Gilbert Hernandez - Speak of the Devil (3 stars)

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Gilbert Hernandez - Speak of the Devil

(Dark Horse)

CRIME

One half of Los Bros Hernandez takes time off from the long-running magic realist Mexican soap opera of Love & Rockets for this nasty little tale that mixes teen melodrama with stalk’n’slash chills. It’s a crazed cautionary tale in which a high-school swim champ named Val plays out her youthful angst – partly precipitated by her often absent father leaving her mad mother for a brunette bimbo – by donning a devil’s mask and becoming the local Peeping Tom. But Val’s furtive nocturnal escapades encourage her to cast aside received notions of morality and what begins as harmless voyeurism swiftly becomes a gruesome serial killing spree. More chilling still, her criminal acts entice friends and family to do likewise and the apparently nonsensical murders are multiplied by the copycat killers. It’s a dark and disturbing vision of a modern urban America in which crushing conformity begets rebellion and psychosis.

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