Viva la Morte!

It’s a bit difficult, for some people, to understand the emotions that are conjured up while listening to Italian horror composers like Fabio Frizzi, Claudio Simonetti, Goblin, Riz Ortolani, Roberto Donati and others. Even Ennio Morricone, who may not be known for horror, has some amazing genre scores that swing with the best of them. Not sure if it’s because, watching the films, those of us that ‘get it’, connect what oscillates in our eardrum cilia to what our optic nerves pick up…like a complex deep red wine that assaults your palate with boldness that blows your tastebuds away; yearning for more. Or perhaps it’s just how lushly the sounds these talented maestros commit to tape (and later digital) so expertly carves intricate feelings our of every note…A paradoxical question that really has no definitive answer, but yearns us ‘darkened few’ to explore nonetheless.

So you can imagine my skepticism when I heard that this group of guys from Sweden were turning out tunes that held their own against the composers I revere as gods. But I had to listen….I had to tune in.


These guys get it! That is all I need to say about Anima Morte…They get horror; and…that would mark the end of this article; but I’d feel like that would be cheaply short changing you, the reader, so I’ll press on.

I barely was introduced to them a year or so ago with their release of Inertia of the Risen; a short but sweet 7 inch collaboration with the legendary composer Fabio Frizzi. Being a Frizzi fan since I could remember, of course, peaks my immediate interest. So I picked it up…and I have played it so many times that if it were on cassette I would have a probably warped the tape…good thing it is not on cassette but on indestructible digital and vinyl; I can play the shit out of the digital file and preserve the vinyl for my kids to pass along to their kids and so forth. Anima-Morte-and-Fabio-Frizzi-Inertia-of-the-Risen-1024x1024.jpg

Some facts about Anima Morte:

  • Formed in 2004 in Sweden
  • Currently consists of 4 talented, giallo-inspired musicians; Daniel Cennerfelt, Fredrik Klingwall, Stefan Granberg and Teddy Möller.
  • Have released 3 studio albums; Face the Sea of Darkness, The Nightmare Becomes Reality and Upon Darkened Stains, along with other releases and collaborations including one with Death Metal act Antigama.

But for more specifics visit their Wikipedia page.

I picked their albums up and exposed my psyche to them in the order they were released. Their skill for key changes is evidenced by the morphing of a ‘hope-sounding’ Intro into a dark, minor key assault with He Who Dwells in Darkness (from Face the Sea of Darkness). The use of crossfading tracks is not new and sometimes can be gimmicky, but not here. Here is it teases you, the listener. You press play on an album titled “Face the Sea of Darkness” and before you can second guess whether or not you inserted the right disc (for those of you who still use CDs) the tone changes and is sustained throughout to the end. The little ray of sunshine that burst thru, almost immediately squashed forever.

Face The Sea Of Darkness.jpg

If I have to chose a favorite song from their debut album I would only chose by the track I have listened to the most, which is Twilight of the Dead…such an amazing song; haunting, mischievous and ballsy with its well placed guitar riffs. You’ll find that a common theme with Anima Morte’s songs throughout their catalog; every note, every hit of the snare or toms…deliberate and belongs exactly where they’re placed. a3630210335_2.jpg

To contrast ‘Intro’ from their debut album, The opening track on their follow up starts you off right in the 9th circle of hell and gives you a grand tour of its many quarters. A sonic assault on your soul. But much like Faust, you do give up your soul but you are rewarded with solos and melodies you clearly are not worthy of listening to.

Hard at work for you, the valiant listener.

a0700897435_10.jpgIf there is one thing I can deduce from now arriving at their 3rd studio album is that music is definitely seen as a journey to these guys. Again, another opening song and again a different tone set from the onset. Blessing of the Dead is equal parts somber, understanding and forgiving…all with an ‘old world’ timbre. A journey that crescendos with every twist and turn until its climax.

But I shouldn’t write on forever on them because you should really be listening to them. Maybe you can listen to them while reading this?

In closing, yes you will hear Goblin and Fabio Frizzi cadences in Anima Morte…After all, this is music made from the heart by talented musicians who grew up with not just hearing but experiencing the films of legends. A Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci film is an experience that no one should take lightly or not take something deep and brooding away from. A lot of it is visual but the scores play such a visceral role in controlling what you feel and when you feel it…the main reason why these composers are so appreciated and respected. That being said, Anima Morte is a beast all its own, make no bones about it. Think of it as someone not just carrying the torch passed on from their predecessors but in turn re igniting it for a new generation.

There is so much more in store for you here…so much power, depth, structure and chaos to be had. Don’t deprive yourself of this. Don’t be afraid, dive head first into the sea of the unknown and….above all else, prepare to be mystified and impressed with what you hear.



Unsafe waters!


I was first introduced to Sandy Collora at a local comic book/horror sic fi show called Frank and Sons.. This was back in 2003 I believe, give or take a year or two. A short, well polished film titled Batman Dead End was making its rounds and generating quite a bit of hype. This was prior to Batman Begins’ release. It was a pretty well known fact that the hacks-I mean…the producers at Warner Brothers were struggling to revamp the Dark Knight and here comes this guy, not well known to the film community but definitely knowing the material and he self funds this amazing short. You had Predators, Aliens, a faithful looking Batman and the best Joker I had seen to date. Had I been an exec at WB I would’ve wanted this guy to helm the Batman reset (calling what it was, a reset).

Fast forward to 2015 when to my delight not only has a documentary surfaced on Batman: Dead End (which is a must see) but also that Mr. Collora is once again putting together a, at the time, ambitious feature length film starring a shark hunter creature called a Tiburonera and he took to Kickstarter, this time, to raise the necessary capital. Being a fan of the 50’s Creature from the Black Lagoon and really feeling this to be a homage, of sorts, to an era long forgotten, I jumped on to help fund.

Well, unfortunately there weren’t enough like-minded people to successfully fund so Sandy, rather than give up on the creature he had poured so much heart and soul into, decided to adjust his project to a short film…thus reducing the cost to make exponentially. 2nd time was a charm for soon enough the project was on its way to see the light of day.

So now the finished product is out. I have watched multiple times on two TVs, two different sound systems, on my iMac, on tablets, on Blu Ray. I am so thankful that Sandy is not a quitter and that he persevered to get this bad boy made for its nearly 20 minutes of sheer cinematic monster movie bliss. The only thing I don’t like about it is seeing the credit roll so soon. But Shallow Water has really left me craving more. I want to see more of the Tiburonera, learn more about them; where they come from, what they’re all about. Knowing Sandy’s tenacity I’m hopeful it will.

Image - creature in rain-1
Hello, sweet thing!

Forgive me if my review is brief, but it’s rather difficult to give a in-depth, spoiler free review of a 19 minute film. I will speak of it on a technical note first. Technically it’s gorgeous. Colors are vibrant, textures are well layered and sound is rich. I have always been a fan of ‘man in a suit’ monsters over CGI and it is refreshing to see that I am not alone. Practical effects is quickly becoming a niche art form instead of the norm, but not everyone is subscribing to that school of thought and for that I am grateful.

Essentially Shallow Water pretty much throws you in to a scene that just as easily could’ve been placed towards the middle to end of a feature length version of itself. With the main character, expertly played by Lisa Roumain, coming to the realization that she is being hunted by something and must outwit and outmaneuver whatever it is that is pursuing her to survive. Or perhaps she just stumbled into something she shouldn’t have; it came be taken different ways and that’s one of the reasons it works so well. There is no dialog and no real narrative other than what you are visually assaulted with. You’re in the thick of it just like Diane is…you’re pretty much fucked. As she discovers the gory (excellent practical gore effects) remains of what were perhaps her colleagues she quickly has to kick into survival mode. You feel her anxiety, her panic and ultimately…well, I won’t give it away.

When Diane begins to realize that shit just got real.

The creatures themselves are astonishing to look at. You can tell the shark hunters were designed by someone gifted and passionate about getting them to look exactly as envisioned.

In closing, I really hope that we see more of Sandy’s aquatic monsters someday. This was an ambitious undertaking by an ambitious artist and it works, plain and simple. Check it out, you won’t regret it. And support these projects for that is the only way they stand a chance in an industry quickly becoming vacant of creativity and spirit.

– O.G.A.

The evolution of the Wolf Man….

When looking back at lycanthripic lore, you read countless tales and watch countless films that you become exposed to both werewolves that generally move around on all fours and wolf men that generally stand erect like a normal guy does.

Personally for me, since as far back as I can recall, have appreciated both pretty much equally. It’s difficult for me to have a favorite since both look so cool, although I will say that for me the ‘man’ side of the beasts have always been more identifiable and memorable on the more traditional biped side. When I think of werewolves I picture a regal, sophisticated Paul Naschy in his Waldemar Daninsky character or Lon Chaney Jr. These were both men who went about their daily lives pretty much as normal men…with the exception of nights when the moon was a wee bit full.

Lon Chaney Jr. breathing life into the Wolfman
I feel that is why one can relate more to the Wolfman then any other of the classic monsters our there. I honestly cannot remember when I first saw a lot of iconic films but I remember when I first saw the Wolfman. It was on a late night after coming home from an exhausting night trick or treating. I don’t remember what costume my parents had bought me for Halloween that year. But I remember turning on the television and being mesmerized by what I saw on the tube in front of me…I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7. My love for horror began around that time…

It took a bit longer to be exposed to Señor Jacinto Molina, better known as Paul Naschy. I think around 12-13 I had rented a VHS from a local store that had a robust horror selection. A friend who lived down the street from me and I had this contest where we would try and outdo each other with horror rentals…whatever we could sneak passed the noses of our parents. I rented a movie called Curse of the Devil…wow. To me it was the first time I saw the Wolfman in color so I was naturally excited. But I was also excited with how much charisma and charm Señor Naschy brought to the screen. My quest to track down as many of his films as I could back then in a pre-internet world and with limited funds began..

Paul Naschy perfecting the role he was born to play
A lot of genre buffs would always hail Paul Naschy as the next Lon Chaney but he did so much more, he went so much further; portraying pretty much every iconic character you can think of. Dracula, Frankenstein’s monsters, the Mummy, the Hunchback (one of my favorite Naschy films), Rasputin, Fu Manchu and others. I played the Daninsky/hombre lobo character 16 times! How many times did Lon Chaney play the Wolf man? This is not intended to discredit Lon Chaney’s amazing work because he was a huge influence on Paul Naschy…just illustrating how much further and deeper Naschy took it.

Benicio Del Toro in the 2010 Wolfman
The screen above is from Joe Johnston’s 2010 version of the Wolfman.  While not a perfect film, it scores well in my book mainly due to its atmosphere and it being able to aptly capture the essence of the character, though either Chaney or Naschy could run circles around Del Toro’s dead pan, lifeless performance. I know, not a fair comparison. But nothing ever will match the greatness and legacy left behind by Chaney and Naschy.

So maybe there really hasn’t been so much of an evolution of the Wolfman after all. Advancements in cinema and special effects may have brought us cooler looking visuals, but the performances just aren’t there anymore. The actor no longer has to sell the character and make up as much because it’ll be done in computer. How much of that still from The Wolfman above do you think is ‘in camera’?

The great news is that thanks to the fact that there are so many outlets today to catch these films, one can continue to relive the classics over and over again. My wife recently had observed that I had not been buying new horror films. I responded ‘I don’t have to when I have such an amazing catalog of movies to watch that are way better than what’s being made today’, but I digress…

For further information on Paul Naschy’s films go to and search ‘Paul Naschy’. Or just take a chance and purchase some on Amazon.

My recommendations would be:

Night of the Werewolf

Curse of the Devil

The Beast and the Magic Sword

La Furia del Hombre Lobo

Dr. Jeckyll y el Hombre Lobo.

-Orlando G Acosta

Cathode Ray Terrors

Television IS the retina of the mind’s eye!


Any horror fan who has read my blogs or knows it’s no secret that I am heavily influenced by David Cronenberg’s 1983 masterpiece cautionary tale; “Videodrome”. Cathode Ray Terrors, itself, was inspired…okay, pretty much lifted from Videodrome; I just modified the ‘T’ to mean Terror instead of Tube yet this cancerous pirate broadcast channels does impart terror thru the tube. Thru the retina of the mind’s eye, as foretold by professor Oblivion.

Yet for all the fandom and admiration I have never written about Videodrome, its importance to me and its relevance to our current day state of constant need for over stimulation. My lovely wife, just last night, pointed out how during a sleepover for my youngest, the 4 little girls all aged between 9 and 10 were all multitasking between watching a movie right in front of them and interacting with their cell phones and tablets simultaneously. Kids today can’t even sit and watch a something on one screen, they have to have visual information shot at them from every angle.

Videodrome - 3.jpg

David Cronenberg predicted this 30 some odd years ago. Of course, he took it a bit further. But remember I called it a ‘cautionary tale’. Max Renn’s thirst for badder and bolder content to air on Civic TV Channel 83 drove him to depths he was not prepared for, unveiling a sinister plot, a global conspiracy to control the masses thru the seemingly  harmless television set. And what’s so different today? We’ve upgraded from CRT sets to flat screen plasmas, LCDs, LEDS, OLEDS and now beautifully curved, 4k screens that sucks you in and makes you its slave in all its high definition glory. We have 3D tvs, Oculus VR head sets not too dissimilar from the set Max gets to try out in Videodrome.

The 80’s answer to Oculus
While there are other films that illustrate various types of ‘crowd control’ thru media, to me, none is as effective…as perverse, as Videodrome. As I write this blog, the ominous sounds of Howard Shore’s eerie score oscillate out my speakers. I can almost see them breathing, throbbing…yearning to be touched. I can listen to this score over and over and I feel it’s one of Mr Shore’s finest.


If you’re still reading this you have probably caught on that I am not really reviewing Videodrome…just rambling on about it…a fair assessment. I didn’t set out to review a 34 year old movie so much as to simply comment on its importance and relevance. You may disagree on how high of a pedestal I place this film on and, if you do, it could be because you have already experienced a video signal similar to Videodrome and it’s control is gestating deep inside your brain and there is no hope for you; you’re hooked. And maybe that’s the point of the film. Not so much a cautionary tale but a lamentation because we are already defeated. Sensory overload has already happened. What’s the solution to this disease of mind control thru over stimulation? Well, there’s Max Renn’s solution, which I won’t reveal here, or, there’s mine; get the balance right. Disconnect when you can. Don’t get sucked in…easier said than done. Especially since you’re probably reading this on your phone while something else is playing on your 4k flat screen right in front of you.

Me, posing with my copy of issue #25 of Fangoria. One of my oldest issues. 
In the end, will watching Videodrome make you a different person? It just might. Definitely worth the trip, trust me. I’ve been taking it for years.If you know me and want to watch reach out and I’ll screen it. I never tire of watching.


Long live the new flesh!

Dissecting a Killer Film

I have a general rule that I never review a film after only one viewing. There are multiple reasons for that. One is that I never go into a movie thinking about reviewing it. I analyze the hell out of them and I am very critical of them but that’s just the normal ‘me’. Once I watch I film that persuades me to talk about it publicly I watch it again before I do…not doing that here; I don’t need to. Beyond this quick introduction you’ll find my complete, spoiler free review of Andre Ovredal’s “Autopsy of Jane Doe”

She should get an Academy Award!

Also, when I carve out time to watch a film I really do not like to know much about it. Especially if I am familiar with the film maker’s previous work. Mr. Ovredal had blown me away with his first film, the charming ‘found footage’ film Troll Hunter. He had managed to pleasantly surprise me with that film. I had seen it in one of my Rue Morgue issues but, quite honestly, I was grabbed by the photo stills and not the premise…at least at first. I have always been critical of mockumentaries and found footage films; not a genre I ever liked. So when I realized that Troll Hunter was that type of beast I started to lose a bit of interested. Then, an hour and forty minutes later I found myself watching it all over again. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by that movie and how a visionary, for all intent and purposes, first time director; how he managed to change my mind on what I do or do not like.

On to Jane Doe. This film is intense and engaging. I loved it on a technical level. The focus pulling, the off-level tracking shots, the darkness in the background seemingly moving and shifting about. The fact it doesn’t cut away too much but shows you those close ups that gore mongers like myself get off on. The autopsy scenes were so well done I cannot emphasize enough. The best autopsy scenes since Nacho Cerda’s “Aftermath”. But they should be, right? I mean, the film is titled “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”. The morgue scenes, while incredibly effective, are expected to be. It is everything else about the film that pushes and challenges even the most jaded of horror filmgoers such as myself. Guys, if you can’t stand 90% of the modern day horror films that come out then this is for you! this is that diamond in the rough, I’m telling you.

Since this is a review and I have to be a bit critical, the father and son duo, while great, I felt something was never fully fleshed out between them. It’s hard to describe without giving some spoilers. They’re not at all bad. Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox have a lot of on screen chemistry but I would’ve liked to have spent a bit more time with them.

The Tilden’s…hard at work

And Michael McElhatton…Seeing Roose Bolton in action practically gave me a boner. But it’s really Olwen Kelly that seals the deal, so to speak, as Jane Doe. Her presence is always ominous and for boding yet you feel for her. How her body is mercilessly cut into, sawed open, flayed…”Aftermath” did an excellent job in showing the mortician as no more of a butcher, Jane Doe takes it even further because as the mystery begins to unravel both Tilden’s senior and junior start to realize that they are in way over their heads. This is not just a pretty array of meat and bones, this is so much more…and then the dread sets in!

I touched on the cinematography a bit earlier but a lot of credit has to also go to the pacing, which is in the hands of the editors. This film moves very fast while knowing when to slow down for suspense; managing to keep the intensity going from the opening credits to the end.

In conclusion, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is not only a film that shouldn’t be missed by the most discerning of horror buffs, but also for those who may not necessary gravitate towards the genre but like a good scare. And to those who like a morale to every tale that is told; here’s the morale of this one: Don’t treat bodies like meat, respect the dead, for you never know where they may come from and what they’re capable of…

And check out Nacho Cerda’s Aftermath if you can track it down (sorry for the shameless plug but they go together so well).

screen shot from Nacho Cerda’s 30 minute short, Aftermath

-Orlando G Acosta


Tale of an American Goon!

This article has nothing to do with horror, gore or exploitation cinema. My apologies for straying a bit. Below is an article I wrote for Arsenal Fan TV website. Since I am not sure if it will get published and I kind of like what I wrote, I am sharing on my own blog.




Often times people ask me; ‘why Arsenal’? After all. I reside 7 time zones away, here in Los Angeles, California and I really have no territorial obligation to be in favor of one specific team. But I am… Since the days of David Seaman, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and many more stellar players that have come and gone. I’ll try and explain, for anyone interested enough to know.

It all started at a concert. It was The Sex Pistols Filthy Lucre reunion tour…I believe back in 96. I was catching their first of several LA shows at the now defunct Universal Amphitheater. At the end of their amazing set I bump into, completely by coincidence, Ray Burke. No one will probably know who that is. I had just met him a week earlier; he was my new boss who had just hired me for this new marketing department at a Mercedes Benz dealer. I had no idea that he would even be at the show and he was surprised to see me there as well. After greeting him and his friend, I noticed they were both wearing red jerseys with the big JVC logos on them. Of course my curiosity was peaked by the boldness of the jerseys so I asked what team it was. He said, proudly, ‘Arsenal, mate’! He told me that he had worn the jerseys because Johnny Rotten is a huge Arsenal fan and Ray, being from London, was also a big fan but more to catch Johnny’s attention…which he said he did. Being in the mosh pit wearing the bright red jersey caught Mr. Lydon’s attention and he gave him a big thumbs up and nod, making Ray’s evening.

Me, being a huge Pistols fan since buying Never Mind the Bullocks on cassette in the mid 80’s…Well, I figured, any team good enough for Mr. Lydon is good enough for me so I immediately started catching as many Gunner’s games as I could. I’d even go out to bars over here with Ray to catch games on live feeds…which meant waking up super early sometimes.

What started out of some sort of sentiment towards one of my favorite punk icons (I’m also a huge Public Image Limited fan) grew into true infatuation. And yes, players have come and gone…and to me there will never be as good of a keeper as Seaman, and I miss Fabregas, Henry, Van Persie, Wright, Vieira, Hartson, Bergkamp and many others…No team as evolved and grown as good as the Gunners have.

And while many have criticized Arsene Wenger and say it’s time for him to go…I don’t think so. Wenger IS Arsenal to me. He has been there since my start with the club. I don’t know or want to know any different. I even bought a Wenger wristwatch because it shares his namesake.

So there you have it. I hope I didn’t bore everyone too much. I look forward to traveling to the UK next year and of course I am going to plan my trip around as many Arsenal games as I can.

Thank you.

-Orlando G Acosta

My evening with Fabio Frizzi

Fabio and me!


Fabio and my lovely wife!


Ever since I could remember, I have loved Italian Horror. To me, the names Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Michele Soavi and so forth…those names, to me, are the equivalent to celebrity names for most. Honestly I feel I was greatly influenced by Dario Argento in his book Profondo Argento, where he writes that ‘actors are whores who just do the bidding of the director’. I may be paraphrasing a bit but how I feel about actors, I think, was greatly influenced by that line. Of course, half of the experience is visual and half is aural. So it’s fair to say that I also grew up listening to the scores of Ennio Morricone, Goblin, Riz Ortolani, Roberto Donati and last, but most certainly not least, the great Fabio Frizzi.

Fabio, bandmates and new friends!

Recently I had the privilege of being able to catch the maestro at work with his band, Fulci 2 Frizzi, here in San Diego at Brick by Brick. What a show it was. Wait, not a show, an experience! To see the man and his talented band in action playing tunes from films I grew up with was something I can’t easily describe. I was bummed out that I missed Goblin when they were in town a couple of years ago but this more than makes up for it.

Signore Frizzi played a decent-length set. Actually it was longer than I had expected, but of course, never long enough when you’re listening to music you enjoy. Tunes from Zombi, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, Manhattan Baby, Cat the Brain and more…

When it was all over, we got to meet new friends who I share common interests with and take a few more pictures. What an evening.

I hope Fulci 2 Frizzi comes to southern California again in the near future. Maybe someone can convince the agents to put together a Goblin/Fulci 2 Frizzi World Tour! That would be something…But until then;

Grazie signore…


-Orlando G Acosta


Shiny Silver Killer ball, now in HD!


J.J. Abrams and Don Coscarelli pay tribute to the late, great Mr. Angus Scrimm thru a meticulous high def restoration of one of my most beloved movies of all time: Phantasm.

Let me start by saying that I am generally not a fan of remastering older material. For me, the way a film looks. Its grittiness, its graininess, cigarette burns, lint caught in the projector, etc…all part of the experience for me. So naturally I was skeptical of this project when it was announced. Also, being that a big Hollywood player such as Mr. Abrams was involved, I thought to myself ‘oh shit. He’s going to pull a ‘Lucas’. He’s going to add CGI balls everywhere, maybe add more digital minions walking around.’ I am pleased to report that none of that happened. Nothing was added at all. The film was not altered in the slightest, except for some color corrections, I feel the color temps are a little cooler and of course, everything looks sharper. Having said that, yes, the graininess of the original print is gone.


The shadows are sharper and more defined. The blood still looks the same, which I am glad they didn’t mess with the hues too much. The sound is considerably cleaner as well and the surround mix is much more effective; and that I do appreciate. Sound plays a big factor in horror so kudos there. All in all, I don’t think this needed to happen. If I had a say in it I would’ve asked JJ to instead put the money into Ravager so the CGI effects of it are a little better (I’ll review Ravager in a separate blog but for now you can see my review on Facebook).

The good news is that you can own the remaster digitally from a number of different outlets. I bought mine for $12.99 thru the SONY store on my PS4. It is a couple of dollars cheaper on iTunes and Amazon as well, I think. I do hope it finds it’s way to Blu Ray soon because I would like to own it physically. But I am just as content in watching my Anchor Bay region 2 DVDs.


Thank you for reading…

-Orlando G Acosta