Franchising Fear

“Church groups, Scout groups, company groups.” That come-on ad offers special rates for a place called the Fear Farm, a Halloween attraction with the slogan, “What you know about fear doesn’t even come close.” It’s a local Phoenix attraction, but only part of a multi-billion dollar industry that offers haunted houses and assorted terrors, some year-round. Even William Friedkin, director of the movie “The Exorcist,” attended a New York fear factory and said, “I don’t recall when I’ve experienced anything that terrifying.” Friedkin was describing having a bag over his head and being menaced by a mock serial killer.

Among the forms of psychological torture being dispensed at commercial haunted houses are:

  • Being strapped to a table while a screaming actor bashes a mallet around your fingers
  • Your Facebook hacked so that you see images of family and friends splattered with blood
  • Having a naked dancer embrace you and bite your face while you are blindfolded
  • Playing the part of an accomplice to a mass murder

One patron of such a “haunted” house declared, “You need to have an open mind and be willing to be tortured.” A professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, argues, “Most of us live ordinary lives with few high-intensity moments, and horror proves that rush we’re impoverished of.” To meet this market for horror, some haunted houses are year-round attractions, like the Las Vegas (where else?) “Goretorium,” which also offers horror weddings and zombie walks. The creator of this entertainment phenomenon says, “I want to do what Disney did for children’s movies.”

“Fear hath torment,” says 1 John 4:18 (KJV). Whatever the psychological reasons for paying to be scared out of one’s wits, the real force behind such Halloween attractions is Satan. In fact, 2 timothy 1:7 clearly says that fear is a “spirit,” a demon. If patrons of fear franchises really want to be tormented by terror, all they have to do is reject God’s offer of salvation through Christ, and the devil will give them a free ticket to eternal terror.

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