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Dragged Off to Hell

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"You fought hard and you saved and earned
But all of it's going to burn
Back inside your tiny mind
You know you've rarely been so blind
Now's your time, burn your mind
You'll fall apart, you'll fall behind
Oh no!
Oh no!
You're gonna burn..."
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, "Fire"

Being Dragged Off to Hell (or if being clever, Descending to a Lower Plane of Existence) is a common villain fate, especially for those who previously made a Deal with the Devil. In an inversion of Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, they are dragged off screaming by some kind of eldritch force (generally in the form of a bunch of arms reaching out for them), leaving no body behind.

Like Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, not all versions of hell are inescapable. See Escaped from Hell and Rescued from the Underworld, though this is typically the absolute worst fate anyone can receive, as any and all torments covered under Fate Worse than Death can and given the nature of eternal suffering probably will apply with the addition of it starting with death.

Since this is a death trope, it will include some spoilers.



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    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman: Black and White: In "Devil's Trumpet," this is reputed to have been the fate of the trumpet's original owner. At the end of the story, two musicians discuss the trumpet's subsequent history, including a more recent owner who (depending on who you ask) suffered the same fate or else was captured by Batman and ended up in Arkham Asylum ("Like that's a difference," one of them adds).
    • The story Gothic by Grant Morrison has this happen to serial killer Mr. Whisper, in reality the centuries-old corrupt monk Manfred of Austria. Having sold his soul to Satan in the 16th century, Manfred had been given 300 years of immortal life, which is about to run out. Batman foils his plan (which involves killing the population of Gotham with a super virus and harvest their souls to offer Satan in return for his own) at the last minute, but Manfred escapes... only to find someone waiting for him back in his hotel room.
      Satan: [in the guise of a young nun whom Manfred raped and murdered centuries before] You have sought to cheat me, and so, your last day is forfeit. Come with me, and die forever!!
      Manfred: NOOOOOOOO!!!!
  • A more mundane variant in B.P.R.D. in that there's no dimensional transfer, but after Katha-Hem is destroyed Pope is dragged off by the frogs, servants of the Ogdru-Hem. When he's next seen, he no longer has any desire but to serve them and may no longer be human.
  • Depending on your interpretation, this may be the final fate of the eponymous Cerebus the Aardvark, as he's dragged into "the light", screaming out to God to save him. Given Dave Sim's... peculiar... religious views and how they influenced the latter third of the comic, this certainly seems to fit the trope, but Sim threw a monkey wrench into things by saying in his notes for the last issue that Cerebus may have actually been going to Heaven and was just panicking needlessly at the last second.
  • The final fate of Palpatine in Dark Empire. Having cheated death by Body Surfing, he is finally defeated when the Force Ghost of a Jedi grabs his spirit and departs for the afterlife. A Jedi who survived the Purge, no less.
  • In Hellboy: The Sound and the Fury, after being defeated by Hellboy, Nimue is dragged down to Hell by the ghosts of the five hundred witches who drowned themselves rather than witness her return.
  • Judge Dredd: At the end of "The Wilderness Days", arch-villain Judge Death is thrown into Hell by an ascended man who pursued him for weeks to get justice for his dead family. The angel opens a portal to Hell and Death is dragged off by the souls of the billions of people he had murdered.
  • Gargamel gets dragged off to Hell by Beelzebub to fulfill his end of the Deal with the Devil in The Smurfs comic book story "Sagratamabarb".
  • The apparent fate of Kurylenko in Spook after he is forcibly conjoined with another ghost and loses his mind.
  • In the Stanley and His Monster revival mini-series, the Monster got dragged down to an angel. Naturally, Stanley (an ordinary 5-year-old boy) goes to get his best friend back.
  • Anton Arcane's most despicable act in Swamp Thing is condemning his own niece Abby, who didn't even come close to deserving it, to this horrible fate. Swamp Thing manages to rescue her soon after though, and they escape from hell.
  • The villains in the Tintin story The Broken Ear are dragged off to hell after drowning. Notable for being the only depiction of a bad afterlife in the entire series.
  • Wonder Woman: In Wonder Woman (1942), Sofia Constantinas ends up veering too close to a particular crevasse off the coast of Paradise Island after telling off the queen for lying to her own daughter. Sofia flees the island to try and tell Diana that her memories had been altered by the queen. Sofia does yell and make a token struggle before Charon manages to get her entranced so that she will not fight him as he takes her to be locked up in Hades. Steve Trevor is able to rescue her and run back through the closing door to the underworld at the last possible moment.

    Films — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Subverted. At the climax, as Charlie is saying his last goodbye, a terrifying Satan figure—depicted as a titanic Big Red Devil resembling a cross between a dragon and a hellhound—comes to drag his soul to hell because he gave up his place in heaven to return to Earth. Thankfully for Charlie, the canine angel Annabelle comes to take him back to heaven because he died in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven 2:
    • Carface, the bulldog antagonist, made a pact with the demonic Big Bad Red (who is a cat). At the end, he gets dragged to hell with the revelation that he sold his soul - thinking that all he was selling was the soles of his shoes.
    • This was also Red's fate, after Charlie defeats him and frees his captives. Charlie claims 'his boss yanked his chain', implying the Devil himself was responsible.
    • Red's plan was this up to eleven. He was going to use the Horn of Gabriel to extract all dog souls from heaven and imprison them in hell, possibly damning EVERY dog in the world.
  • In Corpse Bride, this is the fate of Lord Barkis Bittern after the dead learn it was he who murdered Emily. They waited until he drank the poisoned wine meant for Victor before dragging him off to the land of the dead.
    Miss Plumm (Ominously): New arrival...
  • Happens to Hades, the King of the Dead, at the end of Hercules, by his own subjects no less, when Hercules punches him into the River Styx.
    Panic: He's not gonna be happy when he gets out of there!
    Pain: You mean if he gets out of there.
    Panic: "If". If is good.
  • At the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney), Frollo gets weighed down into a sea of molten lead at the bottom of the Notre Dame cathedral by a sinister-looking gargoyle (which seems to come alive), which is quite symbolic of this trope in a movie crammed full of religious symbolism. His last words (often mistaken for an actual quote from The Bible) add an extra level of Dramatic Irony to his fate.
    Frollo: And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!
  • The Logo Joke for Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge has Scorpion doing this to Daffy Duck. "Get over here!"
  • Dr. Facilier's fate in The Princess and the Frog is being dragged off by his "friends on the other side" after Tiana destroys the voodoo charm, triggering a You Have Failed Me scenario. note 
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Kenny initially rises toward Heaven when he dies, but is suddenly grabbed and dragged to Hell. When Satan and Saddam Hussein begin the breakout after Terrance and Phillip are killed, Kenny also escapes, and helps save the day. As a result, he earns the right to go to least, until the next season starts.

  • The norm in the traditional Faust legend and any Deal with the Devil story in which a) the human doesn't win, or repent in time, and b) doesn't just go to Hell after death.

  • In the Fighting Fantasy book Deathtrap Dungeon, there's a Mirror Demon that will drag you into its hellish mirror realm if you don't destroy the mirrors that allow it entrance to this world (you can't harm it otherwise as there's no magic weapons in this dungeon).
  • The final battle of Night of the Necromancer have this happening to The Dragon, Chancellor Unthank, after being defeated by the hero; he returns as a Vengeful Ghost after you killed his boss, the Shadow King, only for the sun to rise, and in the aftermath of Unthank's botched ritual, he ends up being dragged into the underworld to be judged for his sins. Probably one of the most damn satisfying villain deaths in the Fighting Fantasy franchise.
  • The third book of the Sorcery! quadrilogy, The Seven Serpents, have this as the most horrific bad endings you can get. Halfway through the Baklands, you can come across the Seven Spirits, who claims to be your ally and offers you an incantation for your protection. If you repeat their incantation, you'll end up disowning your Patron Goddess, Libra, leaving yourself helpless as the Spirits reveal themselves to be sent by the Archmage, before they merge into a giant face in the sky and drags you into their mouth with their tongue, effectively banishing you from your dimension to theirs.
  • In the 1st Way of the Tiger book, if Avenger doesn't kill the Efreet within a certain time it will overpower Avenger and take him to the City of Brass whose very floors are oven-hot. Later on in the series, Avenger and a group of enemies and friends are taken into the Inferno by way of a giant serpent abomination, and it'll take 30 actual real-life years to escape.

  • Parodied in an older joke where a genie appears before a die-hard gamer and offers him three wishes, on condition that he'll be dragged off to Hell for all eternity once his three wishes are granted. His first wish is for "IDDQD" and his second wish is for "IDKFA". When the genie asks for his third wish, the gamer gleefully remarks "What third wish? Send me to Hell, I'm ready!"note 


    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Although most diabolists claim to be proud Hell Seekers, one spell exists for the sole purpose of defying this trope, creating a magical decoy grave that has a 50% chance of misleading the demon that comes for their soul.
  • A common plot device in any RPG with a fantastic bent. Some Dungeons & Dragons modules have this befalling the Big Bad of the story, half the time due to a botched attempt to summon something from the Lower Planes or the Far Realm or some other place of big bad nastiness.
    • In 4E, several Warlock powers (such as the epic-level Hurl Through Hell) have this effect. It's (usually) not final for the unfortunate target. But even a drop-by to a local Cthulhu might be unhealthy to the mind. (In game terms, Hurl Through Hell does 10 to 70 points of damage to the victim - usually enough to kill him, but if it doesn't, he is returned to the mortal world, likely scared, but alive. The Warlock casting the spell can use a minor action to delay the victim's return for one combat round, but no more than three times, and using a minor action isn't always easy; it depends on a lot of factors.)
    • An Epic Level Spell mentioned in the Epic Level Handbook called Damnation is far more powerful. This not only sends the victim to Hell, it prevents him from trying to leave for twenty hours (convincing him that he is dead and has been sent to Hell as punishment for a life of sin). Even if he survives by the time the twenty hours expire, he has to find a way to escape on his own. (Naturally, being an Epic Level Spell, this isn't easy to learn, much less cast. It has a Spellcraft DC of 97 which means, as far as Epic Spells go, seriously difficult to learn.)
    • There is an incredibly rare and powerful magical item (considered a minor artifact in most editions) called a Talisman of Pure Good which can inflict this fate upon an evil divine spellcaster. However, only the purest and most faithful of good divine spellcasters can actually use it. There is also a Talisman of Ultimate Evil, a device that does the opposite. (Both these devices can only be used a limited number of times, and if one appears in a module, it usually has two charges - at most - remaining.)
    • The 5th Edition adventure module Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus features a city being...well, dragged off into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells of Baator. The holy city of Elturel, and all of its inhabitants, were dragged there as part of Zariel's plan to gather many mortal souls for the Blood War. Depending on the players' choices during the adventure, it can be returned to Toril or be trapped in Avernus forever.
  • Exalted has this as the backstory of any and all Green Sun Princes. Writing the details will necessitate several gallons of Brain Bleach, but let's just say that it involves being eaten alive by demons and then having your body reconstituted with the essence of Hell.
  • Warhammer has several spells that cause this effect - mostly Chaos (specifically Tzeentchian spells) but also some like the Lore of Life spell The Dwellers Below, which has the spirits of nature itself drag victims through the ground to an unknown, but definitely nasty, fate.
    • This happens to Morathi and Caledor in the Warhammer: The End Times, when the former's meddling in a powerful ritual allows Slaanesh to partially manifest. Taking hold of Caledor who grabs her, pulling them both into the warp.
  • The New World of Darkness book Inferno introduces Hell and its metaphysics to the setting. It's perfectly possible to open a Hellgate... but when it pops open, everyone in the immediate vicinity has to fight not to get dragged in (and if they fail, there's no coming back). It also happens in a metaphysical sense, as everyone who looks on the mouth of Hell has to make a Morality check - not because they did anything wrong, but because they stared into the incarnation of all sin, and that can screw with even saints.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, a daemonic curse caused Kaldor Draigo to be pulled into the Warp, where he has been endlessly fighting daemons for more than a century. He is occasionally able to join battles in realspace if a rift between the two realms is created.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay:

  • In 35MM: A Musical Exhibition, the song "Leave, Luanne" focuses on a woman who is abused by her husband and is eventually murdered by him when she tries to run away. However, soon after her death, her spirit returns, and torments him just the way he tormented her before dragging him away. Even better? The ending implies she's now an avenging angel, doing this on behalf of abused women everywhere. And it's awesome.
    Luanne, she cries her miserable wail
    so the bastards will never sleep again.
    No, no reprieve, Luanne!
    She brings their souls down to Hell!
    A caution to the cruelest of men...
    God loves Luanne!
    Praise be! Amen!
  • In every version of the Don Juan story (including Molina's original, Molière's Dom Juan, and Mozart's Don Giovanni), Juan accepts an invitation from a statue of someone he murdered, the father of one of his conquests, and when the statue returns for him, a portal opens up into Hell and Juan enters. If the production doesn't have the budget for that, though, he may just collapse and describe this happening to him as he dies.
  • Drawing from the folklore about Faust, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus has this as Faustus' fate.
  • Not to hell per se, but rather death - some characters from Elisabeth are dragged offstage by Death Angels/Black Angels. Depending on the production, this may be the mother who pleaded with Franz Joseph for clemency for her son, and/or Sophie.
  • Subverted in Goethe's Faust (Part Two): When Faust lies dying, Mephistopheles and his devils make ready to collect his soul. However, angels distract Mephistopheles so that Faust's soul can go to Heaven, claiming that Faust has never ceased to strive for good and thus has earned redemption.
  • Eurydice ends up subject to this in Hadestown after Orpheus looks back, her soul is pulled back to the titular Hadestown where she will remain and the two will forever be parted.
  • In the stage musical version of Mary Poppins, the evil Miss Andrew who replaces Mary and rules tyrannically over the children eventually gets locked into a giant birdcage by her predecessor and sent to hell. Mary got her job back.
  • The fate of the Witch in Into the Woods could be interpreted as this, when intentionally bringing about the wrath of her mother at the end of "Last Midnight". Particularly clear in the 2012 version starring Donna Murphy as a body reaches up from the ground, grabbing her, and dragging her down below.
  • In Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, The Sorcerer the titular sorcerer must sacrifice himself to a demonic force to undo a mass love spell gone wrong.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, this happens to Gilgamesh at the end of the Unlimited Blade Works route. Since the Grail couldn't find a human vessel to use, it attempted to be born through Gil, as he gained a human body at the end of Fate/Zero. However, since he isn't technically living, he merely dies along with it.

    Web Animation 
  • After Pyotr is killed in Hunter: The Parenting he meets the Devil in the form of animator Karl the Deranged, who welcomes him to "FUCKING HELL!" and picks him up.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater: In the middle of his villain speech a portal to Hell opens under Lich's feet and the damned drag him down, courtesy of Black Mage, whom he'd killed earlier and had managed an infernal coup within ten minutes. However, it kind of backfires on Black Mage as Lich is able to take over by fixing all the demons whose spines BM removed.
  • In Ava's Demon Wrava uses the imagery of being dragged off to hell when she uses horned burning skeletons to drag Strategos Six beneath the ashy surface of the burning ruins they're fighting in and into the molten floor while surrounded by demonic statues she just fashioned out their surroundings. In a later chapter The Strategos escapes by breaking their way out of the ground with a Raised Hand of Survival.
  • In Goblins this is the penalty for violating the terms of a Deal with the Devil- for either party, the bargainer or the demon. When the demoness guarding the Orb of Shadowlight offers "one soul for one orb" (and attempts to trick the heroes by giving them an orb of plain blue stone instead) she devours Dies Horribly only to discover that he has two souls thanks to the one in his Evil Hand and the deal is negated, Dies is resurrected and the demoness is dragged off to hell, screaming for mercy.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs (2020): New character Nils Niedhart goes to Hell in both of his appearances, implying this will be a Running Gag.
  • At the end of the Archie's Weird Mysteries episode "Mega-Mall of Horrors!", the bad guy and the entire mall are pulled underground after failing to acquire the souls needed to get out of having his own soul taken. Hell is not explicitly stated to be his destination, but he did distinctly state he sold his soul to the devil, so it's likely where he was headed for.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Its Sequel Series The Legend of Korra reveals this to be true for Avatar's Admiral Zhao. Contrary to fans' beliefs, the Water Spirit didn't kill Zhao when it dragged him down into the ocean. It sent him to the Fog of Lost Souls, an almost inescapable Psychological Torment Zone that traps whoever is in it and drives them insane. Zhao's spirit has been wandering the Fog for a good seventy years and has gone completely mad. This place is the closest thing to Hell ever shown in the Avatar 'verse.
  • Happens to the Gentleman Ghost in one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, after he loses control over the undead spirits he manipulated into serving him.
  • The Season 2 Cliffhanger of The Cuphead Show! has the Devil kidnapping Mugman and taking him to the Underworld in a Hellevator, as revenge for Cuphead stealing the Devil's pitchfork and refusing to give it back.
  • Parodied on Futurama when the Robot Devil drags Richard Nixon's head to Robot Hell...because they've got a poker game to get to.
    • In his first appearance, the Robot Devil does this to Bender in a very literal way: He appears ominously at the door of the motel Bender was in and proceeds to knock him in the head with his trident. He then proceeds to physically drag the unconscious Bender all the way from the motel to Robot Hell (whose entrance is inside an old carnival ride in New Jersey).
  • Grim can do this to people in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, but he saves it for people who really piss him off, like the Boogeyman or Jack O' Lantern. This proves that, unless you're a really smart little kid, messing with Death is a very bad idea. He's occasionally seen doing his job of reaping people, but he says there are a large number of afterlives, so it's likely not all of them are taken to Hell.
  • While it seemed unlikely that this could ever happen in a cartoon like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), the ancient dragon Granamyr was able to do just that, if the "Realm of Demons" (as he called it) was anything like Hell. He threatened to banish He-Man and Teela there in his first appearance, and in his second appearance, he proved this was not a bluff, as he actually did it to an evil dragon. Long story short, Granamyr is not someone you mess with.
  • This is Jafar's fate at the end of the Hercules: The Animated Series episode "Hercules and the Arabian Night", which was a crossover with Aladdin: The Series.
  • In Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., the Ghost Rider has a fate much worse than the Penance Stare in store for evildoers who don't repent. As the one who created the Abomination (and in this universe, guess whose gamma bomb it was that created the Hulk in the first place?), it was decided that General Ross (now the Red Hulk) was truly to blame for the Abomination's evil acts, as well as the loss of Bruce Banner's humanity and former life and all the damage he blamed the Hulk for back during his Inspector Javert days. His punishment, if the Ghost Rider had his way? Be bound with unbreakable chains and dragged into what Ross called "the bad place", which looks like your classic Fire and Brimstone Hell, and be fed to the Eldritch Abomination at its center. Quite the Nightmare Fuel episode for a show that's usually lighthearted (despite all the property damage).
  • Invincible: Damien Darkblood was a Hellboy Captain Ersatz working as a Hardboiled Detective on Earth after his escape from Hell in order to redeem himself and avoid going back. He figured out that Omni-Man was responsible for his team's murder, but is framed by him instead. GDA Director Cecil, the show's Nick Fury Alternate Company Equivalent, knows he's innocent but has him exorcised anyway in order to keep up appearances and throw Omni-Man off their trail while they try to figure out his motive. As he's being pulled through the portal by chains, Damien shouts that he might be going back to Hell, but Cecil will end up somewhere worse.
  • Kaeloo: This has happened to Stumpy more than once.
    • It also happens to Quack Quack in " Let's Play Hopscotch", where Mr. Cat tricks him into thinking that a path to Hell is the way to Heaven.
  • In the final episode of The Legends of Treasure Island, this happens to Long John Silver, as he'd failed to keep up his end of the bargain he made with the devil following his death by lava in the first season finale.
  • At the climax of Ninjago's season 4 finale, a G-rated version of this trope occurs. The spirits of Anacondrai generals return to Ninjago from the Cursed Realm (to which they were banished, and from which there's typically no return) and pick up the Big Bad, Master Chen, and his entire army, taking them into the Cursed Realm with them.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Morty's Mind Blowers", in a flashback, the duo meet a Death Seeker alien who asks Rick to kill him in order for him to die a warrior's death and get to his race's Heaven, but when Morty asks if he has any proof of it, he gets cold feet and winds up being hit by a car. They then see his spirit get dragged down by demons while Rick comments "They have a Hell and it does not look good."
  • The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Who Gives a Buck" has a Nightmare Sequence where Rocko chops up his Conglom-O credit card only for it to multiply into thousands, which pull him from bed and toss him into Hell, or at least the show's equivalent of it.
  • Steven Universe: Malachite's fate has definite elements of this, as she is chained and dragged down to the depths of the ocean while trying desperately to escape. Although it turns out that Jasper enjoyed being roughed up by Lapis.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) episode "End Times", after Michelangelo foiled Kavaxas' scheme to conquer the world and ordered him (via the seal) to undo all the damage he caused, the latter starts getting sucked into a portal leading to the Netherworld (which is treated as this show's equivalent to Hell). As he tries to fight back, the undead Shredder arrives and states "We do not belong here, demon." and dives at him, dragging them both into the Netherworld. Ho Chan suffers similarly, as he gets sucked back into the Netherworld when he gets struck by Splinter while trying to escape getting pulled into the pit he came from.
  • Wakfu: In Season 2, Sadlygrove is taken by Rubilax towards Hell instead of entering Heaven, fortunately he managed to recover and comes Back from the Dead.
  • Woody Woodpecker: In "His Better Elf," after his first two wishes from O'Toole the leprechaun have gotten him into (and out of) trouble, Woody uses his third wish to tell O'Toole to "Go to blazes!" Cue O'Toole falling into a hole and ending up in Fire and Brimstone Hell, where a woodpecker Devil taunts him for wearing out his welcome "up there."


Video Example(s):


Yoshikage Kira

After meeting his first ever victim, Reimi Sugimoto at the Ghost Alley, Kira gets dragged off to the afterlife.

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Example of:

Main / DraggedOffToHell

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