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Oct. 16, 2022

Day 45: Hatch & Kraven's Slaughterhouse in Dennison, TX

Day 45: Hatch & Kraven's Slaughterhouse in Dennison, TX

Hatch & Kraven’s Slaughterhouse has moved and expanded over the last years into a full SlaughterPLEX. Today, we’ll learn all about it. Follow along to our Hauntathon:

Hatch & Kraven’s Slaughterhouse has moved and expanded over the last years into a full SlaughterPLEX. Today, we’ll learn all about it. Follow along to our Hauntathon:


Barry Travis: My name is Barry Travis, I own Hatch & Kraven Slaughterplex, now. I've been haunting for about 20 years up in Denison, TX. When they walked up, after parking, we have a big midway that will have zombie paintball shoot and axe throwing. At this point in time, we are still one big attraction, by next year we hope to be the two attractions for the haunted attractions. We have a big bandstand in the queue area, so when they come up there's usually a band playing, fire throwers, or whatever we have at the time coming up, and they get to wait in line for their demise. 

Barry Travis: My son threw a Cajun twist into a Texas environment about a Cajun family called the Modair that came to Texas to build their fortune. Ma and Pa passed away, left the kids in charge, ran out of meat, and so the guy came into the shop, because it was a slaughterhouse, looking for me, argued with Kraven, the oldest child, and punched him. So, Kraven chopped him. They didn't know what to do with the body, they were hungry, so they had lunch and found out that the meal that they had was the best meat they'd ever had. So, from that point on the brothers, with their crew, began to seek after the unwanted in town, and they began to feed the town. That was our storyline and it's growing to this day. We are going a little bit of post-apocalyptic this year, so they think they're going into a safe zone in this militia camp that we've built, but we're a little hungry.

Barry Travis: So, we are active driven, we use live weapons, we practice a lot. Machetes, axes, those kinds of things, chainsaws, of course, because we're in Texas you got to have chainsaws, right? They literally walk themselves through in groups of 6 to 8, and hope they come out alive. We build actor playgrounds, and we invite our guests into this area. So, one actor can get 5 to 10 scares in their area before a group gets through it. 

Barry Travis: The weapons they are, we're very specific about who uses, not everybody has a weapon, but my main characters Hatch and Kraven, some of my main clowns, and myself, which is a whole other story. In the new version, they got in trouble, they didn't know what to do. So, they had their, what they call their Auntie, a voodoo priestess raise Papa from the dead. So, Papa Modair is back alive and well, somewhat, and help guide the crew.

Philip Hernandez: Being actor-focused, and making playgrounds, that kind of necessitates tradeoffs because you want the focus to be on the actors and not animatronics or props.

Barry Travis: Right, right. Exactly what we do, we do have some pretty decent sets and scenes set up. There is an old pond on the property, which is greened over, so it looks like a swamp. I like play toys, but in my experience, our style show, I thought was getting obsolete for a while, everybody was trying to go to the toys. But, for us, what makes Hatch and Kraven, Hatch and Kraven, is this actor-driven, being able to be in so many places, to tag team each other, and I don't plan on changing that. Although, I still want some toys, but we're still going to keep our focus on the actor trainings and really getting people to get going.

Philip Hernandez: How many actors are you running every night?

Barry Travis: We run 35 to 40 actors during the season, and our staff is about 65 people. Yeah, staffing is difficult, we do run shorthanded sometimes, but we have learned because of the way that we designed that I can get from point A, the beginning of my show, to the back end of my show--it's a big U across my show--anywhere I need to be, within a very, very short period of time and so can the actors. So, if they need to fill in or they need to give somebody, we don't do an official schedule, just for the flow. So, they take you to those turns they take places, and they team up. We do use radios in some of my actors throughout the show to keep the flow going, and if there are any issues, obviously. But, for the most part, that communication, which is "freshmeat" by the way.

Philip Hernandez: You moved into a new location. How did you approach it differently? 

Barry Travis: We didn't know that we had to have a new location until the P&Z threw us out because they wouldn't give us the CO we needed for our temp permit without a huge financial change, as far as fire systems and such. So, we moved 22 trailers worth of material in six weeks, we call it the trail of death. We through walls up, you actually go through a Winnebago at one point. We used some of the stuff on this new property, the landowner has been really cool, he actually was born on Halloween. He's got some old cars and stuff out there we turned into a car maze. So, we just made this big outdoor, still kind of our theme, the blood, the butchers, the cannibals, the feral children coming out of nowhere, the clowns with chainsaws. But we instituted it into a trail form, and it is very successful. 

Barry Travis: So, now we're just, literally each year we're trying to just upgrade that philosophy, that direction. Yes, rain and that kind of things, but we've got it now where as long as it's not a week-long flood, we can still handle the show. We've only had to close one night since we've been on that property for three years. The militia camp concept, the post-apocalyptic type of thing, we're probably going to keep for a while just because it looks so cool. It looks like you're driving out to the houses that October brings kind of thing, and people. Love that kind of thing.

Barry Travis

Owner of Hatch & Kraven Slaughterplex