The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day Four: Hell House (Reviewed)

Hell House (2003)

Hell House (2003)

Creepier than just about any horror film you’ll see, this surprisingly fair documentary chronicles a Texas fundamentalist Christian high school’s annual Halloween event:  putting on a haunted house to scare God into you. Taking us from the deadly serious audition process to the queasy Oscar-style awards ceremony they hold after the fact, this subversive little film has lots to say, and it’s all in the editing. There’s no judgmental narration to beat you over the head– the visuals and documentary subjects are allowed to speak for themselves…and oh, what they have to say! Much of it is sad and most of it is disturbing. Take, for example, the clearly gay father who performs alongside his children in haunted house vignettes depicting homosexual teens burning in hell and scenarios revealing the evils of the Internet. (We learn Mom left him for a man she met online.) An entire community of well-meaning people who seem to be choking on denial and repression have waaay too much fun acting out all of the things they’re condemning. An ex-raver takes it upon himself to direct the date-rape/rave scenario and in the process suspiciously reveals an awful lot of personal knowledge about the effectiveness of date rape drugs. Rooms of Hell House include screaming bloody abortions, suicides and Columbine-inspired classroom shootings…all in the name of God. The director takes special care to not make fun, manipulate the truth or judge. The concept of Hell House has been franchised and every October finds more popping up throughout the deep South. A powerful and entertaining documentary that also functions as an educational freakshow.
Watch this trailer and save your soul:

~ by Number5ive on October 4, 2009.

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