The Acid King Image

Just like the Boomers had the moon landing as a defining event, Generation X had Ricky Kasso and the subsequent Satanic panic. Dan Jones and Jesse P. Pollack’s The Acid King is the ultimate documentary on the teenage murder in the woods that unleashed mass hysteria over imaginary devil worshippers. On June 19th, 1984, homeless 17-year-old Ricky Kasso stabbed his friend Gary Lawuers to death while both were high on LSD and angel dust. The body was covered in leaves, and over the next two weeks, Kasso would show several other teenagers the remains. Finally, someone told a parent, and the police arrested Kasso, who was asleep in a car and later hung himself in jail.

“…homeless 17-year-old Ricky Kasso stabbed his friend Gary Lawuers to death…”

Based on an AC/DC t-shirt plus Kasso’s alleged boast that he made Lawuers say he loved Satan, the police claimed to the press that Kasso was a member of a Satanic cult and the killing was a human sacrifice. The killing was actually over ten bags of angel dust Lawuers had stolen weeks earlier, but the reporting focused on the bogus occult group. This kickstarted a nationwide community and law enforcement craze of hunting teens suspected of demon love. It also spread the false belief that Dungeons & Dragons was the gateway to Satanic cults and metal was the musical equivalent.

Newer generations may gawk at the weaponization of dweebs now, but back then, adults took seriously the idea that dice rollers were communing with the devil. Apparently, this meant children with particular interests were dangerous and would lead to years of harassment and real legal jeopardy over the idea that kids were working with Lucifer. Whole communities would target young ones for make-believe atrocities, beating them up because they wore black or were accused of hurting animals because they smoked pot in graveyards.

The Acid King (2021)

Directed and Written: Dan Jones, Jesse P. Pollack

Starring: Ricky Kasso, Nick Mamatas, David Breskin, Tommy Turner, Jim Van Bebber, Lori S., etc.

Movie score: 10/10

The Acid King Image

"…required viewing of the highest priority for everybody. Right now."

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  1. Neal Damiano says:

    This looks very interesting. What a crazy case this was. Metal music and black attire has always been the scapegoat for homicidal tendencies

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