Slasher con debuts in Winchester

Horror and thriller fans are getting into the Halloween spirit a bit early at the first Four State Slasher Con at the Bright Box Theater in Winchester.

After visiting his first convention at Hell-O-Ween in Fredericksburg last October, organizer Matt Burns decided to start a celebration of his favorite genre in Winchester. Along with the support of event planner and merchandiser Michael O’Connell and artist Colin Rodgers, Burns was able to bring in some notable slasher film guests to Bright Box for a weekend of vampires, killers and zombies aplenty.

O’Connell said that the organizers are aiming for attendance of 400 people per day, leaving a little breathing room under the theater’s 500-person capacity. Already, the convention has sent out around 200 pre-sale tickets.

Featured guests include Jamison Newlander, Billy Wirth and G Tom Mac of ’80s horror comedy film “The Lost Boys” fame. According to the convention website, “Creepshow 2” will have its first lead role reunion with Tom Wright, Dan Kamin and for his first convention appearance, Daniel Beer. Other TV and film guests will represent slasher hits like “The Crow,” “Maniac Cop,” “Evil Dead 2” and “Army of Darkness.”

Music guests include Michaele Graves, NFDY, Jonathan Tiersten and G Tom Mac. Performances will start on the main stage at 8 p.m. today and 9 p.m. Saturday with lineups that will run both nights until about 1 a.m.

Panels will run on the Bright Box stage all weekend, including one focused on “Evil Dead” at 4 p.m. today, one on “The Lost Boys” at 6 p.m. today and one on “Creepshow 2” at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Faye Guerra, host of Psycho Cinema at the Alamo Drafthouse, will host screenings of indie horror flicks in the convention’s “theater crypt” – featuring premieres of “Radioactive Flesh Eating Foliage” on Saturday and “Easter Sunday” both days. Some cast and crew from both films will host events after the premiere.

With 20 vendors signed up to hawk their wares and plenty of programming, O’Connell said horror fans of all sorts will find something that tickles their fancy.

“People like just being able to see and buy signatures and photo ops of the guests…some people are really into indie movies,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased for single day admission, weekend admission or with a VIP package that includes a early admission, 10 percent off convention merchandise and some special convention goodies. Aloft Winchester is the partner hotel, offering guests of Four State Slasher Con a room rate discount.

O’Connell said that having two full nights of music and food and drink services at an independent venue is unique for a genre convention like this.

“We’re excited to be different,” he said. “I like to do things that haven’t been done before.”

IF YOU GO: Doors open at 3 p.m. today and 12 p.m. Saturday at Bright Box Theater, 15 N. Loudon St. in Winchester. Tickets range from $21 to $60 in advance, purchased online at http://tinyurl.com/nmb3tuj and $25 to $65 at the door. For more information, email fourstateslash@gmail.com.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com