“The Haunted Palace” features frights, of course, but also sex, booze and rock’n’roll—not necessarily in that order—all to be encountered after you make it through the haunted maze that forms a path from the front door to the lobby several yards ahead. But there’s one catch to all of this: “If anybody shows up without a costume on, they’re not getting in,” said Mark Coyne, owner of mNo Productions, the company organizing the event. “Halloween is like my Christmas, so if you’re going to show up, at least try and go the dollar store or somewhere and pick up a cheap costume.”
Coyne’s mNo Productions has an office in Syracuse as well as Hollywood, Calif., and has staged nine similar Halloween events in Los Angeles. The Haunted Palace bash is his sixth in Syracuse, but the first at the Palace, and he believes this could be the most sinister yet.
Night of the living dead: At Friday’s Halloween party at the Palace Theatre, you never know who could drop by. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
“We’ve got a lot invested in props and decorations,” said Coyne. “And when you walk into the event, it spells out Halloween. There are no happy pumpkins and all that fluffy stuff. We’ve got zombies and skulls and the real scene of horror. We do the tricks and we do the treats.”
While the adult shindig starts at 9:30 p.m., the spooks will fly from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for trick-or-treating children to stop in and experience the haunted maze, as well as fill up their bags with a little more candy. There is no admission charge during that time, but donations will be accepted with all proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House. When the doors reopen, entry will cost $15 for 21-and-older only.
Pre-sale tickets are available for $12 at the Palace, as well as Modern Pop Culture, 215 Walton St.; Halo Tattoo, 171 Marshall St., 3350 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt, and 7629 Oswego Road, Liverpool; and Sound Garden, 124 Walton St. VIP tickets, which include access to a private room featuring a cash bar, fireplace, costumed Malibu Rum Girls strutting their stuff to two live deejays spinning lounge and down-tempo beats, and a private balcony to view the entire show, will be sold in pairs for $50.
There will also be a cash bar in the non-VIP area, so if you’re inclined to indulge your haunted spirit with libations, you can before the first band starts at 9:45 p.m. Gein and the Grave Robbers, an instrumental surf-punk band out of Boston, will feed your head first, followed by another band of misfits from New England, Crimson Ghost.
After those two bands finish their sets, the first of two rounds of costume contests will commence. Merchandise valued at $250 will be awarded to the person who most closely resembles the Syracuse New Times’ Salt City comic superhero diva, Shirra. The winner will be selected by illustrator Joe Orsak, as well as writer Doug Brode, the creative juices behind the strip.
The music will wrap up with Syracuse’s own Architect, followed by Buffalo-based Perfidious Doom. In between those two acts, the final contest will see $500 awarded to the best overall costume, as well as $250 apiece to the wildest male and female attendees, judged by representatives from WKRL-FM 100.9 (K-Rock) and Halo Tattoo.
And like every other place around town that serves alcohol, the bars at the Palace will go dry at 2 a.m.—but the party won’t. At closing time, the night will end with a 35mm big-screen showing of director Sam Raimi’s 1987 cult classic Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn.
If you can’t make it to the party or just want to watch the flick, anyone over the age of 16 can purchase a ticket for $5 that night at the Palace to see the movie only.
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