Monday, March 2, 2015

The upcoming Living Dead Horror Convention website and Facebook page are live! And guests are being announced for CthulhuCon PDX!

The Living Dead Horror Convention website and Facebook page are now up and running.  The sites don't have much information on guests yet, but offer a few tantalizing hints as to who might be showing up.

The convention opens on Friday, November 13, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.  Keep checking back at the links above for more information.

CthulhuCon PDX, coming to the Crowne Plaza in Portland, OR, on April 25 and 26, has announced that S.T. Joshi, Leeman Kessler (Ask Lovecraft), Wilum Pugmire, Adam Scott Glancy, Leslie S. Klinger, Kenneth Hite, Keith Baker, William Farmer, David Barker, Liv Rainey-Smith and Alan M. Clark will be in attendance.  More guest announcements to follow, so check out the con's Facebook Page for up to date information and advance ticket sales.

Or, just keep reading The Shadow Over Portland!  I'll be sure to post updates for both events as I receive them!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Casting call for the horror film The Cemetery People

Ladies, Frenetic Films is looking for the lead actress in their latest film.

The creative team behind All Hell Breaks Loose is planning their latest film, The Cemetery People, where Mormon zombies arise and attack a group of college students.  The film is looking to replace it's lead actress, playing the character Buzz.  No nudity is required for the role, but remember, the company is looking for someone to play a college student.  You can read more about the film at the Indiegogo site.  And, should you want to drop a few bucks on the project, take a look at the perks available.

Auditions will be held this Friday, from 9 am to noon at The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, OR.  Should you have any questions, send a message on the Frenetic Films Production Facebook page.

The Shadow Over Portland will keep you posted should other auditions be held in the future.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Horrific February ends with a THING, and March looks to fill your ghastly dance card with plenty of horrific happenings under The Shadow Over Portland!

Thursday, February 26

First The Craft, now Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight gets the Hecklevision treatment at The Hollywood Theatre.  Seriously, Hollywood programmers, I can thing of a lot better films to heckle than this terrific, over-the-top gore fest.  Sure, it's campy and a TON OF FUN, but it's not heckle worthy.  Have you folks never heard of Zaat or Dario Argento's Dracula?  Now THOSE are heckle-worthy.  Should you want to see this film in a theater, and don't mind comments from the audience being posted on the screen, the show starts at 9:30 pm.  I'll just stay home and enjoy my DVD version, thank you.  More information at the link.

Friday, February 27

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, described as a film noir/spaghetti Western/love story with a vampire, opens tonight at Cinema 21 in Portland, OR.  Everything about this film sounds amazing, and actor Dominic Rains is currently appearing in the play Threesome at Portland Center Stage, so be sure to check out his performance there as well (the play runs through March 8).  You'll find showtimes for the film at the link.

If you're up for some Gothic revenge, The Hollywood Theatre presents, in conjunction with Projeck Records and Movies in the Dark, a 35mm screening of The Crow.  Yep, the Brandon Lee classic on the big screen in glorious 35mm!  Showtime is 9:30 pm, and you can buy advanced tickets here.

Saturday, February 28


John Carpenter's The Thing will screen tonight at 7 pm at The Hollywood Theatre!  Winner of this month's This Is Your Theater vote, and selling enough tickets, this 80s horror classic returns to the big screen.  If any tickets are still available, you can purchase them at the box office before the show.

If that's not enough for you, check out a digital restoration of the Larry Cohen's exploitation classic, God Told Me To.  Ordinary New York City residents are killing people, claiming that Got instructed them to commit murder.  A detective assigned to the case becomes to wonder if his fate is tied to the figure described by the perpetrators.  And, be assured, mayhem likely ensues.  The films shows at 9:30 pm at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR, giving you time to catch it after The Thing.  Visit the link for more information and advance ticket sales.

Frankenstein's Comic Swap takes place at the Eagle's Lodge in Portland, OR, from noon to 6 pm.  For more information, including directions to the lodge and information on purchasing a table for the event, visit the Facebook event page.

March, 2015

Sunday, March 1

VHS Uber Alles presents a screening of Manic Cop at The Highline Bar (210 Broadway E in Seattle, WA) tonight at 6 pm.  Admission is free, so spend some money on drinks and food (vegetarian/vegan menu).   Obviously, you must be 21 or older to attend.

Wednesday, March 4

Wow, Weird Wednesday at The Joy Cinema in Tigard, OR, has shown some amazing films recently, and tonight is no exception.  Featuring one of Lon Chaney Jr.'s greatest performances, Spider Baby or. The Maddest Story Ever Told lives up to the title.  Check it out on the big screen for FREE, and be sure to spend freely at the concession stand!  You must be 21 or older to attend.  I'll be sure to post the showtime when it's announced, or check this link as the date draws near.

Friday, March 6

If you want to avoid making a bad movie, well, going into the jungle with Marlon Brando might be something to avoid.  I'm just going to let The Hollywood Theatre's description of Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau spell it out....
If Apocalypse Now hadn't already established that going into the jungle with Marlon Brando to make a movie is a bad idea, this outrageous documentary of the dysfunctional production of the 1996 cinematic travesty The Island of Dr. Moreau settles things.  Visionary director Richard Stanley got the chance to bring his dream project to life, only to be fired by the studio just days into production.  There's long been a rumor of the disgruntled Stanley living in the jungle after being fired from the film, and then sneaking back onto the set as an extra in full creature costume.  This film verifies this rumor, and opens the door on a multitude of others: Egomaniacal starVal Kilmer burns crew members with cigarettes.  Replacement director John Frankenheimer lets Marlon Brando run amok, as the 300 lb. star makes increasingly stranger and stranger demands.  Richard Stanley turns to witchcraft, whiles sets are destroyed by hurricane weather, and the crew is pushed to the absolute limit while making on of the worst films ever created.
 Wow, why would you miss this one?

The show plays with The Otherworld on Friday, March 6.  In this documentary, Stanley studies the history of magical beliefs in a remote region of France, his home for the past several years.  Stanley will be present for the March 6 screening, which starts at 7:30 pm.

You can catch Lost Souls on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8 at 9;30 pm.  For more information on all three screenings, and advanced ticket sales, visit the link.

Should you be looking for a film with a bit more bite, head to Cinema 21 in Portland, OR, for What We Do in the Shadows, a comedy about old school vampires dealing with modern world problems, like paying rent and adjusting to new age vampire roommates.  Sounds like the trials of the undead are meshing with the living.  Showtimes are 4:30, 7 and 9 pm, with a 2 pm screening on Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6.  Click on the link for more information.

Wednesday, March 11

A-whoo.  The Werewolf of Washington.  Okay, not the same ring, but this week's Weird Wednesday offering at The Joy Cinema in Tigard, OR, features Dean Stockwell as a presidential press advisor, who happens to be a werewolf.  It could be a messy press conference, if held during a full moon.  Check out this film for FREE, so be sure to spend a bit at the concession stand and help keep WEIRD WEDNESDAY a local tradition.  I'll post the showtime when it's available, or check out this link closer to the date.

Friday, March 20

Well, The Hollywood Theatre and Cinema 21 are bringing a really weird sounding horror film to Portland, OR.  It Follows is the story of 19 year old girl, stuck with a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED HAUNTING she is only able to escape by passing the curse to someone else.  Wow.  Just wow.  Sounds like one you really can't miss.  No showtimes have been announced, so check back with The Shadow Over Portland, or click on The Hollywood Theatre website or the Cinema 21 website for more information.

If you're a bit further north, head to the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 NE 50th St in Seattle, WA) for a Killer Workout.  Rhonda's Workout is the site of lots of sexy hardbodies working out, but they keep turning up dead.  Who's responsible, and why do people keep showing up as the body count rises?  Does it really matter?  Presented by Alicia Betty of VHS Uber Alles, Gvn, with special thanks to Scarecrow Video, the show includes prizes and leotarded butts!  Hard to resist that offer!1  Admission is only $2, and the festivities start at 10 pm.  You'll find more information at the event's Facebook page.

Or, if you like your horror movies with more, em... balls, head to The Blue Mouse Theater (2611 N. Proctor St in Tacoma, WA) for a screening of Phantasm II!  The show starts at 10 pm, and you can find more information on the Facebook Event page.

And Horror Fans thought February might be a busy month.  Well, March is off like a lion and I doubt it will go out like a lamb.  Should you want to add a horror/sci fi/fantasy event to the Horror Calendar, email me at and I'll include it to the list of creepy happenings.

And remember, should you attend any of these events, mention to the organizers you read about it at The Shadow Over Portland!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Advanced screening of The Lazarus Effect tomorrow night

The Lazarus Effect previews tomorrow night at Century Clackamas Town Center and XD (12000 SE 82nd Ave. in Portland) at 7 pm.  The film deals with a group of researchers that discover a way to bring the dead back to life.  I mean, what could go wrong with that?

As it's a horror film from the studio behind for The Purge and Insidious, you know the answer.

Follow the link for details and be sure to arrive early, as seating is limited.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

YES!!!!!!!! The Thing won the popular vote!!!!!

If you remember my earlier post last Friday, John Carpenter's The Thing was one of the films in the running for February's This is Your Theater screening at The Hollywood Theatre.  Well, The Thing won the popular vote, and could have a screening on February 28 at 7 pm.  But, for this to happen, 100 advance tickets must be purchased in just under 22 days.

Which is plenty of time, even if you have to wait a few days for your next paycheck.  Sure, you can wait to see what happens and HOPE tickets are still available on the day of the screening.  But why risk it, when you can buy your ticket early and know you have a seat, as well as ensure in screening will happen.

I'll keep you posted on how ticket sales are happening.  Or, better yet, click on the link, drop $9 and buy your tickets as soon as you can.  And be sure to read the fine print!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to refute the claims about horror fans made by Alice Robb at The New Republic

We knew you were like this, and now we have proof!
Um, NO, YOU DON'T!! 

We all know it will happen.  You’ll be at a family gathering, with co-workers in the lunchroom, or hanging out with friends at a bar.  And someone who knows you like horror films will bring up this online story from The New Republicand wonder how you could be such a monster. 

You can say the author had preconceived notions of horror fans (which she obviously does, but I’ll get to that).  However, I’m sure the person bringing up the article will mention all the studies cited in the story, so what Alice Robb wrote about horror fans must be true.

Well, here at The Shadow Over Portland, we share your concerns.  And while I can offer numerous personal rebuttals, I’m sure anyone mentioning this article will not be swayed by such antidotal insights.  So I’ve taken upon myself to offer some rebuttals to the article and the studies involved.  

Now, I only read the abstracts from the links provided by the article.  But these summations, along with the tone of the article and how the author twists the studies to support her conclusion, is enough to deflate her argument.  So, here’s five simple ways to show Robb got horror fans wrong.

Admit Robb was right on one minor point.  

To be fair, admit that Robb did get one thing right.  Horror films do invoke the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in an increased heart rate and the release of stress hormones into one’s circulatory system.   The problem is, she follows with the statement, “For some, horror movies can even be fatal.”

It's just like a cardio workout....

It’s a bold assertion, one she is unable to justify.  Her first example of a death by fright involves a woman dying of a heart attack at a screening of The Passion of the Christ.  Sure, the film utilizes makeup effects similar to a horror film, but it’s wrong to imply the death in a religious film, no matter how gory or horrific, in any way backs up her statement.

The next example is a man with high blood pressure dying during a screening of Avatar.  Again, this is not a horror film.  And, though I make no claim to being able to provide the math to prove it, I think the statistical probability of someone dying during the run of the top grossing movie of all time is pretty high, based only on the number of people in the world who saw it in the theaters. 

And neither movie is directly linked to any deaths.  The first example is based on a CNN article, with no details about the woman’s medical history.  The movie could have triggered the event, or maybe it was just bad timing for her to be in the theater.

As for the latter example, the man had high blood pressure, and (according to the link provided in the article) the attending doctor speculated that the stroke was “likely” caused by “over-excitement from watching the movie.”  Such a statement is in no way conclusive evidence supporting Robb’s statement that, “Avatar was the last straw.”

But this isn’t the first time the author makes a leap of logic that rivals Evil Knievel’s jump over the Snake River Canyon.  Following is my rebuttal to each subheading in Robb’s article.

Liking horror films does not imply a lack of empathy

Of course, this is an unrealistic portrait of a horror fan.
Most of us wish we were this good looking!

Robb’s next claim is that horror fans lack empathy.  Again, I only read the abstract to this paper, but her assertion isn’t supported by the study. 

She writes, “Students who scored higher on measures of empathy- agreeing more strongly with statements like, ‘I am often touched by things I see happen’ and ‘I really get involved with the feelings of a character in a novel’- were more likely (emphasis added) to report negative responses like sleep disturbances and feelings of distress.” 

This does not imply that horror fans lack empathy, only that viewers who score higher on a psychological test tend to have negative reactions.  And, as far as the abstract goes, the study doesn’t suggest the possibility that these people might have similar reactions to dramas with bad endings, or classic tragedies. 

Instead, one could suggest that people who score higher on the test administered by the researchers might have a difficult time showing a disconnection between real tragedies and fictional portrayals in the media.  Perhaps horror fans have a better grasp of the difference between fictional horrors and those in real life, but neither the abstract, nor Robb, suggest that possibility.

Liking horror films does not imply aggression or thrill seeking behavior.

Robb cites a 1998 study of eighth-grade children exposed to cartoon clips, than were asked whether they found the scene funny, thrilling or violent.  The researchers asked the children’s teachers to evaluate the student’s personality traits and discovered the children who thought the “…violent scenes were thrilling or funny were likely to be perceived as more aggressive and excitable by their teachers.”

The abstract of this study raises several problems.  As I did not read the study, I do not know if the clips were from classic Looney Tunes shorts or 80s toy commercial like G. I. Joe or Transformers..  Also, the researchers asked the children if they thought the clips were “funny, thrilling or violent,” yet Robb assures readers twice in the article the clips were violent. 

But violence does not mean the clips had anything to do with horror.  As I mentioned earlier, the clips could have come from The Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And, had the clips came from a Road Runner cartoon, most people would have laughed when the coyote fell off a cliff. 

Yeah, doesn't matter if you're in the eighth grade or an adult.  
If you like The Three Stooges, you're snickering right now.

And proclaiming the children who found the “violent scenes” thrilling or funny were considered unruly by their teachers is rather subjective assessment to say the least.  

And be sure to mention eighth graders are not adults. 

Next, Robb mentions a 1985 study of “over 300 undergraduates” showed that students who sought out horror films were “…more likely than others to say they would like to watch an autopsy being performed, would attend gladiator fights if they could travel back in time, and would slow down to watch a car accident.”

I can’t dispute her statement about the autopsy or gladiator fights, but the abstract to this study is quite reveling.   According to the link Robb provided:

“The study was designed to examine the relationships of sensation seeking, extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism with an interest in the presentation of violent or morbid and sexual events in the media and in live sports.  Scales of curiosity about morbid and sexual events and self-ratings of attendance of horror and X-rated erotic movies were developed and given to 89 male and 213 female undergraduates, along with the personality scale.”
In the article, Robb fails to mention the researchers also included pornographic material in their questions.  And, as this was an autobiographical survey, it opens up the possibility of the subjects (male or female) sculpting their responses to fit societal gender expectations.  And the researchers might have stacked the deck, as most of the 300 students in the study were female. 

Horror fans do not have to be male

We're girls, and we don't like horror.

Robb states (thanks to a 15 year old study by Harris and Hoekstra, with no link provided) that men are more tolerant of horror films than women.  Yet she denounces her statement a few lines later, admitting that women “…may be catching up to men in horror film attendance.” 

Perhaps Robb is unwilling to admit that women are as interested in horror films as men, but might not have revelled it to researchers back in the 80s, for fear of being judged.   

Horror fans are not men looking for distressed women

Yes, it's funny,  But it's a stereotype and
not reflective of horror fans!

Oh, this one is annoying.  Robb’s final declaration shows that she is just not willing to let go of her stereotypical view of horror fans as men, only this time she ups the ante by claiming they want to be “…accompanied by a frightened woman.”

Yes, she went there, citing a 80s study by Zillmann et al.  Again, I did not read the study, but the language of the abstract speaks volumes:

“Exposed 36 male and 36 female undergraduates to a horror movie in the presence of a same age, opposite-gender companion of low or high initial appeal who expressed mastery, affective indifference, or distress. 
“We found the men enjoyed the movie most in the company of a distressed woman and least in the company of a mastering woman.  Women, in contrast, enjoyed the movie most in the company of a mastering man and least in the company of a distressed man.  Mastery did not enhance the female companions’ physical appeal.  However, it significantly enhanced that of the low-appeal male companion.”

Okay, aside from the appalling sexism in the abstract’s language, nothing suggests that male horror fans want to spend their time with a “distressed” woman.  The important thing to mention is the subjects were college students, not horror fans.  No mention is made that either party involved in the experiment wanted to see a horror film, or how such a desire might affect the outcome of the study. 

Instead, the study suggests that undergraduates of both genders, when picked up off the street, will fall into stereotypical gender roles during a horror film (and 36 couples is a very small sample when compared to the general population).  And such men liked the attention given to them by a scared (distressed) woman, while the women wanted the man to not be as scared as they were during the film. 

Robb plays off a stereotypical view of horror movie fans being male, attending such movies with the intention of driving their “distressed” dates into a state that encouraged close physical contact, and perhaps more.  This might be true of young men in general (perhaps explaining the large draw of horror movies during opening weekend that are roundly criticized by horror fans and experience a significant drop the following week), but is not a portrait of a horror fan.

Seriously, did anyone at The New Republic even see The Babadook before writing the headline for Robb's article?

Robb’s biggest crime, however, is the headline linking this article to The Babadook, one of the most critically acclaimed horror film in recent years.  Had Robb spent a little time on Goggle, she might have discovered her article is out of date and sexist.  Women not only like horror films, as she grudgingly admits, they are making them.  

Be sure to mention to your distressed friends/family members that The Babadook was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, than mention other women in horror like The Soska Twins, Lori Bowen and Jovanka Vuckovic, to name just a few. 

And don’t forget to point out the studies cited in the article used children and undergraduates as their subjects.  Nothing in any of the studies she mentions implies that horror fans fall into Robb’s opinion of them, no matter how she tries to weave her misguided assertions. 

Robb might not like horror films, which is fine.  To each their own.  But she has no business telling people what she thinks horror fans are like, as it’s obvious she has no clue.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

iZombie looks nothing like the comic and that's a shame.

Okay, the first trailer for the CW show, iZombie, has dropped and I can't say I won't watch it for a while.  But it looks nothing like the comic and that's a damn shame.  The trailer is below:

Okay, aside from changing the setting from Eugene to Seattle, or that her name is now Liv, the series keeps the basic premise.  Liv must eat brains and, in doing so, gains the memories of the people whose cranium she's digging into.  That bit is from the comic, but my problem is the trailer suggests that little else has made it into the series.

Yes, Gwen/Liv is gorgeous in the comic, when you don't see her zombie side

In the short lived Vertigo comic, Gwen is a grave digger in an "organic" cemetery (no formaldehyde), which allows her access to the monthly dose of brains she needs to keep from going "full Romero."  She gains the memories of those whose brains she consumes, but the comic is less a police procedural and more an entry into cosmic horror, as Gwen discovers her role in defeating "Xitaiu, a soul-devouring monster from beyond space and time."

She's aided by her friends, Ellie, a ghost who died in the 60s and is stuck haunting only the places she'd seen when alive, and Scott, a were-terrier (no, that is not a misspelling).  She also meets vampires, mad scientists, a holy order hell bend on killing the creatures of the night, and the Dead Presidents, a government sanctioned group of monsters fighting to stop the apocalypse.

Come on, a ghost, vampires, demon hunters and a were-terrier in a TV show would be a rating hit

That's a very brief summery of a complex story, full of under and over souls, a talking chimp and some really wacky stuff.  Probably not the storyline that makes for a good TV show, especially as the series ended after 28 issues.  But it's more interesting than a standard police procedural.

And I think a decent writing team could have crafted something better than what the trailer hints at.  Instead, it's as if the CW mashed together their other two DC comic shows and forced iZombie to fit the mold.  We have the hero, the coworker who knows her secret (Arrow), the clueless cop who will figure it out eventually (The Flash) and, just for some romance, a hot zombie dude.

Okay, that last one was a WHAT THE HELL moment for me, as the comic's other zombies are the basic walking dead we all know.  So this idea was obviously forced into the story to generate, I don't know, a Vampire Dairy vibe, I guess.

Yeah, because TV executives need to let you know even a zombie girl is hot by setting her up in a living/undead love triangle.  God, I really hope that doesn't happen.

As I said, I'll give it a shot.  Hey, it may surprise me, but I suspect I'll give up after a few episodes.  Which, as I mentioned in the headline, is a shame, as the comic is exceptional.  Writer Chris Roberson and artist Michael Allred crafted one hell of a tale, and If you haven't read it, I suggest you do before the show premieres in March.  I suspect iZombie might not do a lot to interest in one of the more interesting, and unusual, zombie comics published.