One could make the Polanski excuse and say Salva had a hard childhood, but that's absolutely no excuse for harming a child regardless of life's circumstances. The filmmaker has served the time that the state deemed fit, paroled early from a three-year sentence, although that does not absolve his abhorrent actions whatsoever. And not to defend Mel Gibson, but it's funny how the media ballyhoos a loudmouthed anti-semitic racist in Hollywood as something akin to a crime against humanity. Yet a convicted pedophile like Salva is allowed to continue and achieve his greatest career success with this feature without much incident. Hell, the only thing I can recall is MGM canceling their DVD edition of Clownhouse (1989), the film in which Salva molested the 12-year-old lead, in the twilight hour (hence the abundance of sealed copies floating around) due to complaints from the victim's family.
There's simply much to love about Jeepers Creepers despite some contrived bumps. Salva constructs a palpable sibling relationship between leads Justin Long and Gina Philips. The somewhat predictable resolution to The Creeper's quest has a great deal of genuine impact from how strongly these two anchor the film. Disregarding the goofy truck (some love it); the mythos behind The Creeper, Jonathan Breck's performance, and Brian Penikas's creature make-up are all fantastic. There's something inherently "frankensteinish" about an "assemblage monster", but Salva adds an additional kick in his creation's need to self-acquire these parts through smell and its ability to continually "replace" damaged pieces. It's simply an excellent, well-devised concept deserving of further exploration and celebration. The only needless aspect is Jezelle, the African American psychic/quack that essentially serves as a prototypical "magical negro" with her insight into the futures of the white protagonist bro and sis. Should have just omitted her and saved all that for later...
I've never seen the sequel, but Salva's third entry appears to tie back to the first feature with Gina Philips reprising her role and teaming up with Ray Wise's character from the sequel. It'll be interesting to see if the franchise can prove successful, if granted a big wide theatrical release, in today's climate. Then again, the whole Saw thing is dying on the vine and Paranormal Activity has rekindled the spark of The Blair Witch Project. Perhaps The Creeper's boomeranged comeback could do the same. As an aside, MGM's SE DVD of Jeepers Creepers is a rare bird being one of the only mass-produced triple-layer DVDs. The single-layer "top" houses the special features while the dual-layer "bottom" features the full screen and widescreen versions of the film. No word of a U.S. Blu-ray release as of yet.