Jeremy Melton, also known as Cupid or The Cherub, is a psychopathic killer and the primary protagonist of the 2001 film Valentine based on the 1996 mystery novel of the same name by Tom Savage. A victim of terrible bullying that culminated in a horrifically cruel joke at a Valentine's Day dance when he was just a young boy, Jeremy became obsessed with the holiday that had ruined his life and that he had never gotten to enjoy with another that would return his affections, and thus was transformed into a serial killer with the sole intention of seeking revenge against those primarily responsible for his childhood suffering, plotting to do so on and around the holiday of Valentine's Day so as to coincide with the events that ruined his life.
He was portrayed by David Boreanaz as an adult, and his younger self was portrayed by Joel Palmer.
Jeremy Melton began life as an awkward, lonely young boy living in San Francisco, California with his mother and father. He attended Robert F. Kennedy Middle School alongside 5 special girls whom he was deeply moved by: Shelley Fisher, Lily Voight, Paige Prescott, Dorothy Wheeler, and his biggest crush Kate Davies. For much of his youth, Jeremy was very much a social reject, picked on for his thin physique as well as his awkward mannerisms, though the latter was likely the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that his awkwardness was caused by his classmates' rejection of him. He looked to Valentine's Day as perhaps being an opportunity to finally find love in one of his crushes and end his loneliness.
Robert F. Kennedy Middle School Valentine's Day Dance - 1988On the night of February 14th, 1988 A.D. (Valentine's Day), Jeremy, now in the sixth grade, attended his school's dance celebrating the holiday of love, hoping against hope that he would gain the permission of some of his crushes to dance with them. Around this time, a mask depicting the cherub Cupid was circulating around the school and was worn by some at the dance. Jeremy approached each of his crushes individually, but for the most part (save for two of them) only received cruel rejections. When he asked Shelley to dance, she responded with "In your dreams, loser." Similarly, when he approached Lily to request a dance with her, she responded with an equally disheartening "Ewww!" to show her disdain for him. Again he tried to score a dance, this time with Paige, who similarly responded with "I'd rather be boiled alive." Despite this, Jeremy was able to work up the courage to ask his biggest crush, Kate, who kindly responded that she may perhaps dance with him later. Finally, Jeremy approached the robust Dorothy Wheeler, who, like him, did not have a date for the dance and was sitting off to the side of the dance floor alone. Dorothy accepted Jeremy's invitation and took his hand, going with him beneath the gymnasium bleachers to make out with him.
Unfortunately, it was at this moment on that same night that a group of school bullies discovered the pair and cruelly mocked the pair of them, calling Dorothy "Buffalo" and Jeremy "Pevert". They asked Dorothy if Jeremy had forced himself on her, and, in her humiliation and her desire not to suffer further humiliation herself, responded in the affirmative, telling the boys that Jeremy had attacked her. At this, Dorothy rounded on Jeremy, also calling him a pervert while the bullies dumped a bowl of punch over his head. In his shock and humiliation, Jeremy tried to make it clear that he had done no such thing and looked pleadingly at Dorothy. When it became clear she was not going to recant or come to his aid, Jeremy's nose began to bleed of its own accord right before the bullies brutally assaulted him, pulling off all his clothes and leaving him with only his underwear on as they beat him and chased him through the crowded dance floor and to the center. Here the bullies continued their attack on young Jeremy as the crowd of students was transformed into a riotous frenzy as they egged on the bullies, who made it appear as though Jeremy was the perpetrator of the spectacle rather than themselves.
Incarceration and Transformation
Melton was seized by authorities and was described as deranged as he wished to avenge himself upon his attackers and those who had so cruelly ruined the dance for him. The bullies, who had framed Jeremy for having started the fight that broke out between them, succeeded in making the bulk of the students believe that Jeremy was responsible for the spectacle and that he had attacked Dorothy inappropriately, a story that was supported by the five girls he had shown interest in, Dorothy being the only one amongst them that knew the truth. As a result, the now-mentally unstable Jeremy was sent away to a reform school for some time, where he did not show much sign of improvement. The experience having finally snapped his mind and having made him bent upon revenge, he was shortly thereafter transferred to a state-run mental hospital, all the while wrongfully incarcerated for something he had not truly done.
Somehow, Jeremy Melton succeeded in either escaping or being released from his confinement (though the former seems more likely) and set out to avenge his shattered life. Some years later, Melton's mother and father were killed in a fire that engulfed their home, and though the police ruled the incident an accident, some would later speculate that Jeremy had played a role in his parents' deaths. Concocting a plan to re-infiltrate the lives of his school-year crushes, Melton underwent extensive plastic surgery to conceal his true identity and erase any connection to his true persona. He then reinvented himself as a handsome and athletic man named Adam Carr, working out and building his body to distance himself from his more well-known scrawny build. Having created this new persona, he re-entered the life of the woman he most loved, Kate, the only one who had not truly rejected him all those years ago. Though he developed an alcohol problem, he still cherished his relationship with Kate while using it to re-introduce himself into the lives of the other women.
Behind the scenes, for the look of his true demented persona, Jeremy chose to use the Cupid mask that had been popular at the dance as his own signature mask while wearing a long coat of solid black. He chose for a weapon a very large kitchen knife, becoming the killer known as "Cupid" or "The Cherub". Once he had positioned himself just right in the lives of his would-be crushes as Adam Carr, he put his master plan into action to avenge himself upon those who had rejected him while striving to ultimately win Kate for himself for good. Even when masked, there was still one identifying feature that identified the Cupid killer as Melton: his nose would still bleed of its own accord whenever he would kill or feel great emotion, much as it had done when he was attacked at the dance 23 years ago.
Each of the women got a death fitting to the taunts that they gave the former Jeremy. Shelly Fisher's "in your dreams" resulted in having her throat slit while she lays down hiding in a bodybag. Lily Voight's "eww" would get her maggoty chocolates and later shot by arrows, causing her to fall into a dumpster. Paige Prescott stating that she would "rather be boiled alive" got her consequence come true as an electric drill cutting her and the tool being thrown into the hot tub she was in, electrocuting her. Dorothy Wheeler, having framed Jeremy for assault, was framed by Adam as the killer, pushing her dressed in his outfit into Kate Davies and shooting her dead, making him look like the hero.
- Shelly Fisher - Throat slit with kitchen knife.
- Lily Voight - Shot three times through stomach with arrows, fell over stairway, and lands in dumpster.
- Gary - Head bludgeoned and hot icon pressed against face, before being bludgeoned twice more with hot iron.
- Campbell - Axed in back.
- Maid - Unknown
- Ruthie - Thrown through shower glass door, impaled in throat through head on glass shard.
- Paige Prescott - Locked in a hot tub and drilled in arm through its lid, before the electric drill is thrown into hot tub and electrocutes her.
- Detective Leon Vaughn - Decapitated.
- Dorothy Wheeler - Shot seven times in chest with pistol.