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Hell House

Pretty much how this kind of documentary should be done; George Ratliff has a viewpoint that's obvious in the film, but he doesn't use his documentary to make fun of his subjects – though it'd be pretty easy.

Hell House is about a church's "Hell House" – a Christian-themed haunted house where people get abortions, kill each other, engage in homosexual acts (and, of course, get AIDS, since it is a scare-piece) and basically find themselves in Hell. The film starts a few months before Halloween, with the beginning of the production, following a few of the main people; a DJ who helps put things together, one of the actors, some of the teenagers involved, a few others.

Even though it's clear Ratliff thinks this entire thing is a bit silly and not really His Thing, he takes care to give each of his subjects their humanity; it's not like Chris Smith's films where his subjects are merely objects for him to feel superior to – Ratliff cares about his subjects and wants them to come off well, even if he doesn't agree with them. He's upfront about his disagreement, but he lets them tell their own story and doesn't go out of his way to make them look foolish.

This is a must-see. It's a great peek into this mindset and just a wonderful example of excellent documentary filmmaking.