20 People Discuss the Best Depictions of Hell and the Devil in Cinema

1. Constantine

I’ve always liked Peter Stormare’s devil in Constantine

edit: Thank you for the awards! Peter Stormare ftw!


2. The Dark One

Tim Curry’s depiction of The Dark One in Legend stands out definitely.


3. Hellraiser

Not necessarily my favorite but I always thought the depiction of hell in Hellraiser II was pretty unique. Just a dreary, gray stone labyrinth to drive you bonkers.

Also being trapped in a room with the thing you want most but when you reach it, it disappears and you’re never fast enough to get it.


3. Devil’s Advocate

Came here to say Devil’s Advocate. Al Pacino gives one of the best on-screen performances I have ever seen, hands down. Not to mention the script is of Shakespeare-level quality crafted by master wordsmiths.


4. Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone: “A Nice Place to Visit” is probably the best ironic hell that I’ve ever seen. The original version of hell from Supernatural is probably the most terrifyingly-efficient straightforward version I’ve ever seen.

I gotta say, my favorite depiction of the Devil comes straight from Milton’s Paradise Lost.


5. Bill and Ted

The correct answer is clearly Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.


6. Dante’s Inferno

Dante’s Inferno videogame.

Whole thing was awe-inspiring anyway (seeing and hearing King Minos at the start telling the souls where they’re going as a slow build around the first area being just an amazing thing), but then you stand on the head of a colossal demon, make it walk towards the gates of the city of Dis and this incredible score plays as the camera pulls out to a visual treat.


7. Jacob’s Ladder

I would say my favorite depiction of Hell is Jacob’s Ladder, it’s a great depiction of the fighting needed to pull yourself out of the darkness.


8. A Few Favorites

Favorite devil portrayals:

Peter Stormare in Constantine

Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy

Not really a big fan of the devil being portrayed as some monster…except South Park of course.

Edit: completely forgot DeNiro in Angelheart. Forgive my lapse in memory.


9. Rosemary’s Baby

The devil in Rosemary’s Baby was absolutely terrifying. That scene by itself could be hell.


10. The Wailing

The Wailing. Never seen such a realistic portrayal of the devil; no flying magical appearance, flames around him, just pure malice and manipulation causing the viewer to feel the dread, helplessness, and awe you’d feel standing there.


11. Brimstone

John Glover in Brimstone (1998)

He really brings home the idea of the devil as a tempter and not in the sleazy salesman kind of way that so many others portray him as, but more like your buddy who always has the worst ideas that you somehow always get talked into because he’s so reasonable about it.


12. Mr. Frost

It’s more psychological thriller than it is horror, but Jeff Goldblum as Satan in Mr. Frost. I’ve seen few movies where Satan’s aspects as a tempter and seducer have been convincingly played, and Goldblum nails it in my opinion. It’s a sadly overlooked movie that isn’t readily available in the U.S.


13. Little Nicky

Obviously it’s Little Nicky.


14. Prophecy

I like Viggo Mortenson’s brief appearance as Satan in “Prophecy”. Chillingly calm, controlled, and lots of implied restrained viciousness.


15. Preacher

I like what they did with it in Preacher, where instead of hell being a force all it’s own, it was more like a prison that used proprietary technology to trap it’s inhabitants in an endless loop of their worst memories, which will self adjust to always reach the same outcome even when the inmate attempts to do things differently.


16. Drag Me To Hell

Its neither particularly hell or paritcularly the Devil(Is Lamia the devil?) but that final shot of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell just burned an image into my brain that keeps me away from railway tracks always.

Being dragged to the fiery embers of the nine layers of hell in front of your boyfriend just because you did your job. GEEZ.


17. The Good Place

Either The Good Place but without the jokes. An eternal relentlessly “happy clappy” place of overworked positivity that only produces paranoia, dissatisfaction and empty emotional disappointment. Everything is just slightly wrong/broken/not quite what you wanted. And you have to exclusively mix with people you loath for eternity.

Or the one in an early episode of Lucifer : a place where you have to relive the most cringe moments of your life over and over and over. Where the act that finally condemned you to hell is your Groundhog Day that you constantly relive but can never change.

The Devil would be either The Devils Advocate or Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart.


18. So Much Hell

Visually, Tim Curry in Legend. Conceptually, my favorite comes from this Persian/Muslim idea, described in this interview:

BILL MOYERS: There’s that wonderful passage in Corinthians by Paul, where he says “Love beareth all things, endureth all things.”

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Well, that’s the same business. Love knows no pain.

BILL MOYERS: And yet, one of my favorite stories of mythology is out of Persia, where there is the idea that Lucifer was condemned to hell because he loved God so much.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Yeah, and that’s a basic Muslim idea, about Iblis, that’s the Muslim name for Satan, being God’s greatest lover. Why was Satan thrown into hell? Well, the standard Story is that when God created the angels, he told them to bow to none but himself. Then he created man, whom he regarded as a higher form than the angels, and he asked the angels then to serve man. And Satan would not bow to man.

Now, this is interpreted in the Christian tradition, as I recall from my boyhood instruction, as being the egotism of Satan, he would not bow to man. But in this view, he could not bow to man, because of his love for God, he could bow only to God. And then God says, “Get out of my sight!”

Now, the worst of the pains of hell (insofar as hell has been described) is the absence of the beloved, which is God. So how does Iblis sustain the situation in hell? …. By the memory of the echo of God’s voice, when God said, “Go. To. Hell.”

And I think that’s a great sign of love, don’t you agree?

I could never understand how Lucifer was supposed to be God’s lover, and how his not bowing to man was somehow proud, and sinful. That never made sense to me. But when I heard the exchange quoted above, that hit me like a sledgehammer. Because I sure do know what it’s like to love someone, fight with them, be separated from them, and want so badly to talk to them. And I can understand wanting to say, “But I don’t love them. I love you.” That shit hurts.


19. Cool Hell

I thought As Above So Below and What Dreams May Come both had a cool interpretations of hell, and I loved the Devil in the Witch, though I don’t consider any of these horror movies, more phycological thriller and drama.


20. Lords of Salem

I love the portrayal of the Devil and the demonic in Rob Zombie’s film Lords of Salem. The portrayal of the Devil as just a hulking shaggy beast and of the Anti-Christ as a squirming inhuman creature is so creative–it stood out in a cultural landscape where the Devil and the Anti-Christ are commonly portrayed as refined and urbane, like in The Witch (not knocking The Witch though!) and the Omen films.