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Surviving Cinema Blog - 'Scrapbook' Part 3

We shot Scrapbook in the summer of 1998.  (It does not feel like it was that long ago!)  The tale of our hot, grimy, and disgusting shoot can be found in last week's blog entry.

Scrapbook would be released in 1999 - often erroneously noted as 2000 - and it would make the biggest splash of my career.  The splash would be in slow motion, though.  A very low budget movie, Scrapbook did not have an advertising campaign.  Its initial distributor was small.  And we weren't sure how horror fans would react to the thing, so our marketing efforts were hesitant and sometimes awkward.

Slowly, over the course of several years, the reviews came filing in.  Given the grim and abrasive nature of the movie, we thought it might find a niche audience - but not gather a significant number of positive reviews.  We were wrong.  Scrapbook gathered a towering mountain (for a small indie film) of glowing reviews over the years.  It remains the most critically acclaimed project of my career.

One of the best things that happened to Scrapbook was that it was named Best Independent Film Of The Year by Rue Morgue Magazine.  That did a lot of good in pairing the flick up with its intended audience.

With the accolades also came the controversy.  Many people, horrified by the move, set out to verbally attack star Emily Haack.  She was often crucified for being "a woman who takes part in the glamorization of violence towards women."  Generally, when Emily was confronted like this, she would ask: "Did you watch the entire movie?"  The answer was almost always "No."  After going through what she went through just to get the movie made, Emily Haack is to be commended for weathering the accusations and venom she received from the less intelligent folks who saw the film - and for steadfastly defending Scrapbook to this day.

It wasn't until 2005 that the movie was released by a sizable distributor.  Image Entertainment unleashed an awesome collectors edition DVD full of interesting bonus stuff, including a very good 26 minute behind-the-scenes documentary. 

Image, who also put out collectors edition re-releases of my earlier films, Ice From The Sun and Savage Harvest, was nervous about releasing Scrapbook.  The brutality in the film was cause for alarm - and for a while, I wondered if Image was going to kill the deal due to the film's aggressive and shocking content.  In the end, Image did what all major companies do... 

Scrapbook had built up enough of a reputation by that point that Image knew the movie would make them money.  And money always defeats moral outrage in good ol' corporate America.  So Image released Scrapbook, but refused to put their company name or logo anywhere on the packaging.

Even with the new Image Entertainment release, the movie was taking its time in gathering a fan base.  I've seen new reviews of Scrapbook popping up as recently as 2009 and 2010, like this one.

By some viewers of Scrapbook, I've been accused of ripping off everything from Rob Zombie's House Of 1000 Corpses to Hostel, and riding the wave of endless Saw rip-offs.  I'll take this opportunity to point out that Scrapbook was made and released before all of those films.  Trust me, that fact does not make me feel like a hot shot.  It makes me feel old!

Because Scrapbook is what it is, we were not invited to screen the movie in public until 2007.  Scrapbook screened as part of that year's Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky.  Scrapbook won Best Feature - which I was happy about - but it did feel kind of weird, given the fact that the movie had been in release for eight years.  The 2007 Fright Night Film Festival, to date, remains the one and only time Scrapbook has ever screened in public.

If you want to check out the movie, as well as all the great behind-the-scenes stuff, you can snag the DVD here.

Thanks for reading.

-Eric Stanze

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