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Bloody Bowels of Hell
You're not in Kansas any more.

Hell can be depicted in many different ways. From the classic Fire and Brimstone Hell, where sinners burn for eternity, to a more organized structure with different sins punished in different ways, sometimes going all the way to torments personalized to the individual. Then there's this decidedly squicky version.

This kind of Hell is like being inside a living being, with walls of flesh and structures like organs. This is a fairly recent phenomenon which plays upon the Primal Fear of being eaten and the idea that Evil Is Visceral rather than ancient mythologies, but the idea of the entrance to Hell being an actual mouth that would swallow the damned is very much older than the use of the word "hellmouth" in certain 90's TV shows. (See this Hellmouth image from the Middle Ages.)

See also Womb Level, Evil Is Visceral.

Examples:

Anime And Manga
  • The depiction of the Nexus from Berserk, where Guts and the Hawks wind up when Griffith calls the Godhand during the Eclipse, is very much one of these.
  • Inspired by the Divine Comedy, Saint Seiya's version of Hell is structured in several locations or "Prisons". The Sixth Prison is a lake of boiling blood, whereas those who sin of greed are devoured by Cerberus in the Third Prison.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has the endless blood-filled Pocket Dimension inside Gluttony's stomach.

Card Games
  • While it does have a sky and thus isn't as claustrophobic as most of the examples here, the terrain in the hellish shard-plane of Grixis in Magic: The Gathering is said to be made of bones and decaying flesh. Even its cities are referred to as "necropoli."
    • Old Phyrexia was a more straight example, complete with nine spheres.

Comic Books
  • In "Bio Apocalypse" the entire planet becomes this due to an experiment gone wrong.
  • In Aquaman, the purgatorial dimension of "The Others" resembles this in it's true form. Though they usually mask it with whatever time period or genre setting fits their momentary fancy.

Film
  • The Frighteners showed Hell to be the bowels of a gigantic eldritch worm filled with tentacles.

Literature
  • While Inferno in Dante's The Divine Comedy was mostly the more traditional Ironic Hell, murderers and tyrants are punished by immersion in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood, and Judas, Brutus, and Cassius were given the special privilege of being Satan's personal chew toys. And we're not speaking figuratively. He has all three of them in his mouths and is chewing on them for eternity.
  • In the third book of the Silverwing series, the bat version of the afterlife is relatively nice. However, those who especially displease the god of the underworld, Cama Zotz, spend the rest of eternity in his digestive system.
  • Played with slightly In Clive Barker's Imajica, as it's like being inside a *dead* being. The First Dominion (where the souls of the dead travel) is the physical embodiment of the god Hapexamendios, and when he dies, his flesh—i.e. the entire universe—begins to rot with expectedly squicky results.
  • In Doom, flesh walls and organs are a favorite form of "reworking" the aliens make to the facilities.
  • In Piers Anthony's Tarot trilogy, Brother Paul and the others involved in the Quest are taken to Hell and their souls are tried by the Devil. One by one they are eaten alive by Satan - although he castrates Paul first. Even though he knows this is only a hallucination, a virtual reality brought on by the planet, he is taken aback to regain consciousness inside an office in the Satanic bureaucracy - which he also knows is in some way inside Satan. after an unpleasant interview, he is then exited from Satan's body by the nearest available orifice...

Live-Action TV
  • The descriptions of Hell on Supernatural vary, depending upon who's describing it. However, in the second season, one demon Meg, who's currently possessing Sam, describes it as "a prison made of bone and flesh and blood and fear."

Music
  • Hell's Forecast by the Insane Clown Posse tells the story of a man(portrayed by Violent J) waking up to discover that all of his friends are dead, and that outside the sky is red and raining corpses into his ghetto. The corpses are all described as "naked and mangled, most withered for days" and their faces are twisted in expressions of horror and pain. J, frightened and confused, tries to retreat from the visceral storm, only to find that he has actually died and is in Hell.

Tabletop Games
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Plane Scape multiverse, some layers of the abyss are like this. Zegrentilandib
    "This plane is sentient, and Prime-like, but with fleshy ground"
    • Layer six of the Nine Hells of Baator is Malbolge, formerly a boring place of boulders rolling down an eternal slope, ruled by the Hag Countess, who wasn't even a real devil. Then came the Fiendish Codex II, when the Countess was replaced by Glasya (daughter of Asmodeus himself), who did some remodeling. Now Malbolge is largely made up of its former ruler and sports distinctly fleshy terrain, with tall oily hairs instead of forests, lakes of bile and viscera, and ivory towers that used to be fingers or ribs. Special mention must also be made of a great mound at the layer's center called the Birthing Pit.
    • Then there's the realm of Torog, the King Who Crawls, god of imprisonment and torture. His capital city, as it were, is Gargash, the Living Torture Den. The reason it looks so horrible is that it's literally the not-quite-corpse of the ancient primordial that crippled and cursed Torog in the first place. It's "tended to" by an army of Wrackspawn, themselves the twisted not-angel-but-not-demon remnants of Torog's other victims, who are eternally hacking, destroying and reshaping the entire city-sized horror simply so that Gargash doesn't regenerate enough to let it wake back up.
  • Most parts of Malfeas, the Demon City, in Exalted don't look organic, but the place is nevertheless made of Malfeas, the fallen king of the Primordials. The ancient Exalted mutilated him, turned his planet-sized body inside out, and stuffed the world-bodies of all the other defeated Primordials inside of him. You can still find their world-bodies in there, including Cecelyne the Infinite Desert. Her body is imprisoned inside Malfeas, and his body is imprisoned inside her. Most of the Primordials' bodies don't look like the innards of an animal, but that's just because they're inhuman Eldritch Abominations who far predate the invention of things like animals.

Video Games
  • Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits has a handful of later battles in such a place.
  • The first Devil May Cry takes Dante to the Underworld near the end of the game, which is very much this. It's quite creepy, though the music that's playing more than makes up for it.
  • A lot of the levels set in Hell from Doom and Doom II are like this. As well as parts of Doom 3.
  • The original Nexus War had two Evil planes, one on the back of one of the pantheon of gods, and the second within the body of said god. It's not a pretty sight. The sequel replaced the second plane with a maddening maze crawl through that god's mind.
  • The Hell level in God of War is distinctly covered in gore.
  • The computer game Ancient Evil has a variant—the walls of Hell are made of what seem to be human flesh and bone, with a pond forming from the blood.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island features such a setting in the caves beneath Monkey Island, referred to in a later game as "The Caverns of Meat."
  • While not strictly "Hell" in the traditional sense, the pain elemental Chzo (a.k.a. "the King") from the Chzo Mythos games is not so much an entity as an entire hellish dimension, a labyrinth of fleshy tunnels from which there is no escape. That, FYI, includes death: Chzo feeds off of suffering, and he not only tortures his prisoners into becoming mindless, mutilated slaves, but he keeps them alive for all eternity.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the "natural" dungeons inside the Oblivion Gates have a distinct organic drift, although not actually Hell, while the buildings are more similar to Alien Geometries.
    • The Elder Scrolls series in general features the daemonic realm of Coldharbour, a ruined parody of the real world where every surface is covered in blood and excrement. The smell alone would kill you, were the air not so cold.
  • The Dark World in Silent Hill 3 and The Room. Naturally, it's very symbolic.
  • The Danger Zone in Legendary Wings.
  • Gluttony in Dante's Inferno.
  • The Claret Hollows in Etrian Odyssey.
  • The Domain of Pain in Guild Wars.
    • Also the Depths of Madness which is a blood stained mountain region.
  • The Womb in The Binding of Isaac.
  • Hell in the first Diablo consisted of what seems to be bony walls filled with blood. The Nest in Hellfire was even more organic, but less infernal.
    • Averted in Diablo II, where some parts of Hell look like islands floating in the void. Other areas have the classic rivers of flame.
    • Diablo III plays it in-between, with hell consisting of a dry, bony landscape paved with what turns out to be the skin of flayed demons.
  • While not a straight example as he's not in an actual hell, the main protagonist of the image provider Saya no Uta sees everything and everyone in "gore-o-vision" after strong head trauma. Predictably, this starts to eat away at his sanity, until he meets a young girl who looks perfectly normal despite everybody else looking to him like horrible fleshy monsters...
  • Infinity from Breath of Fire II is the game's Hell analogue where Deathevans and his demon horde are sealed, and is completely made out of pulsating flesh.
  • In Holy Diver, the second stage is titled "Zoumotsu Zigoku," which roughly translates to "entrails hell."
  • In Might and Magic: Heroes VI, several structures associated with the Inferno faction and Sheogh, the demon's prison dimension, appear to be composed of flesh.
  • One of the endings of The Bard's Tale is preceded by a scene in a dark void on top of a platform of flesh while blood rains from above.
  • The ultimate punishment for the gluttonous in Afterlife has them sewn into the intestines of an archdemon, with a tube connecting their mouths to their neighbor's stomachs. Their revulsion at the meals consumed by their host causes an endless chain-reaction of vomiting, and structure description is even interrupted by the narrator getting sick. And you thought The Human Centipede was unpleasant.
  • Domains in Shin Megami Tensei IV are dimensional distortions created by demons to serve as bases that impinge on the real world. They mostly consist of masses of fused flesh and Alien Geometries coexisting uneasily. Once you're trapped in one, the only way to escape is to kill the demon who made the Domain.
  • As of version 1.2 of Terraria, worlds in the game may spawn with an alternative to the Corruption, the Crimson. It's mechanically the same thing, but new, blood-and-viscera-themed monsters are running around, Shadow Orbs are replaced with Demon Hearts, and Demonite ore is replaced with Crimtane.
  • The "Heck" biome in Starbound consists mostly of flesh blocks, brain blocks, and "plants" that resemble organs that drop flesh when harvested. The Heck objects (Altars, Chests, lights etc) are also made of flesh.

Webcomics

Web Original


HellMetaphysical PlaceCircles Of Hell
HellAfterlife TropesCircles of Hell
Bizarro UniverseSettingsConstructed World
Satanic ArchetypeInfernal TropesCircles of Hell
A Hell of a TimeReligion TropesEasy Road to Hell
Beat Still, My HeartEvil Is VisceralBloody Murder
Saya no UtaImageSource/Visual NovelsGuns vs. Swords

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