A Hell Seeker is a character who is actively trying to get into Hell. Literally Hell, as in the afterlife of endless torment. Maybe he thinks that he will like it there, being allowed to "reign in hell" rather than becoming one of the tormented souls, perhaps thinking that he might even become one of the demons. (Such a character is usually eventually proven wrong, ending up at the bottom of the hellish food-chain.) Maybe he's a hardcore masochist who thinks that an eternity of torture and violation sounds great. Maybe he's concerned he'll otherwise wind up nowhere at all, or vanish entirely. Or maybe he's just trying to punish himself. Or maybe he lives in a setting where Hell is something much cooler than the horrors believed in by certain Real Life religions. It might also be that someone he loves has been damned and he prefers to spend eternity with them or is trying to rescue them. The Blood Knight might view Hell as a kind of Warrior Heaven where he gets to beat up demons all day, especially if Hell Is War. Or maybe, despite all the fire, brimstone, agonizing torture, and "What's New Pussycat?" playing on an endless loop, Heaven is even worse.
A variation of the Hell Seeker tries to find and open the Gates of Hell, but does not plan on actually going inside instead, he means to release the Legions of Hell, presumably so that they, in gratitude, will do his bidding. Of course, again, Evil Is Not a Toy, and, should he succeed, this variation will probably get eaten by the beasties he releases.
Since most religions forbid suicide, one wonders why these people don't just shoot themselves.
Contrast Heaven Seeker. Also contrast To Hell and Back and Deal with the Devil. The former is for characters who want to go to hell but want to get out afterwards, while the latter is when the character accepts hell after death in return for getting good things in life but not having going to hell as a goal in itself, is likely to try to escape from the deal. This in turn can be contrasted with I'm Going to Hell for This. See also Dystopia Justifies the Means, when they decide to just settle for recreating Hell.
If there happens to be an Easy Road to Hell, so much the better.
Not to be confused with the Hellraiser: Hellseeker, although that movie is an example.
- Tetsu from Saikano wants to go to hell (quote: "I still haven't killed enough to go to hell"), because he thinks that's where he'd go after death and that death is the only way out of his misery. May be simply a Death Seeker, though.
- Yu Yu Hakusho: Younger Toguro is one of these, in addition to being a Death Seeker. He chooses to be punished in the deepest level of Hell, even though he could have gotten off with a lighter sentence, because he feels that he could never be punished enough for what he let happen to his old martial-arts pupils and the aftermath of such.
- In Hellsing, the members of Iscariot are like this, although it's less seeking and more resigned to their fate. They believe it is their duty to "Form square in hell" and battle the daemons there.
- In the anime series, Incognito breathes this trope. He's quite explicit about it.
- One episode of Hell Girl centers around a teacher who wants to go to Hell because he has nothing left to live for. He does ultimately get sent to Hell, but is horrified when he finds out that one of his students will be joining him one day since she sold her soul to make it happen.
- In Dragon Ball GT, Piccolo starts wrecking Heaven so he can be sent to Hell in order to rescue Goku and get him back to Earth.
- Some Chick Tracts feature Straw Loser characters who believe that hell is cool. They are, of course, always proven wrong.
- Inrutat of Pondus has a double subversion: A Death Metal satanist comes to heaven, looking awfully disappointed. An angel explains to him: "Oh, but this is your hell".
- Steve Dallas on Bloom County mentioned this a few times, although it wasn't clear whether he wanted to go there or was simply resigned to the fact that he would.
- The Hellraiser movies have several characters with this mindset, who intentionally seek out the Lament Configuration so they can open the portal to the Cenobites' dimension. For some of them it even kinda works out - some of them are turned into cenobites, and enjoy it.
- The Crow: City of Angels: Judah Earl, the cultist drug dealer villain, is convinced that he witnessed Hell during a Near-Death Experience and loved it. Since he can't go back there again without dying, he decides the next best thing is to shape the world in Hell's image.
- In a Deleted Scene from Bram Stoker's Dracula - Dracula says, "If my beloved burns in Hell, so shall I..." during his FaithHeel Turn.
- In the short story "Down Satan!" by Clive Barker, a wealthy businessman becomes convinced God doesn't exist, and decides to find out whether the devil does by building a literal Hell on Earth. This has also been issued as a fairly grotesque Comic Book.
- In Hideaway by Dean Koontz, the Serial Killer antagonist calls himself Vassago, believing he is the human incarnation of one of the demon princes of Hell and that by hideously murdering enough people, will be allowed to return to Hell at Satan's right hand. After killing them, he arranges their corpses in ways that symbolically/artistically represent the sins he fancies they committed, but truly knows the reason for doing this has nothing to do with punishing the guilty. It's also hinted at that his beliefs of demon heritage may not be so delusional after all
- Hattie Durham is one briefly in the Left Behind series, after deciding that she does believe in God and the Bible, but doesn't believe she deserves to go to Heaven. She comes around eventually.
- Quentin from The Sound and the Fury entertains the idea of going to hell with his sister for committing incest (which he didn't commit), in order to protect her. Or something.
- Alma from Suffer the Little Children attempts to sell her soul to the Devil - she's from a very abusive family who are all convinced they are going to heaven, and she wants more than anything to escape from them. (It's a story by Aleister Crowley, who went through pretty much the same experience in his childhood.)
- Mapleshade from Warrior Cats was this when alive: she hated StarClan and wanted to go to the Dark Forest.
- Madison Spencer from Damned had her reservations at first, but grew accustomed to living in Hell and convinced anyone she could reach through her telemarketing work that they should do everything they could to join her there.
- In the Wizard In Rhyme book The Witch Doctor, the evil Queen Suettay of Allustria believes that her Deal with the Devil will give her a privileged rank in Hell and let her keep on tormenting people beneath her. Judging from the screams after she's Dragged Off to Hell, the Father of Lies was less than honest about her retirement policy...
- Before he was killed by the Other King, the Comet King, Jalaketu West from Unsong sought to invade Hell so he could destroy it and free every soul trapped there, but failed completely. In order to affect Hell with his power, he had to first be part of it. And as the resident Big Good and The Messiah, his chances of going to hell when he died were pretty much nil, and he feared even doing evil deeds might not send him there if it was ultimately for the greatest cause possible. Knowing this, his wife Robin West sold her soul to Hell, forcing Jalaketu to follow. The Comet King might not go to Hell if he did incredible evil for the sake of humanity, but doing incredible evil to rescue his wife is another story. Hell will be destroyed either way. So he became the Other King, killed a body double, and set about becoming an Evil Overlord.
- Yaguruma/Kick Hopper and his accomplice Kageyama/Punch Hopper in Kamen Rider Kabuto. Their quest to reach Hell is more metaphorical than most, as it seems to revolve around embracing suffering and despair rather than reaching a physical location.
- Akumaro in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger wants to break the barrier between worlds and literally bring about hell on Earth. It's the only way he can see hell, because he was born a Gedoushuu (monsters of that series) instead of being a mortal who fell to The Dark Side.
- In Blackadder, when the title character is made Archbishop of Canterbury he has to talk a dying landowner into leaving his lands to the Crown instead of the church. Since the landowner is convinced he'll go to hell (and has good reason too, considering that everyone present including Edmund and his father are shocked at the sheer number of his crimes) Edmund resorts to convincing him that hell is awesome.
- A common goal for Big Bads in the Buffyverse
Buffy: That's it? That's Glory's master plan? To go home?
- The Master at the end of season one, and Angelus and Drucilla in season two, are both "open the Gates of Hell" examples. While their demonic status helps explain this, Spike points out that most vampires only talk about destroying the world and are actually quite happy here, making genuine Hellseekers the anomaly.
- Ascension (which the Mayor was an example of) involved a mortal becoming a true demon.
- Glory was a perfect example. Everything she did was an attempt to return to the hell dimension she ruled.
- Anya initially sought to regain her demon status and go home when she became mortal. She also teamed up with Vampire Willow, who at least wanted to get back to her hellish alternate reality.
- The climax of Dark Willow's rampage, although she was really more of an Oblivion-seeker.
- Basically what the First attempts in season seven, with the Ubervamps replacing legions specifically from hell.
- Holtz knowingly trapped himself in a hell dimension, along with baby Conner, knowing this would be the ultimate revenge on Angel.
- This was the intent of releasing Illyria, although it turned out hell isn't what it used to be.
- In the Buddhist tradition, a noble version of a hell seeker appears in form of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha (Dizang in Chinese) also known as "Buddha in Hell." While he has achieved enlightenment and is ready to become a Buddha, he seeks to find his way to and stay in various hells as that is where the sinners are and he seeks to redeem them. He will not leave until all hells are emptied.
- In some versions of Christianity, Jesus Christ descended into Hell upon his death on the cross, as a result of bearing the Original Sin of mankind, but as he was also the Messiah, his death actually brought the salvation of either the virtuous pagans that had died before he was born, or every damned soul in Hell, depending on who was telling the story, an event known as the "Harrowing Of Hell".
- Many of the Nephandi (fallen mages) in Mage: The Ascension. By the time they Descend they are already twisted enough to actually enjoy it in there.
- The Fiendish Codex sourcebooks for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 claim that many evil characters make deals with devils on the assumption that, after they die, they'll rocket to the top of Hell's hierarchy. "None ever look at a lemure [the bottom of Hell's food chain] and think that will be their eternity."
- It is said, however, that when bargaining with devils, powerful enough characters can bargain for early or even immediate promotion to higher ranks.
- In the Forgotten Realms setting, devils are allowed to bargain with deceased mortals awaiting judgment in the Fugue Plane due an agreement they have with Kelemvor, the ruler of the place and the god of death. While not allowed to lie to or kidnap the dead souls, they may try to offer souls a bargain in exchange for coming with them, such as wealth for living families on Faerun, vengeance against still-living enemies, or even rapid promotion to stronger forms in the infernal hierarchy. Some mortals who worshipped cruel gods and/or lived lives where they violated their faiths may actually think Hell is better than the fate that awaits them, so while the devils' success rate isn't all that high, it's enough for them to keep at it.
- Warboss Tuska from Warhammer 40,000. Led a Waaaagh into the Eye of Terror, the place where the Warp overlaps with reality, all so they could find a good fight. They found it all right.
- Exactly what Space Wolves Primarch Leman Russ was hoping to find when he left Fenris is anyone's guess, but remember the Wolves are space vikings, and the Warp is Hell, for all intents and purposes.
- The Chaos Wastes lie at the North and South Poles of the Warhammer world, and is it there that those who serve Chaos make their way to the abodes of the dark gods in the hopes of reaping great rewards (well, only the North- the South Pole is overrun by beastmen, who are thankfully too stupid to figure out how to build boats).
- In In Nomine, many who make a Deal with the Devil do so with the promise that they'll get preferential treatment when they finally bite it and go to Hell. Very rarely, their masters even keep their bargain.
- Diabolists in Ars Magica take it as a point of professional pride that they'll be consigned to Hell upon death, whether in the (misplaced) belief that they will be elevated to devils and escape punishment or out of (one-sided) loyalty to their demonic masters; and tend to be quite insulted by the accusation that they'd try to weasel out of their final damnation. It is, of course, inconsequential that a highly specific and situational spell exists to give a damned soul a chance to elude the devil sent to collect it...
- Weirdly zigzagged in Demon: The Descent. Demons in this setting are fallen angels and the basic assumption is that a given demon wants to find its way to Hell... however, "Hell" is not only seen as a positive place, but is a highly individual concept; one demon may want to lord over a traditional Fire and Brimstone Hell, but another may just want a quiet, normal life with a human family. The rationale is that Heaven is Hell in the human sense of the words, as it means being a tool of the alien/malevolent God-Machine with no free-will of one's own; with this in mind, "Hell", defined as "a complete and total separation from God", becomes a paradise.
- There is an old gamer joke about a hardcore Doom player who finds a Genie in a Bottle and is granted three wishes: IDDQD, IDKFA, and a one way trip to Hell.note
- In some variants of the joke, it's a Deal with the Devil, and the devil sends him to Hell on Nightmare.note
- The backstory of Zork has the legend of Saint Yoruk, who travelled to Hades to meet with the Devil and learn the secrets of magic from him. When Yoruk died, his soul went to heaven, but as he'd gotten used to Hades, he fought his way back there.
- In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, the player can choose to perform mean/non-charitable options five times. If he does so, he enters hell when he dies.
- Cassus Vicus of Clive Barker's Jericho was the only person who sought out the Pyxis on purpose. Coincidentally, he's the only one who has all his perverted, twisted, and depraved desires fulfilled, with no catches.
- In Twisted Metal 3, Minion (a demon) wishes to be sent to Hell in his ending. Calypso complies... and sends him to Hell, Michigan.
- The undead in Deadbolt are so desperate for warmth that some actively seek out a trip into the fires of Hell.
- Rogue demonologist Theodore Wicker of The Secret World spent a long and bloody quest trying to send himself to the Hell Dimensions in physical form, even modifying his body just so he'd be able to survive the Hellish environment - transforming him into a Demon of Human Origin. As it later becomes apparent, he did this to stage a revolution against the rule of Eblis and liberate demonkind.
- Final Fantasy II: The Emperor dies in battle with the heroes, promptly overthrows Satan, and comes back to the living world with new powers and a more omnicidal outlook on life. It's not clear whether this was an intentional Thanatos Gambit or simply making the most of a bad situation, however.
- During Goku's special interaction with Cell in Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Goku reveals that he is interested to see what hell is like and even asks Cell to visit it someday. Hilariously, the latter seem to regard it as a miserable, sorrowful place but doesn't divulge any further.
- In Jack
- Lita wanted to go to hell so she could kill her father, again. Of course, she had no idea he had become one of the Seven Sins and she ended up helping him.
- There are also people who were masochists killed themselves wanting to be tortured and fetish nuts in life who don't mind being violated by demons in various ways. Hell proves smarter than them however, as the former are put in a calm, peaceful, cheery place that makes them think they're in fluffy cloud heaven, and are tortured mentally. The latter's soul ultimately meanwhile ends up in a re-creation of a Christian abstinence camp.
- Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater wants to get to Hell to rule it. He succeeds...for a time. One thinks he's got to die again eventually, though.
- Ink Catherly from Hitherby Dragons is a preteen adventurer determined to reach hell "because I'm an explorer". In this case, hell is located in an infinitely-tall tower inside her closet.
- In Zodiac the super-villain Hellhound is a devout believer who derives horrible pleasure from burning others to death with his flame powers, seeing Hell as his vision of Heaven surrounded by an eternity of burning flesh.
- This Buttersafe's comic "The Worst Best Firefighter" features a devoted firefighter who deliberately act like a monster in hope he get sent to Hell. He actually want to deafeat the hellfires themselves.
- The Other King in Unsong is actively trying to commit so many atrocities that he can't possibly be denied entrance into Hell when he dies. The reason why he's worried about being denied damnation is that one, he's trying to balance out a truly epic number of good deeds and virtuous actions performed back when he was still the Comet King, and two, Thamiel will take every excuse to bar his way into Hell since he knows perfectly well that if the Other King were to fully enter Hell he'd proceed to destroy the place.
- Sailor Moon Abridged plays this for laughs with Sailor Mars, to the point that when The Scouts die in Episode 40, the others are dragged there with her, even Amy.
- Parodied in the Newgrounds cartoon "The Grim Reaper Show". When the Grim Reaper has to judge where to send a Satanist who really wants to join the Devil's infernal legions, he cards him off to Heaven because "you're actually a pretty easygoing kinda guy".