SLAUGHTER IN SYRACUSE @ The Palace Theater – May 31st, 2014
A retrospective by: Ryan Vincent Logsdon
I wake up on the morning of May 31st with a couple of months worth of dire anticipation making the last two nights worth of rest utterly impossible. The excitement goes beyond definable terms. Slaughter In Syracuse is happening today! The line up for this underground horror film festival boasts talent seldom seen at most popular televised award shows and it was being presented by Beneath The Underground & Vultra Video, both being respectable endeavors in their own right and the combination of the two liked-minded individuals was the primer that preceded the spark that rocked The Palace Theater into a bloody submission. Leaving in it’s wake a scene that was a little stronger and from friendships already attained to becoming families gained. It was a special time and place for those who were lucky enough attend, a time and place where you couldn’t turn around without seeing a friendly face that you actually wanted to see or needed to see because it made you feel at home. Home, surrounded by such amazingly creative artists. Home, surrounded but such genuine people. Home, surrounded by family. Home, our home.
The Palace Theater in Syracuse, NY held the honor of hosting this event and housing the powder keg of talent gathered together at the seemingly forgotten theater which, in it’s decades old profile, has screened some of the most cherished films of the last twenty-five years that may have never received any chance of a theatrical release; this being true of every single film on display during Slaughter In Syracuse’s epic schedule of showings and Q&As. The underground horror scene thrives off of the vibes given off by festivities like Slaughter In Syracuse and allowed the events to unfold not only before our eyes but into our collective hearts and spirits.
Slaughter In Syracuse’s opener was a first time viewing of the director’s cut of Marcus Koch’s cult slasher “100 Tears” and was introduced by co-hosts Nick DeCarlo of Beneath the Underground and Jason West of Vultra Video who welcomed the audience with smiles and open arms and called for the lights to be lowered and the cinematic chaos to commence. Marcus commented at one point during the evening that he had driven from Florida to get to the festival and seemed delighted at the questions being asked of him and his long out of print film. Artists, fans, various media reviews and curious-minded individuals huddle together in the blackness of the theater enjoying the violence, gore, humor and unforgettable sequences in the confrontational works on display. Screenings continue throughout the day and into the evening followed by lovingly in-depth conversations with the rabid fans and the artists themselves including the hallucinatory shorts of Jimmy Screamerclauz to the always entertaining Ruby LaRocca engaging her audience with her usual charm and style. Jason Koch’s subversive serial killer flick “7th Day” caused quite a stir among the extreme horror crowd and the Canadian special effects master Ryan Nicholson treated his audience to the US premier of “Collar” and his (now almost legendary due to legal issues) short “Good Wife” making it’s possibly only showing all the more special to the hardcore fans who ate up the carnage spewed upon on the big screen.
Matt Garrett’s poignant film “Morris County” dropped the viewers into a world that is devoid of typical cinematic horror but still managed to captivate the crowd with it’s shocking displays of humanity that continue to push the boundaries of what a horror film can and, maybe, should be. The juggernaut known as TOETAG headlined the evening and Fred and Shelby Vogel showed for the first time a color-corrected version of their masterpiece “The Redsin Tower”, a film that left the viewing audiences laughter and screams echoing throughout the theater, down it’s carpeted aisles and out into the air of the world of independent cinema and it’s makers. After the last Q&A with TOETAG the hosts say their thanks and make acknowledgments to the people behind the event before the lights are brought back up completely and the theater empties.
Goodbyes are made to some while others continue the informative and highly engaging conversations well into the night and not wanting this special moment of time to end which it does, of course, but not before plans are made, bonds of limitation being broken and the possibilities of future collaborations seeming to turn the spoken ‘goodbyes’ into ‘when we meet again.’ Smiles and hugs seem to greet the morning sun with a feeling that some kind of energy, be it brought by or created from us, had been guiding our paths towards that history-making underground horror festival and that energy was not fleeting; in a reason-less world there was a reason for Slaughter In Syracuse to happen. A home had been created for like-minded individuals to share the stage and the scene that surrounds that particular talent to emerge into a family for one amazing twenty-four hour period before crashing back into reality with our smiles a little wider, our convictions stronger and our hearts truly fuller.
Editors Note: Many thanks to Ryan Vincent Logsdon for this retrospective of Slaughter in Syracuse 2014. For those in attendance it was a fantastic event and something much need to bring together the innovators of the Independent Underground Horror scene and the fans of this genre of movie together as one family. The organizers of this event are discussing future plans for another SinS event to grow the family of the underground one fan at a time. Any future events will be posted in the Facebook group for Beneath The Underground: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeneathTheUnderground/