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December 02, 2009


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Fabian W.

That's strange. The Archers' town hall in Heaven looks a bit like Doré's version of the 9th circle of hell: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/Gustave_Dore_Inferno_34_caption.jpg

Tom Russell

Heaven-- I am, unfortunately, a child of the eighties, so the only two that spring to mind at the moment are the cloudy utopias briefly depicted in ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN (the last in a string of great animated films Don Bluth made; it was all downhill from the nineties on) and BILL AND TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY. I'm not sure if they're my favourite heavens, so much as my only. (But as a Powell & Pressburger nut, I should have seen A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH by now and will take some steps to remedy that situation.)

As far as hell-- I've always been partial to LEGEND, actually. (The long cut, which retains some sense of mystery, menace, and pacing, not the shorter American one with the score by Tangerine Dream. And I like Tangerine Dream, but ominous, it is not.)

Still surprised some nutty filmmaker hasn't made a film of Holy Saturday/the Harrowing of Hell. That is one Jesus movie I would love to see.


The vision of Hell depiction in Nobuo Nakagawa's JIGOKU (which translates into English as "Hell") is quite something. Done on the cheap, maybe, but I sure want to be a good boy so I don't get sent there when I die.

Also, before the movie changes its location to the Inferno, it contains one of my favorite lines: "Eat that pork, drink that booze! Pork, booze, booze!"


I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a vision of hell, but the end of Disney's The Black Hole, where Maximillian Schell has merged with his evil robot, and is last last overlooking this burning landscape from atop a mount, really scared the crap out of me as a kid. I've seen the movie all the way through only once, on T.V., during the 80's, but I can recall that scene pretty vividly, even though it's otherwise a pretty forgettable flick. I think it's the look you see on Schell's eyes, trapped behind the robot's helmet.

Phil G

The Night on Bald Mountain sequence in FANTASIA scared me as a kid, and still has an unsettling affect.

To stick with Peter Jackson, the view of hell at the end of THE FRIGHTENERS is nice and scary.

The most fun vision of hell, of course, is in the SOUTH PARK movie. It still cracks me up and disturbs at the same time.

Fuzzy Bastarrd

Every cinephile's favorite would be Hirokazu Koreeda's AFTER LIFE, right? The last thing you do before merging with the infinite is make an autobiographical short film!

Tom Russell

Oh, and Woody Allen, Deconstructing Harry.

Tom Russell

And Defending Your Life, which would make a great TV series if you stop and think about it: a new guest star/life story every week. Legal drama, comedy, biopic, fantasy: TV.

Pete Segall

@Jose - Amen re Hell in The Black Hole. It's a stunning image from a movie that's alternately miserably poor and profoundly weird. (That John Barry score, too... oof...)

On the subject of singularities, Event Horizon deserves a pat on the back for, what, the best conception of hell using medieval imagery as envisioned by a 16 year old. Or Paul W.S. Anderson.

Michael Adams

Heaven: Helen Mirren swimming underwater in Age of Consent.


I like Fritz Lang's low-budget, bureaucratic depiction of heaven in Liliom, which incidentally has a scene that appears to predate the Defending Your Life concept by 60 years.

Fabian W.

I remember the Bacon-inspired hospital sequence in 'Jacob's Ladder'. That was quite hellish. Again with the Dante...


Anything with Robin Williams in it is pretty much my idea of hell.


Hell? That's easy: THE APPLE. "Holy apple...voodoo apple..." God, I love that big bucket of crazy. Though not as much as I love A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.


Hell: Swanberg's Chicago in "Hannah Takes the Stairs"
Heaven: Honore's Paris in "Dans Paris"

Lou Lumenick

I am very fond of the special-effects driven heaven in Raoul Walsh's Jack Benny vehicle "The Horn Blows at Midnight,'' which was extensively quoted in Diane Keaton's wacky doc "Heaven.'' Guy Kibbee was running things up there in that one, as opposed to Claude Rains in "Here Comes Mr. Jordan'' and Lionel Barrymore in "A Guy Named Joe.''

Mr. Ziffel

Now's a good as time as any to delurk, I suppose. (Although I regret not coming out sooner to say "WTF?" as far as putting "AI" on the best of oughts list instead of "Kill Bill"...but I've said it now, anyway, haven't I?)

On topic - I've always thought Tim Burton's waiting room in "Beetlejuice" was a clever depiction of Hell.

This is a great site, Glenn. I've admired your writing since your Premiere days so I'm glad I found it. Your commenters are a great and knowledgeable bunch as well. My Netflix queue is getting longer! Keep up the good work!

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