Friday, May 7, 2021

And we're open again! Sort of....

 

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 here in Oregon have dipped just below the level set by the state, allowing restrictions to ease on restaurants, theaters and gyms once again.  So, as Oregon is now at a "high risk" status, venues shuttered last week can reopen as of today, though with limited capacity on indoor seating.  It's like being on a carousel.  You are always moving forward, but are traveling in a circle, continually ending up back where you started.  

Hurry, hurry.  Step up to the COVID carousel!
You'll have the time of your life, but it won't be fun for anyone!!

We can get off this crazy ride, with a little effort on everyone's part.  So keep wearing your mask, continue social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as you can, and maybe we can meet up at a conventions or a film festival later this summer.

As always, you can check the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar for all the events coming to the Pacific Northwest.  And I'll keep updating it as we (hopefully) get past this pandemic and more venues open up.

But for now, let's look at what's happening in local theaters, as some great genre films are still out there.

 

The Disney film Raya and the Last Dragon is back in theaters, including the Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR).  McMenamins locations: Bagdad Theater and Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR),  the Anderson School Theater (18607 Bothell Way NE in Bothell, WA), the Kennedy School Theater (5736 NE 33rd Ave in Portland, OR), the Old St. Francis Theater (700 NW Bond St in Bend, OR), the Olympic Club Theater (112 N Tower Ave in Centralia, WA), the Power Station Theater at Edgefield (2126 SW Halsey in Troutdale, OR), and the St Johns Theater (8203 N Ivanhoe St in Portland, OR).  

Also, the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton St in Portland, OR) will bring back The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 9 pm Saturdays, but attendance is limited to 50 people inside.  Tickets must be purchased in advance, so visit the link for ticket sales and Covid rules.
 

The Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton St in Portland, OR) is also showing Tetsuo: The Iron Man through Sunday, May 9.  Tickets must be purchased in advance, so visit the link for ticket sales, showtimes and Covid rules.

Godzilla vs Kong is still playing at the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR).  Click on the link for showtimes, advance ticket sales and Covid rules.


Over at the 99W Drive-In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR), you can catch the dystopian sci fi film Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland (the latest Spider-Man) and Daisey Ridley (Rey in the latest Star Wars trilogy).  The film is playing with the Jason Stathan action film Wrath of Man.  The films play Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8.  Visit the Facebook page for details.

On Wednesday, May 12, the Whiteside Theatre (361 SW Madison Ave in Corvallis, OR) will screen the fantasy classic Legend, starring Tim Curry in amazing devil makeup, at 7 pm tonight.  Purchase your tickets online (required) the Whiteside Theatre website.

 

2020's Unearth is still screening on the Kiggins Theatre Virtual Screening Room.  The cast includes scream queen Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow), P. J. Marshall (American Horror Story) and Rachel McKeon (Jessica Jones), and concerns two neighboring farm families finding their relationships strained when on leases their land to a natural gas company.  If you're wondering if something is unleashed, well, the tag line does call it a "fracking horror story."  Click on the link for more details.

 

Looking ahead a bit, the Kiggins Theatre (1011 Main St in Vancouver, WA) has announced it will show A Quiet Place Part II on the big screen starting Thursday, May 27.  Visit this link for showtimes, advance ticket sales and Covid rules.
 
And that's what I have for this edition of the Weekly Update.  Hope we'll be seeing more events coming for Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans in the very near future, so stay tuned!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Oh, dammit, here we go again....

 

I got my first "Fauci Ouchie" on Monday, and feeling pretty good getting the process started.  But it appears most of the Pacific Northwest is experiencing yet another wave of the Covid virus, with a more infectious mutation being a major cause.  As a result, tighter restrictions are being imposed on businesses in several counties, resulting in movie theaters closed down once again rather that try to make money under the severe limitations now in place.  And it's possible other counties might end up following suit.

I tried to find a scarier photo,
but this feels the most frightening right now.
 

As a result, I've a lot less to offer Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans in this edition of the Weekly Update.  While the restrictions are a blow to everyone, we MUST continue to do our part to stop the spread of the virus by wearing masks, continue practicing social distancing, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

Old Nick's Pub (211 Washington St in Eugene, OR) will present a drive-in style screening of Manos The Hands of Fate tonight at 8:30 pm, with a Q and A and autograph session with Jackey Neyman Jones (Debbie in the film) starting at 7:30 pm.  Sound will be broadcast to your vehicle's radio with an FM transmitter.  The film is part of the Wheels and Reels Movie Night series hosted by the pub.  Click on the Old Nick's Pub website for ticket prices, advance ticket sales and more details.

 

The Wheels and Reels Movie Night series at Old Nick's Pub (211 Washington St in Eugene, OR) continues on Saturday, May 1 with the classic 1973 British horror film The Wicker Man, starring Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee.  The film starts at 8:30 pm and sound will be broadcast to your vehicle's radio with an FM transmitter.  Click on the Old Nick's Pub website for ticket prices, advance ticket sales and more details.

 

2020's Unearth is still screening on the Kiggins Theatre Virtual Screening Room.  The cast includes scream queen Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow), P. J. Marshall (American Horror Story) and Rachel McKeon (Jessica Jones), and concerns two neighboring farm families finding their relationships strained when on leases their land to a natural gas company.  If you're wondering if something is unleashed, well, the tag line does call it a "fracking horror story."  Click on the link for more details.

 

 

In more mainstream movie news, the R-rated reboot of Mortal Kombat hits theaters today.  You can catch the film at the 99W Drive-In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR), with 1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the opening film.  You can also watch the reboot at the Cameo Theatre (304 E 1st St in Newberg, OR), the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR), and the following McMenamins locations: the Anderson School Theater (18607 Bothell Way NE in Bothell, WA), the Grand Lodge Theater (3505 Pacific Ave in Forest Grove, WA), and the Olympic Club Theater (112 N Tower Ave in Centralia, WA).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules. 

 



Over at the Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR), you can check out Alfred Hitchcock's Rope through Monday, May 3, and 1931's Frankenstein through Saturday, May 1.  Again, click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

 

Godzilla vs. Kong continues to play at the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

That's all I have for now.  I'll be back next week with all the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Events happening under The Shadow Over Portland!  Stay healthy, everybody!!

 


Friday, April 23, 2021

More events are happening in the Pacific Northwest, and you'll find all the details here!


Well, I've got more to report on in this edition of the Weekly Update than new blockbuster movies.  Of course, I have details about the new Mortal Kombat, but fans of more indie horror films across the Pacific Northwest can go to the Kiggins Theatre Virtual Screening Room to check out the "fracking horror film" Unearth, starring Adrienne Barbeau.  And the Clinton Street Theater has started screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show to a limited audience once again, after keeping its record for continuous screening of the film by playing the film to an empty theater during the lockdown.

 Looks like we can finally do the Time Warp again!

While things are slowly getting back to normal, now is not the time to become lax.  Here in Oregon, Covid cases are on the rise, indicating the pandemic isn't over yet.  So please, keep wearing your masks, wash your hands, stay socially distanced and follow the rule of any theater you visit. 

As more local theaters open, I want to add as many as I can to the list of sites I check every week.  So if a local theater (no major chains like Regal, they have enough of an advertising budget) is open in your area, email me at shadowoverportland@live.com with the details so I can include the venue on the Weekly Update. 

I've updated the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar with all the rescheduling details I've found, and included information on the upcoming Portland Horror Film Festival in June.  The organizers are unsure if the event will be in person or streamed, so keep checking back for any updates!

 


If you want to watch a new horror movie in the safety of your home, check out 2020's Unearth, screening on the Kiggins Theatre Virtual Screening Room.  The cast includes scream queen Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow), P. J. Marshall (American Horror Story) and Rachel McKeon (Jessica Jones), and concerns two neighboring farm families finding their relationships strained when on leases their land to a natural gas company.  If you're wondering if something is unleashed, well, the tag line does call it a "fracking horror story."  Click on the link for more details.

Also, the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton St in Portland, OR) maintained the record for the longest continual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show during last year's lockdown by playing the film to an empty theater every Saturday night.  Now, the theater is opening to the public for the weekly screenings, but can only allow 50 people inside.  And, as the doors must close at 11 pm, the show starts at 9 pm (that's midnight Grennwich Village Time).  Tickets must be purchased in advance, so visit the link for ticket sales and Covid rules.

 

 

In more mainstream movie news, the R-rated reboot of Mortal Kombat hits theaters today.  You can catch the film at the 99W Drive-In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR), with 1973's Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee, as a second feature, and as a single feature at the historic Cameo Theatre (304 E 1st St in Newberg, OR).  You'll also find the movie playing at the McMenamins locations: Bagdad Theater and Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR),  the Anderson School Theater (18607 Bothell Way NE in Bothell, WA), the Grand Lodge Theater (3505 Pacific Ave in Forest Grove, WA), the Old St. Francis Theater (700 NW Bond St in Bend, OR), the Olympic Club Theater (112 N Tower Ave in Centralia, WA), the Power Station Theater at Edgefield (2126 SW Halsey in Troutdale, OR), and the St Johns Theater (8203 N Ivanhoe St in Portland, OR).  It will also show at the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

 

Over at the Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR), Raya and the Last Dragon will open on Friday, April 23, and run through Monday.  It is also showing at the McMenamins Kennedy School (5736 NE 33 Ave in Portland, OR).  Again, click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

 

Godzilla vs. Kong continues to play at the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

 

The Unholy, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead, Watchmen) is playing at the Granada 3 Theatre (1311 Adams Ave in La Grande, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.  

Take care, stay safe and let's do what we can to get back to attending cons and festivals!

Saturday, April 17, 2021


I know this edition of the Weekly Update is late, but this week was a bit busy outside The Shadow Over Portland office.  Had a few changes to my schedule at the day job, and my father flew in from Florida to start living with my youngest brother.  So, yeah, I had a complicated week.  In fact, I woke up this Saturday morning not knowing what day it was, or whether I was suppose to be at work or the airport.

Yeah, kind of like this guy, but without the hair.


But I still have some great movie news to share with you, so though it's a bit late, here is the Weekly Update.  Sure, it's only two films, but that's more than we had in theaters a few months ago.  Just remember, seating is limited, you have to wear a mask in the theater and online ticket purchases are recommended.  

Godzilla vs. Kong is still a big box office draw, though that might change next week.  So if you want to see head, head to the 99W Drive-In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR), where it's the second feature after the original The Wizard of Oz through Saturday, April 17.  It's also still playing at these McMenamins locations: Bagdad Theater and Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR),  the Anderson School Theater (18607 Bothell Way NE in Bothell, WA), the Grand Lodge Theater (3505 Pacific Ave in Forest Grove, WA), the Old St. Francis Theater (700 NW Bond St in Bend, OR), the Olympic Club Theater (112 N Tower Ave in Centralia, WA), the Power Station Theater at Edgefield (2126 SW Halsey in Troutdale, OR), and the St Johns Theater (8203 N Ivanhoe St in Portland, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

 

Both the McMenamins Kennedy School (5736 NE 33 Ave in Portland, OR) and the Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR) are showing the animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon.  Again, please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

I'm planning on spending a bit more time next week on updating the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar, as well as typing up another Weekly Update with whatever events I can find.  So check back and remember, Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans, The Shadow Over Portland has you covered!  Stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands and let's do our best to bring conventions back by the end of the year!!

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Well, it's about time to get back to work.....

 

Pardon my cough.  Don't worry, it's not Covid, just all the dust that has collected in The Shadow Over Portland office since last year.  Normally, I'm fine with a few cobwebs hanging about, as it just adds to the atmosphere, but I think it got a bit out of hand over the past months.

I had no idea the spiders were also big enough to knock over my clock.

And while things are getting better concerning Covid-19 pandemic, the fight against the virus isn't over quite yet.  If you check out the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar, a lot of planned events for the coming months have been rescheduled, and more changes could happen.  So keep wearing your mask, wash your hands and keep social distancing!  Let's kick this disease and get back to cons, film festivals, and other live events!!

That said, the big news is that theaters are slowly reopening, but have to follow state mandated restrictions on crowd size, if they can open the concession stands and allow you to remove your mask ONLY when eating or drinking, or if your mask must stay on during the entire film.  And, as I mentioned before, the rules can change (as they have today for several counties in Oregon), so be flexible when you head to theaters.  And be nice to the employees, as they're just following the rules!

The big movie news is the release of Godzilla vs. Kong, now in its second week.  You can catch the film at the 99W Drive-In (3110 Portland Rd in Newberg, OR), with Stanley Kubrick's The Shining as a second feature.  You'll also find the movie playing at the McMenamins locations: Bagdad Theater and Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR),  the Anderson School Theater (18607 Bothell Way NE in Bothell, WA), the Grand Lodge Theater (3505 Pacific Ave in Forest Grove, WA), the Old St. Francis Theater (700 NW Bond St in Bend, OR), the Olympic Club Theater (112 N Tower Ave in Centralia, WA), the Power Station Theater at Edgefield (2126 SW Halsey in Troutdale, OR), and the St Johns Theater (8203 N Ivanhoe St in Portland, OR).  Please click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

Over at the Joy Cinema and Pub (11959 SW Pacific Highway in Tigard, OR), you can catch the original Robocop through Monday at 7:15 pm.  Again, click the links for showtimes, advance ticket purchases (strongly suggested) and Covid-19 rules.

That's all I have for now, but I'll be back next week to bring you all the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy events happening under The Shadow Over Portland.  Now, if you'd excuse me, I have some cleaning to do.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Deadly Games (1989)

 

When I first heard about 3615 code Pere Noel (AKA Deadly Games, Dial Code Santa Claus, Game Over and Hide and Freak), the Hollywood Theatre here in Portland, OR, was screening the movie two years ago, and it was described as a more bloody version of Home Alone.  Which is a nice, simple way to sum up the basic plot, as both films take place at Christmas and involve a young boy trying to outwit a home invader.  Also, writer/director Rene Manzor threatened legal action against the US version, claiming plagiarism. 

But that summation is misleading.  In Home Alone, the violence never having long term consequences for the Wet Bandits.  And though the two criminals would be happy to get their hands on Kevin, we know that is not going to happen.  The studio wouldn't allow it. 

But Deadly Games is much nasty, a dark Grimm fairy tale rather than a family friendly holiday comedy.  Once the action starts, characters die and the story never allows you to feel the child hero will survive the film's running time.  And, like the best fairy tales, the story is an allegory, this time about the dangers of living a sheltered life. 

Okay, if you haven't noticed, I am not using the accent marks to properly spell names and the film title in French.  I would if it were possible, but Blogger doesn't have that option.  My apologies, the omission is not intentional, it's due to the limitations of the site.

Anyway, on to the plot.

Thomas de Fremont (Alain Lalanne, AKA Alain Musy) lives in a secluded mansion with some (80s) high tech features like a security camera system, iron shutters that will lock down the windows, and even a trap door in the hallway.  Thomas is a very intelligent kid, but his widowed mother Julie (Brigitte Fossey) indulges his fantasies, allowing him to run about the house like Rambo, chasing after his dog JR and encouraging his belief in Santa Claus, despite the objections of Papy (Louis Ducreux), Thomas' diabetic and partially blind grandfather.  

No one asked JR if he enjoys being hunted down by a Rambo wannabe.

It's a good thing Julie manages an upscale retail store, as her income (and the house left to the family by her late husband) allows her to feed Thomas' imagination and belief in Santa Claus.  And though it might seem very strange, it's clear she is doing it out of love.

During breakfast, Thomas says he plans to stay up late that evening so he can see Santa and capture his image on the security cameras.  Julie tells him he'd better not, because should Santa find anyone watching him, he'd turn into an ogre.  But this doesn't deter Thomas and, as Julie heads out to the store for the Christmas Eve rush, he sets his plans into motion.

Unfortunately, a vagrant (Patrick Floersheim) with an unhealthy attraction towards children gets a job as a Santa at Julie's store.  After seeing him strike a child who pulls off his fake beard, Julie fires the man and sends him to the personnel department to turn in his suit.  The man overhears Julie's boyfriend setting up a big toy delivery for Thomas and sneaks into the van.  After killing the driver and groundskeepers, he heads down the chimney, where Thomas has hidden to witness the jolly old elf's arrival.

As expected, mayhem ensues.

I doubt you'd find a scene like this in a Hollywood version.

Okay, as I said earlier, this film is dark and very disturbing at times.  While Thomas has a bit of an advantage, as he knows the layout of the sprawling mansion, the film never lets us forget that killer has the upper hand, due to his size and strength.  And despite his war game antics, Thomas' weapons are all toys, forcing him to improvise traps as the killer starts taking out the security cameras.   

Adding to the fairy tale aspect of the film are a series of hidden passageways leading to a room full of toys from all the male heirs to the house.  Thomas was shown it by his father, who was shown it by his father, and neither Julie or Papy know of it.  One can see the hidden room as a sanctuary from the responsibilities of the outside, adult world, where the men can go and for a time, relive some part of their childhood.  It's fitting that the faux Santa discovers the room, forcing Thomas to abandon the secret repository of childhood memories.  

And since Thomas believes he is being stalked by the real Santa Claus, who's became an ogre because of his actions, the battle forces Thomas to fight, and possible kill, his own childhood.  In this, the script suggests that one has to be brought out of childhood at some point, less the unsavory aspects of the real/adult world force such a transition in a more traumatic fashion.

 And the killer starts looking like an ogre.  Minus the green skin and flatulence.   

You might find this a bit of a slow burn at first.  But the story is never dull, and the pace gives the audience time to know the main characters, and lets the script set up some obvious issues to complicate matters later on.  Yeah, like Papy's condition, which is mentioned in the opening fifteen minutes.  It's not a spoiler, it's more like Chekhov's Insulin Shot.

The cast is good.  Lalanne/Musy is very convincing, despite the near absurdity of the character.  You believe he's smart enough to reprogram the security in the mansion, and his belief in Santa comes off as genuine.  Fossey and Ducreux do a great job with their roles, and Floersheim avoids camping it up and gives his character a believable sense of menace.  

3615 code Pere Noel is an good Christmas horror film.  Though it's disturbing, and it's dark nature makes it something to avoid if you're looking for some cheesy fun, it's the perfect film to wash away the saccharine taste of the more traditional holiday fare.  

You can find this film (in French with English subtitles) on Amazon Prime under the title Deadly Games, or on YouTube.  It is also available on DVD and Blu-ray, but expect to pay $35 or more on Amazon.

I have a Ko-Fi page, so if you want to support the site, please click the link.  Once the pandemic is over, I'll get back to posting more Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy happening under The Shadow Over Portland!

That's gonna leave a mark!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Santa Jaws (2018)

 


Be honest, we all knew this movie was going to happen.  The title is too perfect, and shark movies are still pretty popular on Syfy.  I'm just surprised it took so long for Santa Jaws to come out, considering the school of shark films that came before it.  And I'm surprised that I found myself enjoying this low budget flick.

The film opens as a cop stops a homicidal maniac from killing a women dressed as an elf by kicking him off a dock.  Unfortunately, a great white gobbles him up and suddenly, a Santa hat appears on the shark's dorsal fin and Santa Jaws is born!

Is it any sillier than a sharknado?

The scene is actually the opening of a comic book drawn by Cody (Reid Miller) and written by his best friend Steve (Hawn Tran).  The two are showing it to the owner of the emptiest comic book shop in Louisiana (I'm assuming that's were the film takes place, as it was the filming location, and several establishing shots makes it obvious Cody's family lives in the South) before heading back to their homes to prepare for Christmas.

Unfortunately, the school principle is very unhappy about Cody's not very flattering picture of him and calls Cody's parents.  Cody's mom grounds him, then sends him to his room.  Cody's bad day gets a bit better when he finds his grandfather's gift, a very old looking artist's pen.  Cody uses it to improve his drawing of Santa Jaws while wishing he could spend Christmas alone.  

But the pen has magical properties and soon, Santa Jaws is swimming around the local marina, intent on granting Cody's wish by gobbling up those closest to him.  And it's going to be easy, as his parents own a restaurant at the marina, and are heading there to prepare for the next day's big Christmas boating event.

And, as expected, mayhem ensues.

Wait a minute!  I didn't hear the "Da Da, Da Da" music cue!!

The script by Jake Kiernan (his first) hits most of the cliches you'd expect.  Cody's brother is a jock and dismissive of him, Cody has a thing for Jena, the girl living across the street, but can't summon up the courage to talk to her.  And the comic shop owner gets a hold of the pen at one point, drawing himself a new car, lots of cash and a hot Russian girlfriend.

But still I found myself enjoying the first half of this film, even before the mayhem started.  And I credit that to Kiernan's script, which also avoids a lot of cliches.  To start, Cody's family are not portrayed as nasty jackasses.  Though he's grounded, and his parents don't believe him when he says Grandpa got eaten by a Santa Jaws, they do care for Cody.  Once they figure out that Cody is in trouble, nothing stops them from finding him.  Cody's dismissive brother joins him to fight against Santa Jaws.  His uncle, who arrived earlier with his Internet influencer bride, asks if Cody's still drawing funnies, but later offers to introduce him to the artists he knows in New York.  

It's a nice touch I wasn't expecting.  Sure, Cody's mad at his family, and grounding him before Christmas Eve was pretty harsh.  But the script avoids turning his family into characters that deserve to be stalked by Santa Jaws and raises the stakes for the film's climax.

Whatever you do, don't shoot your eye out!

I also enjoyed Cody's first attempts to neutralize Santa Jaws with the magic pen (oh, come on, that's no spoiler).  It just results in her being a badder killing machine, armed with glass Christmas ornament teeth and a candy cane horn.  And the fact that Santa Jaws is attracted to anything Christmas, from eggnog to ornaments, is perfect, but I wish it was used a bit more.

Despite the budget, the acting is pretty solid.  Most of the cast have some pretty extensive credits according to IMDb, and their ability to avoid diving into campy performances makes the family drama moments resonate, even with the shark mayhem.  

Speaking of the shark, the CGI effects are what you'd expect from a low budget film.  Fortunately, director Misty Talley, who directed several other made-for-TV shark films, mostly uses a practical model dorsal fin to show Santa Jaws, keeping the full body and underwater shots to a minimum.

Now I have a festive horn.  Ho, ho, ho!

The film has issues, but most seem due to the budget and location.  To start, the film has a very small cast, with only one extra that meets up with Santa Jaws.  This not only minimizes the mayhem Santa Jaws is able to cause, but also makes the marina and other locations look deserted, despite the upcoming Christmas boat cruise.  However, extras would cost money, and more shark mayhem would risk overtaxing the CGI budget, so the approach Talley took is understandable.  Still, it's easy to wonder if the family somehow made it into one of Krampus' snow globes before the credits rolled.

Also, the film doesn't feel Christmas-y.  I know the film was shot in Louisiana, so I didn't expect any snow settling on all the Spanish moss.  But with most of the buildings lacking any Christmas lights or decorations feels a bit off.  

Christmas or not, you knew someone would be wearing a bikini.

And, even at just 88 minutes, the film starts feeling overly long, as the joke runs out of steam in the final act.  I know the running time was needed for the film to air on TV, but Talley needed to find a way to add a few more victims into the film, which might have kept the pace from dragging during the final act.

Despite the flaws, Santa Jaws is enjoyable.  The script is better than you'd expect, the cast is very good and Tally keeps story moves at a good pace through most of the runtime.  It's not a film to revisit every Christmas, but it's perfect when the nights get chilly, the eggnog is flowing and you want to watch something silly while you're wrapping presents.  

Santa Jaws is available to stream on several subscription services, including Amazon Prime, Syfy and DirectTV.  You can rent or purchase a digital copy through Amazon and Fandango Now, or purchase it as part of the Shark Bait: 6 Killer Shark Films DVD collection. 

I have a Ko-fi account, so if you feel like supporting the site, please click on the link.   And once we've overcome this COVID nightmare, The Shadow Over Portland will be back keeping Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans up to date on all the events coming our way.

 Damn, who knew candy canes could be so sharp!