Hell House (2001)

Genres - Culture & Society, Spirituality & Philosophy  |   Sub-Genres - Religions & Belief Systems, Sociology  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

There's hardly a community in America does doesn't offer some sort of a spook show or haunted house for kids during the Hallowe'en season, but the Hell House, sponsored by the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Dallas, TX, is something a bit different -- rather than scaring kids with folks dressed up as ghosts of vampires, the Hell House offers bizarre performance pieces in which youngsters are offered a glimpse of the fates church elders believe will await them if they stray from the path of a strict Christian life. The skits include tales of a gay man dying of AIDS-related illnesses, a woman bleeding to death after an abortion, a teenage girl who is date raped after being fed drugs at a rave party, and Satanists performing a human sacrifice. Hell House is a documentary that examines the "Hell House" phenomenon (which has inspired a large number of imitators around the country, and has been parodied on television shows such as King of the Hill and The Simpsons), offering a look at the preparations that go into the annual presentation and a glimpse into the lives of the people who stage and perform the cautionary fables.

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Keywords

Christianity, preaching, Hell, warning, behind-the-scenes, damnation, fundamentalism, Halloween, Pentecostal, radical, salvation, haunted-house