A twitter post from an NYC friend reminded me of my long ago visit to a local Denver "Hell House". It was over 10 years ago, and my recollection is a bit fuzzy. But some of the memorable facts are these:
- I think this was one of the early versions of the original Hell House concept, where a church would stage a reasonably gruesome haunted house desgned to show you what happens when you ally with the devil.
- Some of the rooms in the house included a patient dying of AIDS, a couple of kids mangled in a drunk driving accident and, the classic abortion scene, where a doctor pulls a bloody, pulstating baby (doll) from a hysterically overacting teenager.
- The climax of the piece was a decent to hell which I recall smelled sort of annoyingly of rotten eggs (sulpher, maybe?) and populated by a screaming souls writhing about on the church cafeteria floor begging for mercy while the devil, who looked suspiciously like John Lovitz, cackled and invited us to join them.
- My friend Bruce and I had spent the hour or so waiting in line drinking Jack and Coke out of Arby's cups. So, we politely laughed our way through all the "horror". But the worse was yet to come.
- Before you could leave, an earnest white haired gentleman huddled our group–which consisted of a bunch of teenagers and us–and asked us to pray. Abortions and dying AIDS patients played played by goofy Christian teenagers was easy to laugh at. But this was uncomfortable. While everyone bowed their head and prayed, Bruce and I looked at each other and wondered what would be more discourteous, just wait it out or bolt. I don't remember what we did because I turned my brain off.