Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Poltergeist remake is rated PG-13, which is no reason to freak out

If you're a horror fan on the Internet, I'm sure you've heard the news that the Poltergeist remake has been given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA, for "intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material and some language."

And, despite the fact that the rating description seems appropriate for the material in the 1982 original, several websites are framing this as another less-frightening Hollywood remake, thanks to the lack of the coveted R-rating that denotes a "true" horror film.

But, should you be up in arms about the remakes rating, I suggest you calm down and remember that the original was rated PG.  Yes, back then, the PG-13 rating had yet to be created.  Poltergeist, as well as Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, were films that pushed the Motion Picture Associate of America to create the PG-13 rating, a way to designated a film was fine for teens, but might not be suitable for younger children.

Yeah, this scene won't give toddlers nightmares.

And I won't deny that, since it's inception, the PG-13 rating has become both a marketing ploy and a joke.  Films that should be PG (like The Avengers) add enough of certain element to gain the rating as a way to imply this film is too intense for kids, attracting the teen crowd.  Meanwhile, other films cut back on the blood sprays (Expendables 3, I'm looking at you) to make the action sanitized enough for a PG-13 rating, aiming gain a few extra box office bucks from a younger demographic.

It's silly, to say the least, when a film featuring the murder of countless people can earn a PG-13, while a movie like The King's Speech earns an R rating because someone uses the F-word a few too many times.

And it's rather silly that I have to use the term "F-word" in order to not be listed as an explicit blog, but that's our current state of the nation.  Mowing down rows of evil soldiers is okay, but saying the F-word is bad.  Or showing too much nudity, regardless of the content.

But I digress.  Let's get back to Poltergeist.

The original film proves that buckets of blood and topless women aren't needed to scare you.  Hell, I still get chills from the originals, while many of the slasher films I saw in the 80s are little more than fond memories.  Sure, the effects are awesome, but the combination of boobs and blood isn't really scary.

Now, the creepy clown doll freaks me out.  Even more than 30 years later.

If this scene doesn't send chills down your spine, you can't be human.

Which is why I'm going to see the remake of Poltergeist.  If it's a bomb, it's a bomb.  But, as Spielberg and Hooper proved, it's not the rating that makes a movie scary, it's what the filmmakers do with the material.  Hell, I sat through 2013's Evil Dead and, despite some amazing practical effects, my mood went from boredom to annoyance by the final reel.

Though I doubt this remake will be as good as the original, I'll give it a chance, regardless of the rating, as should fellow horror fans.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yes, the list keeps getting longer.  And again, sorry for the delayed post, but I've got to earn the money to support my Halloween fix, so I could pass up a few hours of overtime yesterday.  Considering I haven't browsed some of the local stores for horror DVDs, I figure the extra bucks will be very needed in the next few weeks.  Anyway, here's the stuff your nightmares are made of!


Live on Stage, part of the Portland, OR, community theater scene, is presenting a live stage version of the camp musical classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, through November 8.  Get ready to do the Time Warp again at this live presentation at The World Trade Center Theatre.  You'll find more information, including dates, times and ticket information, at the Live On Stage website.

The Broadway version of Mel Brook’s classic horror spoof, Young Frankenstein, makes a stop under The Shadow Over Portland.  The Lakewood Center for the Arts (located at 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego, OR) will feature the production through October 19. Check out the LCFTA website for more information.

Friday, October 17

Give me some Halloween sugar, baby!  More undead action hits the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR, as Evil Dead The Musical returns to the stage through October 18.  And of course, there’s a Splatter Zone!!  And you know that’s where you want to be sitting as the Deadite blood flows!!!  Tickets are on sale now at the official website.  If you haven’t seen this production, don’t miss it!

The SIFF Cinema Egyptian in Seattle, WA, opens it's Midnight Adrenalin series tonight with James Gunn's recent classic, Slither.  Sure, it has a few similarities to Night of the Creeps, but the cast (including Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks and James Rooker) bring their A-game to this B-movie.  And you'll have fun picking out all the horror references littered throughout the film.  The film starts at midnight.  Click on the link for more details.

The Friday Night Frights series in Tacoma, WA, continues with a one night only screening of the classic King/Romero anthology, Creepshow.  Five creepy tales, not including the wrap around story, just in time to get you in the mood for Halloween.  The show starts at The Blue Mouse Theatre (follow this link to the theatre's official website, or here for the theatre's Facebook page).  The show starts at 10 pm.

UPDATE:  Limited edition Creepshow posters, designed for the screening, will be for sale at the screening.  And the organizers will be giving away horror jewelry from Hatbox Ghost, passes to Stalker Farms Huanted Attractions, magazines from Living Dead Magazine, passes to Terrified in Tacoma Ghost Tours, a pass to Crypticon Seattle and more goodies.  Be sure to be there if you can.

The Academy Theater in Portland, OR, keeps the chills coming in October with a screening of the 1958 original The Fly.  It appears earlier reports were WRONG!  Still, this is a solid scifi/horror flick and should look AWESOME on the big screen.  Screens at 9:45 pm though October 23.  Visit The Academy Theater website for more details.

It is confirmed. The Joy Cinema will show Ghostbusters as part of the theater's Monster Month at the Joy Cinema celebration.  More details here as they are available, or check out The Joy Cinema website later in October.

Oh, you're killing me, 5th Avenue Cinema.  Tonight only, catch a FREE digital screening of Dario Argento's Inferno at 7:30 pm.  Look, I love the look of 35mm, but FREE is (to quote Tom Peterson) is a very good price.  More information at the 5th Avenue Cinema website.

Joe Dante's Looney Tunes infused sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, screens at The Laurelhurst Theater and Pub through October 23.  A corporation gets a hold of Gizmo for genetic testing and, SURPRISE, he gets a bit wet and things get wacky.  Good thing Billy and Kate (Zach Gilligan and Phoebe Cates) also work in the building, or The Big Apple would be in big trouble.  Plays at 9:30 pm.  Check The Laurelhurst Theater and Pub website for more details.  And, sorry, this showing is for those 21 years of age or older.

Saturday, October 18

The Graboids are coming to Seattle, WA!!!  The SIFF Cinema Egyptian continues to pump out the Midnight Adrenalin with a screening of the giant monster movie classic, Tremors.  Kevin  Bacon and Fred Ward lead a stellar cast as giant worms attack an isolated desert town.  It's one of the best horror comedies ever made, and you shouldn't miss the chance to see it on the big screen.  Click the link for more details.

By the pricking of my thumb, Something Wicked This Way Comes to The Hollywood Theatre.  Presented in glorious 35mm, this creepy Disney movie will be shown October 18 and 19.  No show time is announced, but it will be an afternoon screening.  Admission is $5 for general audiences, with children 12 and under admitted for $2  The film screens at 3 pm, and you can find more information at The Hollywood Theatre website.

Ah, crap.  Looks like Creature from the Black Lagoon lost to The Shining in The Hollywood Theatre in the Tell Us What You Want To See voting.  Seriously, didn't The Hollywood screen that Kubrick "masterpiece" a few months ago?  Okay, deep breath and let it gooooo...  Anyway, the film still needs to sell 98 advanced tickets before the feature is screened (yes, just because the film wins a vote doesn't mean the theater will screen it; those who voted have to buy tickets) as of September 24.  You have until October 16 to purchase advanced tickets at $9, or The Shining will not be shown.  Back up your vote with your dollars at The Hollywood Theatre website.  Click on the Tell Us What You Want To See link, then click on The Shining.

Sorry for the late posting, but I found out about this on October 14.  The Northwest Film Forum is holding a class on prosthetics and makeup effects for horror films October 18 and 19.  The cost is $175 ($150 for forum members), which covers all material costs, and is taught by Adam Lee Matthew and Lily Wilson of GrittyFlix.  The course covers zombie bites, knife wounds and more.  Visit the official website for more details.

Sunday, October 19

I still feel Jaws is not a horror film, but it's a damn scary adventure flick.  And the chance to see it at the EMP Sky Church (part of the EMP Halloween Campout Classic Series) makes me wish I didn't have to be at work by 6:30 am Monday morning in Portland.  Doors open at 6:30 pm, with the show starting at 7 pm.  Tickets are $12 ($8 if you are an EMP member).  You'll find more information, and a link to buy advance tickets here.

The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, OR, starts celebrating Halloween with a one day showing of 1958's The Blob!  Yep, the one with Steve McQueen and the groovy tune by Burt Bacharach.  The film starts at 2 pm, so visit The Egyptian Theatre website for more details.

Tuesday, October 21

The Repressed Cinema series at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR, presents a double feature of Andy Milligan films, Guru the Mad Monk and The Body Beneath in 35mm.  A crazed monk's antics and inbred vampires looking for fresh stock populate these films.  You just have to read the descriptions at The Hollywood Theatre website.  The show starts at 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, October 22

From 7 to 10 pm, Portland Things From Another World (2916 NE Broadway) presents a signing of Dark Horse Press's latest sci fi/horror offering, Fire and Stone.  The creative team behind the series, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Patric Reynolds, Chris Roberson, Christopher Sebela, Paul Tobin and Joshua Williamson, as well Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie, will be present.  The series ties together the worlds of Alien, Predator and Prometheus, along with a new human cast.  Admission is free, though you'll have to buy your copies of the various Fire and Stone comics for the team to sign.  You can find more information on the event Facebook page.

Steven Spielberg's second feature, a television film called Something Evil (following his successful Duel) is presented in 16mm at The Hollywood Theatre tonight only.  Part of the Re-Run Theater series, this film starts Darren McGavin (freaking CARL KOLCHAK!!!) and Sandy Dennis as couple residing in a Pennsylvania country home to raise their children.  Of course, a demonic presents in the form makes its presence known.  This film has never been released on home video, so this could be your only chance to catch this slice of horror history, as Spielberg's next feature would be the cinema game changer, Jaws.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and includes vintage television ads.  Visit The Hollywood Theatre website for more information.

Wednesday, October 22

As always, Wednesdays get a little WEIRD at The Joy Cinema and Pub in Tigard, OR, and this week is no exception.  The Slime People will screen at 9 pm, a quant film about a sub-terrian race attempting to invade Los Angeles.  Oh, and a fog machine that seems to get out of control.  Well, what more can you ask for with FREE ADMISSION and cold beers for sale at the concession stand?  As always, you must be 21 or older to get in.  You can get more information at The Joy Cinema website.

Thursday, October 23

Do you remember the series, Are You Afraid of the Dark?  If so, you want to head to the EMP Lounge for a celebration of this spooky kids show, with themed drink specials, trivia and a screen of the six best episodes, as approved by the Midnight Society.  The event starts at 5:30 pm and admission is free with a RSVP.  You'll find all the information about the event at this link.  You must be over 21 years of age to attend.

The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, OR, continues to bring on the chills with a screening of Ghostbusters tonight and October 25.  The film screens at 7:30 pm both evenings.  Visit The Egyptian Theatre website.

Friday, October 24

The greatest Halloween party film comes to the SIFF Cinema Egyptian Theater in Seattle, WA, tonight, as the Midnight Adrenalin series presents Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn.  GROOVY!  What more needs to be said?  The film starts at midnight, and you'll find more information at the link.

The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA, will present They Live! on the big screen opening tonight.  No other information is available at this time, so keep checking back or visit The Kiggins official website.

The EMP Lounge in Seattle, WA, transforms into The Bronze for one night as the EMP presents a Buffy Trivia Party starting at 5:30 pm.  Dress as your favorite Scooby, or vamp, to win prizes, show off your Buffy knowledge or just groove to some 90s jams.  Tickets are $8 ($5 if you are an EMP member), and you need to be over 21 years of age to attend.  You'll find more information, and advance ticket sales, at the link.

The Academy Theater in Portland, OR, will screen the digitally remastered version of John Carpenter's classic, Halloween, through October 31.  If you want to see this on the big screen, Portland horror fans, you have no excuse now.  For more details, check back here, or at The Academy Theater website, later in October.

Okay, I'm going to say it.  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (screening as part of Monster Month at the Joy Cinema) is the GREATEST horror comedy ever.  Sorry, Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson, you guys pale compared to the dynamic duo of Chick and Wilber.  Oh, and did I mention Bela shows up in his only other portrayal of Count Dracula? Or Lon Chaney appears as the Wolf Man?  And....  Okay, it's Glenn Strange as the Monster, but STILL, it's a great line up of creatures verses comedians.  And DO NOT get me started on the final monster.  I'm not going to spoil the fun.  More details here as they are available, or check out The Joy Cinema website later in October.

The 5th Avenue Theater in Portland, OR, presents Antonia Bird's wicked dark comedy/horror film, Ravenous through October 26.  Set during the Mexican-American war, a military outpost is besieged by a man who's discovered that eating human flesh imbues him with the power of those he consumes.  I think it's one of the most underrated horror films of the 90's, so be sure to check it out if you can.  Showtimes are 7 and 9:30 pm October 24 and 25, and 3 pm on October 26.  Check out the 5th Avenue Cinema website for more information.

More free offerings from the 5th Avenue Cinema, with a digital screening of 1931's Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, with the Philip Glass score.  For those who don't remember, Dracula was without a soundtrack, as it straddled the transition between silent films and "talkies."  In fact, it was released in many theaters as a silent feature.  The soundtrack was added later by Glass for a DVD release.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and, as I mentioned, admission is FREE!  Check out the 5th Avenue Cinema website for more information.

The Monster Squad, writer/director Fred Dekker's classic second film (following the equally AWESOME Night of the Creeps screens at The Hollywood Theatre one night only, at 7 pm.  And Fred Dekker will be in attendance!!!!!  If you haven't seen this film, FOR SHAME!  Get to The Hollywood and find out if Wolfman got nards or not!!  Presenting by the Portland State University Film Program, you'll find more information at The Hollywood Theatre website.

The Dallas Motor Vu in Oregon has an awesome double feature on October 24 and 25.  Catch digital HD versions of the original Halloween and Psycho at THE DRIVE-IN!  Find more details, including directions, at The Dallas Oregon Motor Vu website.

The 7th Street Theatre in Hoquium, WA, is screening the modern zom/rom/com classic Shaun of the Dead on October 24 and 25 at 7:30 pm.  Doors open at 7 pm and tickets are only $5.  Not a bad deal for this slice of zombie fun.  Visit the theater's Facebook page or the official website for more details.

Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street comes to The Laurelhurst Theater and Pub through October 30.  I don't need to go into details, do I?  Just go see the freaking film on the big screen!  I'll post showtimes as they become available, or check The Laurelhurst Theater website.

Saturday, October 25

Perhaps the greatest meta-horror comedy made, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods, screens at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian Theater in Seattle, WA, as part of the Midnight Adrenalin series.  If you didn't catch this on the big screen, Seattle horror fans, do not miss this midnight presentation.  You'll find more information at this link.

Hilloween, the Seattle area family friendly Halloween event returns to Capital Hill.  This community party is free and open to everyone, with a carnival, a costume parade, trick-or-treating on Broadway Ave and a pizza party at Pagliacchi's (free slice to kids in costume).  The fun starts at noon.  You'll find all the information you need, including directions to Cal Anderson Park, at the link or at the Facebook event page.

Well, if you missed it this summer, the (not so new now) digital restoration of Ghostbusters hits The Hollywood Theatre through October 31.  Yeah, I know that sounded bad, but I'm not dissing the movie.  But Ghostbusters seems to have played EVERYWHERE this summer, it feels more like a prolonged trailer for the possible Ghostbusters 3 movie, rather than a revisitation of a classic horror comedy.  But enough of that.  It's a great Halloween film for the entire family and I'll post showtimes as soon as they are available.  Or you can check The Hollywood Theatre website later in October.

But, if another screening of Ghostbusters doesn't make you want to pull out your wallet, The Hollywood Theatre is screening the Vincent Price classic, House on Haunted Hill.  The film will be introduced by Joe Jordan, author of The Films of William Castle.  No word on if The Hollywood will present the feature in "Emergo," but we can hope.  The show starts at 7 pm, and you'll find more information at The Hollywood Theatre website.

Also at The Hollywood Theatre tonight only is the witchcraft thriller, The Craft, presented in Hecklevision.  Wait, what?  Heckle this film?  I don't remember this film being heckle-worthy.  But The Hollywood feels this is a movie one can love and laugh at and have invited a few guest hecklers to help get things rolling.  Just use your phone to text your comments and the message will appear onscreen for all to see.  The show starts at 9:45 pm and you'll find more information at The Hollywood Theatre website.

Sunday, October 26

The Egyptian Theatre gets back to it's roots today with a one time screening of the Boris Karloff classic, The Mummy.  A big screen version of this classic is something NOT TO BE MISSED!  The film starts at 2 pm, so visit The Egyptian Theatre website later in October.

Local comic shop Things From Another World teams up with The Hollywood Theatre to present Alien, tonight only.  While there, you can get information on the inside scoop on Fire and Stone, the new comic from Dark Horse Press that ties together AliensPredators, a new cast of humans, and the crew of the Prometheus.  A Q and A on the series, with creative team Kelly Sue DeConnick, Patric Reynolds, Chris Roberson, Christopher Sebela, Paul Tobin and Joshua Williamson, as well Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie, starts at 6:45 pm.  The film will follow.  Copies of the various Fire and Stone titles will be available for purchase.  More information, and advanced ticket sales, are available at The Hollywood Theatre website.  Tickets to the show are $8.

Tuesday, October 28

The horrific goodness keeps coming to The Hollywood Theatre, as the Grindhouse Film Festival presents at 35mm dose of double feature goodness.  First up is Twins of Evil, starring Peter Cushing and the hot twins, Mary and Madeleine Collinson.  Then comes a second dose of Cushing with Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.  You should need any plot descriptions to get you excited about this double feature, but you'll find all the information at The Hollywood Theatre website.  Twins starts at 7:30 pm, Frankenstein at 9:30 pm, and admission to both films is only $8!

Wednesday, October 29

It appears to BE ON!!! House of Wax in 3D is part of the Monster Month at the Joy Cinema celebration!!!!!!!!  No, not that crappy remake with what's-her-name, but the original with Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, paddle balls and all sorts of macabre happenings.  Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, October 30

If you're in the Seattle, WA, area, and want to see something scary to start off the Halloween weekend, head to the EMP Halloween Campout Cinema (at the EMP Sky Theater) for a screening of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.  Tickets are $12 ($8 if you are an EMP member).  Doors open at 7:30 pm and the show starts at 8 pm.  Visit the link for more information and a link to buy advance tickets.

Also at the EMP in Seattle, WA, is the Happy Hour KINGO, a celebration of horror writer Stephen King.  Watch clips from classic King movies and fill out your KINGO card to win PRIZES!  The events starts at 5:30 pm and admission is free with a RSVP (but you must be over 21 years of age to attend).  Check out the link for more information.

A digitally restored and remastered version of John Carpenter's classic, Halloween, will make make a few stops in the Northwest on October 30 and 31.  Locations include The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, OR, the Carmike 12 in Corvallis, OR, the Dallas Motor Vu Drive-In in Dallas, OR and the Carmike 12 in Kennewick, WA.  For more information about the world wide release of the digitally restored Halloween, visit the link.

The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA, in conjunction with Washington State University Vancouver, presents the Willamette Radio Workshop's performance of War of the Worlds.  Doors open at 6 pm for this one night only, FREE event, with the performance starting at 7 pm.  Visit The Kiggins Theatre website for more information.

Friday, October 31

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with the ultimate dress up movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show!  The SIFF Cinema Egyptian in Seattle, WA, presents this midnight showing of the cult classic.  Check the link for more details.  

The Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, WA, celebrates the scariest night of the year with a screening of the digitally remastered classic Halloween.  The film follows the Spokane Laugh Off, so let the previous winners of Stand Up to Bigger Things open mic comedy at The Bing put a grin on your face before John Carpenter's film has you shrieking in fright.  The show starts at 7:30 pm, and you'll find more information, and advanced ticket sales, at The Bing Crosby Theater website.  And for more information about the world wide release of the digitally restored Halloween, visit the link.

And The Vashon Theatre in Vashon, WA, ends the most wonderful time of the year with a screening of the diggitally remastered classic Halloween .  Showtimes are unavailable at this time, so check back here, or at The Vashon Theatre website, later in October.

The Wheel-In Motor Movie Drive-In in Port Townsend, WA, ends it's season with a bang on October 31 and November 1.  Catch the Halloween Triple Creature Feature, including Bride of Frankenstein, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Prizes, drawings, concessions specials and a costume contest are included in the festivities.  Check the Wheel-In Motor Movie website for more details and directions.

The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA, invites you to do the Time Warp Again with a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Admission is $10, and be sure to dress up for the costume contest.  Doors open at 11 pm.  For more information, visit The Kiggins Theatre website.

November, 2014

Saturday, November 1

The SIFF Cinema Egyptian in Seattle, WA, isn't done with the horror goodies.  At midnight tonight, the theater will present the classic Zombie, AKA Zombi 2 or Zombie Flesh Eaters.  The name doesn't matter, I just dare you not to wince at the eyeball skewering scene.  Damn, I still can't watch it without an "Eeeugh" moment.  Yeah, it's that awesome, and so much better on the big screen.  Trust me, I saw it in the theater when it came out and it still haunts me in the best possible ways.  The show starts at midnight and you can find more information at the link.


If you want your horror event listed in The Shadow Over Portland Horror Calendar, send me an email at and get it listed.  

And don't forget, if you attend any of these events, tell them you read about it at The Shadow Over Portland!