"Getting involved in documentary work was never part of my plan. It just sort of happened, like waking up next to a partner you didn't particularly fancy. My work in the field wasn't really intended for public distribution, more as a kind of rough working-out for feature projects that never happened. It was only in hindsight that I realized they were, to some extent, scarier than any work of fiction could ever be. Not in a superficial, in-your-face kind of way, but in a deep down, genuinely upsetting way: denying the audience the usual get-out clause of knowing it's only make-believe. Nothing in my imagination could ever come close to the pure terror of the waking world.
On another level, I think I intended the work as a sort of trail, a body of evidence to prove I wasn't making it all up; that at least some of the shit I remember seeing, actually happened: a series of clues, so someone else could put the pieces together or have a slightly better shot at making it to the next level in the event of my own disappearance or violent demise.
Mostly I tried to commit to film a series of images and ideas that I had never seen or heard of before, usually because the mass media deliberately avoided covering them. The media, be it written word in the dark ages or the rolling news today, is the holding pattern for consensus reality. The documentary work could be understood as a form of terrorist action, a succession of observations intended to blow holes in that consensus and open up the possibility of strange new vistas of experience. Go figure.
P.S. At the end of the day, I really just did it for kicks. Why else would anyone bother?"
- Richard Stanley, (May 2003) [Originally appeared at the FanTasia website.]
"I'm sort of a believer in the idea that music doesn't really need visuals. I could never escape the fact that videos are ultimately superfluous. If the song's good, you don't really need a video." [Richard Stanley in "Stanley, I presume?" by Mark Kermode. Originally appeared in Direction, 12/1991 & 1/1992.]
"'Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.' Steal the stoke, steal the locations, steal the shots, reclaim the distribution network, liberate our consciousness by whatever means available. Never, never surrender." [Richard Stanley in 99€ Films press release, translated from German.]