Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Aria Adloo, Ashley Adloo, Amy Allred, Gabriel Allred, Cherie Asbjornson
Director: George Ratliff
Hell Houses are a distinctly American phenomenon which began in 1990 just outside of Dallas, at the Trinity Assembly of God Church. The original Hell House was conceived as a modern-day fire-and-brimstone sermon. Today, th... more »
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Kat D. (KatlynAva)
Reviewed on 4/13/2010...
It's interesting, though it goes on too long. A lot of insight about how long these nut cases plan out their hell house (they start in august). They try to scare people into believing in religion by showing them scenes such as: a gay person dying, a woman dying after an abortion, someone killing themselves after being raped, and stuff of the like. Pretty offensive to A LOT of people. I'd recommend Jesus Camp or For the bible told me so, before this one. Worth a watch if you're big on documentaries though.
Move over, Errol Morris, there's a new kid in town.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 05/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hell House (George Ratliff, 2001)
Hell House is a documentary, a quick look at the infamous haunted house run every October by a Pentecostal church in Texas. One gets the distinct feeling that the church members had no idea Ratliff was making this documentary to poke fun at them, as earnest as they are.
The best scenes in this are those where Ratliff is using wordless, lingering shots to show how little these people actually know about what they're doing. The funniest thing in the whole movie is one church member describing the "occult" scene, which uses a pentagram; actually, it's not a pentagram, it's a Star of David in a circle. (It continues to amaze me no one there, seemingly, knows how to count to five.) Moments like this happen with regularity in the film, if you're paying close enough attention. Most of them are more subtle, but the payoff is just as grand.
For those of you unfamiliar with the increasingly-popular Hell Houses, a quick rundown: a Hell House is a Christian "haunted house"-type Halloween attraction put on for the purpose of converting the heathen. Everything from the amusing (raves, satanic sacrifice) to the boring (kid commits suicide because his peers are picking on him) to the morally repugnant (at this congregation, at least, AIDS is still strictly a "gay disease") is depicted in an attempt to scare the heathen straight and get them to convert. Does it work? This documentary would lead you to believe not, despite the claims of one church member that a number of people converted that month. (Entirely possible; Ratliff couldn't film all the groups being ministered to, of course, and the church (backed up by news reports) claims three thousand coming through per day. Like the old mama said, if you throw enough spaghetti against a wall...
Best watched for the amusement factor, but prepare to be horrified as well. Yes, folks, people still think like Neanderthals in 2001. ****"
Former Cast Member
John Doe | Dallas, Texas | 12/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I spent ten years working various scenes at the Trinity Church Hellhouse. Yes, it is a bit campy, and yes, it is often over the top, but I can say that the people are well intentioned, just a bit off target. I attended Trinity Church from birth until I was 22 years old. I do not attend their anymore because of the close-minded attitude that is prevalant in this documentary. I stopped doing HellHouse when they added the decision room my last year. I just felt it was an un-biblical scare tactic. I now feel that way about the entire operation. The worst feeling I get is knowing the young teenagers are blindly following the leadership without doing any research themselves. I know because I was once one of them. I have found that a growing number of former Trinity Youth Group members my age do not attend there for the same reasons I listed above. This movie will open your eyes to the way teens are herded like cattle in fundamentalist Christian Churches."
Ignorance on Parade
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an admirably objective and well-made film, which chronicles the production of an evangelical Christian church's Halloween Hell House, an annual attraction that attempts to win souls for the church by trying to scare people with silly and misinformed portrayals of the horrors of secular life. In their attempt to construct an "occult" scene, church members actually paint a Star of David on the floor because they have no idea what a pentagram looks like, and they base their color scheme on the advice of a "warlock" who came to the Hell House some years before. No pagan or witch calls himself a warlock unless he's gotten all his information on the topic from watching "Charmed," which these churchgoers would know if they bothered to put any effort into research at all. Ignorance abounds here, from the cretinous portrayal of homosexuality as a result of childhood sexual abuse to the epic misrepresentation of the abortion pill RU-486. Throughout each revolting little playlet, the cardboard characters are taunted by a cackling Satan character who makes it sound like they deserve what they're getting and wouldn't be suffering if they'd had the correct beliefs. One gets the feeling that this church is pleased as punch to see them go to hell, and the Satan character conveys this with real glee. This kind of nastiness and cynicism has no place in a religion supposedly built on love. I was glad to see scenes of audience members giggling at all the hoary amateur dramatics, but the awful thing is that Hell Houses across the country do win converts through these showcases of bigotry and delusion. Maybe somebody should put on a Fundamentalism House. Now that would be scary."