Hell House: Spooking Sinners into Salvation

         Hell house is a haunted house run by the evangelical Christian church that depicts people being tempted into sin and then tortured in hell. Hell house is supposed to shock sinners into seeking salvation through the evangelical church, while at the same time promoting conservative Christian ideals. Hell house warns people that if they are not saved they will invariably go to hell and once they are in hell, they will be tortured for eternity with absolutely no opportunity to redeem themselves. Hell house consists of a series of horrific scenes in which actors have sex, have abortions, commit suicide, drunk drive and party. The last two scenes depict hell and heaven. In Hell, Satan and the hell dwellers announce that they will burn forever in constant agony and in heaven, Jesus explains restoration and gives everyone a chance to pray for salvation.

         Many of the scenes in hell house are extremely graphic and disturbing. The hell house hand book suggests that hell house directors get chunks of meat to place in a bowl of fake blood to look like a baby torn apart in a late term abortion. A school shooting leaves a roomful of students bloody and disheveled. A suicide scene involves a girl slitting her wrists and spewing a pool of blood onto the floor. A homosexual dies a miserable, treacherous death from aids. The leaders of Hell house believe that a part of salvation is being afraid of going to hell so customers need to be deeply disturbed by what they see. 

In the mid 1990’s one of the original Hell houses in Denver, Colorado began selling Hell house kits to churches nationally and, as a result, hundreds of Hell houses now exist in North America. The 250-page manual includes everything from script to prop advice. The manuals make it simple for churches to recreate Hell house.  Typically, thousands of people come to each hell house each year and since every customer pays 5 dollars admission, the church earns a considerable amount of money. Some hell houses have been accused of misleading people to believe that they are going to a conventional haunted house rather than an evangelical presentation. Individuals have reported that hell house promoters hand out free tickets outside of gay bars and abortion clinics. The church believes that it is their responsibility to warn these sinners of the impending danger awaiting them if they continue to act without regard to god.