Friday, April 24, 2015

It's a slow couple of weeks for Pacific Northwest Horror Fans, so catch your breath, as we all know it's a brief break.

Well, it's time to catch your breath, Northwest Horror Fans.  This week is a bit slow compared to my last few posts, but that means you won't have to stress about having too many events to chose from.  And we all not this respite won't last.  So take this moment to check out some great events happening under The Shadow Over Portland!

Friday, April 24


Should you be looking for a horror comedy with a 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.  Click on the link for more information and showtimes.

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It Follows continues to play at The Hollywood Theatre this week (except for Saturday night).  The tale of a 19 year old girl stuck with a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED HAUNTING she is only able to escape by passing the curse to someone else has garnered some great reviews.  So click on The Hollywood Theatre website for more information and showtimes.

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The Iranian vampire tale, A Girl Walks Home at Night, continues at The Laurelhust Theater in Portland, OR.  Visit The Laurelhurst Theater website for more information.

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Rev up for Fury Road, as The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR, presents a digitally restored version of George Miller's Mad Max.  The film plays through Sunday, April 26, and you'll find more information, and a link to purchase advanced tickets, at The Hollywood Theatre website.

Saturday, April 25 



If you need a bit of cosmic insanity after completing and mailing off your taxes, plan to make your way to the Crowne Plaza (1441 NE 2nd Ave in Portland, OR) for CthulhuCon PDX on April 25 and 26, 2015.

This con is NOT taking the place of October's film festival, but will focus more on gaming, panel discussions and author readings.  You know, all the things you miss at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon because, well, you're too busying taking in all the cinematic wonders.

The festival will include a few films, as well as a vendor's area.  The current guest roster includes 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.

Check out the Facebook Event Page for up to the minute information and advanced ticket sales.

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If your tastes run a bit more towards the grindhouse, head to The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, OR, for a trio of bikersploitation films.  All Hell Breaks Loose (a man tries to save his bride from bikers, no matter how often he dies), Dear God No! (Bikers and a thing in the woods) and Time to Kill.

The show starts at 6 pm and includes raffles, bikini blood wrestling with Frenetic Film Production actresses and more!  The screening is a fundraiser for Frenetic Films latest feature, The Cemetery People (you can get more information on this upcoming film at The Cemetery People Indiegogo page).  You must be 21 or older to attend.   Check out The Clinton Street Theater website for more details.

You can also read my review for the locally produced All Hell Breaks Loose here.

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Hellbender Media and Guerrilla Productions premieres Flesh of my Flesh, a locally produced zombie movie, at The Joy Cinema (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) at 4 pm.  The director will be present for a Q and A after the screening.  Admission to the screening is $8 and you can find more information about the event at The Joy Cinema website or the event Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 29

It's another Weird Wednesday at The Joy Cinema in Tigard, OR, with a screening of The Trailers of David F. Friedman.  He's the producer responsible for the cinematic classics like Boing-g-g, Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs (and the contemporary remakes), Goldilocks and the Three Bares, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS and so much more.  Okay, it's not a movie, but I suspect this collection of trailers will be amazing!!!  The show starts at at 9:15 pm and is FREE, so spend some extra money at the snack bar!  Oh, and The Joy serves beer, so BONUS!!  As always, you must be 21 or older to attend.  Check out The Joy Cinema website for more details.


Friday, May 1


Celebrate May Day in the most creepy way possible, as The Clinton Street Theater screens the director approved version of The Wicker Man at 7 and 9 pm.  Presented by The Rural Route Film Festival, dedicated to presenting features dealing with those outside the city limits, this film does take things to a bit of an extreme.  And, as you might suspect, I have NO problem with that.  I just hope a screening of Children of the Corn is in the works.  Check out The Clinton Street Theater website for more information on the screening, and The Rural Route Film Festival.

Friday, May 8


Set ten years after the original film, Monsters: Dark Continent sees a spread of the creatures and focuses on a military response in the Middle East.  The IMDb information makes this one sound more like a rocking horror action film than the original, and I'm not sure how much input original director Gareth Edwards had on the project (though he's listed as an executive producer).  Still, I'd expect some metaphors to our current Middle East military actions.  The film opens at The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA, and I'll be sure to post showtimes as they become available.  Or you can visit The Kiggins Theater website as the opening date approaches.

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Well, that's what I have for now, Northwest Horror Fans.  Should I have missed anything, please email me at shadowoverportland@live.com and I will add the event to the list, and even mention it on a separate post, if it's happening before May 1.

And, as always, this service is FREE!  All you have to do is let me know and it's on the calendar.

Finally, should you attend any of the events mentioned here, please let the organizers know you read about it at The Shadow Over Portland!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why the Poltergeist remake will beat Crimson Peak at the box office, and how Alice Robb explained it.



Last year, Alice Robb wrote about what a horror fan is on The New Republic website, and the article wasn’t flattering.  I posted a response, citing how horror fans could defuse any argument used in the article, should family members, coworkers or acquaintances ask why you are such a monster.

However, two big horror movies hitting theaters this year caused me to think about Robb's article.  First, we have the 3D remake of Poltergeist, hitting theaters on May 22.  Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Crimson Peak, opens on October 16, a more appropriate date for a true horror film. 


Yes, I'm calling this a TRUE HORROR FILM.
I hope I'm not wrong.

You can check out trailers for both films on YouTube.  However, after seeing the trailer for Poltergeist in the theater last week, I was reminded of Robb’s article and why I believe the remake will likely be the bigger box office draw of the two. 

The trailer for Poltergeist was even more sense assaulting in the theater than on a TV or computer monitor, thanks to the big screen and a Dolby Surround Sound system.  Yet, it was also a case of déjà vu for me, as I saw the original when it opened in theaters, and multiple times since then.  Sam Raimi and company could have saved some money by just digitizing the original, as the preview shows nothing fans of the Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg version haven’t seen.  Little blonde girl in front of a TV (now a REALLY BIG HD TV) proclaiming, “They’re heeeere,” young boy being menaced by an animated tree, pathways leading to “the other side,” a much taller home exorcist spouting Zelda Rubinstein’s lines almost verbatim, and, of course, a scary clown.


Sorry, but the other clown was scarier.  Even in the trailer.

Seriously, I think the tagline for the film should be a redo of Rubinstein’s line, “It knows what scares you,” only with the new exorcist saying, “It knows what scared audiences in the 80s.  Now it’s ready to do it again, only with CGI effects and LOUDER MUSIC STINGS!!!”

As the trailer closed with the film’s release date, I was reminded of the article on The New Republic site, and Robb’s final assumption about horror fans, that they are males (a point she made earlier in the article) interested in dates that are “distressed women.”  In short, Horror Fans are mostly guys looking for women willing to cling to them in fear.  And, as long as the guys aren’t scared, or at least not as scared as their dates, the women enjoyed the date more (according to the study cited in the article). 

Zits says it better than I could in just four panels.  

Again, I will argue that Horror Fans are not the couples that comprise the study Robb cites in her article, but they will comprise the audience that attends the opening weekend of Poltergeist.  Despite the involvement of Sam Raimi, this film is not targeted at Horror Fans, but an audience eager for cheap jump scares, loud music stings and a reason to huddle/cuddle close in the theater. 

And, I suspect, this is the reason we don’t get many strong, atmospheric and creepy horror films, ones that play on our deeper fears and emotions.  Studios are looking for big openings, horror films that will make back their budget in a couple of days, than pull in home video sales, rather than develop an audience from word of mouth. 

Horror Fans can protest on Facebook, and our blogs (I am counting myself), that horror films can be artistic and scary, but as long as Hollywood sees a bigger box office return from the same cheap, make-the-audience-jump, crap infesting theaters over the past decade, I doubt the strong critical response to films like The Babadook and It Follows will lead to any changes in the films offered up to mainstream audiences. 


Give me a creepy pop-up book and a slow burn over cheap jump scares any day.

Also working against horror films is the tentpole mentality of the major studios.  A Poltergeist sequel is set up in the film’s trailer, as the exorcist proclaims the housing complex was built on a graveyard, but something stronger is present.  Sure, it’s a variation on a line in the original, but given the current cinematic climate, I suggest a CGI tequila vomit-worm will crawl into theaters within a couple years, if the box office returns for Poltergeist are strong enough.


I don't care how good the CGI looks.  It won't match this moment.

Nothing is going to change anytime soon, unless Horror Fans are willing to take a few risks.  We need to support the quirky independent features making it into theaters.  You might like them, or not, but vote with your dollars, Horror Fans.  We need to stop thinking about trying to change the minds of the studio executives and focus on the theater owners, especially local, independent theaters.  If we make a market, such theaters will respond and start booking independently produced horror film for a limited run.  Readers of this blog know independent theaters in Portland are finding box office success with independent horror films, and if other regional independent theaters are successful booking such films, the major studios might start paying attention. 

It’s a long shot, but better than a future of reboots, prequels and classic monsters in a shared, superhero-style universe films coming to a theater near you.



 Now, THAT"S SCARY!

Post Script: I know I've fallen into the trap of judging the Poltergeist remake based on the trailer, but the previews in theaters are suppose to draw us into the film, not repulse us.  Still, I offer my readers this promise.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will watch the Poltergeist remake during its opening week and offer an honest review.  As I suspect I will be buying my own ticket (what studio will offer me a preview pass after this article!), but I will likely avoid opening weekend, as I don't want to support what I suspect is a cheap ripoff.  But I will post my honest opinion and really hope I'm wrong concerning my fears about the trailer.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Well, April is roaring out like a lion for Northwest Horror Fans, and The Shadow Over Portland is happy to spread the Horrific News!

I didn't expect April to roar out like this, but the month is chocked full of horror screenings for Northwest Horror Fans.  I just hope I caught it all....

Friday, April 17



Should you be looking for a horror comedy with a 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.  Click on the link for more information and showtimes through April 16.

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It Follows continues to play at The Hollywood Theatre and Cinema 21.  The tale of a 19 year old girl stuck with a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED HAUNTING she is only able to escape by passing the curse to someone else has garnered some great reviews.  So click on The Hollywood Theatre website and the Cinema 21 website for more information and showtimes.

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The Iranian vampire tale, A Girl Walks Home at Night, continues at The Living Room Theater and The Laurelhust Theater in Portland, OR, through Thursday, April 16.  Visit The Living Room Theater website and The Laurelhurst Theater website for more information.

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Through April 22, The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR is screening a 35mm print of Director's Cut of Blade Runner.  Look, I've lost track of what cut this one is, but it will be stunning on the big screen, presented in glorious 35mm!  Check out The Hollywood Theatre website for more details and showtimes.
  
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Okay, I'm not going to try and explain what Horrorism is.  I'm just going to quote the Cinema 21 website concerning the screening of the Cinema Project presentation of Horrorism for Beginners, Beginners for Horrorism...

In this one night program, Berlin-based OJOBOCA will present a selection of films and projector performances that demonstrate the collective's practice of Horrorism, "a simulated method of inner and outer transformation."  OJOBOCA's films and performances are as rich in visual nand sensory texture as the are in drawing upon and inspiring an imaginative and creative spirit.  Taking place 3000 years in the future and featuring a cast of jungle-dwelling gnomes, La Gente Perra is a film based on fragments of a story by the Colombian writer, Gomati D. Wahu.  The collective's penchant for representing phantasmagoric stories and images continues with Wolkenschatten, a narrated slideshow composed of remnant images that eerily document the mysterious disappearance of an entire German town in the 1980s.  The program concludes with two projection performances and will be followed by a conversation with the artists,.
If you have any other questions, check out the link for more details.

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Okay, Tacoma Horror Fans, Friday Night Frights returns to the Blue Mouse Theatre (2611 N. Proctor) in Tacoma, WA with a screening of Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse.  Of course, there will be prizes, including tickets to Crytpticon Seattle, goodies from Tacoma Ghost Tours, and a sale of original artwork from Eel Eye!  The event is open to all ages, but remember, the feature is rated R.  Visit the Facebook Event page for more information.



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Opening at The Living Room Theater in Portland, OR is Monsters: Dark Continent.  Set ten years after the original film, the world is experiencing a spread of the creatures and focuses on a military response in the Middle East.  The IMDb information makes this one sound more like a rocking horror action film than the original, and I'm not sure how much input original director Gareth Edwards had on the project (though he's listed as an executive producer).  Still, I'd expect some metaphors to our current Middle East military actions. Visit The Living Room Theater website for more details.

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The Sci-Fi Film Festival is in full swing at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, OR.  A few of the horrific highlights include screenings of the original Planet of the Apes and 12 Monkeys tonight, Planet of the Apes will screen again on April 18 at 3:45 pm (Oh, and Monster Kid Radio will be crashing the screening, so if you want your opinions on those "damn, dirty apes" on a future episode of MKR, I know Derek M. Koch will have his recorder with him), as well as the Final Cut of Blade Runner (whatever version that is; it will still be awesome!).  And Alien will screen on Sunday, April 19.  Of course, other movies are showing as well, so for a complete list, including showtimes and prices, visit the official OMSI website.


Saturday, April 18



Nothing beats B-Movies and Beer, so Horror Fans in Salem, OR, need to head to f/stop Fitzgerald (335 Grove St) for a screening of local horror filmmaker Joe Sherlock's latest movie, Odd Noggin.  Beer, weird aliens and wacky happenings makes for a great evening, so don't miss out!  The show starts at 9 pm and you'll find more information at the event's Facebook Page.

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Should you be further north, stop by The Pickford Film Center (3181 Bay St. in Bellingham, WA) for a screening of the Ed Wood classic, Bride of the Monster.  Watch Bela Lugosi do his best to wrestle a phony octopus, Tor Johnson stagger about and more sights to delight any lover of low budget horror.  The show starts at noon, and you'll find more information at the link.

Sunday, April 19



VHS Uber Alles presents a screening of Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs in glorious VHS.  This is a pretty wacky film, with some nice social commentary and some amazingly weird plot turns.  The film starts at 6 pm at the Highline Bar (210 Broadway E. in Seattle, WA) and admission is free, so bring some extra cash to spend on booze and tasty treats from the vegetarian/vegan menu.  You must be 21 or older to attend.  For more information on this screening, visit the Facebook Event Page.
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Of course, should you be in Portland, OR, tonight, head to Dante's Inferno (350 W Burnside) for a risque version of classic Twilight Zone episodes.  Miss Kennedy's School of Burlesque presents versions of the Rod Serling show that would have never made it past the censors!  Featuring Noah Mickens (of the Wanderlust Circus and Hungry Opera Machine) as Mr. Serling, each episode gives some interesting takes on episodes such as Terror at 20,000 Feet (with artist Nik Sin as The Gremlin).  Other episodes in the tribute include The Masks, The Lonely, To Serve Man, Queen of the Nile, Time at Last, 16 Millimeter Shrine, Living Doll, The After Hours and possibly A Good Life and Will The Real Martians Stand Up.  This should be an AWESOME show, so be sure to arrive early and assure you have a seat.  Doors open at 8 pm, and the show starts at 9 pm.  You can buy advanced tickets, and see a complete list of the performers in the show, at the Facebook Event Page, but even with tickets, I'd suggest you arrive well before the show starts.

Tuesday, April 21



I wouldn't mention this film on my site, as it's not really horror, but it is the last screen appearance of horror icon Lon Chaney, Jr.  The Hollywood Theater, in conjunction with Repossessed Cinema, presents a 35mm screening of The Female Bunch at 7:30 pm.  Filmed on the Spahn Film Ranch the same time the Manson Gang was there, the film follows a waitress inducted into a group of drug smuggling, bad ass woman.  Directed by Al Adamson, the film also stars Russ Tamblym and Nesa Renet.  You can find more information on the film, and purchase advanced tickets, at The Hollywood Theatre website.


Wednesday, April 22



Re-imagined Radio, a combination of live performance in the style of old radio dramas with modern technology, will perform The Case Files of Dr. Moreau, an live adaptation of the classic H. G. Wells novel, at The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver WA.  Based on an original script by William S. Gregory of Portland, the drama sounds like it will be closer to the novel than the recent film versions, as Moreau uses vivisection to create humans from animals rather than gene therapy.  Doors open at 6 pm, and the performance starts at 7 pm.  Beer. wine and concessions will be available.  Visit the link for more information on the production and Re-imagined Radio.



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Weird Wednesday continues in Tigard, OR, as The Joy Cinema presents Godmonster of Indian Flats at 9:15 pm.  IMDb sums it up as "A mutant sheep is on the move near a ranch in the American West."  Okay, I'm sold at Mutant Sheep.  The screening is free, but you must be 21 or older to attend.  And be sure to pick up some tasty treats and beverages (The Joy does serve beer) to help keep Weird Wednesdays alive!  You'll find more information at The Joy Cinema website.

Friday, April 24



Rev up for Fury Road, as The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR, presents a digitally restored version of George Miller's Mad Max.  The film plays through Sunday, April 26, and you'll find more information, and a link to purchase advanced tickets, at The Hollywood Theatre website.

Saturday, April 25 




If you need a bit of cosmic insanity after completing and mailing off your taxes, plan to make your way to the Crowne Plaza (1441 NE 2nd Ave in Portland, OR) for CthulhuCon PDX on April 25 and 26, 2015.

This con is NOT taking the place of October's film festival, but will focus more on gaming, panel discussions and author readings.  You know, all the things you miss at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon because, well, you're too busying taking in all the cinematic wonders.

The festival will include a few films, as well as a vendor's area.  The current guest roster includes 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.

Check out the Facebook Event Page for up to the minute information and advanced ticket sales.

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If your tastes run a bit more towards the grindhouse, head to The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, OR, for a trio of bikersploitation films.  All Hell Breaks Loose (a man tries to save his bride from bikers, no matter how often he dies), Dear God No! (Bikers and a thing in the woods) and Time to Kill (no synopsis; I'll updated it ASAP).

The show starts at 6 pm and includes raffles, bikini blood wrestling with Frenetic Film Production actresses and more!  The screening is a fundraiser for Frenetic Films latest feature, The Cemetery People (you can get more information on this upcoming film at The Cemetery People Indiegogo page).  You must be 21 or older to attend.

I'll keep you updated with all the information as I get it.  Or check out The Clinton Street Theater website for details once the site is updated (no information on the screening at the site at this time).

You can also read my review for the locally produced All Hell Breaks Loose here.

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Hellbender Media and Guerrilla Productions premieres Flesh of my Flesh, a locally produced zombie movie, at The Joy Cinema (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) at 3:30 pm.  The director will be present for a Q and A after the screening.  Admission to the screening is $8 and you can find more information about the event at The Joy Cinema website or the event Facebook page.

May, 2015

Friday, May 1



Celebrate May Day in the most creepy way possible, as The Clinton Street Theater screens the director approved version of The Wicker Man at 7 and 9 pm.  Presented by The Rural Route Film Festival, dedicated to presenting features dealing with those outside the city limits, this film does take things to a bit of an extreme.  And, as you might suspect, I have NO problem with that.  I just hope a screening of Children of the Corn is in the works.  Check out The Clinton Street Theater website for more information on the screening, and The Rural Route Film Festival.



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Well, that's what I have for now, but I'm sure more is coming.  So, if you have an event, or I missed yours, email me at shadowoverportland@live.com and I'll add it to the Horror Calendar and update the site.  Remember, this if a FREE service.  I don't ask for any compensation.  Yeah, too good to be true, but I really don't charge for posts or anything.

And remember, if you attend any of these events, let the organizers know you read about it at The Shadow Over Portland!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Once again, the Gillman gets no love from Portland



The winner of this month's This is Your Theater vote has been announced and...

Really, Portland Horror Fans,  No love for Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D?

The winner is the classic anime, Akira, which I will admit is a disappointment for me.  Still, the film will look pretty cool on the big screen at The Hollywood Theatre.

Remember, just winning the vote doesn't count.  Filmgoers need to buy 100 advanced tickets, and the current count is at 13 (as of 6:17 pm on April 14).  You need to buy your tickets within the next 9 days to ensure the screening will happen.  If 100 people purchase advance tickets, the film will screen on Saturday, April 25, at 7 pm.

And, as I've mentioned previously, an advance ticket purchase ensures you're able to attend.  Last minute buyers were turned away at the box office from previous screenings, so if you really want to see this film on the big screen, click on the link and buy your ticket now.

As for disappointed Creature fans, I will find a way to get the Gillman back into The Hollywood, I swear.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why I’m dreading a Creature from the Black Lagoon remake, whether Scarlett Johansson is involved or not.




Word dropped on the Internet Thursday that Scarlett Johansson is being approached to star in the upcoming Universal remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon (click the link for the meager details). It took a bit of time for me, a devoted fan of the original film and the sequels, to formulate an opinion about this news.  But I'm okay with it, though I'll likely skip the film.  Like death, remakes of classic horror films are inevitable and as Universal Studio is looking to create a shared universe for their Classic Monsters, I knew the Gillman would end up in the mix at some point.  

And the casting of Johansson isn’t a problem either.  If the rumor is true, and, as we all know, everything on the Internet is true (please insert sarcastic tone when you reread that statement), I think it shows Universal plans to deviate from the original in a big way and that wouldn’t be bad.

But let’s get this out of the way.  Johansson would be a bit of stunt casting.  I’m not saying anything about her acting skills.  But one has to wonder if Universal isn’t looking to entice male moviegoers to the film with the promise of the underwater ballet between the female lead and the Gillman.  I doubt the studio will cast Johansson and not have her swimming in a bikini during the scene, rather than a one-piece swimsuit or a wet suit, which would be more practical for a scientist exploring the depths of the Amazon.  Nope, it will be a two-piece suit and it will look fabulous.


Yeah, this has NOTHING to do with the studio's casting decision.

Also, I think Johansson’s possible involvement spells a different direction for the remake.  If Universal is attempting to bring a star like Johansson into their Classic Monster Universe, the studio will have to rewrite the female lead.  As much as I love Julia Adams in the role of Kay, her character is a product of the 50s and will have to be rewritten to work in a remake.  And I’m sure Johansson won’t be interested in a script that reduces her character to a damsel in distress waiting to rescued (and upstaged) by a male lead during most of the movie.

A revamping of the female lead is NOT a bad thing in a remake.  Kay was a competent woman in the original, at least until the second act, when she turns into the hapless victim of a romantic pyramid between Mark, David and the Gillman.  For a modern remake, Kay’s character needs to be rebuilt, allowing her to be strong against the Gillman, even if she has a human romantic interest in the new film.  And such a character change can work, as proven by the remake of The Blob, where Shawnee Smith proves to be just as capable at battling the monster as Kevin Dillon.  I just hope the script doesn’t follow Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, where the script tries to rationalize Ann’s affection for the creature over her attraction to her human suitor, Jack.  


Yeah, she's screaming at the start of the film, but Shawnee turns into Rambo by the end.

Regardless of how Johansson character comes across onscreen (I suspect the character would be named Kay as an homage the original film, but will be nothing like Adams’ version), my problem with the remake stems from Universal’s previous announcement, and the release of Dracula Untold, indicating a shift to more of a superhero style film.  And that is the problem.  The remake will not be helmed filmmakers wanting to bring a respectful re-imaging of the original, but a group of people interested on creating a franchise.  Say what you will about Jackson’s Kong, one can see the love and respect he had for the original.  And the remakes of The Blob, The Thing and The Fly prove that filmmakers can make solid remakes while still paying tribute to the originals.

But turning the Gillman into a pawn in a universal struggle of good and evil monsters destroys the heart of the character.  With few exceptions from the Classic Universal Monster film catalog, the monsters work best contained to their own stories, rather than a titanic struggle of good verses evil.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe works because the comics laid out the foundation, pitting hero against hero until they united as a team to overcome an overwhelming threat.  The Universal Classic Monsters work best with their own stories, depicting their struggles to exist in a world that despises them, not as pawns in an epic battle against each other.

Whether the Gillman is on the side of good or evil is irrelevant.  The fact is, the Gillman works best as a prehistoric creature looking for a mate and not well versed in modern courting techniques.  Laugh all you want at that last sentence, but it’s true.  The original Gillman was too primitive in his courting techniques, even for the 50s.  And while David embodies the perfect man for the time, Mark is the creepy in-between for Kay’s affection, a predatory suitor hidden under the veneer of civilization.

And that’s what the remake should focus on.  Sure, Johansson’s character should be more suited for current times, and the remake NEEDS the underwater ballet moment.  It’s an iconic scene and must be included, regardless of the swimwear worn by the actor.  But I worry that, in order to make the film part of a franchise, the Gillman will end up tamed by Johansson and she will use her power over him to fight on the side of “good” in the inevitable final conflict film.  You don’t sign Scarlett Johansson to a single picture in a franchise, and I can’t think of any other way the series could write her into future films.


Yeah, just ask Lori Nelson how well taming the Gillman worked for her.


And yes, I ignored the CGI verse practical effects debate, as we all know the outcome.   I suspect most of the underwater sequences will be CGI “enhanced” as well, which makes glad to have the original trilogy on DVD. 


Hell, even Zaat might look better that a CGI Gillman.


It would be easier to cheer for practical monster effects if I wasn't being groped by one.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

If you thought last week's April preview was full of Horror Events, wait until you see this week's update!

Oh my, so much scary stuff to share with you all.  Lovecraftian love stories in Vancouver, WA, vampires sharing a home and sexually transmitted hauntings in Portland, an Ed Wood classic in Bellingham, WA, and SO MUCH MORE.  Check out the latest update of The Shadow Over Portland for all the Horror News you can use!

Friday, April 10




The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA, is out to prove love is a monster, as the theater premieres the film Spring.  This one got by me initially, but it appears to feature a love story a la Before Sunrise (according to The Portland Mercury), except someone happens to be an "immortal Cthulhu werewolf beast."  Yep, love sucks, or will devour your soul!  Check out The Kiggins website for more details and showtimes.
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Should you be looking for a horror comedy with a 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.  Click on the link for more information and showtimes through April 16.

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It Follows continues to play at The Hollywood Theatre and Cinema 21, and opens at The St Johns Cinemas today.  The tale of a 19 year old girl stuck with a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED HAUNTING she is only able to escape by passing the curse to someone else has garnered some great reviews.  So click on The Hollywood Theatre website, the Cinema 21 website or the St Johns Cinema website for more information and showtimes.

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The Iranian vampire tale, A Girl Walks Home at Night, continues at The Living Room Theater and The Laurelhust Theater in Portland, OR, through Thursday, April 16.  Visit The Living Room Theater website and The Laurelhurst Theater website for more information.

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The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen the 1956 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, through April 16.  Look, if you don't know anything about this film, GO SEE IT!  And if you've seen the film, GO SEE IT ON THE BIG SCREEN!!  It's a classic, folks, so if you can make it, be sure to do so.  You'll find more information and showtimes at The Academy Theater website.

Saturday, April 11




The Cherry City Comic Con returns to The Oregon State Fair and Expo Center in Salem, OR, through April 12.  The show features actors Naomi Grossman from American Horror Story, Vernon G. Wells from The Road Warrior, and.....

OH DAMN!  Don Pedro Colley, who played Baron Somedi in the AWESOME blacksploitation zombie film Sugar Hill, will be at the convention.  Crap, I HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO SALEM NOW!!

For a list of other guests, and information on tickets and lodging, visit the link.

Tuesday, April 14




Shock@Tonic returns to the Tonic Lounge (3100 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portlands, OR) with a screening of Horror of the Zombies (AKA The Ghost Galleon), along with local and non local horror shorts.  Sounds like a great way to meet local horror fans!  Presented by GuignolFest (check the link for more information on Portland/s DIY-in-72-hours film contest/festival), the show starts at 7 pm, admission is free and you must be 21 or older to attend.

Friday, April 17




Okay, I'm not going to try and explain what Horrorism is.  I'm just going to quote the Cinema 21 website concerning the screening of the Cinema Project presentation of Horrorism for Beginners, Beginners for Horrorism...

In this one night program, Berlin-based OJOBOCA will present a selection of films and projector performances that demonstrate the collective's practice of Horrorism, "a simulated method of inner and outer transformation."  OJOBOCA's films and performances are as rich in visual nand sensory texture as the are in drawing upon and inspiring an imaginative and creative spirit.  Taking place 3000 years in the future and featuring a cast of jungle-dwelling gnomes, La Gente Perra is a film based on fragments of a story by the Colombian writer, Gomati D. Wahu.  The collective's penchant for representing phantasmagoric stories and images continues with Wolkenschatten, a narrated slideshow composed of remnant images that eerily document the mysterious disappearance of an entire German town in the 1980s.  The program concludes with two projection performances and will be followed by a conversation with the artists,.
If you have any other questions, check out the link for more details.

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Okay, Tacoma Horror Fans, Friday Night Frights returns to the Blue Mouse Theatre (2611 N. Proctor) in Tacoma, WA with a screening of Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse.  Of course, there will be prizes, including tickets to Crytpticon Seattle, goodies from Tacoma Ghost Tours, and a sale of original artwork from Eel Eye!  The event is open to all ages, but remember, the feature is rated R.  Visit the Facebook Event page for more information.

Saturday, April 18




Nothing beats B-Movies and Beer, so Horror Fans in Salem, OR, need to head to f/stop Fitzgerald (335 Grove St) for a screening of local horror filmmaker Joe Sherlock's latest movie, Odd Noggin.  Beer, weird aliens and wacky happenings makes for a great evening, so don't miss out!  The show starts at 9 pm and you'll find more information at the event's Facebook Page.

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Should you be further north, stop by The Pickford Film Center (3181 Bay St. in Bellingham, WA) for a screening of the Ed Wood classic, Bride of the Monster.  Watch Bela Lugosi do his best to wrestle a phony octopus, Tor Johnson stagger about and more sights to delight any lover of low budget horror.  The show starts at noon, and you'll find more information at the link.

Sunday, April 19




VHS Uber Alles presents a screening of Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs in glorious VHS.  This is a pretty wacky film, with some nice social commentary and some amazingly weird plot turns.  The film starts at 6 pm at the Highline Bar (210 Broadway E. in Seattle, WA) and admission is free, so bring some extra cash to spend on booze and tasty treats from the vegetarian/vegan menu.  You must be 21 or older to attend.  For more information on this screening, visit the Facebook Event Page.
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Of course, should you be in Portland, OR, tonight, head to Dante's Inferno (350 W Burnside) for a risque version of classic Twilight Zone episodes.  Miss Kennedy's School of Burlesque presents versions of the Rod Serling show that would have never made it past the censors!  Featuring Noah Mickens (of the Wanderlust Circus and Hungry Opera Machine) as Mr. Serling, each episode gives some interesting takes on episodes such as Terror at 20,000 Feet (with artist Nik Sin as The Gremlin).  Other episodes in the tribute include The Masks, The Lonely, To Serve Man, Queen of the Nile, Time at Last, 16 Millimeter Shrine, Living Doll, The After Hours and possibly A Good Life and Will The Real Martians Stand Up.  This should be an AWESOME show, so be sure to arrive early and assure you have a seat.  Doors open at 8 pm, and the show starts at 9 pm.  You can buy advanced tickets, and see a complete list of the performers in the show, at the Facebook Event Page, but even with tickets, I'd suggest you arrive well before the show starts.

Wednesday, April 22




Re-imagined Radio, a combination of live performance in the style of old radio dramas with modern technology, will perform The Case Files of Dr. Moreau, an live adaptation of the classic H. G. Wells novel, at The Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver WA.  Based on an original script by William S. Gregory of Portland, the drama sounds like it will be closer to the novel than the recent film versions, as Moreau uses vivisection to create humans from animals rather than gene therapy.  Doors open at 6 pm, and the performance starts at 7 pm.  Beer. wine and concessions will be available.  Visit the link for more information on the production and Re-imagined Radio.

Saturday, April 25 



If you need a bit of cosmic insanity after completing and mailing off your taxes, plan to make your way to the Crowne Plaza (1441 NE 2nd Ave in Portland, OR) for CthulhuCon PDX on April 25 and 26, 2015.

This con is NOT taking the place of October's film festival, but will focus more on gaming, panel discussions and author readings.  You know, all the things you miss at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon because, well, you're too busying taking in all the cinematic wonders.

The festival will include a few films, as well as a vendor's area.  The current guest roster includes 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.

Check out the Facebook Event Page for up to the minute information and advanced ticket sales.

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If your tastes run a bit more towards the grindhouse, head to The Clinton Street Theater in Portland, OR, for a trio of bikersploitation films.  All Hell Breaks Loose (a man tries to save his bride from bikers, no matter how often he dies), Dear God No! (Bikers and a thing in the woods) and Time to Kill (no synopsis; I'll updated it ASAP).

The show starts at 6 pm and includes raffles, bikini blood wrestling with Frenetic Film Production actresses and more!  The screening is a fundraiser for Frenetic Films latest feature, The Cemetery People (you can get more information on this upcoming film at The Cemetery People Indiegogo page).  You must be 21 or older to attend.

I'll keep you updated with all the information as I get it.  Or check out The Clinton Street Theater website for details once the site is updated (no information on the screening at the site at this time).

You can also read my review for the locally produced All Hell Breaks Loose here.

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Hellbender Media and Guerrilla Productions premieres Flesh of my Flesh, a locally produced zombie movie, at The Joy Cinema (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) at 3:30 pm.  The director will be present for a Q and A after the screening.  Admission to the screening is $8 and you can find more information about the event at The Joy Cinema website or the event Facebook page.




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Don't forget to vote for Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D for this month This is Your Theater feature at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland.  Follow the link and cast your vote by Friday, April 10!

And don't forget to enter the contest to win two VIP tickets to the screening of Unfriended on April 15 at the Century Clackamas Theater.  Follow the link to enter.  And FREE TICKETS for you and a guest!  Not a bad deal.

And, should I have missed anything in this post, just email me at shadowoverportland@live.com and I'll be happy to update my post, the Horror Calendar and even post a special edition.  I should mention, I DO NOT ask for any compensation for posts on my site.  I just want to spread the word about all the horror/fantasy/sci fi happenings in the Northwest and sending a press release my way ensures your event won't be overlooked by my web searches.

As always, should you attend any of these events, let the organizers know you read about the event at The Shadow Over Portland.  Help spread the word, Horror Fans!