Friday, September 21, 2018

It's almost time, kiddies! It's almost THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!

Yes indeed, we're past the halfway point of September, the evenings are getting cool and pumpkin spice is infusing every beverage and food imaginable.

Of course, just because you CAN add pumpkin spice to pea soup
doesn't mean you SHOULD to it.

That all means THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR is almost upon us, and The Shadow Over Portland office is doing it's best to keep Pacific Northwest Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Fans up to date with ALL the movies, festivals and haunted attractions in the area.

To start, head to the Horror/Sci Fi/Fantasy Calendar for all the news on stage events, films and festivals, cons and events in the coming month.  Hey, you can find out everything happening for the rest of 2018, and even get a sneak peek at 2019 while you're at the page!

Than check out the Halloween 2018 page for all the details on the corn mazes, haunted mazes and haunted attractions across the region.  I'm still working on getting everything listed, so you'll want to keep checking back for updates!

And, as you're looking over the site, if you noticed I missed an event you are hosting, or one you know about, send me an email at with the details and promotional artwork and I'll take care of the rest!  Best of all, I have the perfect payment plan to fit any advertising budget; there are NO PAYMENTS!  Getting your event posted on the site is, as always, absolutely FREE!!

Enjoy this edition of the Weekly Update, and keep checking back for all the news you need to keep your Halloween season spooky and fun!

Now Playing

Funhouse Lounge (2432 SE 11th Ave in Portland, OR) presents Back to the Future, the Musical Parody through Saturday, September 29.  This live presentation features 14 original songs.  For more details and ticket information, visit the Facebook Event Page.

September, 2018

Friday, September 21

Friday Night Frights celebrates its four year anniversary with a screening of the comedy/horror/splatter-fest Zombieland at 10 pm tonight at the Blue Mouse Theatre (2611 N Proctor St in Tacoma, WA).  For up to date details about the screening, and all the special treats planned, visit the Facebook Event Page.


In honor of Stephen King's 71st birthday, The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents a double feature in GLORIOUS 35mm!  The show starts at 7 pm with the King/Romero classic, Creepshow, followed by Cat's Eye.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.



The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway in Vancouver, BC) will screen a 4K remastered version of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes tonight at 11:30 pm.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Saturday, September 22

The next Frankenstein's Comicbook Swap takes place today from noon to 6 pm at the East Portland Eagle Lodge 3256 (4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR).  Come celebrate Hobbit Day and purchase some swell comics as well!  Admission is just $1 (kids and elders admitted FREE), or pay $5 for early bird admission at 11 am!  The event also takes donations of canned food for the Oregon Food Bank.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Don't stray far from the East Portland Eagle Lodge 3256 (4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland, OR), as Comix Thing takes over after Comic Swap moves out!  Explore all the underground comic books, zines and VHS tapes, with music by Wyrd War wyzard DJ Dennis Dread, from 9 pm to midnight.  Admission is just $1.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) and the Columbia River Theatre Organ Society presents the 1927 haunted mansion classic The Cat and the Canary, with LIVE musical accompaniment by Dean Lemire at the Beverly Ruth Nelson Memorial Organ, today at 2 pm.  Advance ticket sales haven't been posted yet, so keep checking back here, or at the Facebook Event Page, for upcoming details.


The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents a 40th anniversary screening of the classic slasher film, Halloween, with actor P. J. Soles in attendance for a post-screening Q and A, tonight starting at 7 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

NOTE: This event is SOLD OUT.


Weird Elephant at The Grand Cinema (606 S Fawcett Ave in Tacoma, WA) brings John Landis' Schlock to the big screen tonight at 11 pm.  I don't think anything else needs to be said, except this should be FUN!  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, September 23

The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) presents the Roger Corman classic, Rock and Roll High School, with actor P. J. Soles in attendance for a post-screening Q and A, tonight at 6 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

NOTE: This event is SOLD OUT.

NOTE: P. J. Soles will be at Movie Madness Video (4320 SE Belmont St in Portland, OR) starting at noon today for an in-store signing event.


Told you they were showing all the films!  The McMenamins Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan in Portland, OR) screens Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull through Tuesday, September 25.  For showtimes and advance ticket sales, visit the Mission Theater website.

Monday, September 24

The Rio Theatre (1660 Broadway in Vancouver, BC) presents Anime Monday Double Bill, with a screening of the 20th anniversary remastered version of Perfect Blue at 7:45 pm, followed by The Night is Short, Walk On Girl at about 9:30 pm.  See one, or check out both for one low price.  For more details and a link to advance ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Wednesday, September 26

The Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) celebrates the 40 yahren anniversary of the original Battlestar Galactica with a screening of the feature length pilot for the 1978 sci-fi show.  Showtime is 7:30 pm.  For more details and advance ticket sales, visit The Hollywood Theatre website.

Thursday, September 27

Fathom Events will bring the 1986 animated feature Transformers: The Movie to theaters nationwide tonight at 7 pm PST.  For more details, including the location of a screening near you and advance ticket sales, visit the Fathom Events website.

Saturday, September 29

The Vancouver Toy Junkies will host a Vintage Toy and Collectible Show today at Warehouse '23 (100 Columbia St #201 in Vancouver, WA).  Early bird admission is $10 and gets you into the show at 9:30 am.  General admission is $3 starting at 10:30 am.  Kids are admitted free.  The show runs until 2:30 pm.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.


Zombie Ball 2018, hosted by the Roseburg Fright Club, takes place at 8 pm tonight at the Roseburg Elks Lodge #326 (749 SE Jackson St in Roseburg, OR).  Expect music, horror films, Ghouly Bags to the first 24 through the door, King and Queen of the Undead costume contest, contests for other zombie abilities and MUCH MORE!  You must be 21 or older to attend.  Tickets are $12.50 each, or $20 for two.  For more details, visit the Facebook Event Page.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Predator (2018)

The Predator franchise has a rocky history since the creature first appeared in 1987.  After a fairly successful sequel, the space hunter was pit against another outer space beast, the xenomorph from the Alien franchise, for two lackluster films, before the series returned to a more macho-infused journey to an extraterrestrial game reserve in 2010's Predators.

That film was a box office and critical success, and many expected a sequel.  But 20th Century Fox changed course, and co-writer/director Shane Black brings the series back to Earth in the latest installment in The Predator.  This film is a sequel to the first two movies, ignoring the AVP films and the events from the earlier one.  Of course, it's possible the survivors from Predators might be mentioned in future films, but that depends partly on the success of the new chapter.

Set course for sequels.
Lots and lots of sequels.

The Predator opens during a rescue mission in an unnamed country.  Sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is the lone survivor as a Predator ship crashes near the mission and the creature kills his squad.  McKenna finds the creature's helmet and a wrist gauntlet, which he has mailed to a PO box before swallowing a small sphere, the source of the Predator's cloaking ability.  Yeah, expect that to come back when it's most needed.

McKenna is debriefed and, once he confirms he saw the Predator, he is taken into custody and sent with a group of off-kilter military prisoners to a detainment site.  The Predator is captured by the government and sent to a research facility.  Evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) is contacted by the government to study the Predator once it's discovered that the alien's DNA contains human strands.  Of course, the Predator doesn't take kindly to being probed and escapes, killing everyone except Bracket, who chases after the creature.

Don't even THINK of putting that up there,
you damn dirty human! 

The bus transporting McKenna is rerouted to the facility as the Predator breaks loose, and the prisoners escape in the mayhem, taking Bracket with them.  McKenna convinces the group to help him recover the package of Predator technology and use it to prevent them from being killed by the government for what they've seen.

The problem is, McKenna's package was delivered to the home of his estranged wife, and his autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) has interpreted the Predator language and is wearing the armor as a Halloween costume.  Things become even more complicated as a second, much larger Predator joins in the hunt with his tracking dogs.  Bracket is able to deduce the Predators are attempting to hybridize their race with DNA from the strongest, smartest races they've encountered, creating a threat to Earth and the rest of the galaxy.

And, as expected, mayhem ensues.

Now in an bigger, even uglier motherfer version,
for maximum mayhem.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film.  Holbrook is a likable hero, who relies on out-thinking the Predators and the shadowy government agents hunting his group.  Munn is good as a scientist out of her league, coming off a bit overwhelmed but still capable at her job. And McKenna's new squad might not be as likeable as Dutch's crew, but the script give the actors enough to make you care about them before the Predators start ripping into them.

Nope, nothing creepy about us, even though
we were passengers on the bus to crazy town.

I also enjoyed the casting of Jake Busey as one of the scientists in the government facility.  It's a nice nod to the casting of his father, Gary Busey, in a similar role in Predator 2, though his role is more restrained and, unfortunately, much briefer.  The geeky debate about calling the alien a Predator is pretty funny and the "get to the chopper" moment is a hoot.

But the film falls apart once the Super Predator arrives.  The government agency studying the Predator becomes maniacally evil, to the point where I expect them to start wearing top hats and twirling their moustaches.  Of course, McKenna's group and the agency is forced to team up in an attempt to survive the Super Predator's attack, and the action gets so frenetic that it's hard to keep track of who dies when, and how.  And the Predator dog ex machina was a bit tiring, as it shows up every time a character is in dire straits, upchucking the right tool to keep them alive.  Yep, that does happen once, and it weakens the film.

The final assault, which starts out on the surface of a FLYING Predator ship, suffers from what I call the Die Hard Syndrome.  As with other action franchises, the filmmakers feel obligated to make the stunt work more impressive than the previous films, and with the advent of CGI, it's possible for the heroes to do almost anything.  But, as with other action films, this leads to a sequence where it's inconceivable that a human would survive, let alone be intact enough to save the day.  And Bracket's turn from scientist to kick-ass action hero during the final battle is quite a stretch, though Munn does a very convincing job.

Okay, I'll act like a normal human for now.
I'm just waiting to unleash my inner Psylocke in the final act.

As expected, the ending sets up a potential sequel (I have to say, Munn's absence from that scene is rather obvious and surprising; one wonders if her exclusion is due to her calling out an actor, and friend of the director, as a sexual predator).  But if a followup doesn't happen, the film delivers a complete story, with no dangling questions that will be revolved only if a sequel is made.  It's more satisfying than other recent attempts to reboot a franchise (Terminator: Genysis, I'm talking to you).  

The Predator might not be a great addition to the franchise, but it's a good enough to be an enjoyable romp during a rainy Northwest weekend.  Keep your expectations low, and you'll have a fine time.

I'll be back, if the box office allows it!