Derrick hand battles for souls in Judgment House

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Two weeks on, two weeks off, eternity in hell below.

The Prince of Darkness is a derrick hand who builds oil rigs in Texas. He lives in Wesson and is on full-time daddy duty when he’s home, entertaining two baby girls in a big house with pink playrooms and “Babe” the pig on DVD. He drives a Nissan Versa. It gets great gas mileage.

There’s nothing evil about Corey Breland, 28. But this Halloween at the 2013 Judgment House at Clear Branch Baptist Church, he’ll play the part of Satan, the Lawless One, the Old Deluder himself.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I hope I can make people realize just how sinister he is,” Breland said of his character, the devil. “I hope people leave not wanting to meet me in a dark alley at night.”

Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 23, Breland will battle for the public’s souls in six live performances of “Shaken,” an hour-long judgment house play depicting Christian beliefs on life, death and the afterlife. Admission to judgment house will be $3 per person, and the show will be performed continuously from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the evenings of Oct. 23, 26, 27, 30, 31 and Nov. 2.

Judgment house, also known as a “hell house,” is a common Christian version of the traditional haunted house Halloween celebration that follows a varied group of relatable characters through life and death and on to heaven or hell, depending on the decisions each character has made in his or her life. It is meant to take people out of their comfort zones and focus on the way they live their lives, said Clear Branch Pastor Wayne Moak.

“Judgment house forces people to make a choice, makes them view their lives and the choices they’ve made about Christ,” he said. “It’s real-life drama and real-life decisions.”

This year’s drama, “Shaken,” depicts a group of young people who gather in a condemned building to socialize and sin. When a local pastor and his daughter attempt to intervene in their lives, the building collapses on all the characters. Two go to heaven, two go to hell.

Visitors to the judgment house will be there for their deaths and judgment before God, and the guided groups will follow each character to a welcoming heaven or a frightening hell.

“It’s going to be intense, and hell is going to be scary,” said Lori Costilow, the play’s director.

Costilow said judgment house will immerse the audience into each scene with an attack on the senses. Heaven will be bright and cool, full of angels and singing. Hell will be dark and hot, smoky and smelling of sulfur.

“Shaken” focuses primarily on addiction and drug abuse, and Costilow warned some of the material may hit close to home.

“It focuses on common problems, every-day issues that people struggle with,” she said.

Costilow said the play involves almost 50 actors and close to 200 people are helping to produce it. Visitors will tour each scene, acted out in seven separate sets, as part of a guided tour inside and outside the church that will take one hour to complete. Groups of 20 start going through every 15 minutes.

This year marks the third time Clear Branch has hosted a judgment house, and past events have proven popular. Judgment house has averaged 2,000 visitors each year, and close to 150 people have been saved after experiencing the play.

“I don’t want anyone to leave here with any doubt that God loves them,” Costilow said.