Judgment House (also known as Hell House) is a dramatic production staged for the public by mostly fundamentalist Protestant churches. The dramas are usually staged on or around Halloween in order to bring more attention to eternal consequences of living one's life righteously or hedonistically.

Viewers are divided into small groups and are led through scenes of the play. There are usually 2 main characters: the Christian and the heathen.

Act 1: The good guy is shown reading his Bible, trying to convert others, attending worship services and the like... The unrighteous person is shown living life in the fast lane - drinking, drugs, and having sexual encounters outside of marriage.

Cut to Act 2: Both of the main characters have their lives cut short due to a tragic accident (usually an auto accident or something similar). An accident scene is usually shown, along with a funeral with a real live casket.

Act 3: Eternity.: The heathen ends up in....wait for it...you got it....HELL. Viewers get to experience hell firsthand with a dark room full of space heaters. Moaning and gnashing of teeth is usually performed by youth group members who didn't make the cut for the more dramatic scenes.

The righteous person is shown leaning on Abraham's bosom in a white robe among angels. Audience members might even get a chance to get a hug from Jesus (or John Lennon, depending on your perspective).

Afterwards audience members are given a chance to pray Jesus into their hearts or just receive counseling (perhaps for having to endure the horrible acting).

I've been to a couple of these Judgment Houses during their heyday in the early 1990s. The first one I attended was very well done with a real life wrecked car and ambulance. The second one could stand a bit more funding. The hell left much to be desired...mostly it was just a hot room with some little kids screaming (and who said there's no little kids in hell?).

The results of these Judgment Houses are usually mixed. Mostly a large number of conversions happen initially, but the converts usually loose their faith later on when the scariness of hell wears off. Afterall, conversions based on fear usually don't last long.

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