What do you get when Portland’s hottest concert venue and the city’s premiere movie rental store join forces to create an evening of terrifying Halloween fun?

Why, Zombie Night at the State Theatre, of course.

Because, in addition to writing this column, I also work at Videoport and helped organize Zombie Night, I figure I’m the best person to share the gory details of this Halloween night event.

So … what exactly is Zombie Night?

It came about when Will Ethridge at the State Theatre contacted Videoport about sponsoring an evening of zombie flicks. Because we’re movie geeks who do nothing but think about zombie movies all day anyway, he also asked us to help choose the perfect two films.

After careful, sweaty deliberation, we suggested a double feature of George Romero’s original “Dawn of the Dead,” backed with the rom-zom-com (romantic comedy with zombies) neo-classic “Shaun of the Dead.”

If you’re planning a zombiefest, you’ve got to include a Romero flick, and “Dawn,” I think, still holds up the best with the combination of action, horror, ground-breaking gore from a young Tom Savini, social satire, good performances (especially the ever-cool Ken Foree), and the best screen depiction of the real horror that comes with the gradual, creeping disintegration of human society in the face of a zombie apocalypse.

As for “Shaun,” apart from being a smart and respectful zombie comedy, it’s just pure entertainment from beginning to end. From the creators of the equally brilliant “Spaced” and “Hot Fuzz,” it’s got hilarious comedy, genuine zombie horror — even some shockingly well-realized heartbreak. It just works on every level.

An extra bonus is Christian and Sarah Matzke’s locally made zombie short “Last Call” (from 2010’s “Damnationland”), which will play in between. Sort of a palate cleanser, if you will.

And yes, we know that kids today may prefer those newfangled fast zombies that seem to appear in a new movie every week. But here’s the deal: Fast zombies aren’t real zombies. They’re the misguided attempt to cater to attention span-deficient thrill junkies.

The real horror of a zombie apocalypse is its relentless, inexorable inevitability. Sure, you can dispatch one zombie relatively easily (you know, if you don’t get cornered, have a suitable weapon and don’t get bitten or get any of its blood in any cuts), but, see, there’s not gonna be one. There’s gonna be hundreds, thousands, then millions, all mindlessly determined to kill and eat every human they see, all of whom will then rise and join the swelling, shambling army of implacable death.

And, yeah, maybe you can find a place to hole up — as long as your ammo holds out, and your food, and your water. As long as the inevitable breakdown of all order and depletion of resources doesn’t bring human scavengers to take what you’ve got or cause your group to turn on each other …

Excited yet?

Excellent. Get your discounted tickets at Videoport or go to statetheatreportland.com ($8), and I’ll see you at 7 p.m. Monday.

Oh, and dress the part, because gift certificates will go to the best zombie costumes in attendance.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: