A few weeks ago, just before Halloween, I went to Texas to visit Super Chic Christy, her friends, family and the city of Austin. On the last evening of my trip we were invited to go to an authentic Hell House, Texas style! So a whole bunch of us piled into vehicles and headed for the event. It was all very last minute.
It ended up not being quite what we expected as it was laid out on a stage which we sat in the audience of and watched, like a play. It was a HUGE church. A “Megachurch” as they say, and the place was packed. We were shown our seats off to the right of the stage. Everyone was very polite and helpful. And there before us was heaven! A giant castle shaped mound of draping white sparkling fabric everywhere, with a doorway in the middle, and angels perched randomly around it, wings, dresses, blond wigs and all. It was the gaudiest heaven depiction you could ever imagine. Actually, it’s just how I’d always imagined it. From one end of the stage to the other. It was a sight to behold.
So the show was what you’d expect. It was a series of skits about people doing things that were going to get them damned to hell. There was a suicidal girl who was being taunted and degraded by Satan until she shot herself in the head. Oh! And their Satan was a complete rip-off of Skeletor. Undoubtedly the best performer of the night however. Anyhow, there were gangbanger kids who did a drive-by shooting then crashed their car and went to hell. I believe there was a drug skit too. They didn’t however touch on abortion or homosexuality which I thought were standard churchie lecturedom. It surprised me.
But it was the last story of the evening that was most amazing. It was the moral of the event’s plot. It was about a Christian family being held prisoner in Iraq …possibly communist Russia. Or it could have even been Nazi Germany. It was hard to tell exactly. The accents of the soldiers were all over the place, and quite frankly their uniforms looked American, except for the berets, which was the “foreign” element of the costume I assume.
So here’s this family- father, mother, teenage emo son, and 9 year old little girl, all being held at gunpoint by these enemy soldiers. The commander is screaming at them, “So! You’re all Christians, huh? Believe in Jesus and think you’re going to heaven for believing in Jesus, huh?!”
“Yes, me and my family are Christians and we believe in Jesus!” The father replied.
The guards responded to this by pointing their guns in their faces while the commander continued, “We’ll just see about that! If you do not denounce Jesus Christ we’re going to execute you! Each and everyone of you! You will die here tonight if you do not reject Jesus!!!”
The mother and daughter fake cried into the shoulders of dad, while the insecure kid playing the emo son did his best to look like he was part of the acted drama.
“Each of you will be shot dead if you do not reject Christianity and Jesus Christ right here, right now! I will give you 5 minutes alone together to make your decision!”
And the soldiers walked away.
So the family was there fake crying and such. “Acting.” The wife cried “Oh Peter, what are we going to do? They’re going to kill us if we don’t denounce Jesus!”
“Elizabeth,” the father consoled, “Jesus has always been there to get us through the hard times. He promised us in the Bible he would watch over us and guarantee us eternal paradise if we believed in him. We will not denounce him, because we all have unwavering faith he is our savior!”
“Oh Peter, I completely agree! I love Jesus! He’s always watched over us, and I believe he’s watching over us all here, right now!”
“Kids? Do you agree? Do you believe in Jesus and trust him?”
“Daddy, I love Jesus and would never deny him! I believe in him, mommy and daddy! I believe!” the daughter cried. They all cried.
Then the soldiers returned, pointed their guns in the family’s faces, and the commander yelled, “So, have you made your decision, Anderson family?! Do you denounce Jesus Christ, or are you going to DIE?!?!”
To which the father stood and said, “My family and I have discussed it, and we WILL NOT denounce Jesus!”
The audience cheers.
“THEN YOU WILL EACH DIE!” And the solders shot the father, the mother, and the son, who all dramatically fell to the ground, dead. Then, the commander with his handgun pointed at the 9 year old little girl and shouted angrily, “Little girl, are you sure you do not denounce Jesus Christ!? Are you prepared to die like your family!? You have one more chance to change your mind!!”
The daughter stood and she stated, “I will……….. NEVER denounce Jesus! He is my savior and I love him!”
“THEN DIE!” And everything goes black. There’s a gunshot with a flash of light, and quiet.
When the lights come on we’re all back at that gaudy heaven display I described earlier, with the angels, and Gabriel at the doorway in front of a giant book. Then up comes the Anderson family, casually strolling into the scene.
“Look daddy! Is this Heaven!?! It’s more beautiful than I imagined!” the little girl joyfully cried.
“See?” Daddy said, “I told you Jesus’ promise was true! This is heaven! We made it to heaven!”
Then the angel Gabriel, with his book open in front of him said, “Is this the Anderson family?”
“Yes, that’s us!” the father responded.
“Peter Anderson!” Gabriel boomed. To which the father stepped up from his family and did a dance. No kiddin’. He did a little dance like a middle aged man who’s making a joke about how he can’t dance. The audience laughs, cheers and whistles.
“Peter anderson! You did NOT denounce Jesus and you were a good Christian! You are here in the Book Of Life and get to come into Heaven!”
The father does a fist pump “YES!” and returns to his family.
“Elizabeth Anderson!” The wife steps in front of the angel and she does the middle-aged woman dance. The audience whistles, cheers and laughs some more.
“You too were a good Christian and believed in Jesus until the very end! You are in the Book Of Life and get to come into heaven!”
She then returns to her family.
The emo teen comes into the spotlight and does a typical insecure looking dance, raising the roof and such. The audience laughs and cheers.
“You too are in the Book Of Life and get to enter heaven!”
Then finally the daughter is called forward, she dances cutely, gets into heaven, the audience cheers and laughs, and so fourth.
Then, quite abruptly, Gabriel says, “Anderson family! We have one last surprise for you! Do you remember many years ago little Suzy, your other child who died so young?”
And the mother, with her hands covering her face, nods and says “Yes! Oh yes I do!”
Then Gabriel motioned towards heaven’s doorway with his hand. “Little Suzy, come out here and be with your family!”
And out of that doorway appears a cute little three year old in a white dress and angel wings, bashfully stepping out into the spotlight. The crowd goes bananas with “awws” and cheers and clapping. The works.
And they all run up, group hug and stampede into heaven. The End.
All of us left at that point to go have delicious mexican food. We kind of had to hurry out of there before the restaurant closed. Everything in Austin closes at 9, but we made it in time, and the cheese enchiladas there were truly amazing.
It’s hard to find good Mexican food in New York City.
The show was put on by GLORY AND FIRE INC.
5 thoughts on “A visit to an Austin Texas “Hell House” …of sorts.”
Goddamn, does Texas have some amazing Mexican food! I don’t eat meat, dairy, or gluten anymore, but goddamn! Goddamn, is that some tasty eatin’!
Heaven’s in the moment, so next time you’re all happy an’ shit, you can know that you made it to heaven without having to die.
Hell House (2002), a feature-length documentary about a Texas church’s annual production which boasts 12,000 visitors every Halloween, may be watch in its entirety on Youtube:
(Movie begins two minutes in.)
Hell House documents everything from the initial brainstorming sessions, to the auditions, to the construction of sets, to the entire performance, to the critics and the converts. Throughout are interviews with the organizers, performers, and churchgoers.
Check out Jesus Camp, too:
Jesus Camp Trailer:
Jesus Camp Clips:
Bob, that’s some heavy sick shit!!!
I hope the Mexican food made up for that bunch of fucking nonsense.
I’ve been combating xtianity for almost ten years and have yet to deconvert one other person that I am aware of, I’m thinking about giving up on it. Ever feel the same way? We’re fucking way out numbered in this.
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