dark House, warning everyone away from it, I’d still be transferring my hard-earned money into the pockets of a child molester who has no business making movies, and that’s just something I can’t live with.

I’m not telling you what to do with your own money, but I just want to make you aware of Salva’s past, and encourage you to think before hitting the order button on this particular film.

The choice is yours.

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If you don't get enough of me here on Halloween Love, you can also find me on Dread Central, iHorror and Shock Till You Drop. Contact me via john@halloweenlove.com.
  • Never knew about any of this. Gross.

  • “I’ve learned to separate art from the artist” – This is important, not just in film, but everyday life, because if we refused to participate in anything that was offensive or was in some way affiliated with something evil, we wouldn’t even be able to exist, outside of living naked in the woods that is.

    Along this line of thinking, it would be more evil to buy an Apple product than to buy this movie. Apple is affiliated with not only the suffering of just one, but the suffering and death of many. Granted, it’s easier to demonize specific and direct grotesque acts than to look at the wide scale effects of evil caused just by the neglect of corporations.

    There are those that refuse to shop at Walmart, buy Apple products, buy or eat anything that’s come from an animal and so on and so on. I mean, I’m sure some people have to maintain lists of where it’s safe to even go and where it’s safe to buy from. And even so, even places on so-called safe-lists, all that means is that something unsavory just hasn’t been discovered about them yet.

    Hell, even participating in the monetary system at all, is an act of evil. Money is evil, money causes divorce, crime and violence, that’s a statistical fact.

    Where does it end? If you look hard enough, there’s probably an “evil” producer, writer, director, actor, whatever attached to every film ever made, even the ones we love most. A lot of people think Hollywood as a whole IS pure evil.

    I enjoy Roman Polanski’s films and I don’t feel guilty about that, and he fled the country over almost the exact same thing.

    I’ve seen too much of our biased media news, legal system, social stupidity, political correctness, people spreading false rumors, to take anything at face value. I’m not interested in celebrity gossip, I don’t know these people in real life and it’s none of my business.

    I’m not defending Victor Salva, but I’ve never even met the guy, nor do I know anything about him whatsoever first-hand. What he has or hasn’t done isn’t really even appropriate for me to judge. It’s not my place to defend or forgive the man.

    Of course, I don’t condone the harm of an innocent, no matter what the context, but I’m also not concerned with the fact that just because Jeepers Creepers is one of my favorites and that I’ll definitely be seeing Jeepers Creepers 3, that that in some way means I support raping people, that’s a straw man argument.

    With all that said, we do as individuals, manifest negative experiences and associations with things over time. There are websites and services that I refuse to use, places I refuse to go, products I refuse to buy etc, but based on personal experiences, not other people’s experiences.

    Whatever your personal views, any article that makes you think is a good article. Thanks John.

  • JP Wendel

    Bravo! I’m willing to forgive a lot, but child molestation is NOT one of them.

  • Adrian Roberts

    Do you like rosemarys baby?

  • John Squires

    Do I like Rosemary’s Baby? Yes, I do. The same way I like Jeepers Creepers. Do I support or care for Roman Polanski? No I do not. Again, not about the movies, it’s about the people. I’ll never say I dislike Jeepers Creepers, since that’d be untrue, all I’m saying is that now that I’m aware of what Salva did, I have personally chosen to no longer support his films. That’s all. Just a personal choice.

  • Exactly. “I’m not telling you what to do with your own money” – It’s an important distinction that is all too often missed when people share their point of view, speaking generally of course.

    Within reason, I don’t project my morals on others. For example, I don’t litter, but because someone else litters doesn’t mean I immediately hate them, I just disagree. But, it’s only my responsibility to do what’s right for me, not dictate others.

    When people have two apposing views, it doesn’t automatically mean that one view must be wrong and one must be right. Like John said, “Just a personal choice.” and I respect his opinion and reasoning.

    “I won’t.” isn’t the same as “You can’t.”

  • SMITH

    Well put