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The Acid King

USA 2019
produced by
Nicole Cliffe (executive), Mark Gray (executive), Chandler Thistle (executive), Anthony Zenkus (executive) for 1289 Films
directed by Jesse P. Pollack, Dan Jones
starring Terry Barton, Barefoot Billy, Corey Bing, Bahb Branca, David Breskin, Brendan B. Brown, Connor Clark, Lili Collins, Alex Fielding, J.P. Groeninger, Dan Harrington, Leslie K Hatton, Brian Kaufman, Grant Koerner, Lily Kosef, Chris Limbach, Nick Mamatas, Eric Naiburg, Tom Raetz, Lori S., Ron Schmitt, Jackson Stover, Chandler Thistle, Chris Tsakis, Tommy Turner, Jim Van Bebber, Doug Varley, Marlene Yolango, Anthony Zenkus
written by Jesse P. Pollack, Dan Jones, music by Alms House, Menephra


review by
Mike Haberfelner

It was a murder that shocked the nation back in 1984, when in the sleepy Long Island village Northport, NY, 17 year old Ricky Kasso murdered Gary Sauwer in what was soon reported to be a Satanic ritual with Kasso being the leader of a Satanist cult, and since it happened at the height of the nationwide Satanic panic, that among other things demonized heavy metal music, and Kasso wore an AC/DC t-shirt at the time of his arrest, this story fit the overall narrative only too perfectly ... only, the story the media then reported twists the truth quite a bit: Ricky Kasso was far from the leader of a cult of Satanist, just a kid who has been thrown out of his home by his father at age 13 and since made a living selling drugs - and using of course. And while it's true that he had an interest in the occult, this can be said of many teens and had no relation to the murder. Kasso even had a chance to get back to live with his parents, and they sent him to drug rehabilitation, but it seems he was too far gone already, and was kicked out of his parental home again for long. Gary Sauwer was a friend of Kasso, also into drug pushing and using, but not as deep into it. However, at one point he stole from Kasso, something Kasso couldn't tolerate, so he and two acquaintances got together with Sauwer to get high - but with everybody under heavy influence of mind-altering substances, the situation escalated, and Kasso brutally stabbed Sauwer again and again. So addled was his brain that he later bragged about the murder and took people to see Sauwer's dead body, to bury him only after 14 days, upon which he and a friend decided to skip town - but they failed to make good their getaway and got arrested. Kasso never stood trial though, he hanged himself in his cell only a couple of days after his arrest ...


Now as sensationalist as early reports about the murder in questions were, this film does a great job ripping away all hyperboles and turning what's left into a very fascinating story in itself. And what makes this approach quite so well is that it features many interviews with persons more or less directly involved with the story itself, from Kasso and Lauwer's acquaintances to a journalist researching the true story to a lawyer who has worked on the case, and with almost forensic care pieces together something as close to the truth as one can get. But what makes the film is that despite it consists mostly of talking heads, it keeps the narrative tension high throughout and keeps the audience at the edge of their seats with a truly well-conceived true story.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD