By Martin Cizmar
The autumnal equinox comes tonight, officially bringing the beginning of Fall, and kicking off the countdown to the season’s biggest holiday, Halloween.
My favorite part of fall – aside from football and hard cider – is haunted houses. We’ve got plenty here in town, but, from what I can tell, a dire shortage of on particularly wonderful subset: The Judgment House, or Hell House.
The Judgment House, in case you’re unfamiliar, is like a regular haunted house except run by kooky ultra-conservative evangelicals. They’re full of gruesome scenes depicting girls getting abortions (and going to hell), kids listening to heavy metal then becoming Satanists (and going to hell), kids experimenting with homosexuality (and going to hell), kids trying marijuana (and going to hell) and other such fun. It’s even more interesting than it sounds.
Last year, I had the chance to visit the Judgment House in Cedar Hill, Texas which was the subject of a well-regarded documentary Hell House. It was the best haunted house I ever saw. I think the religious fervor of the organizers really drove the production values past what you’d expect from the usual haunted attractions.
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This year, I’ve been looking for one in Phoenix, and coming up short. First Baptist Church of Mesa has one scheduled for Oct. 26 and 29 – but that’s all I’ve got so far.
Anyone out there know where I can find a top-notch Judgment House in Arizona?
If not, please, talk to your pastor: Hell Houses = excitement for everyone.