I’ve been a fan of the Bloodshed Brothers, Zachary and Jeromy Ball, since I attended their joint haunt along with Twisted Scare at Lake Elsinore’s Haunted Stadium last year.  However, this year the Bloodshed Brothers branched off, and what seemed like a last minute decision, decided to put together their own haunt in Temecula, CA.  Initially I was pretty bummed that they weren’t going to be with the Haunted Stadium anymore, but I knew these twin brothers had talent and I wanted to make it a point to check out their latest endeavor.  I’m happy to report, that even with a short time span to make everything come together, they ended up putting together one hell of a haunted attraction.

The theme of their inaugural year was “The Hyde Street Massacre” which centered around the story of Otis Hatcher.  Otis is a lover of Halloween and one fateful night, on October 31, 1959, a slew of trick-or-treaters vandalized his house at 821 Hyde Street.  This event snowballed Otis’s descent into insanity and through this we get to catch a glimpse into Otis’s world as he starts to slide further and further away from reality.  The Bloodshed Brothers have re-created Otis’s house to only be visited at night, when the moon is high, and the screams of Otis’s victims can be heard throughout his home.

Most haunts are designed to scare you, and for the most part you don’t think too much about the design leading up to the moment you enter.  I had never been to Temecula before the night I attended and let me tell you, there wasn’t a soul in sight as soon as you got on the road towards the haunt.  There was no lights, no sounds, nothing.  It was at that moment that I turned to my friend and said, “this is how all horror movies start, this is where we are going to die.” Though the directions were a little bit hazy on how to get there, my group and I were able to find the location and upon parking, put our game faces on.  The first thing I noticed right away was the house itself. Though it was clear it was constructed with just large wooden planks, the Bloodshed Brothers paid special attention to the areas that the guests would be viewing the most, which resulted in a structure that looked quite like a home.  At the entrance, there were jack-o-lanterns blazed and lights strew about, and all things considered, it was kind of a welcoming start to the experience.

At this point, we meet one of the characters, a nice redneck gentleman who tells us about his Uncle Otis.  It’s clear that this character doesn’t have the highest IQ and you can’t help but go along with his antics.  We are given the rules and are told that there is a more “extreme” version which will allow the actors to touch you.  Of course, my group and I decided to go that route because clearly we are masochists.  What I loved so much about this haunt was that it reminded me of the home haunts that I grew up on back on the East Coast.  Though it wasn’t perfect, and really how many are, it was quite clear that a lot of hard work and passion went into creating this experience.  The set design, for the most part, exceeded my expectations and there was more detail than I expected.  Each room also seemed to have it’s own “theme” and it’s own lighting, switching from a grayish hue, to a reddish color, and settling into orange territories at times.  It was an interesting transition and whether it was done on purpose or not, I appreciated it.  Another aspect that worked greatly in their favor was the acting from the scare actors.  There were some really creepy moments throughout the entire haunt that made me pause and stay rooted in my spot.  One in particular was in a hallway where a girl was bending and snapping in the most bizarre fashion.  She would get up close to you and then make a spine chilling noise and be on her way.  Another, sat on a bed and just stared at you, never breaking eye contact.  This is what really sold the event for me because the actors you have can either make or break a haunt and in the case of “The Hyde Street Massacre” it made the event that much more enjoyable.

When it comes to the “extreme” aspect, it was nothing to over the top, but nevertheless, if you ever want to try an extreme experience this would be the one to do it.  We left the attraction with fake blood on our legs and faces and there were a few times when we got pushed and shoved by some of the scare actors.  Overall I think this would be the best place to test what your limits are when it comes to doing things a bit more unconventional.

Overall, I was super pleased with “The Hyde Street Massacre”.  As I mentioned, they did not have a lot of time to plan and execute so I was incredibly impressed with what they accomplished in such a short amount of time.  The Bloodshed Brothers are definitely haunt enthusiasts who have a love for the haunt community and a passion for what they do and I can’t wait to see them continue to grow in the coming years.  Make sure to keep them on your radar for next Halloween as I can only imagine what they will have in store for us then!

For more information on the Bloodshed Brothers, follow them on social media on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thebloodshedbrothers and Instagram at thebloodshedbrothers.

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