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Scrapbook - Image Entertainment Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Sunday, 20 January 2008

"Scapbook" Image Entertainment DVD Cover - Severed Cinema

Directed by: Eric Stanze
Written by: Tommy Biondo
Produced by: Jeremy Wallace
Edited by: Eric Stanze
Special Effects by: Tony Bridges, Sarah Stanze
Music by: Brian McClelland
Cast: Emily Haack, Tommy Biondo
Year: 2000
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 95 minutes


Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Screen
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Distributor: Image Entertainment
Official Website: Wicked Pixel

http://severed-cinema.com/images/horizon.jpg

"You have to show violence the way it is. If you don't show it
realistically, then that's immoral and harmful. If you don't upset people, then that's obscenity."
-- Roman Polanski.

One of the most original and intelligent filmmakers in the independent world today, Eric Stanze has created a film that does what few ever achieve: present violence with an unwavering, brutal honesty, detailing how serious and painful suffering can be in real life.  When a filmmaker refuses to depict violence in this particular way, they are actually taking an easy way out, cheating their audience by not being honest about the horrors of real life.  Like the Polanski quote, if people aren't disgusted in Stanze's depiction, then they aren't getting a point.  Saying Stanze's film is appalling should not, in my opinion, be a criticism because this is appalling and disgusting in real life.  People aren't turned on and aroused by what the movie shows.  Very rarely does a movie such as this come along, and the experience is rare because it's not every day you are affected quite like this.

Scrapbook” uses a fitting tagline: true horror is simply what one human being can do to another.  That is what the film is about, and it goes on for an uncompromising and unimaginable 90 minutes.  The film tells the story of Clara (Emily Haack, “I Spit on Your Corpse, I Piss on Your Grave”), who is kidnapped in the very first scene by a serial killer, Leonard (Tommy Biondo, “Ice from the Sun”).  What follows is anyone's worst nightmare.  Day in and day out, Clara is degraded, beaten, starved, raped, and tortured.  Like all of Leonard’s past victims, Clara is forced to write about her experiences in a scrapbook.  With this simple premise, there isn't much material for the actors and director to work with.  However, Stanze breaks the ground that most filmmakers are generally afraid to step on.  You'll hear some people say "horror is dead", but those are people that aren't aware of movies like this.  Horror never died.  You just have to look harder for the cinema that would never allow it to die.  If there weren't working directors today like Stanze, Fred Vogel, or Nick Palumbo, then there would be no spark or passion.

Scrapbook - "Emily Haack as Clara"

We learn Leonard was sexually molested as a child.  In an unbroken take, his troubled childhood is shown through his perspective, and it's a sequence bound to give the viewer goose bumps.  Leonard is responsible for the murders of many people in his life -- male and female -- but he decided to stop with Clara.  She is the final entry in the scrapbook before turning the documents in, in hopes to go down in history.  The most impressive thing is how the character of Clara is presented.  We do not get to spend any time with her before she is abducted.  What impressed me was how, despite plunging in the story before exposition, I rooted for her.  Most importantly, I genuinely cared about her because of how much she felt like a real person to me and not one of Stanze's characters.  Characterization is developed from the relationship between the killer and his last victim.  That's how the movie never once drags.  We stay by Clara's side every step of the way, suffering with her.  Leonard’s cherished scrapbook is Clara's only chance.  The movie
is not exploitation.  It is about survival.  As the movie progresses, Clara becomes stronger rather than weaker.

If a connection wasn't made, there would have been no point watching any further.  There were even times when I forgot I was watching an actual movie, which was why the experience was much more difficult to endure.  The screenplay, written by Biondo, was inspired by actual events.  It took him at least five years to complete.  He and Haack imagined scenes together and improvised dialogue for most of the scenes, boasting a type of realism that you wouldn't even imagine.  In the scene where Leonard urinates on Clara, Haack is actually being urinated on.  There is no vaginal insertion, but in every other sex act involving the two actors, there is nothing faked.  Surprisingly, Stanze's film never felt like an exploitation piece.  Two incredible performances are a direct result of the difficult days of shooting.  Watching Biondo, who unfortunately died from an accident after the finished product, and Haack are the reason enough to watch.  Fear is projected perfectly through Haack's eyes, and hate is projected perfectly though Leonard’s.

Scrapbook - "Shower Cam Tittle Grab"

The film blends attitudes and moods of its gut-wrenching genre, but Stanze went to great lengths to assure that his work projected the proper authenticity and originality.  Take a look at how perfect of a location the movie was shot in.  Part of the reason why I felt dirty after initially  watching the movie was because of the sets; the rooms are a mess, walls are covered with pornography, photographs of Leonard’s victims, etc.  Shot on video in only 13 short days, the atmosphere is so claustrophobic that it is hard to take.  Both “August Underground” and this film are compared, though there is no reason for comparison.  The “Scrapbook” premise is as traditional as you can get, while “August Uunderground” is filmed like home video.  While both are underground horror films about serial killers, they cannot be any more different.  One flaw Stanze's film had was the ending.  During the shoot, Biondo and Haack were allowed to improvise scenes, and the ending was not scripted beforehand.  Though the spontaneous effect worked prior, the conclusion -- bland and disappointing -- does not work.  With that criticism aside, the movie deserves to be seen, not dismissed as trash.  The movie is not mere exploitation for exploitation's sake.  On the contrary, “Scrapbook” is a voyeuristic and provocative look at a deranged mind and his victim's will to escape.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:

-Audio Commentary w/ Director Eric Stanze, Producer Jeremy Wallace, and Star Emily Haack
-One Deleted Scene
-Making Of Featurette
-The "Shower Cam" Featurette
-Trailers

Previously released by Sub Rosa, there is a new Special Edition available by Image Entertainment that is exceptional. To start, the 1.33:1 full screen transfer is clear for an independent film cheaply shot on video. You won't believe how sharp the movie looks on DVD, especially how well balanced the black levels and skin tones are. Sound could certainly be better; for every now and then, there are microphone sounds that are distracting. The fact
that it makes the dialogue between Clara and Leonard a bit unclear is very displeasing in a movie such as this, where it relies heavily on dialogue between captor and captive. Other than a few moments, though, the audio is average. Superior to Sub Rosa's release, Image offers quite a few pleasing extras. Audio commentary with Stanze, the producer Jeremy Wallace, and Haack is the same on the other disc, but it's so fascinating there is no need for a brand new one. No matter how old of a track, the insights into the film are incredible and you can tell how passionate and serious the makers were. Wallace admits the potency of the project was too much for him, having to look away at times. All three of them were close friends of Biondo, who never got to see the final product. A documentary is included, and it's just as detailed as the commentary track is about the production, if not more because we can see how difficult of a film this must have been to act in. Unfortunately, the deleted scene, which shows Leonard chasing Clara through his barn, is without audio. There is a Shower Cam segment, playing as the extended rape in the shower that was in the movie. Without any cuts whatsoever, brutal explains this feature rather well. For those who believe they can take it, “Scrapbook” is highly recommended, but you won't recover from it easily.

"Scrapbook" Sub Rosa DVD Cover - Severed Cinema

RATING:
VIDEO: Full Frame 1.33:1 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema

 

Scrapbook - "Keep it in the Family"

Scrapbook - "A Taste of Things to Come"

Scrapbook - "Your Initial Rape"

Scrapbook - "Tommy Biondo as Leonard"

Scrapbook - "Reflection"

Scrapbook - "Battered but not Broken"

Scrapbook - "Where the Fuck are You?"

Scrapbook - "Rotted"

Scrapbook - "Average Country Home?"

Scrapbook - "Shower Cam"

Scrapbook - "Dear Jesus"

Scrapbook - "Oral"

Scrapbook - "Anger"

Scrapbook - "View of the Book"

Scrapbook - "Clara"

Scrapbook - "Book of Evil"

 

Comments
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martin galarza  - good   |190.232.165.xxx |2009-02-03 15:01:22
realmente me parece una excelente actriz aparte de ser muy bella muchas
felicitaciones
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

 
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