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Askew Review 15

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This review is for the VHS version. However, there is a DVD version that includes commentary by Director Eric Stanze and actress Emily Hack, a behind the scenes featurette, etc. 

SCRAPBOOK ( (Wicked Pixel) Horror/thriller. 95 minutes. NR, violence, nudity, rape. Directed by Eric Stanze. Amid darkness, we hear Clara crying and begging to know what is going on. After minutes of crying, light shines in through opened van doors. Lying next to Clara is another woman who has been butchered. A man, Leonard, pulls the butchered body out of the van and closes the doors consuming Clara in darkness once again. We are then subjected to a five-minute flashback of a little boy being seduced by his older sister, then raped by his older brother. Back to the present; Clara is held hostage in a secluded house littered with rotting body parts and trash with walls decorated with Polaroid pictures of Leonardís past female victims. Over a long period of time, Clara is brutally raped, tortured, starved, and severely beaten by Leonard. During the brief moments of peace while living this hell, Clara is forced to immortalize her anguish and agony by writing in Leonardís scrapbook, which already jam-packed with other victimís writing, possessions, and newspaper clipping. Although she is doing as told, the brutality worsens. After a failed escape attempt, Clara realizes she must use her written words to turn Leonardís scrapbook into a mental weapon.
    Christ! This is one powerful, tough, and raw movie. The movie is shot in such a way it made me think I was right there with Clara and Leonard. I actually had to fast forward by one of the rape scenes because it was way too disturbing to watch.  I am not going to get into specifics of this movie because if I do, it will ruin the non-stop tension that fuels this baby. Emily Haak (Clara) does a masterful job with this difficult role. Not so much with her body acting, which is convincing as hell, but with the way she expresses so much pain and fear with her eyes. Tommy Biondo (Leonard), who also wrote this movie, does a great job as the rambling madman and comes across as truly frightening. I think the fact that Biondo has an erringly, uncanny resemblance to an old high school friend of mine made Leonard seem all too real and really freaked me out. Just to warn you, the rape scenes are pretty graphic and very disturbing. There is a close up of Clara being forced lick Leonardís flaccid penis, but the scene is not the least bit sexual due to its extremely disturbing nature. Tommy Biondo researched actual serial killers for two years and used true-life events to write Scrapbook. Director Eric Stanzeís (Ice From the Sun) masterful camera work exploits and heightens the terror felt in this movie. There is also a very informative 15-minute ďmaking ofĒ featurette included after the movie. Combining all the terror found in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and Kiss the Girls, Scrapbook is one of the most horrifying movies Iíve seen in ten years. Ė Denis Sheehan




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