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A Hell of a Time

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That's one hell of a luau!

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

The Anti-Hero (or the villain) has finally perished and gone to the afterlife. Of course, his track record denies him entry to Heaven, so he finds himself tumbling to that Other Place. But the strange thing is, it doesn't seem to be that horrible. Sure, there's fire everywhere, the paintwork's flaking, and the occasional moans of the damned ruin the ambience a tad, but overall, it's a place you could get used to.

Often combined with the Ironic Hell (if a particularly Jerkass character dies, then Hell for them may well involve being showered with love and pretty pink ponies), or Lord Satan just not wanting the badass hero to screw things up for them. Sometimes, it can be that Hell is only a nice place to the evil — the merely "not quite good" still suffer for all eternity. Of course, if Satan Is Good, all bets are off — Hell may even be a nicer place than Heaven.

Also often combined with Rock Me, Asmodeus! and The Dead Can Dance. Joining the fun may be the motivation for the Hell Seeker, and someone who thinks damnation is fun will likely be Not Afraid of Hell. Hell of a Heaven is the inverse, when Heaven isn't all it's cracked up to be. Usually a form of Mundane Afterlife. See also Unishment and Too Kinky to Torture.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Magical Pokaan has Yuuma going to Hell after being involved in a romance with a ghost. However, after finding out she'll be doing stuff like stacking stones for eternity, she thinks she might as well get used to it and enjoy herself. As a result, she gets kicked from Hell into Heaven. She finds Heaven boring, though, so she's sent back to Japan.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: No madman in his right mind is going to mistake where Shishio ended up for a holiday resort but he doesn't seem to mind terribly. In fact, if his words are anything to go by, he plans to have the trope name by overthrowing the Devil...
    • Hell in Kenshin also seems to lack any sort of torments, demons, or much of anything; it's just a big mountain of skulls and bones, with Satan/Enma's castle off in the distance. Shishio and his lackies seem to be free to do as they please. Also it seems to be located inside a pocket-watch....
  • Hell in Dragon Ball Z is... Different. Namely it's guarded by ogres (oni) instead of demons, and everyone's soul (that isn't special - i.e. plot relevant) is just a little fluff cloud, but it's mostly a pretty decent place and you see things like a couple of souls having a romantic boat ride (in Blood Lake), a group of souls organizing a field trip (up Needle Mountain) and just generally a kind of do-as-you-please attitude. Well except that one time Janemba broke reality...
    • Lampshaded in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, in which, upon Freeza taunting Goku by claiming that Vegeta went to Hell, Goku says he's been there, and it wasn't really all that bad. Freeza is nonplussed.
      • HFIL continues this with the reveal that due to Raditz breaking the soul-scrubber used to cleanse evil souls, the evilest souls are now sent to the Home for Infinite Losers. This turns out to be an average suburban cul-de-sac where the "morally-compromised malefactors" undergo group therapy while complaining about getting crap soda instead of beer.
    • Subverted in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'. Frieza is shown in his own personal Ironic Hell: a Sickeningly Sweet fairy land where angels, fairies, and living stuffed animals happily sing, dance, and play around him, while he's strung from a cocoon in a tree and Forced to Watch.
    • King Yemma sentences the demon king Dabura to Heaven because he figured he'd end up enjoying Hell. He ends up enjoying Heaven but does turn good.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun has a variation. Suzuki Iruma had a terrible life on Earth, with abusive parents always exploiting him, and one day, his parents sold him to a demon and he is taken alive to the underworld, which is not a place where dead humans go; it's a world populated by demons and demonic animals. The demon who bought and adopted him turns out to be a nice guy who treats him well, gives him everything he wants and he gets to live in a mansion. He is allowed to eat all the food he wants, demon food looks scary and gross but he likes it, while in the human world he constantly starved. The wrinkle to all this is that when he has to go to school, he must keep the secret that he is human or else the other demons might eat him. At first he is scared, but he quickly likes his colleagues who become his real friends, some demon girls also become his love interests. on Earth he had no real friends, his parents didn't even allow him to go to school, at one point he realizes how his life in hell is much better than his past life and doesn't want to go back to the human world.
    • The plot slowly explains why the demon world looks so nice and peaceful; demons used to be barbaric creatures that preyed on humans as food and had a lot of fights between them, but they slowly became a more organized society and mundane entertainment like music, sports and videogames are making demons calmer.
    • Of course, the story slowly shows the downsides of living in the demon world, when he befriends a demon that at first looks kind and calm, but it's just a façade, he wants to bring demon society back to what it was and plans to blow up the entire school and kill all the demon students and teachers. Not all the demon brutality is gone, anger and stress can still bring back their natural instincts, and the school still has torture classes, and of course, Iruma needs to keep the secret that he is human intact.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the setting embraces Buddhist beliefs of the afterlife, with hell being a place of extreme damnation where those who end up there will be tortured for as long as it takes until their souls are cleansed to be reincarnated, as the series progresses we see several demons getting their ticket to hell, however, after the series’ end Gotouge made an oneshot chapter contained in the second Databook that is curiously humorous in tone, yes it shows many of the key demons faced in the story stuck in hell but instead of being tortured they are just having a group meeting, talking to each other about how they died, to which Breathing techniques they were killed with, only Muzan seems really annoyed while everyone else just accepts their situation. Then the chapter ends, revealing it is just a dream by Goto after Muzan's defeat, erasing the image of a funny hell.
  • A Simple Survey File 13 features a world where humans discovered a mean to view hell and discovered it was actually a beautiful beach resort. The demoness Ashtart claims that demons are too lazy and contrary to follow their assigned role of punishing the wicked, instead building an afterlife that might be more pleasant than heaven. Potentially subverted when Gabriel appears at the end and warns that the resort is just an illusion to lure in humans.

  • A Russian (Soviet Union era) joke goes something along the lines of: A Russian and an American are sentenced to Hell. The Devil summons them and says: "Guys, you have 2 options: an American or Russian hell. In the American one you can do what you want, but you'll have to eat a bucket of shit every morning. The Russian one is the same, but it's 2 buckets." The Yankee quickly makes up his mind and goes to American Hell, while the Russian eventually chooses the Russian one. In a week or so they meet. The Russian asks: "So, what's it like out there?"/ "Exactly what the devil said, the Hell itself is OK, but eating a bucket of shit is killing me. And you?" / "Ah, it feels like home - either the shit was not delivered or there aren't enough buckets for everyone!"
    • There's a similar Brazilian joke, except change any Russian with Brazilian and it's a shallow plate in the American and a bucket for the Brazilian, also, the Brazilian chooses his hell right away. When they meet a week after and the American asks, the Brazilian answers: "It's a great place. The demons are always lazing off the torture, the bureaucrats make it impossible for the buckets to be delivered, other sections of hell just ignore it exists so the administration just don't care and the damned party all the time."
      • The exact same joke is heard in Italy, too - and with reason.
  • There is a Daily Breeze review of the Sex Pistols' 1997 "Filthy Lucre" tour stop in Los Angeles, written in the voice of Sid Vicious. Vicious mentions how he's glad to be in Hell, where they get all the good music.
  • Comedian Bill Hicks said that if rock music came from the Devil, at least we'd have great music to listen to for all eternity, as opposed to lame Christian Rock music.
  • A man goes to Hell and it's an immense night-club where everybody has a great time for all eternity. While exploring around he stumbles upon an inconspicuous door with the more "conventional" hellscape behind it: fire, brimstone and horrible tortures. He asks a passing-by demon about it. The demon says: "Oh, it's for the religious folk - they prefer it that way for some reason."
  • A man goes to Heaven and finds it nice but not exactly amusing. So he enquires for a trip to Hell and sees a place of neverending free-and-easy pleasures. So he volunteers to move to Hell for good and is thrown into a pit of boiling tar. "What the fuck! Last time it was all different!!" - screams the man. "Last time you were a tourist, and now you're an immigrant," - responds the demon.
    • There are countless variations of the punchline: "Last time we were recruiting you, now you are staff."; "What you first saw was the demo, this is the actual product", etc.
  • A virtuous man dies of old age after a life of avoiding the temptations of the flesh. The angel of death takes him and says "For your life of virtue, you will now get to spend eternity in Heaven. Before we go there, though, here's a peek at the other option:". Both go to Hell, and find out that it's a huge, never ending party with music, drugs, sex, whatever. After spending a few minutes there they leave for Heaven, only to find out that it's a bleak, white plane devoid of life. The man, angry, asks the angel why. "Well, what did you expect? We're not going to invite a DJ to play for three guys."
  • Fred the Crab and Sam the Clam, who are friends, both die. Fred, who was virtuous, gets sent to Heaven; Sam gets sent to Hell. Fred gets issued a harp, which he's very good at playing with all his little legs. But eventually he gets lonely and wants to see Sam again, so he asks God if he can go visit Hell. God says yes, but he has to be back by midnight. Fred goes to Hell and finds out that Sam has a swinging nightclub. Fred plays the harp with them and they have such a good time that he almost loses track of time, and when he looks at the clock it's a quarter to midnight. He rushes back to Heaven and gets there at the last minute. "Wow, you just barely made it," says God. But then Fred exclaims, "I have to go back! I left my harp in Sam Clam's disco!" (I left my heart in San Francisco)
  • An Oirish drinking toast:
    If you want to be happy, you have to ask yourself one question: Are I well or am I sick?
    If you're well, you've not nothing to worry about. But if you're sick, you have to ask yourself one question: Am I getting better or worse?
    If you're getting better, you've got nothing to worry about. But if you're getting worse, you have to ask yourself one question: Am I a going to live, or am I going to die?
    If you're gonna live, you've got nothing to worry about. If you're gonna die, you have to ask yourself one question: Am I going to Heaven or Hell?
    If you're going to Heaven, you've got nothing to worry about. But if you're going to Hell, you'll be too busy with your old buddies to care.
    So stop worrying and drink up.
  • A man who lived a wild life on Earth, makes it to Heaven after a deathbed conversion, and after he gets bored with Heaven, asks St. Peter if he can visit his friends in Hell. St. Peter agrees, provided the man returns by six o'clock. He has such a good time with his friends in Hell, that he loses track of time, and when Peter reprimands him for coming in late, the man tells St. Peter that he came to get his clothes and check out of Heaven.
  • Microsoft Windows billionaire CEO Bill Gates dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter allows him to check out both Heaven and Hell. He sees Heaven as a place full of somber people singing hymns, while Hell is more appealing with paradise beaches, lovely women, and he can drink all he wants to without getting drunk. Gates decides that Hell is more fun, so he decides to go there, only to end up suffering from torment in fire and brimstone. He asks Peter "What happened to the beautiful ladies, beaches, and liquor?" St. Peter tells him "Sorry for the confusion, that was just the demo version of Hell."
  • In another joke, a man who has just arrived in Hell meets the Devil, who tells him that Hell is fun because each day of the week is devoted to a different vice: Monday is about gluttony; Tuesday is endless sex; Wednesday is ludicrous amounts of booze; Thursday is dedicated to all the drugs that ever existed... but when he finds out the man isn't gay, he replies, "Well... then Fridays will be the reall Hell for you..."

    Comic Books 
  • Résurrection, the Hell of Franco-Belgian comic Requiem Vampire Knight, is a bizarre inversion of the Earth where the oceans and continents exchange place, time flows backwards and people are resurrected as various fantasy monsters like vampires, werewolves, ghouls etc. Most importantly however, the world is completely unjust; the more evil you were in life the better you are rewarded in hell, so the people who committed the worst evils are resurrected as vampires and form the top clique in the world's demonic society, while petty criminals are resurrected as zombies that languish at the bottom as either slaves to the vampires or scavengers out in the vast plains where people first enter hell. The worst off, though, are the Lemures (or as the English translation somewhat inexplicably labels them, Lamias) — the setting's ghosts, these are good people who died as victims of someone who qualified for this world, and have to live in Résurrection as eternal victims, only able to escape if the person responsible for their being condemned to Résurrection is "expirated". The one perk is that they get to torment their killers in their sleep.
  • In Secret Six, Catman's mother was sent to Hell when she died. She doesn't mind at all since she was turned into a badass human-faced lioness who gets to tear apart and devour her abusive husband (who also went to Hell) every day for eternity. As Catman's guide told him, this is Heaven for her.
  • In one Twisted Toyfare Theatre, several Marvel Comics villains (and Boss Hogg) do their best to try and reform when Mephisto warns them where they're going to wind up after they die. Venom's act is to rid the world of Bill Gates, but even in death he remains incredibly wealthy, so much so that he winds up buying Hell out. Now it's just a place for people to get on the internet when they die.
  • The DCU Hell isn't supposed to be like this, but when Lobo got sent there, he turned it into one by throwing wild parties, until he finally got kicked out. (Naturally, Heaven didn't want him either, making him pretty much immortal since then.)

    Fan Works 
  • In Best Hell Ever, Twilight Sparkle gets sent to Hell as part of a prank by Discord, and is condemned to what was intended to be an Ironic Hell for someone guilty of sloth: having to sort an infinite library filled with every book that was, will be, or was never written. Twilight couldn't be happier, and not only manages to sort all the books but makes good headway into reading all of them before the demons kick her out.
  • Better Bones AU: The Dark Forest (the Hell equivalent in Warrior Cats) isn't quite as miserable as in canon, despite its rather creepy and unpleasant architecture, and some cats manage to find happiness in this afterlife.
  • Ibuki ends up in Hell during one story in Super RWBY Sisters while looking for Sonia. She not only has a blast, but manages to take down some of the demons such as the Marauder while she was down there.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The One, When Yulaw is sent to a prison dimension after failing to become the One he finds it's not so bad, as he receives what he wanted anyway — a place where he is the most powerful of all.
  • Little Nicky, in the end, the two pseudo-Satanists that Nicky befriended on earth die in a plane crash and are shown in Hell, partying in Nicky's former room. "They have never been happier."
  • Bedazzled (2000), the remake, where Hell seems to be a non-stop nightclub. Slightly subverted in that it's implied that eventually it gets really, really boring.
  • Although Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey mostly features Ironic Hells tailored to the characters, a deleted scene would have added some aspects of this; before catching Satan's attention, the duo would have been forced by a demon to break rocks with hammers. Bill discovers he actually really enjoys doing so. In-Universe, however, this is averted when the guys see Hell and say "We got totally lied to by our album covers, man."
  • Invoked in the 1920s short film The Devils Cabaret. The Devil is concerned about the fact that there are not enough people going to hell, so he puts on a show with singing and dancing to show people that hell can be fun and entice more people to go there.
  • Georges Méliès clearly loved playing Satan, and a fiery grotto with gleeful (often dancing) demons occurs time and again in his pioneering works of early film. See The Merry Frolics of Satan, or any of his several adaptations of Faust, or pretty much any Méliès film with the word "Infernal" in the title.

  • William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell is probably the Ur-Example.
  • In the French play Aucassin and Nicolette (said to date back to the 1200s!), Aucassin basically says that he'd rather to go to Hell (with Nicolette) than to Heaven, because in Hell reside "the fine churchmen, and the fine knights, killed in the tourney or in some grand war, the brave soldiers and the gallant gentlemen".
  • The Discworld book Eric features the Disc's version of Hell and the description of how it used to be before the book's villain took charge doesn't sound that bad - people did get tortured, but since they didn't have physical bodies this wasn't a problem and the demons were quite friendly. But the new management has switched to psychological torture by boring the souls of the damned out of their minds.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: What's shown of Hell is a mixture of this and a Mundane Afterlife — the Lake of Fire has a fantastic health spa (staffed by one Dr. Faust), the City of Dis has plenty of good restaurants, and existence there is fairly normal except for the residents' assorted horns and tails. Visitors tend to enjoy themselves after the initial Supernatural Angst at being escorted to Hell by demons.
  • In the story "Gilgamesh in the Outback", Hell is the only known afterlife. However, Gilgamesh observes, it's not really that bad. People can eat real food but have a hard time passing it, and there's no climax when having sex. It gets worse when Christians came with their ideas of eternal punishment, as Satan merely set up Torture Towns aplenty. The Old Dead think the Christians are silly for this.
  • Used in Good Omens, where an angel and a demon discuss who gets the better entertainment (Hell wins, as all Heaven has is Elgar and The Sound of Music for all eternity). Overall, however, Hell is said to be extremely unpleasant. The real point of the argument is that the Earth, possessing the best of both worlds, should be saved.
  • Downplayed Trope in The Great Divorce. The Grey Town doesn't contain the expected sights associated with Hell: devils with pitchforks, sinners being tortured on flaming racks, etc. It's just a town where people can build houses and be alone. The problem with it is that it's a depressing, rainy place where constant squabbling causes residents to spread out from everyone else and become The Aloner. However, it's hinted that this is just the antechamber to Hell — things are about to get much worse once the sun sets and the full darkness sets in for the rest of time.
  • In Ted Chiang's short story "Hell is the Absence of God" Hell is exactly like Earth except God is absent. His absence is immediately noticeable because God's angels frequently make random appearances on Earth that are accompanied by destructive weather patterns. The only people this bothers are the really religious, who fear eternal separation from their Lord if they fail to love him enough.
  • The entire Heroes In Hell shared universe book series. Everybody who was anybody ends up in hell. Each person is dealing with their own personal level of torment or contentment. Julius Caesar is in hell, but his attitude is 'It's just afterlife, and not a bad one".
  • In Dante's Inferno, the virtuous pagans live in the uppermost and least bad level of Hell, which isn't bad at all. Their only real punishment is that they'll never get to Heaven proper.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, Hell is definitely a bad place, but the current Satan has instituted various "reforms" to make it more efficient, and has also visited Heaven and found it to be dreadfully dull. More literally, he's set up a special annex of Hell for the souls that properly belong in Heaven but were misclassified. This annex is really nice, the way Heaven is supposed to be, and when he does finally manage to get an exchange program set up, most of the souls don't want to leave. This also gets a playful nod in earlier books, where Hell is actively advertising how much more fun it is than Heaven, complete with a pair of comical devil mascots.
  • In the novel Jitterbug Perfume, the afterlife is briefly explored by one character. Most people seem to just get shuttled off on some boats to have their souls reincarnated/"return to the source" or something. But those who pass the test (heart lighter than a feather) are sent to the eternal party boat full of philosophers, artists, interesting people, etc. One side of the boat has the word "Heaven" painted on it, the otherside says "Hell"; it's all a matter of perspective I guess (some people would see lingering around forever instead of "moving on" as a punishment I guess?)
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice, God created Hell to be a bad place, but then Satan took over and turned it relatively nice. It's notable that the story features a God Is Evil plot that is itself subverted by revealing that God and Satan "take turns" playing the Good and Evil deity role and they're merely junior members of a vast Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • The Hell in the novels of Edward Lee is one of the "only a nice place to the evil" sorts. The Mephistopolis, as they call it, is a big Dystopian city with a government and economic classes. A Satanist, Nazi, mass murderer, fallen angel, tyrant, serial rapist, etc. has a much better chance of getting into Hell's privileged upper class than a suicide or a drug dealer.
  • The Afro-American folktale character Stagger Lee aka Stag O' Lee, you get the idea is a living Memetic Badass that makes Chuck Norris seem ho-hum even on his best day as he simply decides as a child not to be a slave in Pre-Civil War America and walks the earth, carrying only a deck of cards (to win money,) a guitar (to seduce white women) and a gun (to kill men, especially white men). Over his adventures he literally gets away with murder, marries his victim's wife, survives an attempted hanging, and holds off the Grim Reaper at gunpoint to live into the 20th Century, forcing God to step in and smite him with a bolt of lightning. Stag's response: go up to Fluffy Cloud Heaven, break up God's card game, and basically declare the place boring (only white people and Uncle Toms). He then deliberately goes to Hell where he turns it into a nightclub while the Devil is too intimidated to do anything about it.
  • In Paradise Lost, Mammon suggests making Hell look like Heaven by applying "Gemms and Gold" to the realm as the demons grow accustomed to their tortures. The trope is subverted when Beelzebub points out that God didn't put the demons in the Inferno to create a happy empire, but to imprison them in a dungeon still under the rule of his iron scepter. Whatever they design, Hell will always be Hell.
  • Most of Hell in Unsong is a Fire and Brimstone Hell, but the very worst sinners get luxury treatment. Partly to encourage people who think they are going to hell to sin as much as they can and partially because, "These places pay for themselves, evil-wise. I just give everyone who died in the Holocaust a little magic stone that lets them know what Hitler’s doing at any given moment, and you wouldn’t believe how they howl."
  • In the novel Waiting On The Galactic Bus by Parke Godwin, Heaven and Hell (or "Topside" and "Downstairs" as the characters refer to it) are pretty much the same, shaped only by the minds of the souls ("post-life energy") who inhabit it. Also, people tend to end up in the version they expect to. In the sequel, The Snake Oil Wars Topside is run by one of the two immortal alien brothers accidentally responsible for human evolution, and Downstairs is turned over to Jesus (Yeshua) and Judas (Yes, that Judas).
  • In The Wish List, more evil people get luxury apartments, complete with lava hottubs.
  • In the World of the Five Gods series, the Bastard is the lord of demons and carries unrepentant monsters to his hells. His dedicated clergy also get taken there, but it's implied to be a much nicer place for them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Toyed with in the first series of Black Adder. After being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund is charged with ensuring a nobleman leaves his lands to the crown instead of the church. He does this by explaining that Heaven is for people who like praising God and watering pot plants, while Hell is for pillage, adultery, and so on (the nobleman admitted to all of these, including incest with his own mother). Judging from the man's reaction just before dying, this is probably not true, though this might just have been his death throes.
  • In the infamous The Twilight Zone (1959) episode'' "A Nice Place to Visit", this trope is actually used as a punishment; the Villain Protagonist also requests to be transferred to Hell in implicit hopes of a more straight case of this, immediately before being informed that This Isn't Heaven.
  • Key & Peele use this to parody LMFAO. Their Ironic Hell is a great party, but the party doesn't stop...ever.
  • Al Bundy's hell in the Married... with Children episode "Damn Bundys" shows the devil (play by Robert Englund) punish him by giving him only Weenie Tots (his favorite food) to eat because it'll make him go to the bathroom for long periods of time (the reason why is his favorite food) and not allowing him to see his family ever again, so from his perspective, is heaven. However, once Satan figures this out, he quickly turns it on Al when the rest of the Bundy's, along with Marcy and Jefferson, also end up in Hell (the family died in a car crash after taking Al's body to the dump, and Marcy and Jefferson slipped and died while dancing on Al's grave). Satan subjects Al to a Fate Worse than Death - eternity with his family pretty much exactly like their old life, with a few added infernal punishments (Peggy can't buy stuff from the Home Shopping channel because her hands have turned into hooves and she can't lift the phone, Kelly keeps scaring off all her boyfriends because her face turns into a monster, and Bud's hands have become lobster claws and keep popping his sex dolls).

  • From Billy Joel's "Blonde Over Blue":
    "In Hell there's a big hotel
    Where the bar just closed and the windows never open
    No phone so you can't call home
    And the TV works but the clicker is broken"
    • From his "Only the Good Die Young" (although it doesn't actually mention the word hell):
    "They say there's a heaven for those who will wait/ Some say it's better but I say it ain't/ I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints/ The sinners are much more fun."
  • In the Irving Berlin song "Pack Up Your Sins And Go To The Devil," Hell is a happy hot spot where "the finest of gentlemen and the finest of ladies" can party to the devil's jazz music and "never have to go to bed at all."
  • Iron Maiden would like to remind you that "Hell ain't a bad place; Hell is From Here To Eternity". But they also told us of "the evil face that twists my mind and brings me to despair". Maybe it's only not a bad place for girls like Charlotte.
  • AC/DC would also like to remind you that "Hell Ain't A Bad Place to Be". Notably, the song isn't a literal depiction of hell - the narrator is in a hellishly turbulent relationship, and compares his girlfriend to a "demon" for doing things like cheating and spending all his money, but concludes "hell ain't a bad place to be" as long as she keeps making love to him.
  • The Venom song "To Hell and Back" depicts a rollicking party full of breeding mutants, dancing zombies, Satanic queens and so forth. By metalhead standards, it sounds pretty cool. (A similar song by the same band begs "Leave Me in Hell"; granted, that narrator's daddy "rules hell's domain," so it's a good bet he's got a privileged perspective on the place.)
  • A fairly common theme in Morrissey's solo work.
    "And when I die, I want to go to hell!"
  • U2's "The Fly" features a narrator who calls his lover from hell. The twist is he kind of likes it there.
  • Played for Drama in Bruce Springsteen's "Youngstown", where an unemployed iron worker sums up his life:
    When I die I don't want no part of heaven
    I would not do heaven's work well
    I pray the devil comes and takes me
    To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell
  • Double Subverted in "Death Death (Devil, Devil, Devil, Devil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil Song)" by Voltaire. After dying and going to hell, Voltaire finds that Satan and his wife are his biggest fans... and then Satan jabs him in the junk with a pitchfork. But then he says he was just kidding, welcomes Voltaire to hell, and tells him to "enjoy the buffet". Zig-Zagged with "Hell in a Handbasket", the eternal damnation and torture is still mentioned, but it's an upbeat song about how Voltaire would rather be in hell than in New Jersey, and if simply not being a devout Christian is enough to get one sent to hell, surely everyone else who's fun to be around will also be there... And then at the end Voltaire reveals the real reason hell isn't a problem is because it doesn't exist in the first place except for those who choose to believe in it.
  • In GWAR's song Go To Hell, the band go to Hell "Because we need a vacation" (Of course they have a twisted definition of fun and think it sounds fun because they've heard that it has "a sea of urine where rats eat your face")
  • Alice Cooper's "Wish You Were Here" (from the 1976 album Alice Cooper Goes to Hell) comes very close to being the Trope Namer with its "Having a wonderful time, my dear - wish you were here." Ultimately a subversion, as the rest of the album makes clear that the song is ironic.
  • The first verse of David Byrne's "You & Eye" involves winding up in Hell, and finding that it has good music, and better barbecues and beer than on Earth. "And darling, I think you'll like it here."
  • In Extremo has the song Himmel und Hölle (Heaven and Hell), which is about sitting around a fire, singing and drinking in hell while the devil has to scoop coal into the fire, because heaven is to boring.
  • My Chemical Romance has "Mama", a song about the narrator's guilt and less-than-stellar relationship with his mother, as well as the impermanence of life. It claims "we all go to hell", but that it's "really quite pleasant, except for the smell."
  • The Trammps ' song "Disco Inferno".
  • "Summer In Hell" by Fred Schneider and Shake Society: Fred finds himself in hell, but doesn't mind because "It's always summer in hell", as well as because "the party never ends / and, you'll see all your friends there".

  • Classical Mythology, despite what some people will have you believe, never implied that the Underworld was a necessarily bad place for people to go when they died, though admittedly it wasn't the happiest place to end up unless you were a good person in life. Ultimately, Tartarus was the part of the Underworld you really wanted to avoid, as he (yes, HE) was the part of the Underworld that punished the souls of those who committed wicked deeds in life (Tantalus, for example). Other than that, the Underworld didn't seem all that bad, if not a little gloomy. The underworld also counted Elysium amongst its realms compared to the basic underworld and Tartarus, and Elysium was Heaven by any other name.
  • Rather like Classical Mythology above, Niflheim/Helheim in Norse Mythology isn't so bad a place. There's dangers in getting there, but they're mostly to keep the dead from getting back out, and at worst it's basically just a dull, misty, dreary sort of place. The souls of the wicked go to Hel's Hall, which is a specific place for tormenting the evil, where they must wade ceaselessly through gore beneath a roof venom-dripping snake skeletons and with nothing but goat urine to quench their thirst.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One of Dan Piraro's Bizarro strips depicts a festive setting with everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts and holding drinks. An overhead banner reads, "Welcome to Hell. Get-acquainted luau 7:00 p.m." One newcomer asks another, "Surprised?"
  • German newspaper comic Touche by ©Tom has reoccuring strip of the Devil welcomming new residents to Hell. The devil is a fat and bald naked man with glasses who is usually much more interested in his notepad than talking to the new arrivals, which makes most people a little confused about what place they've ended up. But he soon informs them about the particularly cruel punishment they prepared just for them. (This one is about a department store cashier who died during christmas season.
    • Translation: "Ah, the quiet!" "Quiet? The last one thought it sounded like a roller coaster full of acrophobiacs, and he was deaf!" "Well then you should try working in a department store! Oh, that Christmas recorder music! The Chinese water torture is a joke next to that..." "Shultz! A fan!"
  • The Far Side: In one strip, one devil says to another about an upbeat, whistling man pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks: "You know, we're just not reaching that guy."

  • Old Harry's Game is set in Hell - and while the descriptions of individual punishments sound unpleasant (The Devil's Bumbling Sidekick is ordered to literally eat himself for instance) they don't seem to actually bother the protagonists much, or last long. The unhappiest person actually appears to be Satan himself, a miserable, self loathing prison warden who can never escape his job and only painfully remember his days as an angel.

  • In Jacques Offenbach's operetta Orpheus in the Underworld, the gods hold a massive party in Hell and dance to the most well-known can-can tune. Though it's not the same thing as the Christian hell, in ancient Classical Mythology, hell is practically a portmanteau synonym of afterlife.
  • George Bernard Shaw:
    • In the third act of Man And Superman, referred to as Don Juan in Hell when performed separately, Dona finds Don Juan and the Devil discussing philosophy, and is horrified that her guardian, the Commendatore killed by Don Juan, is present as well. He has quit heaven due to boredom and moved downstairs.
      Don Juan: Hell, Señora, is a place for the wicked. The wicked are quite comfortable.
    • In the Epilogue of Saint Joan, the ghost of the English soldier reports that Hell is actually quite comfortable, at least compared to fifteen years at war in France.
      Soldier: You won't find it so bad, sir. Jolly. Like as if you were always drunk without the trouble and expense of drinking. Tip top company, too: emperors and popes and kings and all sorts.
  • Subverted in Stephen Sondheim's The Frogs in which death is a never-ending party because the dead will grasp at any distraction from the fact that they're dead:
    What with the dancing and the eating
    and the laughing and the drinking
    there's no problem in retreating
    from the awkwardness of thinking
    of that ever-present smidgen of dread
    down here, among the dead

    Video Games 
  • Hell in Afterparty is mostly a Vice City full of nightclubs and the inhabitants seem to be mostly Affably Evil.
  • The video game Atlantis 2 (also known as Beyond Atlantis) portrayed the Chinese Hell as not scary at all, and the only "hellish" thing about it was the Obstructive Bureaucrat running the place. People could also freely enter and leave it, at least living ones. It also portrayed the Mayan underworld, Xibalba, as a tropical paradise overseen by a slightly insane bat-god.
  • In the Interactive fiction game Perdition's Flames, ever since the afterlife industry was deregulated, Hell had to compete, and now it's tough to tell the difference between the two. The brief view we get of Heaven in the game has more fluffy clouds and angels and fewer run-down suburbs, but is actually just as soul-crushingly obnoxious and tedious as Hell. Thus, you win, not by getting into Heaven as first implied, but by arranging to go on an expedition to various other Heavens and Hells which will hopefully be more interesting and less comical.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Daedra seem to be the resident equivalent of demons, therefore making the realms of Oblivion the equivalent of Hell. Sure, Dagon's plane isn't all that great, but, say, hanging around Sheogorath's realm of Oblivion is quite fun, making this a straight example. Somewhat.
    • Sanguine, despite looking like a Big Red Devil, is the fairly friendly Prince of Debauchery. His realm is a drunken feast in a misty grove, very much Dionysian.
    • Hircine has those hunting grounds of his, where his own followers (werewolves, for example) go on an eternal hunt as his hounds. One long plotline in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim involves a member of the Companions who wants to get out of this reward so he can go to Sovngarde instead, but most of the others are fine with the idea.
  • In Overlord: Raising Hell, the Heaven's Peak Abyss is this for the women, as part of its being an Ironic Hell for Sir William and the men. As well, although the Mellow Hills Abyss is intended to be torture for the human peasants, since it's only an Ironic Hell for Melvin and his Halfings some of them see being chained to a wall forever in a Fire and Brimstone Hell as an improvement over toiling as your slaves for the rest of their lives — as one puts it, "In the warm, a bit of a stretch, giant exploding halfling to watch. What more could a man want?"
  • Um Jammer Lammy's penultimate level takes place in a hell where there are frequent rock concerts. In the North American release, this was changed to an island, but that doesn't really explain the frequent electrocution of the audience.
  • Guitar Hero 3's final stage has you learning that your manager Lou is actually the devil in disguise, after you try to get out of your contract. He drags you to hell... Where you rock out a ridiculous concert with demon dancing girls on stage and in cages. You're doing so well he thinks you'll be able to get out of his arrangement, so he challenges you to a guitar duel. Over a heavy-metal version of Devil Went Down To Georgia.
  • The interior decor of the Afterlife in Mass Effect 2 invokes this, being based entirely on flames and steel while being simultaneously the Coolest Club Ever.
  • In the True Cheater Ending of Catherine, Hell turns out to be a pretty nice place for Vincent. He gets a replica of his old apartment in Hell and has a beautiful wife. Several weeks there, and he becomes a powerful incubus with an entire harem of succubi enamored with his power, including his wife Catherine. He also uses his demonic father-in-law as a throne.
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG!: The second half has the Columbine killers getting sent to Hell after they commit suicide at the end of their rampage. It's a Fire and Brimstone Hell straight out of Doom, complete with demon soldiers, imps, barons of hell and a Cyberdemon... in other words, exactly the sort of thing that two spree killers who played tons of Doom would enjoy. It ends with the two defeating Satan himself and becoming his minions.
  • Most of Nippon Ichi's titles (Disgaea, Makai Kingdom, etc.) take place in various Netherworlds, hellish realms populated by demons and monsters... who are having a fairly normal and good life, generally. The demons claim that they are all evil and terrible and all, but most of them live fairly normal, decent lives with only the occasional Poke the Poodle moment. The worst they can get is beating up someone for angering them or taking their stuff by force. Sinners ending up there tend to become full demons and have ample opportunity to kick butt and get comfortable around the place. Serious sinners have to work off their debts as prinnies first, though.
  • The MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing: There is a typical "arcane" gate which leads to the city of Pandemonium (which has a comedy club and an arena hosting a rock concert), and a "Waffle Haus" which leads Bad Moon adventurers to a neighborhood near the River Styx.
  • Early on in NationStates, the game developer gave players who were in control of their Regions the power to enforce their own regional rules by ejecting whoever they wanted to a "desolate wasteland" region named The Rejected Realms. Some of the players promptly took the Rejected Realms over and totally reinvented it. Several years of this trope later, it's an exceptionally well-respected region that prominent figures in the community regularly emigrate to on purpose.
  • Cuphead: Hell's Casino looks like a classy joint full of wealthy supernatural entities. The ostentatious luxury and glamour is evident as you battle King Dice. Of course, then you consider that all the spirits here gambled their money and lives away. Worse still, when you go down into the basement for the final battle with the big guy himself, you find a much more traditional Hell. Lampshaded in the final boss' title screen and in the bad ending, where the Devil tells the player they will have one hell of a time.
  • InTouhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism, the most hated youkai in Gensokyo and nearly all of the oni were once banished to the Underworld. When you meet Yuugi, she tells you the Underworld has become an oni's paradise— they can drink and fight as much as they want, and nobody will stop or smite them.

    Web Animation 
  • A fan animation for "Land of the Dead" by Voltaire (the second in a series of videos called The Vampair Series) stars the vampire Duke singing about how great it is for him in Hell since he's apparently its ruler.
  • Played with in Hazbin Hotel and its sister show Helluva Boss. On one hand, Hell's denizens are seemingly allowed to do whatever they like. On the other hand, "whatever they like" usually means all kinds of mayhem, and the overpopulation is so bad that Heaven sends death squads once a year. Despite this, the characters who are most miserable in Hell aren't the sinners who were sent there, but rather any native-born demons who somehow ended up developing strong moral compasses, such as Princess Charlie (in the former show) and Moxxie (in the latter).

  • In Happy But Dead, Colin, Gear, and Tito all die, and Colin and Gear go to Hell (Tito goes to Heaven because "Dumb Is Good"). However, Gear and Colin soon discover that Hell isn't so bad. It's actually just like their home on Earth, except they now have healthcare and there are free hot tubs (technically lava pits) everywhere.
  • In Achewood, everyone drives a 1982 Subaru Brat, there's a KFC, a Best Western where Robert Johnson performs (and the wallpaper mocks you), and a Friendly's that contains the secret to escaping. If you try calling your still-living loved ones on a payphone, your side of the conversation is secretly replaced with a random telemarketer's pitch. The Alt Text sums it up nicely: "Hell is kind of a weird place".
  • In Something*Positive, Hell is an eternal ferret rave. The chains and fire and brimstone for wicked souls are there too, but still... ferret rave!
    • Additionally, Hell turns out to be where Pepito and Avogadro are reunited. True hell for Pepito, although Avogadro apparently is a thorn in the side of the local administration by complaining that there isn't enough torture.
  • 8-Bit Theater: Black Mage dies and goes to Ironic Hell but then takes over and starts enjoying his power, at least until he's kicked out (brought back to life) for being too evil.
  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip featured a man being presented with a banana split by a giant demon. When the man comments that it doesn't have enough whipped topping, the demon shouts, "That's because you're in Hell!" The comment notes that because demons are mostly fallen angels, they're not very good at torturing people. And then, as SMBC does, it goes one step further.
  • In Slightly Damned, punishment in Hell ranges from "tortured to death on a daily basis" to "absolutely nothing at all". As the title implies, we don't see much of the former, though the latter could be considered a punishment by boredom that comes close to sensory deprivation as The Ring of Slightly Damned features: small brown rocks, big brown rocks, huge brown boulders, brown plains, brown mountains and brown cliffs as far as an eye can see. Understandably, the number of inhabitants is one-digit.
  • "Don't believe everything you hear."
  • The Parking Lot Is Full of the only good for bad people variety.
  • Inverted in the Chick Tracts. Apparently, hell is presented this way in the media and/or among roleplaying gamers, Satanists and other sinful people. One comic had someone arriving in hell and expressing disappointment that it is not a huge party and another one had a sign at the gates of hell reading "Welcome to Hell. All parties canceled due to fire".
  • In Dinosaur Comics, you can do anything you want in hell, but you need to sing songs with all the words replaced with "party".
  • While in Jack, Hell is not a happy place at all, there are places where fun can be had; sometimes, clusters of nonviolent damned create small enclaves in out-of-the-way places where they live in relative peace, while in 'the Satyr's Suitor', lesbian orgies are an option.
  • In Hell(p), the afterlife doesn't seem to have any rules. You just get transferred to a normal-looking location and then you're pretty much on your own. Find an apartment, get a job, and have all the fun you want. Just like real life. Sure, demons are the government, but they don't seem to meddle much.
  • Played with in Bongo and Luna. When Luna died and landed in Hell, it wasn't a picnic to a sane person. Lakes of boiling blood, gigantic and horrid demons with vibrator tipped pitchforks (She landed in the Lust section) and so on. But to Luna, it may as well have been Heaven. Even with the aforementioned demon.
    Luna: It was love at first sight.
  • In Rhapsodies, while Hell seems to have all of the fire and brimstone everyone knows about, one of the demons complains that nobody says anything about the wonderful schools and good restaurants.
  • Bertstrips plays with the idea in one strip where Token Good Teammate Cookie Monster ends up in Hell; the image shows Cookie Monster next to a living cookie.
    At first, Cookie Monster was confused why he was sent to Hell by God, but then he realized that the sinners had all been turned into cookies. He wasn't being punished, he was the punishment.

    Web Original 
  • This is a major part of the premise of Bartleby Tales—God went completely nuts, and almost everyone goes to Hell, so the Devil decided not to punish people who aren't really that bad. The part of Hell that most directly fits the trope is the second level, where people deprogram themselves from all the silly taboos they were taught in life. (We never see the first level, and the third and lower are for people who genuinely need to atone for something.)
  • Sailor Moon Abridged: Mars dies at in the penultimate episode with the rest of the cast and winds up in hell. She is ecstatic, though knowing her, that's probably not a good sign.
  • Hell starts out as a spectacularly horrible aversion in The Salvation War, but once the human invasion force arrives things improve noticeably, with Julius Caeser recreating the Roman Empire. They even find oil and tons of minerals in hell.
  • Subverted in the Yogscast Minecraft parody video Screw The Nether. The Nether (the Minecraft equivalent of Hell) is at first presented as a great place to live, but any benefits it has to prove to be overshadowed by the incessant mob attacks. Lewis Brindley then goes into a rant about how he misses the Overworld, as well the fact that the titular dimension's hot and never rains, before leaving for the Overworld.
  • In The Onion, Hell is apparently a "thriving epicenter" of gay culture. Aside from little quirks (like six-headed go-go dancers), it's described as a decent place.
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's review of The Goddess of Spring, she questions why Persephone wants to leave the Underworld (here depicted as a jazzy Fire and Brimstone Hell ruled by "SatanHades") and go back to her boring field of cutesy animals.
  • Glowfic features Downside, initially a Mundane Afterlife managed by the Admin, an omnipotent Cosmic Packrat, who dislikes things ceasing to exist and doing anything. Some people bothered her into separating it into the eponymous Downside and Upside, having people going downside tortured. Naturally, the Peal of Bells takes over and gives the whole place an overhaul, creating this trope.
  • HFIL takes place in the Home for Infinite Losers, where Dragon Ball Z villains exceeding a certain power level are rehabilitated. It's essentially a suburban block in the middle of Hell, where residents take part in soda pong, dancing, and circle therapy.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-6167 is an abandoned dimension that once was a hell that didn't go as its creator intended. The prisoners were a group of immortal beings that suffered from Horror Hunger, and the only thing available to eat was each other. They were expected to spend eternity fighting and eating each other in an endless war, but instead they figured out a way to cooperate with each other by having one prisoner act as a food source for everyone else and they would all take turns until they eventually escaped.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • A episode has Bart experiencing a vision of Hell after being hit by a car. This version is directly inspired by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, but Satan seems like a fairly affable guy who takes an immediate liking to Bart, and sends him back to Earth with an apology when he finds out he shouldn't be dead yet, though he reminds him to "lie, cheat and steal" as he does so.
    • In another episode, a church carnival has a mirror that shows what you'd look like in Hell. When Lisa looks into it, she sees herself in ragged clothes being eaten at by flames. When Mr. Burns looks into it, he sees himself dressed as a king and eating Smithers' head like a candied apple. "Excellent!"
    • "Treehouse of Horror IV" features Ned Flanders as Satan (explaining "Always the one you least suspect") who manages to get Homer to sell him his soul for a doughnut. Though Homer is able to wrangle out of this before an infernal court trial he still is consigned to hell for a day. Hell is played dead straight as a place of suffering and torment, but an attempt at Ironic Hell backfires as Homer is fed all the doughnuts in the world in an attempt to drive him mad; it fails as, much to the annoyance and bewilderment of the demon "torturing" him, Homer genuinely enjoys the experience and keeps asking for more donuts.
      Demon: I don't understand it. James Coco went mad in fifteen minutes!
  • South Park:
    • Hell is completely inconsistent. Sometimes it'll be a place of suffering and torment, and sometimes we'll drop in on Satan throwing a luau of the damned and people having a decent time (except for the occasional demon mauling). What is somewhat consistent (or at least given the occasional Continuity Nod), though, is that it contains everyone who isn't a Mormon. From what they've shown, Heaven seems like a pretty boring and annoying place filled with stereotypical Mormons. The reason could be that Satan in this show is a flippant and fickle Manchild, so Hell is probably oscillating between this and a "regular" Hell, depending on his whim. This is pretty much confirmed in an episode where Satan broke up with his boyfriend. He addresses the damned with his Fire and Brimstone Hell spiel but breaks off in the middle, saying that he is not in the mood.
    • One of the episodes also shows that Satan only does the whole fire and brimstone thing with real sinners. Because of the "only Mormons get into heaven" thing, he doesn't bother punishing those who just wind up down there for having the wrong religion.
    • This was lampshaded in the show itself. When Saddam Hussein proves to be too much of a hassle for Satan himself, what does he do? Gets God to send him to Heaven.
  • The setting of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Miseryville, is implied to be Hell (and was explicitly Hell during development). Despite being run by Lucius Heinous VII, who is absolutely determined to make everyone miserable, Miseryville looks pretty tolerable. Probably because A) Lucius is incredibly incompetent (at least compared to his predecessors); and B) Jimmy is endlessly positive and aims to make everyone in Miseryville happy. And that's without mentioning Lucius' top inventor and one of Jimmy's best friends, Heloise, who, while very competent at her job of making machines to spread misery, also enjoys giving Lucius a hard time, and the best way to ruin his day is to make things fun for everyone else. This includes the time she pranked him to think he lived in Smilesville, where everyone was happy, or when she tricked him into running a funfair by making it sound like something people would hate.
  • The Baskervilles takes place in 'Underworld: The Theme Park' and is run by a man who thinks he's the Devil. Like Jimmy Two-Shoes above, both shows also are named after and star characters who are too upbeat to let Hell bring them down.
  • In one episode of League of Super Evil, the gang go to the center of the Earth to escape a chilly day and discover a paradise resort for villains where Doomageddon is considered a special guest, a devil-like figure is its manager, and there's fire everywhere.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Heff In a Handbasket", it's revealed Heffer's cranky grandma has gone to Heck, but she isn't tortured or anything. (In fact, she bosses around the demon who is supposed to be her overlord!) She apparently isn't even supposed to be in Heck, since Heaven keeps offering a place for her (though she always rejects them).
    "I like it here! It's warm!"
  • Zigzagged a bit in Futurama. Robot Hell has plenty of show tunes and classy humor, but it is also a place of eternal torment for evil robots. The Robot Devil just likes showmanship.
  • Colonel. H. Stinkmeaner of The Boondocks winds up in a Fire and Brimstone Hell after being accidentally killed by Granddad. And to no ones surprise, the crotchety old bastard loves it.
    Stinkmeaner: Y'all gonna have to kick me out of this bitch! I'm having the time of my life!
  • In one Beavis and Butt-Head episode, Beavis dies after striking his head and goes up to Heaven (though it later turns out it's All Just a Dream). Beavis ultimately finds it boring and after reviewing enough of his deeds in life Saint Peter ultimately decides to send him down to Hell. Beavis has a much more positive reaction after arriving there.
  • The Tuca & Bertie episode "The Moss" has the ghost of horror author Patricia Ramsey casually mention that she's in Hell, then quickly making it clear that she loves being there.

    Real Life 
  • An old joke goes, "You go to Heaven for the climate and Hell for the company."
  • A quote that is attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli goes "I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven; in the former, I shall enjoy the company of kings, Popes, and princes, whereas in the latter there are only beggars, monks, and apostles." Presumably, he was joking, but you never know.
  • The Biblical location of Hell and its Hebrew name source, Ben Hinnom Valley ("Gai ben Hinnom" or Gehenna), is nowadays where the Jerusalem Cinematheque resides.
  • '60s activist Saul Alinsky, in a 1972 Playboy interview, was quoted as saying that he'd rather go to hell than heaven for this reason.
    "Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I've been with the have-nots. Over here, if you're a have-not, you're short of dough. If you're a have-not in hell, you're short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I'll start organizing the have-nots over there."
  • A toast:
    If you're nervous, you've got one question to ask yourself: Are you sick or are you well? If you're well, you've got nothing to worry about!
    But if you're sick, you've got one question to ask yourself: Are you getting better or worse? If you're getting better you've got nothing to worry about!
    But if you're getting worse, you've got one question to ask yourself: Are you gonna live or are you gonna die? If you're gonna live, you've got nothing to worry about!
    But if you're gonna die, you've got one question to ask yourself: Are you going to Heaven or Hell?
    If you're going to Heaven, you've got nothing to worry about! And if you go to Hell, you'll be too busy meeting old friends to care. So stop worrying!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hell Of A Time


Parker Gets Back From Hell

After his friends helped ward off his possession, Parker tells them about Hell

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / AHellOfATime

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