Comic Book Review – PTSD Radio Volumes 1-6

PTSD Radio Volumes 1-6 (2018)
Written & Illustrated by Masaaki Nakayama

Urban landscapes are profoundly haunted. Cities are built on the ruins of villages and small towns, turning those who lived there previously into ghosts that linger in the corners. PTSD Radio begins as a series of disconnected horror stories, an anthology centered around tormented spirits, but then patterns start to emerge. The presence of hair and dark figures tugging at the scalps of sleeping victims are recurring motifs. Slowly but surely we uncover a story about a rural village where cultural changes led to the destruction of a primitive idol. This, in turn, unleashes a quiet evil that permeates the lives of the people who grew up in this village, following them into adulthood.

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Movie Review – The Hole in the Ground

The Hole in the Ground (2019)
Written by Lee Cronin and Stephen Shields
Directed by Lee Cronin

Sarah has moved to a wooded corner of Ireland with her son Chris to restart their lives. Something terrible happened months ago leaving Sarah with a concussion and scar. She is worried about Chris who doesn’t want to talk about but otherwise seems like a normal nine-year-old. While exploring the woods nearby, Sarah comes across a frightening large bog, a sinkhole that is slowly swallowing the earth around it. She warns Chris to stay away, but one night it appears he sneaks out of the house. The next day his behavior has changed and slowly but surely creeping paranoia sets in. It doesn’t help that Noreen, an elderly neighbor suffered a complete psychological breakdown decades earlier, reportedly screaming about her son not being her child, but something else, something sinister.

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Movie Review – Border

Border (2018)
Written by Ali Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf, & John Ajvide Lindqvist
Directed by Ali Abbasi

Tina lives a secluded life, markedly different from everyone around her from a chromosomal abnormality compared to the humans that populate her world. She has a pronounced brow ridge and protruding teeth recalling images of long-extinct Neanderthals. What makes her valuable to people is her ability to smell guilt and shame making her a perfect customs agent at a Swedish port of entry. After years of ferreting out contraband, she eventually meets a man who shares her facial deformities and seems to be beyond her ability to detect evil. There is an attraction between them that develops and leads Tina to discover the truth about her past and the lies she has been told her whole life.

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Movie Review – The ‘Burbs

The ‘Burbs (1989)
Written by Dana Olsen
Directed by Joe Dante

The quiet cul-de-sac of Mayfield Place has been shaken up by the arrival of the Klopeks, a reclusive family who has allowed their house and property to fall into decay. Their neighbor, Ray Peterson has the week off from work and has decided to peter around the house which allows him to fall under the influence of his friends Art and Rumsfield. They are convinced that the Klopeks are murderers, Satanists, mad scientists, or some combination of these things. Ray is continuously pulled back down to earth by his wife Carol who implies this isn’t the first time her husband has allowed himself to be carried away with wild fantasies like this. She is determined to convince him the Klopeks are perfectly reasonable people. However, then something strange happens: the homeowner at the end of the street, Walter vanishes without a trace, and all signs point to the Klopeks.

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Movie Review – Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Written & Directed by Dan Gilroy

Morf Vanderwalt is a dissatisfied art critic searching for something that will bring inspiration to him both personally and professionally. His relationships with other members of the art community are all transactional leaving him even more hollow. Josephina, a lover of Morf’s and an agent in the art world, discovers a neighbor has died, and his home is full of hypnotic, unsettling artwork. Ventril Dease is the deceased artist and no matter who glimpses his Goya-esque paintings they seem enthralled. Art gallery owner Rhodora Haze sees a long term market for Dease and decides to squirrel away most of the thousands of pictures to trickle them out slowly over time. This is when the strange deaths begin, and Morf starts to realize that there is an evil presence surrounding this artwork.

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Movie Review – Black Swan

Black Swan (2010)
Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John J. McLaughlin
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Nina is a ballerina working in a New York ballet company with aspirations of maybe becoming the lead dancer one day. Her chances arrive sooner than she realizes when prima ballerina Beth, aging and bitter about what the director has made her do over the years, is pushed aside for Nina in the lead role of Swan Lake. Thomas, the company’s director, is growing increasingly frustrated with what he says is Nina’s constraining inhibitions. While technically perfect she lacks the passion he wants to see and uses new company member Lily as an example of real emotion in the work. Nina’s mother doesn’t help things by creating a perpetual childhood in their apartment, treating the young woman the same as she did when Nina was a girl. All of this pressure begins to show the cracks in Nina’s psyche as she glimpses a shadow-self, a doppelganger wandering the streets living a life parallel to our protagonist. What is real and what is in the life of the mind begin to blur and dissolve.

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Movie Review – Bandersnatch

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Written by Charlie Brooker
Directed by David Slade

Stefan Butler is a young man obsessed. It’s 1984, and he is plugging away at adapting the cult novel Bandersnatch, a choose your own adventure style book, into a PC game. He pitches the unfinished version of the game to the new kid on the block game company Tuckersoft. Butler lives at home under the worried gaze of his father while attending therapy sessions with Dr. Haynes. With Dr. Haynes, he talks about and relives the moment in his life that has caused the most trauma, the tragic death of his mother. Bandersnatch was something she left behind and, because of that emotional tie, he has become obsessed with the tome. From there, things get weird as the film is an interactive presentation, much like the book the viewer will choose the paths Stefan goes down, and that’s where the problems begin.

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