Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hey, here's the events genre fans in the Northwest are craving to hear about!

Well, I was working on the Horror Calendar update tonight, with some cool screenings from the Rocket Sci-Fi Matinee at The Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, WA, and an exciting screening at The Hollywood Theatre in August,  but I realized it's Weird Wednesday, and you shouldn't miss watching local podcast legend Derek M. Koch (of Monster Kid Radio) introducing the Paul Naschey film, Horror Rises from the Tomb tonight at The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Hwy in Tigard, OR).  The show starts at 9:15 pm, and you must be 21 or older to attend.  Admission is FREE, so be sure to spend a few extra buck at the snack bar and help The Joy keep WEDNESDAYS WEIRD!

Be sure to check the Ongoing and Buy It Now section of the update, for films that I suspect will sell out, and opportunities to submit your genre film to local festivals.

And check out the Horror Calendar, for events such as Hot August Frights at the 7th St Theatre in Hoqium, WA, for a creep crawly good time, genre movies in the park, and SO MUCH MORE!   And I will update the Rocket Sci-Fi offerings later this week.

And I would like to thank everyone who checked out my review of the new Ghostbusters movie.  I know some of you didn't agree with my feelings towards the film, but you made it the most viewed moment in The Shadow Over Portland history.  So, I thank you.  And I welcome your comments and viewpoints.  Nothing will be blocked or censored, unless you're just being a jerk.

But now, onto the upcoming events!


Submissions are being accepted for the PDXtreme Fest, 3 days of horror, crime, gore and more at the the Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark) in Portland, OR, December 2 through 4 this year.  You can find more details on how to enter your film at the Facebook Event Page.


Mental Trap Escape Room Game invites you, and four to ten members, to escape a locked room in one hour.  And yes, it is timed.  Created by the devious minds behind 13th Door Haunted HouseGlowing Greens Miniature Golf and Haunted Productions, this offers you the challenge to find the clues keeping you locked in the room and escape within an hour.  But, as the website suggests, it's not as easy as it sounds.  Located at 3855 SW Murray Blvd in Portland, OR, you can challenge your wits (and those of your team mates) to solve the puzzle before time expires.  I don't know what happens if you don't succeed, but that's part of the fun.  For more details, visit the link.


Bleedingham, a Northwest Horror Short Film Festival, is now excepting submissions.  The chosen films will screen at the Pickford Film Cinema (1318 Bay St) in Bellingham, WA later this year.  More details can be found at the official website.


You can still have your Lovecraftian film considered for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon, which happens October 7 to 9 at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  For more details, visit the Official Website.  Oh, and I'm a guest at the fest, so hope to see you there!

Buy it NOW!

The Grindhouse Film Festival presents a rare 35mm screening of Lucio Fulci's gutmunching classic, Zombie, at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) on Tuesday, July 26, at 7:30 pm.  Grindhouse Film Festival screens often sell out, so buy your tickets early!!  More information and a link to advance ticket sales, are available at the theater's official website.


Oh, this will be all shades of AWESOME!  Tonight at 7:30 pm, The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) will present a screening of David Cronenberg's Scanners in GLORIOUS 35mm.  Okay, that's enough for a geek out moment, but Michael Ironside will be in attendance, with a Q and A after the show!!!  OH HELL YES!!!!!!!  Tickets are $9. and I advise you to buy them EARLY!  Unfortunately, the website is saying online sales are closed, so check back later, or head to The Hollywood Theatre to purchase advance tickets now.  

July, 2016

Wednesday, July 20

Horror Rises from the Tomb at  The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Hwy in Tigard, OR).  This Paul Naschy deals with a warlock and his wife being beheaded, only to come back centuries later to possess the living to make them perform human sacrifices and search for the rest of their bodies.  And Portland podcasting legend (and Rondo Hatton winner) Derek M. Koch (of Monster Kid Radio) will be introducing the film!  The 9:15 pm screening will be free of charge, so do you part to keep Wednesdays WEIRD in Tigard by taking the money you saved on admission and buying some tasty snacks and a beer (or soda) at the concession stand.  You must be at least 21 years of age to attend.  For more details, visit The Joy Cinema website.

Thursday, July 21

Get ready to be hungry for Twinkies and set your sights on Zombie Kill of the Day!  Moonlight Cinema at Redhook Brewery (14300 NE 145th St in Woodinville, WA) presents a screening of Zombieland.  Festivities start at 6 pm with a Zombie Burlesque Show.   Admission is $5 and you must be 21 or older to attend.  The Redhook Brewery official website isn't very helpful (click and good luck to you, as all I got was a limited calendar and a pop-up with details about the films and advance ticket sales).  Hope the website is updated later by now.

Friday, July 22

Northwest outdoor cinema favorite, The Goonies, plays tonight at Westlake Park (401 Pine St in Seattle, WA) as part of the Movies in the Park series.  The movie starts at dusk and admission is free.  If you want more details, good luck, as the websites aren't too helpful.  Visit the Westlake Park Calendar, the Official Seattle Parks and Rec website or the Westlake Park Facebook Page.


If you're more in the mood for a dark fairy tale, head to Jefferson Park (3801 Beacon Ave S in Seattle, WA) as Outdoor Movies in Jefferson Park presents Labyrinth.  Festivities start at 7 pm with open mic, and the movie starts at dusk.  If you want more details, visit the Beacon Arts official website.  And the site has a link for you to email the organizers if you want to perform during the open mic session.

Sunday, July 24

The 1968 sci-fi classic, Planet of the Apes, is headed back to the big screen, courtesy of Fathom Events.  Playing on Sunday, July 24, and Wednesday, July 27, at 2 and 7 pm both days.  Catching this sci fi classic on the big screen is an event most genre fans won't want to miss.  Click on the links to find locations for the July 24 and July 27 screenings.


Another dystopian vision of the future screens tonight at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd) in Portland, OR, as Frak! Theater presents a digital restoration of John Carpenter's Escape from New York at 7 pm.  I don't think I need to say anymore than Snake Plsskin on THE BIG SCREEN!!  Part of a Harry Dean Stanton series, in honor of his 90th birthday, you can find more details and advance tickets at the link.

Tuesday, July 26

They are going to EAT YOU!  The Grindhouse Film Festival presents a rare 35mm screening of Lucio Fulci's gutmunching classic, Zombie, at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) tonight at 7:30 pm.  Yes, the film with the classic shark verse zombie battle, as well as the most infamous moment of eyeball trauma in a Fulci film (and he's filmed A LOT of eyeball trauma)!  I saw this film when I was 18 years old on it's initial release and man, it was hard not to look away at times.  If you've never seen it on the big screen, don't miss this opportunity!  Don't forget, the GFF screens often sell out, so buy your tickets early!!  More information and a link to advance ticket sales are available at the theater's official website.


Well, that's what I have for now, Northwest Genre Fans.  Should I have missed anything, email me at and I'll be sure to include it.  

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016)

Okay, before I get into this review, let me make one thing absolutely clear.  I HAVE NOT received any perks from Sony or Columbia Pictures for this review.  No free screening (paid for my ticket), no swag in any way.  Hell, I bought my own beer... so I owe Sony/Columbia NOTHING!

Had to get that out of the way, as a lot of Internet trolls are suggesting any reviewer with a positive take on the new Ghostbuster film was paid off by the studio.  I WAS NOT, and I have to make that clear because I really liked the film.  It was much more fun that Batman V. Superman or X-Men: Apocalypse, delivering about two hours of a cast of characters busting ghost, taking names and delivering some laughs without having to go all dark and depressing.  All you could want in a summer movie.

Let the nerd rage commence....

And bring it on, as I'm sure these gals
have my back

To be honest, the reboot isn't the best movie ever, but it's solid fun and a big step forward in how women in action/comedy films are portrayed.  And, though I can't call it a true horror comedy (as with the first two films, they are comedies with horror elements), I feel I need to discuss this film in the hopes that it gains more support and changes how women are portrayed in genre related films.

But more about that later.  Onto the plot...

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a candidate for tenure at Columbia University.  But her academic plans are derailed when a book she cowrote with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), attempting to give a scientific explanation for ghosts, shows up on Amazon.  She finds this out when approached by the curator of a potentially haunted house comes to her, asking her to investigate the sightings.

She goes to Yates' lab at at a rather shady "university,"  She meets Yate's coworker. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and getting involved with their investigation of the haunted building.  They record an apparition, but the resulting video results in Gilbert being kicked out of Columbia and Yates being kicked out of her office.  The trio set i[ their own research lab, then teams up to investigate a supernatural event in the NYC subways, reported by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones).

Eventually, the four team try to scientifically prove the existence of ghosts, while uncovering the plot of marginalize hotel employee Rowan North (Neil Casey) to bring about a world wide apocalypse.  Even when the New York City authorities, and members of Homeland Security, are convinced the threat is ended, the Ghostbusters discover North's plans have only begun and must save the world, and their dumb as a bag of rocks secretary Kevin (a hilarious Chris Hemsworth), from utter destruction.

Yeah, the ladies steal the stage from Ozzie,  
Good for you!

Okay, most everyone from the original has a cameo.  Harold Ramis shows up as a bust in the halls of Columbia University, leaving the only Rick Moranis missing (understandable, as he's given up acting, but I might have missed an homage to his character in the film).  Even the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man shows up, though not as the main villain, despite what some websites might lead you to believe.

And that's the problem with all the online hatred for this film.  It's not perfect, but it's so much better than you'd expect.  Most of that is thanks to the script, by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig.  Sure, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis share script writing credits, but Dippold and Feig take the basic idea and make it a separate movie from the original.  It's a complete reboot and it works, as the script gives the new actors room to breathe and form their own characters, rather than slavishly conforming to the stereotypes in the previous films.

Having watched the original film, and the sequel, a week before the new version was released, I can say that time hasn't treated the originals well.  Sure, the practical effects are amazing, but Venkman (Bill Murray) is a total sleaze, despite the fact that he's suppose to be the hero.  Instead, the man would have multiple restraining orders against him, including a few from Dana, and I wouldn't blame her.

Sure, this is a scientific device.
And yes, I am happy to see you.

And the dick jokes.  Oh My God, too many dick jokes.  That's not to say there is not some genital humor in the reboot, but the focus isn't on stroking up proton guns and making them hard.  It's based on overcoming political oppression and kicking ghost ass.  And that's why this movie works so well.

Sure, we get a back story from Gilbert, about how she saw a ghost when she was a young girl and no one but Yates would believe her.  But the script avoids giving any of the women a stereotypical reason for wanting to bust ghosts, and that is a big plus.  Unlike movie like Aliens and the Underworld series, which have strong female characters, their motivations come from finding a nuclear family unit of some type to make them fight the main villain.  Instead, the new Ghostbusters are attempting to prove the existence of the supernatural, before protecting the world from the End of Days.

Okay, Gilbert is hot and heavy for Kevin, but her attraction is mocked by her teammates.  But unlike the originals, who are out to make a buck (while one is looking to score with a hot cellist), these gals only want to prove they are right and keep the world safe, even if the government denies their actions.  And that is awesome in a movie with no male lead, as woman are finally invading this final domain of manliness in movies.  You know the troupe, the guy getting into the action (however reluctantly) to prove he was right about the bad guy, as seen in every 80s action movie since First Blood.

The cast is solid.  Wiig and McCarthy play characters we've seen in films like Bridesmaids, but their performances are solid, and it's nice to see McCarthy not play the heavy girl that is the butt of every joke.  Tolan is funny as well (though, to be honest, her character is the least developed of the bunch), but the real standouts are Hemsworth (the man has some comedic chops and, if you stay for the credits, can really DANCE; I'm an old Hollywood musical fan and that man has some moves!!), as well as McKinnon, who steals every scene she's in.  And when she gets the chance to gun-fu like she's in a John Woo movie, she is AMAZING!

Yeah, I have a new nerd crush.
Go ahead, judge me.
I dare you!

This was the most fun I've had watching this year's genre related summer blockbusters thus far this year.  Yes, it's not breaking any new ground, the CGI effects work for the most part (but still pale compared to the original, though I doubt any practical effects could generate the amount of ghosts and proton rays on the screen in the final act).  But again. the cast is solid, the jokes work for the most part, the film plays off the original well, and, damn it, I was grinning most of the time.  It may not be "fresh," but it's a lot of fun and much better than you might expect.

But if my review doesn't convince you to support this version of Ghostbusters, just check out the picture below.  After seeing women being marginalized in countless movies (seriously, Marvel Cinematic Universe, you need to do better with Black Widow, Sif and Scarlett Witch), young girls dressed up as Ghostbusters for the film's Hollywood premiere and, by the looks on their faces as they meet Kristen Wiig, appear to believe they can do what the women did in this film.  And I think that's the most important reason for this reboot.

If these girls don't melt your heart,
you're dead inside.

That's right, girls.  You go BUST SOME GHOSTS!