Golden Gate Award San Francisco Film Festival
*Official SelectionToronto International Film Festival
Official Film Selection SXSW Film Festival
“Riveting … fascinating and sharply edited piece of cinéma vérité” -Globe and Mail, Toronto
“…a fascinating glimpse into a strangely foreign world in our neighbour’s backyard, that’s just familiar enough to be unsettling”-Exclaim!
At first glance a souped-up Halloween haunted house, Hell Houses are modern-day fire-and-brimstone sermons replete with hundreds of actors, truck loads of lights and full audio-visual tech crews. In each room, visitors view depictions of school massacres, AIDS deaths, fatal drunk driving crashes, and botched abortions while demons goad the gullible sinners into doing their bidding and then cart their souls off to hell. With full access to the behind-the-scenes action, Hell House follows the process from the first script meeting until the last of the 13,000 visitors passes through the Hell House doors. The movie gives a window into the whole outrageous process of creating this over-the-top sermon, while showing an intimate portrait of the people who haunt this peculiar culture.
George Ratliff, a Texas native, began his career in journalism. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin film program, Ratliff moved to Costa Rica to write for a Central American newsmagazine and become a correspondent for Texas newspapers. After returning to the states, Ratliff redirected his efforts to film and has written and directed features, shorts and television programs.
His feature documentary, Plutonium Circus, won awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the International Documentary Association Awards, was a Cine Eagle Award winner and won Best Documentary Feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Prior to Hell House, Ratliff worked as a segment Producer/Director for Split Screen on the Independent Film Channel.