Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Here's your Horror Update through July, Northwest Horror Fans. But fear not, lots of great events are happening next month!

Okay, the end of this month might seem a bit slow, but things are picking up in August and I've even found my first October event.  Oh, you know as the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR grows closer, more will be added to the Weekly Update.  But if you can't wait, be sure to click on the Horror Calendar in August for all the events that I can find.

But for now, here's the events for this week!


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.

Buy it NOW!

On Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6, at 9:30pm, The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR, will screen a digital restoration of A Cat in the Brain, directed by, and starring, Lucio Fulci.  This meta take on creating horror films has Fulci playing a director tormented by the gore he's released on the screen, only to have reality take a twisted turn as a serial killer is committing murders that mirror the onscreen mayhem he created.  It's trippy, it's gory fun and I'm sure it will sell out, so buy your advance tickets at The Hollywood Theatre official website.  

July, 2016

Wednesday, July 27

Okay, Portland area Horror Fans and lovers of WEIRD WEDNESDAY, you have plenty of time to head to The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) for a screening of Santo...

Oh, sorry, the American title is Samson vs. the Vampire Women.  But seriously, it's SANTO, the silver masked luchador taking on a horde of vampire women.  Oh, you know you have to see it if you can.

According to The Joy Cinema Facebook page, should this film be unavailable, it will be replaced with another movie with just as much SANTO!  And, let's be honest, you can't get enough Santo in your life.

The film starts at 9:15 pm and ADMISSION IS FREE!  That should liberate a few extra dollars to spend at the concession stand, with is stocked with soda, tasty popcorn and beer!   Spend the extra cash, and help support The Joy Cinema and Pub as they continue to keep Wednesdays WEIRD in the Portland area.

Oh, you must be 21 or older to get in.  Visit The Joy Cinema official website for more details.

Thursday, July 28

Moonlight Cinema at Redhook Brewery (14300 NE 145th St in Woodinville, WA) presents a screening of Labyrinth tonight at dusk  Festivities start at 6 pm with a Bowie tribute with Oddmall Emporium of the Weird.  Admission is $5.  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 29

Projekt Records and Movies in the Dark present the David Cronenberg thriller, The Dead Zone, tonight at 9:30 pm at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd) in Portland, OR.  Based on the Stephen King novel, the film deals with a man (Christopher Walken) who awakes from a coma with the ability to see the future of those he touches.  And, as you might guess, things don't go well.  For more details, and advance ticket sales, visit the link.


Okay, it's my blog and I'm going to include The Hollywood Theatre's (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark this weekend, because it's one of the best action movies ever made and the ending is PRETTY CREEPY!  I can't think of many horror fans objecting to a film where, in less than a minute, we get a head being desiccated, another melting and a third blown to bloody bits!  Especially a 50-FOOT BIG SCREEN!!  IN GLORIOUS 35mm!!!!  Visit the theater's official website for showtimes and advance ticket sales.  I suspect this will sell out, so buy your tickets early.


VHS Uber Alles returns to the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 SE 50th St in Seattle, WA) with a screening of Kamillions in GLORIOUS VHS.  All right, all right, I've never heard of the movie either, but the plot involves two ugly shapeshifting aliens crashing a party.  Cheesy gags and practical effects ensue, and this is one of those movies you'll only see if you come across a VHS copy on eBay.  Admission is $2 and if I was in Seattle area, I'd be checking this one out!!  Visit the Facebook Event Page for more details (and the event's special thanks to Scarecrow Video).


Philip Kaufman's terrific remake of the Don Siegel classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, screens at The Laurelhurst Theater and Pub (2735 E Burnside St in Portland, OR) through Thursday, August 4.  The film stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright and Leonard Nimoy, as well as cameos by Siegel and Kevin McCarthy.  No showtimes have been announced, so check back here, or visit the theater's official website, later in the month.

Saturday, July 30

Seattle Outdoor Cinema, now relocated to the South Lake Union Discovery Center (101 Westlake Ave N in Seattle, WA), presents a 21 and older screening of one of the greatest action films of the decade, Mad Max: Fury Road.  The new location features a larger screen (35 by 55 feet), along with improved sound and projection for one of the best outdoor movie experiences available.  Oh, and there will be food trucks, a beer garden and pre-show entertainment.  You can get more details, as well as the rest of the schedule and links for advance ticket sales, at the official website.


As I mentioned, October is just over TWO MONTHS AWAY, and I know lots of stuff will be happening.  So, if you want your film festival, pumpkin patch, haunted house or other creepy offerings listed on The Shadow Over Portland, send me an email at  October is my busiest month, with lots of Northwest Horror Fans checking out the Weekly Updates, and the Horror Calendar, for all the cool stuff happening in the area.  And I will have extra pages listed on the main site, so fans can find what they want with ease.

Oh, and I should mention that listing your event on The Shadow Over Portland is 100 percent FREE!  I don't expect any compensation, but an email will ensure I list your event.  I can't scour every Internet listing, so make sure your site is listed by letting me know about it!

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wolfcop (2014)

I was very lucky to have turned 18 years old back in 1979.  Before that time, I was watching horror films on broadcast television (thankfully, some were uncut, even on Saturday afternoon, so I got to see some of the mayhem major networks would censor).  My folks weren't fans of the genre, so I could never get them to drive me to a theater to see the latest horror film, let along go with me to the R-rated ones.

Okay, before I go further, this is not a rant against my parents.  They didn't like the genre I was enamored with and wouldn't have sat through the stuff I wanted to see.  And, in their minds, a child shouldn't be exposed to the horrors shown on the big screen.  But they had no problem letting me read books like The Exorcist, or the novelization of The Omen, to name a few.  And they accept my love of all things gory, spooky and macabre, and fill their DVR with films I can't see on cable (as I don't have cable) whenever I visit them now.  They accept me as the weird one out of their three sons and are happy to indulge my strange tastes, and I love them for it.

Hey, they kept Sharknado 3 on their DVR for over eight months so I could see it.
And they drove me to Silver Springs so I could visit the Black Lagoon.
But that's a tale for next month.

Where I am going with this is, once I could drive myself to the local triplex, I was able to see a lot of low budget cult classics that would show up for a one week run at the local triplex.  Zombie, Humanoids from the Deep and other such "low brow" offerings would show up to fill space between the more mainstream films, and I attended a lot of them.  Also, it was a time where theaters could screen Unrated films without the MPAA cracking down on them.

It was a wonderful time, and I'm sure, had it been made back then, I'd have seen Wolfcop at the now demolished Hazel Dell Tri-Cinema back in the 80s.  A glorious exploitation film from Canada, Wolfcop is everything that was right about 80s horror.  It was an original idea (not another Freddie or Jason film), with lots of gore, a bit of nudity, and enough goofy humor to make me long for those days sitting in the theater with a bunch of friends, not knowing what we were going to see, but knowing it would be something really weird.

Yes, it's a Wolfcop with a machine gun.
You know you have to see this movie now.

The story takes place in the small community of Woodhaven, which hosts a yearly Drink and Shoot, has a radio station sponsored by Liquor Donuts (seriously, Portland, why is this not a thing?) and has a police force of two officers, Sergeant Tina (Amy Matysio), officer of the month for what appears to be years, and the chief.

Oh, there is a third officer, Lou Garou (Leo Farfard), but he's a severe alcoholic and barely hanging onto his job. Oh, and yeah, if you didn't guess who the Wolfcop is by his name, you're probably reading the wrong blog.

Seriously, that's how he gets his exercise.
Flask curls.

Sent to investigate occult activity in the area reported by the local gun store owner, Willie (Jonathan Cherry), Garou dismisses it as some heavy metal fans.  But, ordered to follow up on a second disturbance, he finds the current mayoral challenger strung up on a tree.  He's knocked unconscious and wakes up the next morning with bizarre flashbacks to the previous night, heightened senses and a pentagram carved into his torso.

Garou also has a sudden interest in police work, after the body of the upstart candidate is found dead of a possible drug overdose, with animal bites on his neck.  This leads the current mayor to cancel the upcoming Drink and Shoot, but Garou discovers the event has been cancelled during every Lunar Eclipse.

Oh, and the next one is just days away.

After a day of surprisingly productive police work, he heads to the local bar.  Jessica (Sarah Lind) suddenly shuts her establishment down for the night, while offering Garou a few free drinks and the promise of a bit more intimate time after she's done cleaning.  But Garou has to make a hasty retreat to the men's room, where he finds himself transforming and fending off a group of attackers.

Well, if this was your bartender,
who wouldn't be a bit distracted?

Garou awakens chained to a bed at Willie's house, with the gun shop owner telling him he turned into a wolf.  Garou agrees to be restrained in a jail cell that evening, where he again transforms.  But, as a call comes in concerning a robbery by a gang wearing pig masks, Garou answers the call, despite Willie's protest that, "You're a Wolf."

"Cop," Garou replies and the movie kicks into full, furry fury.  And it is gory and SO MUCH FUN!

I'm stopping here, and will admit I've left a few plot point out of this summation, as viewers should really check it out and enjoy the ride as the mystery unfolds.  And it's a glorious ride, with practical effects, a sweet Wolfcop upgrade to a standard police car and a few twists along the way.  And, given it's a 79 minute film, the script is so smart and so rounded out, you'll wonder why Hollywood blockbusters take over two hours to tell a story.

Let alone fail to deliver so much GORY FUN!

For example, the script is chocked full of Big Bad Wolf references.  But even better is that screenwriter/director Lowell Dean delivers both Tina and Garou's motivation without a massive exposition dump.  The script explains who the main characters are, and why they are behaving as they do, without slowing down the story.  It's a beautiful example of how to explain why a character acts as they do without stopping for a lengthy scene to spell things out to the audience.

And it's nice that Garou's nature doesn't change with his transformation.  It's hinted that booze is to him what spinach is to Popeye, and that's all that we need to know.  No over explanation, no over theorizing, just a quick couple lines which allows the audience to just go with the reality the script has set up.

Seriously, the script is that smart.  And Wolfcop shows how a low budget film can deliver, without a ton of money and numerous rewrites trying to make sure the audience "gets it."  Dean just tells his story and trust the audience will follow along, a nice change from many screenplays that pound into the audience's head what's happening.

Okay, if you don't get the fairy tale reference at this point,
you're watching the wrong movie.

My only complaint with the film is we don't get enough Wolfcop.  But, as it's an origin story, things need to be set up.  I'm hoping the proposed sequel remedies that problem, because a Wolfcop is an awesome idea.  And the mythology is set up in the first film that can take the characters in many different directions.  The hints of a bigger baddie (or group of them) is enticing enough to keep me panting for the sequel.

Seriously, check this one out before the upcoming sequel.  You'll be glad you did.