Wednesday, September 11, 2019


The sun is rising later in the morning, the rain is coming back, temperatures are cooling off and the leaves are starting to turn brown.  So you know THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR is just around the corner, and things are picking up at The Shadow Over Portland office.

No more hanging around, buddy.
It's time to posting details on corn mazes!

But if you're looking for some spooky fun before October 1, check out this edition of the Weekly Update.  It's loaded with some creepy films and a Halloween Swamp Meet, as well as some great sci fi and fantasy films, details on the Rose City Comic Con and MUCH MORE!

After looking at this upcoming week, head to the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar for more great events coming this year.  And don't forget the Halloween Calendar of Events for updates on the haunted attractions and corn mazes.  And stay tuned as I start looking into the events happening in Halloweentown!

If you want your event listed on the site, all you need to do is email me at with the details and promotional art, and I'll take care of the rest!  Best of all, posting your event on the site is FREE!

From Ashland, OR, to Vancouver, BC, The Shadow Over Portland has you covered!

Now Showing 

The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) is screening the new horror/comedy Ready or Not through Thursday, September 12.  For more details, including showtimes and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.


Tigers are not Afraid, a horror fairy tale set against the backdrop of Mexico's drug wars, opens tonight at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  The film is currently schedule to run until Thursday, September 19.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Looking for Monsters

The Beneath is gearing up for its second year under the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR, and is looking for volunteers to play monsters!  If you're interested, visit The Beneath website and click on the Monsters Needed button.


Tryouts for the 2019 Clark County ScareGrounds take place on Saturday, September 14 and September 21, at 8315 NE 119th St in Vancouver, WA.  For details on what to expect and some helpful tips, visit the Clark County ScareGrounds website.

Film Festival Submissions

The 11th Annual GuignolFest: 3-Day Horror Movie Contest is signing up teams now!  For more details, visit the Facebook Page or the GuignolFest website.


The PNW Film Festival 2019 is now accepting submissions for short (up to 30 minutes) sci-fi/fantasy/action/horror films for the two day festival starting on Monday, October 21.  Submission deadline is Saturday, October 5.  For all the details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

September, 2019

Wednesday, September 11

The Gentlemen Hecklers return to the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) take on an Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s classic, Predator, tonight at 9:30 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Weird Wednesday at The Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) is the Owner's Surprise!  Jeff Punk Rock Martin will choose something wild, exploitative, monstrous, wacky or tacky, or possible all of the above!!  The show starts at 9:15 pm and admission is FREE, but you must be 18 or older to attend.  Don't forget to stop at the concession stand for some tasty treats and beverages before the show!  For more details, visit The Joy Cinema website.

Thursday, September 12

The Nocturnal Emissions series at the Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave in Seattle, WA) kicks off with the Fred Dekker's classic Night of the Creeps.  Enchantress of the Undead Isabella L. Price will be your host for this evening of games, a "horrors of college" video montage, burlesque and, of course, a kick ass film!  The fun starts at 7:30 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Witch Walk - McMinnville takes place at 6 pm today in Galen Macbe Airport Park (375 SE Armory Way in McMinnville, OR).  The event is sponsored by the Wild Witches of The Willamette.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Friday, September 13

Rose City Comic Con returns to the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Marin Luther King Jr Blvd in Portland, OR) this weekend.  Bonnie Wright (the Harry Potter series), Tim Curry (It, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and MUCH MORE), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) are scheduled to appear.  Keep up to date with all the details at the Rose City Comic Con website or the Facebook Event Page.

UPDATE: Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Saw) and Robert Englund (the original Freddy Kruger!)  are scheduled to appear.


The Denton Delinquents return to the 99W Drive In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR) to shadow cast The Rocky Horror Picture Show, followed by a screening of It 2.  It all starts around 8 pm tonight and tomorrow.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The 7th annual FREE outdoor movie night at Stalker Farms Haunted Attraction (8705 Marsh Rd in Snohomish, WA)  is 1955's Daughter of Horror.  You are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and food, but no pets, alcohol or drugs (legal or otherwise).  The show starts around 7:30 pm with screenings of horror trailers before the main movie around 8 pm.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


In association with Northwest Trek WeekThe Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) will screen Star Trek III: The Search for Spock tonight at 7 and 9:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Saturday, September 14

The MoPOP (325 5th Ave N in Seattle, WA) will screen Bram Stoker's Dracula at 7 pm tonight in the JBL Theater.  A pre-show featuring three Seattle drag queens (Eucalipstick, Irene Dobois and Juan Keyai) will preform a Dracula-inspired show, and Heather Bartels, host of the Shriek film series, will talk about the film's place in queer culture.  You must be 21 or older to attend.  For all the details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the MoPOP website.

Sunday, September 15

Fathom Events brings Star Trek: The Motion Picture back to the big screen nationwide for its 40th anniversary today at 1 and 4 pm, and at 4 and 7 pm on Wednesday, September 18.  For the location of a theater near you showing the film and advance ticket sales, visit the Fathom Events website.


The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) presents a 40th anniversary screening of Rock 'n Roll High School today at 7:15 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) presents at 4K Remastered screening of The Dark Crystal tonight at 9:30 pm.  For all the details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Halloween Swamp Meet takes place from noon to 7 pm today at The Oaks Amusement Park (7805 SE Oaks Park Way in Portland, OR).  Pro Portland haunters will set up displays, while local artist and vendor will have unique items from horror masks to theme cakes and one of a kind artwork available.  Admission to the Swamp Meet is FREE.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Monday, September 16

Fathom Events brings the unrated version of Rob Zombie's 3 from Hell to theaters nationwide for the next three days.  Each day features unique special content.  For all the details, including the locations of theaters showing the film and the special events happening each day, as well as advance ticket sales, visit the Fathom Events website.


Northwest Ghost Tours brings historian and paranormal investigator Rocky Smith to The White Eagle (836 N Russell St in Portland, OR) to talk about Haunted Schools.  Tickets are $10 for the presentation, which begins at 7 pm.  Or spend $20 and arrive 90 minutes early for a tour of the White Eagle Saloon and reserved seating for the talk.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Tuesday, September 17

Tacky Wacky brings Cult of! Catwoman: A Meow Mix of Drag to Crush Bar (1400 SE Morrison St in Portland, OR) tonight.  Doors open at 8:30 pm for this celebration of Batman's fabulous feline foe/ex-fiancee.  You must be 21 or older to attend.  For more details and a list of performers, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) will screen the Japanese zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead tonight only at 9:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.


Tonight's Sci-Fi Extravaganza #31 at the Darkside Cinema (215 SW 4th St in Corvallis, OR) is 1967's post nuclear apocalypse film In the Year 2889.  A man and his daughter hole up on their rural property after a nuclear war devastates most of the world.  While they have plenty of provisions for themselves, other survivors start to appear, followed by mutants.  You'll have to head to the Darkside Cinema to find out what happens next!  The evening starts at 6 pm with trailers, cartoons and other treats, followed by the film at 7 pm.  Admission is $5, which includes credit towards food items.  Be aware, heckling is encouraged.  For more details, visit the Darkside Cinema Facebook Event Page.

Thursday, September 19

The 2019 Lovecraft Under the Gun 72 Hour Film Contest begins tonight with team registration at The Nerd Out (3308 SE Belmont St in Portland, OR) starting at 7 pm.  Your team will have 72 hours to create a Lovecraftian short film, and turn it in by 9 pm on Sunday, September 22.  All qualifying films will be shown at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival during the weekend of October 4 to 6.  You'll find more details at the Facebook Event Page.

Friday, September 20

Friday Night Frights presents the uncensored director's cut of Dario Argento's Deep Red at the Blue Mouse Theatre (2611 N Proctor St in Tacoma, WA) tonight at 10 pm.  As always, expect prizes to be won before the film.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Mondo Trasho series at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents Paul Verhoeven's gory bug hunt, and antiracist satire, Starship Troopers in GLORIOUS 35mm tonight at 9:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Saturday, September 21

Keep watching the skies around the Lewis County Historical Museum (599 NW Front Way in Chehalis, WA) during The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party, as you might see some unexpected guests!  The event takes place from 9 am to midnight, and celebrates the 1947 sighting of nine "flying disks" by Idaho businessman Kenneth Arnold, after his plane left the Chehalis airport.  The event will feature speakers, vendors, live music, exhibits and MORE!  Check the Facebook Event Page later for more details.


The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents the first in the Halloween Horror Silent Film Series, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, today at 2 pm.  The film will feature a special score created by Dean Lemire and performed on the Beverly Ruth Nelson memorial organ.  Tickets are not on sale yet, but you can get more information on the Facebook Event Page.


Uwajimaya Beaverton (10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Beaverton, OR) hosts Uwajicon 2019 today from 11 am to 6 pm.  This anime and Japanese pop culture event is FREE to attend.  And you are invited to come dressed in your best cosplay attire.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Rocket Sci Fi series at the Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St in Bellingham, WA) will screen The Invisible Boy, starring Robby the Robot, today at noon.  Admission is just $3.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit the Pickford Film Center website.


In honor of Stephen King's 72nd birthday, The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents the Stephen King Road Rage Double Feature!  First up is the creepy Christine, followed by the campy Maximum Overdrive, both in GLORIOUS 35mm!!  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.


Tonight will be most excellent as Weird Elephant at The Grand Cinema (606 S Fawcett Ave in Tacoma, WA) presents a 30th anniversary screening of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure tonight at 11 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, September 22

Market Obscura will open Market Obscura IV: Mabon, celebrating the Fall Equinox and Mabon, at The Lovecraft Bar (421 SE Grand in Portland, OR) today from 1 to 7 pm.  This is a market for those 21 and older only.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The SIFF Film Center (305 Harrison St in Seattle, WA) presents Cinema DNA: Get Out today at 2 pm.  Nicole Pouchet, screenwriter and novelist, will focus on the mechanics of the film and how horror can illustrate social issues.  For more detail and link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The animated Mexican feature Ana Y Bruno, the adventure of a young girl seeing her father to save her troubled mother, screens at 2 pm today at The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR).  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ready or Not (2019)

A good horror comedy must be hard to make right.  Many play with the troupes of a horror film, playing off the audience's knowledge of the genre, poking fun at the conventions of the genre.  But if the comedy is too broad, you veer into the Scary Movie realm.  Worse yet, if the characters are too stupid, you risk insulting the audience with a collection of clods that shouldn't be the heroes of the movie.

Ready or Not, the new horror comedy from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (both directed segments of V/H/S and Southbound) takes a different approach.  The comedy comes from the characters, as they react to the situation in ways both very human and very funny, and makes the film a solid watch.

The film follows Grace (Samara Weaving, Mayhem) on her wedding day.  Her soon-to-be husband, Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien), is an heir to the Le Domas game fortune, but Grace is more anxious to be part of a family, having lived in foster homes most of her life.

The family welcomes her into their fold, but inform her she has to play a game at midnight, a family tradition.  The game is picked by a mysterious wooden box, and other spouses who married into the family tell her the games can range from something as complicated as chess to a game of checkers.

Grace draws Hide and Seek, which seems to upset the family, especially Alex.  Grace is informed she's to try and hide until dawn, and she heads out to find a place to lay low in the spacious manor.  But the game is more serious than she suspects, as the family members, with the exception of Alex, arm themselves with antique weapons intent on hunting her down.

We're locked, loaded and ready to go.
Let the wedding party begin!

Alex uses one of the manor's hidden passageways (I guess all manors have them) to find Grace just as one of the maids is shot in the face by someone thinking it was the bride.  And no, that's not a spoiler, it's in the trailer.  Anyway, Alex tells Grace that his family will hunt her down and sacrifice her before dawn to satisfy the deal his great grandfather made with a man named Mr. Le Bail (translates to lease in English; I checked), which helped establish the La Domas fortune.  If the family fails, it's believed that bad things will happen to them.

Alex has a plan to get her out of the house, which has been locked down by the security system.  Of course, things don't go as planned, and, as you might guess, mayhem ensues.

The Bride has a gun,
everyone better run!

The script by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, is smart to spend most of the first half hour of the film allowing Grace to interact with the family before the game begins.  Everyone seems to like her, especially Alex's mother Becky (Andie McDowell), and most of them do seem sorry when the game is declared.  And, a big source of the comedy in the film, most are rather uncomfortable with the weapons they are given.  One of the spouses ends up with a crossbow and has to spend some time on YouTube for a tutorial on how to use it.  Alex's aunt Helene, however, is the one person who doesn't take a shining to Grace and is more than happy to arm herself with a battle axe in order to take her out.

That brings up the only problem I have with the script.  The film opens on the game being played out in a flashback, where Alex and his brother Daniel witness Helene's groom losing the game of Hide and Seek.  It sets up the premise, and gives Helene some motivation for her actions before and during the hunt, but it seems unnecessary.  If you've seen the trailer, you know what's coming and the scene ends up feeling like padding.  And if you walked into the theater without any spoilers, well, I think having events unfold without the early flashback would be a wonderful surprise.  And, as Helene is given a moment to explain her actions (while displaying a wonderful willingness to use the axe), I think the flashback would have been better integrated into that moment.

The script is smart enought to explain why Alex didn't mention the game to Grace.  After all, as most of the other spouses drew standard board games, he didn't expect Hide and Seek to turn up.  And the conditions of the deal with Le Bail wouldn't have allowed the couple to elope without invoking some punishment that no one can define.

The cast is solid.  Weaving is perfect as the bewildered Grace, who manages to foil most of the family's attempts on her life.  Her performance made me forget her gleeful killer in Mayhem, and really shows her range as an actor.  I just hope she stays in the horror genre, but I think suspect more mainstream roles are in her future.  Too bad, as I'll now watch any horror film she turns up in.

O'Brien's performance seems a bit weak at times, but his attempts to help Grace are quite earnest, and his conflict between family duty and his love for Grace are well played.  Adam Brody, as Alex's brother Daniel, is perfect as the wild card in the bunch.  His lines are delivered perfectly and he sells his character arc well, torn between his feelings towards his family, particularly his wife and two children, his feeling towards Grace (hinted at early in the movie) and his feelings towards the family tradition.

And Henry Czerny, as the head of the family, manages to maintain the charm established early in the movie.  He's earnest as he wishes Grace good luck at the start of the game, yet he pulls out all the stops to kill her.  But, thanks to the script and the actor, his character never feels truly evil, just someone committing a reprehensible act for his family's benefit.

The action is brutal and bloody, without being overly graphic.  At least until the end, which I'm not giving away.  I'll just say, during the middle of the film, the scene with the exposed nail made me flinch, even though I knew what was coming.

As for the humor, most of it is confined to the second act, as the hunt begins.  It's dark, nasty at times, and will make you laugh.  It's not playing off of the troupes of a horror film, but more based on the character's reactions to the mayhem they must unleash and the unintentional results of it.  The entire cast plays their parts as normal people suddenly called upon to be vicious killers.  It's easy to feel they'd be fine with just sacrificing Grace, but most are grossly unprepared to hunt down a human being, and it shows in their performances.  And Grace's reactions to the continual barriers placed against her survival are just perfectly delivered.  Though the climax isn't as humorous, I still left the theater with a grin.

Ready or Not is a solid way to end the summer, a funny, well written horror film peppered with brilliant bits of comedy delivered by a cast that resists going campy and plays it straight. The ending feels natural, not forced, and, if you're like me, you hope the filmmakers don't try to force a sequel.  The film is a joy and you'll be happy to re-watch it again, rather than risk a watered down followup.  

So much for wearing white on my wedding day.