Here at the end of 2012, if I had to choose two film titles that best sum up my year, I’d have to select We Are What We Are and Scrapbook. That’s pretty odd, because We Are What We Are is slated for a 2013 release … and Scrapbook was released 13 years ago.
Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are seemed to pop up out of nowhere for me. I thought Jim’s follow-up to Stake Land (2011) was going to be Cold In July. However, this past summer I discovered that Mickle was instead in pre-production on We Are What We Are. Within a week or two of learning this news, I was hired as the 2nd Unit director on this film. Compared to most projects I am a part of, this all happened very (refreshingly) fast.
We Are What We Are will premiere next month at Sundance. Jim and his post-production team are working frantically to finish the music, sound, and visual effects in time for the film festival. I contributed a wee bit to this, recording a radio voice-over for the film.
If We Are What We Are is an example of how quickly things can happen, Scrapbook is a lesson in how long something can linger. I directed Scrapbook (1999) back before the turn of the century. The movie is gritty, grim, unsettling, and confrontational – definitely not mainstream. We made it assuming that most viewers would think we went too far. We braced for its audience turning away in disgust. We guessed very few people would ever see Scrapbook. We were therefore, more or less, making the movie for ourselves.
The idea of Scrapbook being enthusiastically embraced by horror and indie film fans… the notion of our movie being named the Best Independent Film Of The Year by Rue Morgue Magazine… the concept of Scrapbook becoming a minor hit, described by many as a “classic”… these would have all seemed ridiculous while we were shooting. However, this is the life Scrapbook has led since its release. And Scrapbook seems to be gaining strength with age. I made the movie so long ago, it feels like a film from another lifetime – yet the project is still one of the movies I’m really known for. I’m not complaining. I am, in fact, pleasantly surprised and incredibly grateful. As a bonus, Scrapbook is a movie I’m still very proud of, so I don’t mind seeing that it’s still hanging around and stirring discussion.
Scrapbook has seen several releases, first on VHS, then on DVD, in the US and Europe. About a decade ago, we all witnessed the demise of the VHS release… or so we thought. Today, the old magnetic tape format has been resurrected by VHS tape enthusiasts. Tape collectors are apparently hooked on new VHS collectable releases as well as vintage releases. I’m only now learning how deep VHS collectors’ enthusiasm runs - thanks to Scrapbook’s most recent release: an extremely limited edition, signed and numbered VHS of Scrapbook, packaged with bonus goodies, and distributed by Vultra Video.
I recently sat down to autograph all the VHS artwork. Just like working on We Are What We Are, I did not think I’d be signing VHS covers this year. One of the coolest things about this release is the fact that this limited edition VHS of Scrapbook represents more than a licensing deal. The people at Vultra Video approached us about doing this release because they are genuine fans of the movie.
When I first saw the VHS artwork that I would later be scribbling my name across, I took a moment to really appreciate what Scrapbook is, and what it has done over the past 13 years. I really like the Vultra Video VHS box art. It’s rather simple – just Tommy Biondo and Emily Haack standing, facing each other in profile. However, the lighting and the body language captured in the frame Vultra Video selected are perfect. That image absolutely represents the soul of the movie.
I was more than just pleased with the artwork, however. I was pleased and impressed that fans of the film designed artwork that I would not have thought of - artwork that clearly shows they understand the movie. There is something special about seeing your own artistic endeavors interpreted by other artists, and seeing the results turn out so well. It’s one more indication that Scrapbook has done well for itself, and attracted some amazing fans, in the 13 years since it left the nest.
All the details of the Vultra Video Scrapbook Limited Edition VHS release can be found here.
Thanks for reading.
- Eric Stanze