Review: Scott Shoyer's Outbreak: The Hunger

Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by

Sometimes you sleep on things that are really excellent, and that's what I did with sharing Scott Shoyer of Anything Horror's debut novel Outbreak: The Hunger. Scott mailed me a copy of his book in 2015 and I've just gotten around to reviewing it in the spring of 2017. Life is weird, y'all. 

I read Outbreak: The Hunger in the late summer of 2015 when I was in New Jersey filming Comic Book Men. (In fact, my United Airlines luggage tag is still in my copy as a bookmark.) Reading Outbreak was a fun way to keep me sane during a nervous four-day trip.

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I grew up watching George Romero movies but as I've gotten older, (don't kill me guys,) I've tired of the zombie genre. I can still appreciate a classic zombie film and will catch the occasional modern genre flick, but Outbreak: The Hunger was my first zombie novel and I'm happy it was.

Outbreak: The Hunger gives a unique perspective to the zombie genre. From its synopsis:
What starts off as a fun day at the zoo for John and his young daughter Fi quickly turns into a waking nightmare. Now they and a small group of survivors are fighting for their lives against a pack of animals that seem somehow altered. 
Was it nature or man who altered them?  
In a top secret research facility in Texas lies the answer. But will the scientists and soldiers find the answer before it's too late and the infection spreads to Man? 
No one is safe from the hunger that grows inside! 
Outbreak only comes in at 199 pages and is an action-packed, fast-paced read. I couldn't put it down. It's exciting, fun and from my experience, a good introduction to the genre. Shoyer has taken his experience as a horror reviewer, interviewer, and blogger and skillfully translated it into a fiction piece. Outbreak: The Hunger is a well-written gem, especially for a first-time novelist.

Shoyer has a way of keeping the plot feeling realistic and not so fantastical that the story isn't believable, which I think is tough to do when writing a horror novel. Outbreak: The Hunger's zoo setting is so relatable to anyone that has spent time with children and will scare parents to death. Your zoo experience will never feel the same.

I liked that Outbreak: The Hunger's protagonist, John, is really normal and the rest of the characters we get to meet in more depth feel like real people. Though we follow along with separate groups of characters, everything ends up flowing together like a great anthology film. I felt genuinely invested in John and Fi's story and was rooting for them throughout.

Outbreak: The Hunger has so much to enjoy and is a treat that horror fans will enjoy from cover to cover. Don't sleep on it like I did.

March General Favorites

Posted on Saturday, April 8, 2017 by

Once a month I'm going to share things I've been really loving. Many of the things shared here will be horror related, but I'm also going to include some other favorites like podcasts, books, things I've purchased, and general lifestyle things. Girl Terror is a feminist horror blog at heart, but sometimes I want to share a little bit more about my life here. My blog, my rules. Here are the things I loved in March.

Podcasts: 

You Must Remember This is a series about old Hollywood stories and scandals. I just listened to their three-part series about Marilyn Monroe and was fascinated to learn about her early life and how the men around her influenced her to make career decisions she wouldn't have made alone. I'm currently listening to their nine-part series about Charles Manson's Hollywood. It explores Charlie's relationship with Dennis and Brian Wilson and how films like Bonnie and Clyde laid the groundwork for free love and anti-authority movements in the sixties and seventies.

Up and Vanished covers the strange 2005 disappearance of teacher and beauty queen, Tara Grinstead. I've recently become more interested in true crime and prefer a podcast dedicated to one story like Serial, to individual episode stories like Sword and Scale.

Music: 

I work from home and music with vocals tends to distract me while typing so I've been leaning towards darker electronic music lately. Carla dal Forno's record You Know What It's Like could be the score to a classic giallo film. Soundtrack buffs will love it.

Sampha was featured on a Solange song and her album A Seat At The Table was one of my favorites from last year. I've been listening to Sampha's debut album, Process, when I'm doing yoga or having a lazy day at home.


Beauty: 

Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich is my new go-to moisturizer for day and night. My skin is super sensitive and this is one of few things that have made my face feel happy during this dry winter to spring period in Chicago.

Films:

I just caught The Devils (1971) on Shudder. The film received an X-rating in the United States and United Kingdom and was banned in many countries. Subsequently, the director and studio cut a lot of footage and film historians thought that the footage had been destroyed until a film critic found it in 2004. The uncut version is available for the first time in the US exclusively on Shudder. You'll like it if you're into religious and extreme horror.

Enlighten Us
 (2016) was a great documentary about motivational speaker James Arthur Ray, whose popularity fell when three of his clients died in a sweat lodge he hosted. I've recently become more interested in cults and though James Arthur Ray's practice wasn't a cult, the way he influenced a large group of people is in a way similar to cult leaders' practices. I watched it on Netflix but you can find it on Youtube below.


Other:

I finally picked up Studio House Designs' "Tom Savini Rules" shirt. I've been wearing it twice a week since it showed up.

Synapse Films released a steel book for Popcorn (1991). Popcorn is one of my all time favorite slashers and I preordered this copy months ago. The steel book has both cover designs on either side and is really fucking cool. It contains the film on both DVD and Blu Ray and a ton of special features like the film's TV spots and interviews with the cast. It's limited to 3000 copies but as of now, they're still available to purchase. I'm looking out for other collector's merchandise for Popcorn now, so if you have any leads on cool VHS copies, alternate or international posters and one-sheets, or the 1991 promotional popcorn box pin (I've been trying to track one down for years), shoot me an email! I already have an original poster that I scored on eBay for $7 and it's one of my prized possessions.


I just had my hair cut and colored at Penny Lane Studios in Chicago. Chrissy has been cutting my very picky boyfriend's hair since we moved here and I just took the plunge into my blonde journey. If you're local, I definitely recommended seeing Chrissy.

Depop is my new best friend. If you're into buying/selling used clothing, vintage, etc., I recommend it. I have some femme apparel, makeup, and accessories in my shop. Say hi if you came from the blog!

That's all I have for March. I'll plan to do these monthly or seasonally if you guys are into it. Email me or comment your film and podcast recommendations for April! Excited to catch up soon. XO

Review: Shudder Debuts Exclusive Sadako Vs. Kayako

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017 by

sadako vs. kayako review
Images courtesy of Shudder.
Horror fans everywhere were delighted with the idea of Sadako Vs. Kayako, the Freddy Vs. Jason of J-horror. Director Koji Shiraishi (Carved, Grotesque) wrote and directed the 2016 film, which had its North American release today on Shudder. Sadako Vs. Kayako had a wild marketing campaign, first teased as an April Fools joke, followed by a Twitter poll, several viral videos, a joke Instagram account, and several specialty items, including a series of my beloved Fuchikore figures.

Sadako was born through the 1998 film Ring (Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata) and its franchise which first followed a reporter trying to explain the deaths of several teenagers who viewed a cursed videotape. The tape leads her to the murder of a young girl named Sadako, who drowned in a well after being pushed in by her father. Those who view the tape receive a phone call from Sadako and she kills them exactly a week later. Ring inspired many Japanese horror films in the supernatural genre, including Ju-On (Ju-On: The Grudge, directed by Takashi Shimizu). The Ju-On franchise revolves around a house cursed by the ghosts of Kayako and her son, Toshio who were brutally murdered by Kayako's husband, Takeo. Everyone who enters the house is killed by the curse. These now cult-classic films inspired a new wave of genre films in the US, with both of them being remade in the early 2000s.

sadako vs. kayako review
Sadako Vs. Kayako follows two separate storylines. Natsumi and Yuri watch Sadako's cursed videotape and, with the help of an urban legend obsessed professor and a couple of mediums, try everything to escape her. Meanwhile, Suzuka moves into a house near the Ju-On home and after seeing strange things and investigating the disappearance of several children, falls under Kayako's curse. Their last chance for survival is to pit the two villains against each other in a final face off.

sadako vs. kayako review

Ring and Ju-On were both excellently paced films and Sadako Vs. Kayako is no different. It's a slow burn with enough early action to keep modern horror viewers interested. Like many of its J-horror predecessors, much of the suspense is left to the viewers' imagination. The film is definitely written for fans, though, and couldn't exist as a standalone film if you haven't seen Ju-On. Lucky for you, it's on Shudder so you can check it out before viewing Sadako Vs. Kayako. 

Sadako Vs. Kayako explores Ring's theme of expanding technology, but like I hoped entering this film, uses technology in a new way to spread Sadako's curse. It sticks to the previous films' energy but revitalizes them with unexpected, likable characters. There are a few subtle changes to the franchises' mythology, but overall stays true to their original stories.

sadako vs. kayako review

New and old fans will be pleased with Sadako Vs. Kayako. Although the film has a great sense of humor, Sadako Vs. Kayako is damn scary and keeps everything we love from its franchises. The finale is everything you'll want from a Sadako and Kayako face off, with Toshio in tow. Sadako Vs. Kayako is the supernatural treat the US needed from Japan this year and is absolutely worth viewing


Shudder is a premium streaming video service, serving both the casual and hardcore fans of horror and suspenseful entertainment. Offering new premieres and exclusives every month, and with a wide library ranging from hard-to-find international and independent films to thrilling TV series to cult grindhouse classics to Hollywood blockbusters, Shudder has something for everyone. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder’s growing library of expertly curated Horror, Mystery, Suspense,  Supernatural and Dark Thrillers is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Canada ad-free and for unlimited viewing on Shudder’s website, iOS and Android mobile apps, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku with a free one week trial or $4.99 monthly/$49.99 yearly membership. To sign up or learn more about Shudder, visit www.shudder.com.




Best of Shudder - November 2016

Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by

I've been raving about Shudder since getting access to its beta last year. (You can read my initial review here.) They've added a ton of changes and it works smoother than ever and dare I say I spend more time on its iPad app than Netflix? It's the horror lover's streaming dream and if you haven't already subscribed, you're missing out. Shudder should seriously send me a referral link or something because I can't stop recommending it. (Uh, you're welcome, AMC.)

To continue passing on the Shudder love, I'll be compiling a monthly collection of my favorite flicks from classic horror to indie titles for you to stream. I'm here to make your movie night a little easier. No need to endlessly scroll with me around. Writing with purpose over here. Enjoy!

Phantasm (1979)


The Tall Man is here in a Shudder exclusive, totally remastered format. Phatasm is a horror/sci-fi classic that's influenced many genre films and is a cult favorite. If you're going to watch anything this month, this is my top pick. The remastered cut is really beautiful and what better way to pay tribute to Angus Scrimm this year?

Innsmouth (2015)


I love that Shudder is starting to include short films in their lineup. Izzy Lee is one of my favorite feminist filmmakers. There isn't a single thing she's created that I haven't loved. I reviewed her film Postpartum last year. Innsmouth is an award winning short that takes on classic H. P. Lovecraft material and is perfect for suspense lovers. Take ten minutes to sneak this flick into your day. 

The Perfect Host (2009)



The Perfect Host is part black comedy, part thriller, and a really fun watch that proves you don't need ghosts to make an entertaining horror film. (Looking at you, Blumhouse.) I overlooked this one for many years and after checking it out last month, realized it's a totally underrated title. I recommend grabbing some beers (and other recreational material, real subtle, right?) before hitting play. When you're finished, check out director Nick Tomnay's original short that inspired it. 

Society (1989)


Brian Yuzma's Society is one of my favorite body horror movies of all time. Yuzma's cult horror films are some of the very best in the genre, which is kind of hysterical coming from the guy who directed the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids movies. Fans of Cronenberg will really dig this fucked up narrative about what it means to be the weirdo in an acceptance obsessed society. 

Berberian Sound Studio (2013)


I can't believe I haven't heard more people talking about Berberian Sound Studio. Berberian Sound Studio explores its character's experiences working on a giallo film, which blur the lines between reality and a psychedelic dream, while keeping the film's content a mystery. Berberian Sound Studio is visually striking and pays tribute to its 1970s Italian predecessors. It's unexpectedly spooky and deserves more praise.

Best of luck narrowing down your Shudder watchlist this month and I'll catch you in December with more Shudder recommendations. Happy viewing! XO

I Watched The Neon Demon So You Don't Have To

Posted on Friday, November 4, 2016 by

The Neon Demon review

This summer, I went to my first solo movie and it totally changed my outlook on all solo outings. Going to a movie by myself was so great because I didn’t have to share my popcorn, I got to sit where I wanted, and I didn’t have to fuss around someone else’s schedule. Best of all, I got to see a flick in theaters that I may have missed because my boyfriend wasn’t into seeing it. It’s unfortunate that the film I caught was underwhelming.

I was so excited about The Neon Demon when I saw the trailer. I love Elle Fanning. I love Jena Malone. It looked like Suspiria with glitter which is exactly what my dreams are made of. Writer and director Nicolas Winding Refn is best known for Drive, a highly rated and beautifully shot crime thriller starring our favorite punk rock eye candy, Ryan Gosling. Apparently Refn wasn’t sick of the pink and blue lights and decided to embark on another thriller journey. 

The Neon Demon review

The film opens with a beautiful still image of Jesse (Elle Fanning) soaked in blood and covered in cosmetic crystals, followed by bright flashes of light from the photographer on what we learn is a photography set. This is the first of many neon, picturesque shots. Visually, The Neon Demon looks like Sophia Coppolla and Dario Argento had a love child. The cinematography is probably the most consistent part of the entire film. When cleaning off her blood, Jesse meets Ruby (Jena Malone), a makeup artist who compliments her skin before taking her out to a party. Ruby’s friends join the ladies in the bathroom where they have a really gross conversation beginning with lipstick shades. “They say women are more likely to buy lipstick if it’s named after food or sex.” Ruby asks Jesse “are you food, or are you sex?” Then, the ladies drill Jesse about her body, her dead parents, and “who she’s fucking.” This conversation isn’t a parody of how vanity obsessed women speak to each other. It’s clear that Refn wrote the dialogue based on the age old misogynistic idea that women inherently hate other women and consider them competition. The party ends with a performance art piece with an uncomfortable, anxiety inducing light show reminiscent of a scene from a Gaspar Noe film.