Two young entrepreneurs have spent much of the last month making people jump, scream and even cry – all in the name of entertainment, of course.
James Cooper and Mathew Lee are the duo behind Twisted Attractions, the company which has for the last 18 months been hosting live horror attractions in disused buildings and warehouses on the fringe of Birmingham city centre.
Ultimately they hope to open a permanent museum of the macabre in Birmingham to rival the famous London Dungeon.
Mr Cooper said: "London has the dungeon, so does York and Edinburgh, so why can't Birmingham? We think it would work."
Their current live attraction, which runs until November 1, is two fright features in an old building on Wrentham Street – one based on a Texas Chainsaw Massacr-style hillbilly house of horror and the second is Ward 78 – an abandoned Victorian asylum packed with psychotic inmates. Live actors jump out on visitors stumbling through the atmospheric mazes.
The 'immersive theatre' events are often packed with peak time visitors paying £14 each for both experiences.
The attraction draws the same age groups, mainly older teens and 20s, that are going to see Hollywood horror movies.
The pair argue that while children and families are well catered for in Birmingham, aside from pubs and clubs there are few attractions for this age group. Both 27, the duo have a background in performance and theatre. Mr Cooper has been a DJ in Birmingham's gay clubs and Mathew a drag act.
They have combined their fondness for horror and a taste for fairground thrills and consider this venture a modern version of the Victorian sideshow – designed to give a good old-fashioned fright.
Indeed they might have been playing this up a bit when Mr Cooper said: "We get plenty of screams and it is usually the girls. But I've seen grown men drop to their knees crying."
So far, the ambulance has not been called but there was a recent false alarm when someone called a fire engine after seeing the effects of an over enthusiastic smoke machine.
They put the shows together, using old objects and furniture recovered from skips and are assisted by a team of 60 actors, lighting and sound technicians and support staff.
Mr Lee said: "I've always loved theme parks and horror films. I wanted to do something like this for years."
The pair pooled their resources and put their first exhibition on last year and have done several since. Their next is called Christmas is Cancelled and arrives in December.
As well as being a hit with audiences, they also scooped a Scar Award, given to horror attractions, for the best independent production company for last year's Morgue Live show.