Deep in the far reaches of Montebello, in a secret temple, a young monk arranges sacred objects on the altar with exacting specificity. Each item is invested with hallowed significance and placed in its preordained place.
The sacrosanct enclave, on the second floor of an unassuming apartment building, just around the corner from McDonald's and 7-Eleven, is the manifestation of an evolved devotional practice. Few in the order achieved the level of mastery practiced in Anthony's Temple of Scream.
Anthony Torres, a high-strung young feature-film-trailer editor, has been collecting memorabilia from Wes Craven's horror series since 1996.
Leagues beyond the shallow realm of fetishism, transcending the addiction matrix, Anthony is not a Scream-aholic. He haunts a dimension surpassing devotion and obsession, having spent $3,000 on Scream 3 collectibles alone. The young archivist has logged, captured and curated a collection that defies categorization.
A sprawling display of horrific masks dominates the space on a single bed in his room, each with its own decisive markings distinguishing it from the others: place of manufacture, gauge of plastic, almost imperceptible variation in expression. Elsewhere are books, autographed stills, costumes, dolls, posters, authentic and look-alike props from the films, all frozen in time, suffocated in vacuum-sealed plastic.
Anthony navigates through the tight space to the heart of the collection, the pièce de résistance: an original sparkling black hooded robe, a prop from the movie, complete with a certificate of authenticity.
"I spend about 25 percent of what I make on Scream stuff," Anthony, 26, admits downstairs in the family living room. His mom says it's closer to 75 percent, but his younger brother, Chris, says it's easily 90 percent. Anthony's friends Sean Hernandez and Nestor Arce concur with Chris. His grandmother just shakes her head. "He's crazy. He loves it," she says and laughs.