Wednesday, May 2, 2018

We're halfway to Halloween! But that doesn't mean the fun is on hold for Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans!!

Yes, we have started on the downhill slide to THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!  And I just can't wait for those crisp fall days filled with great ghoulish delights.

Of course, we have a few months of sunny weather to get through...

Oh CRAP!  That big, bright ball in the sky is back!!
Where is that 500 SPF sunscreen I bought last year?!?!

But fear not, Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans.  Whether you want to soak up the rays or avoid them like the plague, this edition of the Weekly Update has some great events happening in the region that will keep you inside watching some great movies and stage productions, or out in the sun in the company of fairies!  Check out the awesome events below and make the most of your week!!

And be sure to check out the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar for more great things to do throughout 2018, and BEYOND!  Yep, I've added some events taking place in 2019, so get out your calendar and make your plans NOW!!

Remember, it's easy and (best of all) FREE to have your film festival, convention or stage event listed on this site.  Just email me at with the details and any promotional art, and I'll do the rest!

And help spread the word.  If you attend any of the events listed on the site, please let the organizers know you read about it at The Shadow Over Portland!!

Playing This Week

The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen the horror classic Re-Animator through Thursday, May 3.  Visit the Academy Theater website for showtimes.


The Endless, the story of two brothers revisiting the UFO death cult they left a decade earlier, opens tonight at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  At this time, the film will run through Thursday, May 10.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Buy Tickets Early!

The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) celebrates the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey with screenings of the film in GLORIOUS 70mm from Friday, June 1, to Sunday, June 3.  Visit The Hollywood Theatre website and purchase advance tickets before this sells out!

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, May 2, the only screening open is on Saturday afternoon.

May, 2018 
Wednesday, May 2

AWWWOOOOO!  Werewolf of Washington is tonight's Weird Wednesday feature at The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR).  Showtime is 9:15 pm and admission is FREE, but you must be 21 or older to attend.  Be sure to stop at the concession stand and support The Joy's continuing effort to keep Wednesdays WEIRD by purchasing some tasty treats and beverages before the show!  For more details, visit The Joy Cinema website.

Friday, May 4

Crypticon Seattle takes place through Sunday, May 6, at the Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport (18704 International Blvd in Seattle, WA).  Gregg Henry (Slither, Body Double, Firefly), Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz from Twin Peaks, Randy Havens (Sleepy Hollow, Vampire Diaries, the upcoming Godzilla: King of Monsters), author Matt Shaw,  Richard Brake (the Night King on Game of Thrones, Doom-Head in Rob Zombie's 31) and Jeff Daniel Phillips (Rob Zombie's 31, Halloween II and The Lords of Salem), author Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-tep), Rondo Award-winning filmmaker and author John Skipp (Tales of Halloween, The Light at the End) and actor Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) and Spencer Wilding (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Guardians of the Galaxy), special effects artist and production designer Mick Strawn (Blade, Candyman, Witchboard), author Matt Ruff (Lovecraft Country), actors Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond, The Frighteners), Eugene Clark (Land of the Dead) and P. J. Soles (Halloween) are scheduled to attend.  You can also check out the world premiere of Manos Returns, which takes place on Friday, May 4, at 9 pm, as part of the NW filmmakers showcase.  More information will be posted when available, so check back here or at the Crypticon Seattle website.  You can also check out the Crypticon Seattle 2018 Facebook Event Page.

UPDATE:  Due to her shooting schedule, Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) will not be able to attend.  However, fellow camper Karen Fields, who played Judy, will be in attendance.


Haru-con Spring 2018, hosted by the PCC SE Mini Comic Con, takes place today and tomorrow at the Portland Community College (2850 SE 82nd Ave in Portland, OR).  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Geekenders presents The Lust Jedi: A Sci-Fi Burlesque Adventure to the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC).  Showtimes are 8 pm tonight, Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6.  You must be 18 or older with ID to attend.  Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  For more details, including a list of performers and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) will screen George Lucas' sci fi classic THX 1138 through Thursday, May 10.  Visit the Academy Theater website later for showtimes.


Local podcast The Horror Aisle hosts another edition of the Frightmare on Main Street series at The Kiggins Theatre (1011 Main St in Vancouver, WA) tonight at 9:30 pm.  Head in for crowd participation, games, prizes and tonight's feature, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, with director Stephen Chiodo in attendance!  Tickets are $10.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Kiggins Theatre website.


The Northwest Film Center presents director Amat Escalante's The Untamed to the Portland Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium (1219 SW Park Ave in Portland, OR) tonight at 9:30 pm.  As for the plot, well, it involves a strange creature with an ability to intensify sexual desire as a meditation on homophobia, domestic violence and other social ills.  Read more about the film, as well as purchase advance tickets, at the Facebook Event Page.


Well, it's May Fourth and the perfect night to head to the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC), as the Friday Late Movie tonight is....  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Yeah, maybe a strange choice for 5/4, but you don't want to miss the chance to see what I consider to be the BEST Star Trek movie made in a theater.  Even if you disagree, it's still looks AWESOME on the big screen.  Showtime is 11:45 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Nerd Out (3308 SE Belmont in Portland, OR) invites you to their May the 4th Celebration tonight starting at 4 pm.  Cosplayers are always welcome, and you'll get discounts if you're decked out in Star Wars gear.  Of course, expect raffles, prizes and giveaways as well!  For more details, check out the Facebook Event Page.

Saturday, May 5

Joe Bob Briggs will be at Jak Aktion Comics and Games (839 Bay St in Port Orchard, WA) signing autographs from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Joe Bob Briggs hosts the Port Orchard Film Festival's presentation of the cult classic Basket Case at 6:15 pm tonight only, at the Dragonfly Cinema (822 Bay St in Port Orchard, WA).  Tickets are just $13.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, May 6

The Vintage Toy and Collectible Show, hosted by the Vancouver Toy Junkies, takes place today at Warehouse 23 (100 Columbia St #201 in Vancouver, WA).  No further details are available at this time, so check back later, or visit the Facebook Event Page closer to the date.


Festival of the Fairies continues this weekend in St Helens (AKA Halloweentown), OR.  Admission includes parking, S'Mores Kit, Tags for the Wishing Tree, all photo ops, inside festival activities, and entry to The Museum of Peculiarities and Oddities (located one block from the Festival).  Onsite food from vendors will be available for purchase (not included in admission price).  The festival takes place on the riverfront, so the view will be amazing as well.  For additional details, including a full list of activities, and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page

Tuesday, May 8

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the McMenamins Mission Theater and Pub (1624 NW Glisan in Portland, OR) and visit The Wizard of Oz through Monday, May 14.  Showtimes and a link for advance ticket sales are available at the Facebook Event Page, or check out the Mission Theater website later in May. 


Burlynomicon takes over the stage at the Lovecraft Bar (421 SE Grand Ave in Portland, OR) once again!  Doors open at 9 pm and you must be 21 or older to attend.  Tickets are just $15 at the door.  For more details, including a list of performers, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Endless, the story of two brothers revisiting the UFO death cult they left a decade earlier, screens tonight and on Monday, May 14, at the
Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC).  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Rio Theatre website.

Friday, May 11

It's not game over at The Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St in Portland, OR) yet, as the sci fi/action classic Aliens screens through Thursday, May 17.  Visit the Academy Theater website later for showtimes.


Coralie Fargeat's rape-revenge film Revenge plays tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC).  The film will be presented in the original French with English subtitles.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Rio Theatre website.

Saturday, May 12

The Meadowlark Comic Con takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at the Ramada Medford and Convention Center (2250 Biddle Rd in Medford, OR).  Jackey Neyman Jones, Debbie from Manos: The Hands of Fate, is scheduled to attend, as well as former Power Rangers Allson MacInnis and Sasha Craig (who also appeared in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil).  Visit  the Meadowlark Comic Con website or Facebook Event Page for more details and advance ticket sales.


The GeekCraft Expo PDX takes place this weekend at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Portland, OR).  Admission is FREE to this family friendly event, allowing you to buy handcrafted geeky things from local crafters.  Cosplay is highly encouraged.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Weird Elephant at The Grand Cinema (606 S Fawcett Ave in Tacoma, WA) presents the film November tonight at 11 pm.  Set in 19th century Estonia, the film involves a peasant girl longing for a village boy who is infatuated with a baroness and her attempt to win his love in a landscape filled with spirits, werewolves, plagues and the devil.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Happy Death Day (2017)

If, like me, you saw the trailer for Happy Death Day and dismissed it as a slasher ripoff of Groundhog's Day, you would not be mistaken in the least.  But, like me, you also missed out on a fun little horror film when it hit theaters.  It isn't trying to be the next Get Out, but succeeds in being a fun, somewhat spooky treat for a lazy evening on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a few drinks. 

The movie starts with bitchy sorority girl Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) waking up in Carter Davis' (Israel Broussard) dorm room after blacking out during a night of heavy partying on the eve of her birthday.  Carter claims he only brought her back to sleep things off and he didn't touch her, but Tree is surprisingly unconcerned with that possibility and is more worried that her reputation would suffer if people found out she even associated with someone living in a dorm, let alone spent the night in one. 

Tree's callous attitudes towards those around her continues throughout the day.  She tosses a birthday cupcake from her roommate into the trash, ignores a birthday call from her father, and is just a horrible person to anyone she has contact with.  The only person she is nice to is the instructor she's sleeping with, but his wife interrupts  the birthday quickie she had in mind.

As she is obviously in the running for the most horrible person on campus, no one should be shocked that, on her way to a frat party that evening, Tree is stabbed by a killer wearing a baby-face mask.

Oh, and did I mention this is the school mascot?
Unfortunately, the reason why is one mystery 
the script never resolves.

For some reason (karma or Cthulhu, take your pick), Tree finds herself in a time loop, waking in Carter's dorm after her death and forced to relive her birthday until she is murdered again.  After a few failed attempts to outrun her fate, Tree decides to figure out who is killing her in an attempt to survive her birthday and wake up with her life off the repeat mode she finds herself stuck in. 

As you might expect, she becomes a nicer person in the process, as the audience wouldn't be invested in Tree solving her murder if she remained an unrepentant, vile human being.  And Rothe does a very good job portraying the transformation that occurs in Tree as she is killed and forced to relive the same day over again and again.

Really?  Another day and I'm murdered again?
Bill Murray had it SO easy.

Despite the script dipping into stereotypes, as the film doesn't have the running time to really flesh out any character other than Tree, the other actors are are quite good.  My only complaint is when the script requires them to be a bit too over the top, which they handle as best they can.  Yep, interview scene at the end, I'm talking to you.

Screenwriter Scott Lobdell has a grand time with the mystery element, especially once Tree realizes she has to solve her murder to break the loop.  At that point, each day becomes like a police procedural, as she picks a suspect and tries to keep them from killing her.  Fortunately, the script keeps offing each suspect, leaving Tree and the audience with a dwindling pool of potential killers.  The script even adds in a nice payoff to Tree's changing personality, as some of her decisions are based on her desire to reset things for someone other than herself.

Sure, Tree does transform from screaming victim to a fighter at a point, but the script makes the transition feel right.  She knows enough about the events of the day to allow her to make up a battle plan that uses her brains, not brawn, which feel more realistic than having her transform into an Alice-style ass kicker. 

I might be a shrieking victim now, 
but just wait until later in the film, you jerk. 

The film has a few minor problems.  At one point, Tree discovers the injuries she sustains each time she dies stay with her in the next incarnation.  Though she's healed each day, Tree realizes the accumulated trauma will be enough to cause her severe problems at some point, yet the script doesn't really follow through with this issue.

And though the script delivers some pretty nice twists, the final reveal isn't well set up.  Usually when a film doesn't provide enough information to make you think back and realize how the filmmakers fooled you with some cinematic slight of hand, it ruins tends to ruin the film for me.  But the story and performances won me over enough that, in the end, I was willing to suspend my disbelief without much of a problem. 

As I said earlier, Happy Death Day isn't trying to remake the horror genre, or say anything important.  It's just trying to be a fun little flick, and it's quite successful in that regard.  That's not something you can say about many movies coming out today.

So, do you think the desire to create sequels have killed the movie-going experience, 
or just that multiplexes won't promote small, well-made B-movies anymore?