How the Media Portrays Hell

Before I begin, I would like to give some quick thanks to “elliot5445,” for commenting on my last article, correcting my poor research. I’ll try to do better research in the future.

Last week, I touched on how the Bible says Hell is, more for clarification before I go into this post.

Hell is surprisingly common in media, from my understanding. The thing is, this is because a lot of fictional universes have what I call a “Come-and-go Hell.” This version of Hell is what I hope it sounds like: people are free to come and go as they please, as long as they are still alive. And even if they are dead, they have the chance to go back.

Doom, at least the four games in the franchise, was the first example of this to come to mind, wherein the hero repeatedly enters Hell, shotgun in hand, to fill demons with piping hot lead.

Another one that comes to mind is Looney Toons, but my memory of the specific cartoon is fuzzy. It was a bit more kid-friendly than Doom, from what I recall. I think it had Yosemite Sam die and go to Hell, but is sent back with the deal that if he kills Bugs Bunny, he can stay alive. He goes back two or three times before giving up and staying in Hell as a demon.

Note: as a demon. This raises even more theological issues.

Another depiction of Hell that came to mind is Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy. I picked it up when I was younger, out of curiosity. I was originally going to categorize this as a depiction of a “Come-and-go Hell,” except there is no implication that Dante goes back to Earth in the end. He goes to Hell, then to Purgatory, then to Heaven/Paradise, and…it stops.

Still, it is no less accurate to the Biblical portrayal of Hell than Doom or Looney Toons.

You see, the thing about Hell, the actual place, is that there are few clues as to what it will look like. The only thing that I could find out for sure is that there will be fire, and it’s built to torture demons.

Therein lies another discrepancy in adaptations: a lot of versions of Hell that I’ve found actually have Hell run by the demons, as though it’s their kingdom. Again, Doom is an example. Another one is in the DC Universe, with their Hell being governed by Trigon. Fans of Teen Titans are probably familiar with that name.


In fact, to be honest, almost every example of Hell in media that I have found has this. Hell is where “the bad people go.” Not where the demons go.

Normally, this is where I would give an example of an accurate adaptation of Hell that I have found. Except, I don’t have one.

Well, this is awkward.


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