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.

A post shared by Tiffany Villalpando (@tiffanyvillalpando) on

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.