Just Because You’re Paranoid It Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Out To Get You: Reviewing ‘Black Tape’ #4

The creeping sense of paranoia that has slowly taken a chokehold over this series reaches its crescendo in Black Tape #4 with Cindy’s worst fears made flesh as she is surrounded on all sides by Satanists. It seems there really was no-one to trust. Well, almost no-one. And, as well as the psychological horror we get some good old fashioned action, as Cindy’s would-be rescuer takes on bodyguard and badass, Frank, who is a man-mountain when compared to Cody. But, that won’t stop him trying in a very tense finale to this evocative, eerie series from writer Dan Panosian and artist Dalibor Talajić, who once more use off-kilt perspectives in many panels to help convey the unnerving, unfolding gory horror. All in the name of Satan.

The dark shadows of night is soon replaced by the orange-red glow of candlesticks and Satan-worshipping paraphernalia that only shows off the blood even more boldly. And, in this issue, there is lots of blood as the tense build-up of suspense is released in all its gory glory.

Talajić does well to not only establish the sun-dozed, sun-drenched hills of Hollywood but also to infuse and sustain the series with a tension similar to that of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, but with far more visceral and fiery frenzy. A line the aforementioned film never crosses but works so well in comics as each page turn amps up the action. And, through it all Cindy’s innocence has been well and truly shattered, to be replaced by a far more steely individual. For some, Hollywood chews ’em up and spits ’em out. For others, they have to contend with fending off Satanists Hellbent on sacrificing you to their lord and master. 

For a first time writer of horror as good as this one, Panosian has done exceptionally well, mixing a world he knows so well growing up in Laurel Canyon and L.A. with the Satanic-panic and rock and roll of a golden era that, all together, creates a heady mix of hedonistic excess and blood-drenched violence. In an era that was still hungover from the late sixties and the real-life terror of the Manson Family, this is an apt love song, albeit a somewhat hard rock one, to the good, the bad and the ugly of Hollywood at that time and the nationwide fears that, at lest in this series, are well founded.

The Devil gets all the best tunes, and some of the best comics too, it would seem.

Black Tape #4 is out now from AWA Upshot

The creeping sense of paranoia that has slowly taken a chokehold over this series reaches its crescendo in Black TapeCOMICONRead More

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