Scrapbook (2000)

DVD Cover (Image Entertainment)
Eric Stanze Eric Stanze
Emily Haack Emily Haack
Tommy Biondo Tommy Biondo
Todd Tevlin Todd Tevlin
Elizabeth Hammock Elizabeth Hammock
Sam Maiden Jr. Sam Maiden Jr.

4.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Escape Film, Horror, Sadistic Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: October 04, 2007
Let me just get this out of the way straight off the bat: when it comes to the "realistic" serial killer films that attempt to show us what it would be like if we were a fly on the wall while a psychotic individual tortures and abuses his or her victim(s), few films will ever compare to Scrapbook. A lot of you are familiar with the August Underground series of films that also uses this theme as a plot device, but let me tell you, they ain't got shit on tonight's little doozy of a film when it comes to truly disgusting the audience.

The storyline for this one is supposedly based on true events that lead actor / writer Tommy Biondo researched for upwards of five years before the shooting of this film, but even though I did a little research of my own on the subject, I could neither positively confirm or deny this statement. I do know that the subject matter found within this film has played out in real life before in many other cases, but again, I have no idea if this one is based on a particular event, a combination of general facts behind various crimes, or none of the above.

As for the storyline itself, well... there's really not a whole lot that can be said about it aside from mentioning the intriguing little twist about the titular scrapbook. It all begins when Leonard (Tommy Biondo), a truly disturbed individual if there ever was one, kidnaps a young lady named Clara (Emily Haack) for his own twisted purposes. You see, the man is "writing a book" about his serial-killing life, and each chapter in this book is written by the actual victims; he kidnaps them, tortures them for a while, and then forces them to write about it in his little book before he finally, mercifully, murders them and moves on to the next victim. Leonard abuses Clara, rapes her, humiliates her, tortures her, and does things to her that I couldn't even think of spoiling here before she finally gets an idea: she can use this book to her advantage. How? Does it work? Pick up a copy of the movie, find out for yourself, and thank me later.

Now, I compared this to August Underground up above, but I should point out that it's nowhere near as graphic in terms of blood and guts; there's some nasty scenes here that gorehounds will enjoy, but most of the film relies on violence and torture of a less graphic nature. You won't see Leonard rip out Clara's guts and poke his fingers around in them, but you will see him beat the shit out of her. You won't see him stab her repeatedly with a butcher knife, but you will see him urinate on her (this act wasn't staged for the camera, by the way). You may think this is a complaint, but truthfully, it wasn't; the way the violence and torture was handled here was much more haunting and realistic, and that in turn led to a much more memorable film. Let's just put it like this: when I walked away from the August Underground films, the only thing on my mind was "Damn, those were some nice effects." When I walked away from Scrapbook, I found myself thinking "Jesus, that was fucked up and disturbing."

This is not to say that you won't be visually assaulted by brutality throughout the running time; far from it, as there are some truly vile and reprehensible actions taking place here as Leonard starts pushing the envelope further and further for a juicer chapter in his book. Making things on this end of the spectrum even better was the fact that - according to the film's website - the actors held nothing back when physically assaulting one another, and aside from the actual penetration, nothing was held back in terms of the rape sequences either. This definitely shows up on the screen, and there are times when you wonder how in the hell the actor playing Leonard didn't seriously hurt the actress playing his victim.

The tagline for the film claims that "True horror is simply what one human being can do to another", and truer words have never been printed. Don't go into this one looking for nasty gore effects or buckets of blood, but if you want a disturbing film that will stick with you for quite some time, Scrapbook should be at the top of your list. 10/10.

PS: Sadly, this had been actor / writer Tommy Biondo's pet project for over five years, and he died just days after the film completed post-production. He never got to see the final product, but I have a feeling that he would have loved the way it turned out. R.I.P.
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lostth0ught #1: lostth0ught - added 10/30/2007, 01:11 PM
If this is going to be anything like Amateur Porn Star Killer, I'm all over it.
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