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Heads Will Roll! PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Don J. Hoskinnall   
Jan 08, 2005 at 02:00 AM
An interview with Eric Stanze about THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK releases.

Eric Stanze is the director of such feature flicks as SAVAGE HARVEST, ICE FROM THE SUN, and the critically acclaimed SCRAPBOOK. Stanze's additional work in the area of short films and music videos spawned Wicked Pixel Cinema's THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, available on VHS from Sub Rosa Studios.
THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK is a compilation of shorts and music clips, many of which Stanze contributed to or directed himself. The shorts on this compilation lean to the extreme, favoring bizarre visuals, bloodshed, and adult sexual content. None of the shorts come anywhere close to "mainstream" filmmaking. It's challenging and often controversial stuff.
Wicked Pixel Cinema and Sub Rosa Studios are announcing a very unique plan for releasing THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2. This second compilation will be available exclusively through this website ...and only 150 copies will be sold! I sat down with Eric Stanze to dig up the details about this unusual distribution plan.
Dark Gallery) Tell us about the first volume of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK.
Eric Stanze) I started developing the idea for THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK between shooting SAVAGE HARVEST and ICE FROM THE SUN. Tom Biondo and I made a short called SATISFACTION. The project was cool, but shorts are nearly impossible to sell to the home video market. And back then, DVD wasn't around, so the idea of a short film being a bonus DVD feature was non-existent. I assumed that more short projects would follow SATISFACTION. I figured that if enough shorts accumulated around us, we could release a pretty interesting compilation.
More shorts did emerge. I made some music videos. Jason Christ was producing some interesting Super8 and 16mm short films. I met Steve Lashly and Chad Eivins and discovered that they had made some really great short films. SATISFACTION, containing very adult sexual imagery, set the tone for the compilation. We chose the most non-mainstream shorts to assemble into the first volume of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK.

DG) How was volume one of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK received by the critics?
ES) If a compilation has any variety to it at all, it will get mixed responses. Depending on your taste, you'll love some shorts and dislike others. There's a wide variety of shorts on SEVERED HEAD so every review was different. For example, some reviews said SATISFACTION was the best short on the comp. Other reviews said it was the weakest short. But overall, the reviews I saw of the compilation were very positive. I think the gutsy nature of the collection was refreshing and entertaining to people.
For me, the highlights of the first volume are VOMIRE by Chad Eivins, CURVEBALL: PILE OF JUNK by Jason Christ, and SATISFACTION.
VOMIRE is a wonderful acid trip visual attack. Disturbing and perplexing imagery. Very artistic. I am eager to see what Chad makes next.
CURVEBALL: PILE OF JUNK is an experimental music film by Jason Christ. I star in this film. Shooting this was a great experience for me as an actor. Jason is an excellent director. And Cory Clay's photography is outstanding. I was pleased to be a part of the project and I was floored by how good it turned out. This short won an Emmy, a Telly, and The Cine Eagle Award, which is pretty prestigious.
SATISFACTION is twenty-one minutes of increasingly surreal sexual imagery with a dark revenge plot woven in. Though the short is visually driven and without any dialog, the performances were outstanding, adding to the sinister tone of the piece. That movie just has a weird, fascinating vibe to it. I like it a lot.

DG) Is THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 1 still available on VHS?
ES) Absolutely. Eleven shorts full of sex, death, and rebellious rock music! Perfect for artsy film fans and defiant teenagers everywhere. Buy a copy from Sub Rosa Studios right now!

You directed the opening title video for THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK. Is there a Stanze-directed opening sequence at the start of volume two?
ES) Yes. I was pretty happy with how the open video for the first volume turned out. It took about four months of pre-production and then one LONG day of shooting. The aggressive music in that video, combined with the sexual imagery and strange set design, it really kicked off the compilation right.
I did direct the opening title sequence for volume two as well, but I approached it's production much differently. I was even more open to experimentation for this one. Very little pre-production, and shooting was spread out over multiple units shooting 5 or 6 days.

DG) Describe the short films that will be on THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2.
ES) I'd have to say that this second volume's shorts are even more diverse than in the first comp. And these shorts are more bizarre, believe it or not! We even have a musical on this compilation – one of the most surreal musicals you've ever seen! It's called LIONTOWN, directed by Aaron Crozier. The cast is all animals... kind of. It's difficult to describe. You'll just have to check it out.
Justin Woiwode's LAM, a brilliant exercise in expressionistic filmmaking, just blew us away when we first saw it. Running 38 minutes, it's the "epic" of the compilation. Set in an insane asylum, the film paints with vivid colors the nightmare world experienced by one of the female patients. A really excellent film.
UNWANTED, directed by Todd Tevlin, is a fast blast montage. This short depicts the madness of a man who is horribly violent in one existence and passive in the other. UNWANTED stars Chris Grega, who directed another short featured on this comp.
In addition to putting together the open title sequence, I have a short called FAITH IN NOTHING included on this volume. I directed, shot, and edited. Jeremy Wallace did production design. The short stars Lisa A. Morrison and DJ Vivona. It is the erotic but lonely story of a woman longing for her absent lover. Steamy stuff, but hopefully very haunting as well.

DG) Only 150 VHS copies of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2 will be sold. Why?
ES) The reason is mostly financial. Compilations have an extremely limited audience, so sales are not as high as they are for a feature length film. The first SEVERED HEAD is selling very well for a compilation, but the profits just don't justify a wide release of the second compilation. Instead of ditching the whole idea of a volume two, we decided to scale it back, just get it into the hands of the people who appreciate this kind of art the most. This way we don't have to invest in a wide release. And those few who jump on it and buy it before it sells out will have something more collectable.

DG) What is the price tag on a copy of THE SEVERED HEAD, VOL. 2? And when is the release date?
ES) THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2 will be released on November 1st, 2002. At that time, the tape will cost $21.99. However, throughout the entire month of October, you can pre-order this comp and save some cash. If you order before midnight, October 31st (Halloween) you will get THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2 for only $14.99. All pre-orders will ship out on November 1st. Order by midnight Halloween or you'll pay full price!
THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2 limited release is only available through the Sub Rosa Studios website, www.b-movie.com. You can get all the details of this compilation at wickedpixel.com.

DG) Will there be future volumes of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK following this volume 2 compilation?
ES) Maybe. But probably not. People expect more and more material on the DVD's they buy. So all of our future short films and music videos will just be released as bonus material on feature film DVD's. But if enough people demand it, I would love to do more volumes of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK. For me, the short film / music video is great training ground. I've been able to test out a lot of ideas and techniques by making short projects. So I have a personal attraction to music videos and shorts. Plus, I've seen so much talent around me in the shorts made by other people. Putting together these SEVERED HEAD compilations has been a truly rewarding experience.
To add to the collectability of this limited release, every copy of THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK, VOL. 2 will be numbered as well as autographed by Eric Stanze. Once those 150 copies sell out, the compilation will be out of print and no longer available. Remember, pre-orders made before midnight Halloween will be priced at $14.99. Orders placed on or after the release date, November 1st, will cost you $21.99. So be sure to pre-order your copy in October!

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