- Type: Hell, with some traits of an Other World.
- Origin: TSR’s Planescape line
- Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of neutral evil or lawful evil alignments.
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
- Admission: unclear, but presumably human souls sent there
The Hell of Bill and Ted has two aspects. One is a rocky, fiery realm occupied by huge cast iron machines and Satan himself. It resembles nothing so much as, well, a million heavy metal album covers (despite what the dudes say to the contrary).
The second aspect is an apparently endless series of corridors, in which opening any of the many doors will lead you directly to your personal hell (or a shared ‘personal’ hell if you’re in numbers). The hells are cartoonishly distorted, and occupied by either your worst fears or your greatest regrets. They are, however, fairly easy to escape, although the principal occupants of them will pursue you into the corridors. Of course, you can always choose to play the Grim Reaper and possibly win back your life.
Despite my dismissal of its dangers above, there are few images in modern cinema I find more terrrifying than that of Granny S. Preston Esq.
- Type: Hell
- Origin: What Dreams May Come
- Admission: unclear, but presumably worthy human souls (see below)
The worst danger Hell has to offer is of losing your mind. Since you wouldn’t be there in the first place unless you had to some extent done so – most people who are in Hell are there because they’re in some form of denial. This place confronts you with the worst you can imagine, its gateway appearing as a plain of smoking and beached shipwrecks. Other features include wide expanse of faces, that can only be crossed by stepping on them.
You don’t recognise the people you knew and loved in life, trapped in your own pain and denial forever. Chris Nielsen’s Hell can be visited by those in Chris Nielsen’s Heaven, but not vice versa. However, unusually, those in Hell can escape it: but only by becoming aware of and overcoming their state of denial.
A truly harrowing Hell, all the moreso for its ruthless justice. Here, the punishment does not merely fit the crime, but actually is the crime.
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Constantine
- Admission: the damned.
Although clearly inspired by the Christian Hell, the Hell of Constantine is right up to the minute – it appears as a twisted and spoiled version of our modern world, one constantly in the process of being destroyed by hot winds like those of a nuclear explosion’s blast wave.
The only bit of it we see is LA. but it’s hideous enough. The damned are still trapped in traffic jams in their burning cars, until such time as a demon kicks in their windscreen, pulls them out and eats them. To say nothing of the unusually vindictive Satan that rules over this Hell.
In short, avoid.
This Hell should not be mistaken for any of the dozen or so Hells that Constantine has visited in the original comics series that inspired the movie, Hellblazer.
- Type: Hell or Limbo
- Origin: Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End
- Admission: Those cursed by Davy Jones, plus see below
Located somewhere beyond the ends of the world, this is a dimension of slow torture, a personal Hell tailored to best make those who go there suffer. Among the worst of its tortures is that one goes there entirely alone – except for what other versions of oneself one might happen to hallucinate.
All souls lost at sea pass through this realm on their way to their deserved reward – they experience it more briefly, as a watery Limbo rather than a Hell.
On the plus side, it is inhabited by helpful crabs, which is not something you can say about every dimension.
Visitors with a taste for shellfish are advised to restrain themselves while in Davy Jones’ Locker. The crabs are helpful enough, but provoking them is probably unwise.
- Type: Heaven or Hell
- Origin: Dana Gould: Let Me Put My Thoughts In You
- Admission: dogs and cats (see below)
According to Dana Gould, in Dog Heaven, it rains bones at people time and cats run out of holes in the ground at 3pm each afternoon. Presumably, the ground in Dog Heaven is lose enough to dig easily but also moist enough to be enjoyably muddy. Dog Heaven is characterised also by its frequent trees and other vertical columns, each of which is covered in a vast array of canine-beguiling scents.
There may not be be any such thing as People Heaven, but there must be a Dog Heaven. There must…
…dogs deserve it.
Dog Heaven is, of course, also Cat Hell. There is no Cat Heaven (and no Dog Hell, either).
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Richard Parks’ short story ‘A Garden in Hell’, published in On the Banks of the River of Heaven
- Admission: those who have held untrue beliefs about love
Fire Jar Hell is a Hell appearing in some Buddhist cosmologies. It is an illusion, as all Hells are in Buddhism, and only by realizing and piercing that illusion can one ever hope to get free from it.
As interpreted by Richard Parks, it is a place of darkness and heat, but one where pain and torture are endurable, even, after a while, boring. Indeed, it is only by becoming accustomed to such pains that one can hope to see their illusory nature.
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Norse Myth
- Admission: evil men (evil by Norse standards, at any rate)
Nifhel, the Misty Hel, is the lowest level of the Norse cosmology, located in the Ninth World. It is a dim and depressing place, inhabited only by clouds of fog and the shades of men who were evil or cowardly in life.
For the average Viking, this is the worst possible place to wind up.
One reason for this, is that it is also the home of Garmr, the greatest among wolves, who was chained up in Gnipahellir, a cave at the top of a mountain. A fierce beast, his loosing heralds the beginning of Ragnarok – at which he is prophesised to kill (and be killed by) Tyr of the Aesir
If you do wind up here, you can at least look forward to getting out in order to fight in Ragnarok. Of course, you will be on the wrong side when that happenns…
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Odysseus The Rebel
- Admission: the dead
Hell is a grim and forbidding place for Odysseus. It’s somewhat divorced from normal time, in that it appears to feature modern cities (in 1800 BCE or thereabouts), and it is also the abode of no known god, save for the dubious borderline case of Hercules.
The dead who live here are not tortured in any particular way, other than being forced to endure each other’s company. They have no knowledge of the mortal world past their leaving of it, and they arrive here naked and shivering. The nudity is easily fixed but the shivering tends to go on – this is a cold and dim place, inhabited by shades who suck the life force out of any among the living foolish enough to visit.
In general, this a Hell for lying down and avoiding. No one should visit it save at truly great need – say, in order to consult an infallible prophet on how to thwart the very gods themselves.
- Type: Hell
- Origin: Denise Mina’s Hellblazer stories
- Admission: the lost, the missing, the uncared for, suicides and so on
Many long years ago, when the Grigori fell from Heaven, there was one who neither arrived in Hell nor was to be found on Earth: Az’zel was his name. He made his home in a dimension with no name beyond “The Third Place” – by which it was meant that this place was neither Heaven nor Hell. On the other hand, it was a place of eternal torment ruled a fallen angel (or, y’know, a demon), so it was basically a Hell by another name.
The sensation felt by visitors and residents to the Third Place has been described as a brutal numbness: not so much a pain as a painful awareness of the lack of all sensation. The realm itself is dark and nigh unto featureless, and ruled now by a human named Chris Cole, who more or less subsumed the power and being of Az’zel, and doesn’t seem to have redecorated much.
Even as Hells go, this one’s pretty crap – there’s no escaping the feeling of it, and you don’t get to watch other people suffer, so it’s not even entertaining. Nor does it feature the visual spectacle of the Mordor-on-steroids aesthetic so common to other Hells. I suggest avoiding it.