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Bloody Bowels of Hell

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That's a Hell of a mess

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, and sometimes a dark void where nothing exists, as it was portrayed in the actual Bible. 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.)


Compare Womb Level (when the creature doesn't represent hell), Evil Is Visceral, Body Horror.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • The depiction of the Nexus from Berserk, where Guts and the Hawks wind up when Griffith calls the Godhand during the Eclipse, is a seemingly-endless landscape of enormous faces and limbs that are themselves made up of smaller faces. The water is blood, and in the sky there’s a swirling vortex of moaning, tortured souls.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 

  • In Aquaman, the purgatorial dimension of "The Others" resembles this in its true form. Though they usually mask it with whatever time period or genre setting fits their momentary fancy.
  • In The Marquis, the buildings in Hell are made from bones and flesh.

    Film — Live-Action 

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



  • 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. In the Circle of Gluttony the three-headed dog Cerberus chews on the gluttons. 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 (yes, plural) 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 removed from Satan's body by the nearest available orifice...
  • The Heroes of Olympus depicts Tartarus, the darkest depths of the classical underworld, like this. As in the original myths, Tartarus appears as a character embodying that part of the cosmos, and the region of Tartarus is his literal body in this version.
  • In God's Demon, the ground and some buildings in Hell are made from living flesh.

    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."


  • 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 

  • 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.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Fiendish Codex II, published in 3rd Edition, decides that layer six of the Nine Hells (Malbolge) is under the direction of the daughter of Asmodeus (the most powerful devil lord), Glasya, who has made the plane fleshy, 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. The reason it looks like this is because, as part of taking over the layer, Glasya used her powers to turn Malagarde, the previous ruler, into the layer. (Step into the wrong part of Malbolge and you can still hear screaming.)
    • Planescape has 666 layers in the abyss, home of the Chaotic Evil demons. Zegrentilandib, layer 393, is sentient, with fleshy ground.
    • Nentir Vale setting has 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.
  • Exalted: Most parts of Malfeas, the Demon City, 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.
  • Pathfinder: Caina, the eight layer of Hell, is implied to have once been this. According to legend, when Asmodeus first claimed Hell as his own, he conquered Hell's consciousness traveling into Caina's pulsing depths and tearing Hell's flesh from its bones, which he reformed into the archdevil Mephistopheles. In the present, Caina — also known as the Bones of Hell — is mostly an empty black void pierced by unimaginably tall towers of rock and bone, adorned in some areas by platforms of tendons, cartilage and bits of flesh.

    Video Games 

  • Making the most over-the-top version of these ever was the entire point of Agony (2018). The entire game is set in Hell and pretty much everything is blood, bone, teeth and twisted flesh.
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits has a handful of later battles in such a place.
  • The aesthetic of Hell seen across the whole Devil May Cry series varies from game to game, but the original definitely featured this flavor. Several of the last few missions in Hell see Dante journey through what looks to be a massive, pulsating cardiovascular system.
  • A lot of the levels set in Hell from Doom and Doom II, as well as parts of Doom 3, are like this. DOOM (2016) carries on the tradition, only instead of the architecture being gory, this time it's rusting rocks covered in the gore of human victims, fresh carcasses often piled up in visceral piles and forming pools of blood. Blood leaking from the ceiling is also a common sight in demon territory. DOOM Eternal ups the ante by adopting the aesthetic from the older games, as Hell's terraforming activities on Earth have resulted in entire man-made structures being slowly converted into masses of bloody, pulsating flesh.
  • 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Coldharbour is the Daedric realm of Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. The ground is sludge, the sky is on fire, and the air is freezing. It resembles a ruined and desecrated copy of Nirn that is filled with suffering and "spattered" with blood and excrement. It contains charnel houses full of the dead and slave pens beyond count. The smell of the place alone is enough to kill most mortals, and it is said that no mortals willingly visit this place except in error. You get to venture into Coldharbour yourself in Online.
    • The Deadlands are the Daedric realm of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. They have more of a Fire and Brimstone Hell aesthetic, with the buildings having some Alien Geometries, but they also have elements of this trope. You get to visit the Deadlands in Oblivion.
  • Dante's Inferno: Gluttony, the Third Level of Hell, is populated by giant toothy worms and obese demons that attack with excrement, and the organic landscape itself. People who have overindulged in food, drink, or addictions are forced to wade in the muck and fluids for eternity.
  • Etrian Odyssey I: The walls of the Claret Hollows are nothing but flesh, and since many of the other features are also of biological origin (the toxic fluids, the valve-shaped doors, and certain enemies like Leukocytes and Red Cells), it's made clear that the dungeon takes place inside the animalistic structure of the Yggdrasil, contrasting the botanical one from the labyrinth's highest floors.
  • 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.
  • 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 (1996) 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.
  • Quest for Glory IV begins in a cave resembling the insides of a huge demon. As the Hero learns late in the game, that cave is the Dark One itself, partially summoned and trapped between this world and its own hellish dimension.
  • 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. It has since been removed, but Alien planets may have the "Flesh" biome that is a somewhat downplayed variant - fleshy ground, spikes, fleshy "trees", and a fleshy biome-specific monster: the Hemogoblin.
    • The Frackin' Universe megamod has since resurrected the heck biome in the form of the Atropus planets. Flesh and brains, oceans of blood and pus, twisted plantlife, horrible monstrosities, and keening background sounds make for a truly terrifying experience. Oh, and landing without the appropriate protections will drive you insane, meaning that your controls are reversed, your defense drops constantly, and you start hearing voices urging you to kill yourself. What fun!
  • One popular Game Mod for Minecraft, called "Biomes O'Plenty", adds dozens of new biomes to the game, a few of them in the Nether, Minecraft's version of Hell. One of them, "Visceral Heap", plays this trope straight.
  • Persona 5: The top portions of the central recurring dungeon of Momentos resemble a slightly red-tinted version of the Tokyo Subway, but as you progress deeper down, it takes on a more visceral appearance; the red tinting becomes more aggressive, and large bones and arteries emerge from the floor and run through the walls, making it resemble a subway crossed with the insides of some giant creature. The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and Greater-Scope Villain residing at its very bottom reinforce the hellish overtones.


    Web Original 


Video Example(s):


Agony (2018)

While there are no gouts of fire, Hell is about as... well, hellish as it could get in that it's incredibly visceral. Rivers of fire and blood, doorways of giant jaws complete with teeth, savage demons that would beat, rend and eat you as soon as they see you, and droves of damned souls who have given up escape, the closest thing to hope being in that of a Red Goddess they are not even sure exists. No wonder you're trying to leave.

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