I think there has been a fascination and fear for thousands of years of this little place called Hell.. In most organised religions there is an underworld and generally it’s not the top holiday destination due to some less than 5 star accommodation and bad cuisine. Despite the warnings though, someone or something usually wants to swing those gates open wide and unleash horrid things on mankind.
Here’s a list of 10 films where the main purpose is to open the gates of hell, so in no particular order.
01. Event Horizon (1997)
First up is literally the first film that popped into my head, now this one sticks with me for a few of the wrong reasons. Basically I had a lot of trouble seeing the end of this film (more details in the review) but basically a missing spaceship, designed to bend time/space goes missing but comes back with some disturbing secrets. I’ll try not to give away too much as i hope my lists help other people try and find new films to watch, but there is some Latin and some hellish flashbacks. The film could have a bigger dose of gore (although i hear there are “better”extended scenes in another version), it could have had a more in depth plot, which i feel it would have gotten if it was an indie film. For Hollywood it’s a good effort. 7/10
Clive Barkers first attempt to take back his stories and what a beautiful dreamscape of terror and pain he created. Unearthly pleasures are promised to anyone who can solve the puzzle box, as with all legends of this nature there is always a price. The pleasures are delivered by angels from a hellish dimension where pain is seen as a delight. Fair enough this isn’t the hell the bibles of the world tell us about but it certainly does mimic the ideas we have of hell and a gateway is certainly there to be opened so this film easily makes it into my top 10, and I easily give it 9/10
03. Legend (1985)
Another slightly off key version of hell is on the cards here, it’s basically a family fantasy movie but a bit of a cult classic. Everyone refers to the big guy as the devil when in fact he’s Darkness and he is in servitude of the “father” but once you get past that, Darkness is trying to unleash something dark to blot out human happiness and the sun. So candidate for a hell opening here. Despite the light nature of the film, its filled with some dark fantasy elements and fairytale creatures, one of my favourites being Meg Mucklebones, portrayed perfectly by Richard Picardo. It has a heavy dose of folklore and great imagery that I have loved since I was a child and there for 8/10
04.I Frankenstein (2014)
One of the better comic to movie translations, from the noted writer and actor Kevin Grevioux. I felt the film was a bit of a let down, it could have been longer rather than trying to cram an epic into a short flick, but instead it just turned into another Underworld. (its hard not to connect the two films) It still carries an interesting version of life after Frankenstein. Basically the monster lives on into modern day and becomes a pawn in fight between good and evil. I wont tell all but there is an interesting plot in using necromancy for demons to take over the world. Another good try but only receives 6/10.
05.Ninth Gate (1999)
This film is a total love hate affair for me. I love Polanski, but can’t stand Depp, I love Langella but can’t stand the lack of a decent OST, the list goes on tit for tat. Every time I find something I love about the film its twinned with something i really can’t bare, but overall I do enjoy watching it, I love books and mysteries about the devil but thought there could be a little extra in the end or even a follow on film. Still throughout the film there is a desperate need to connect with the devil and to rule in hell.7/10
I think this was a fun remake of the graphic novels/Comics, but really I enjoyed the animated series more. I think this film is on the cards for a remake and despite enjoying this version with three of my all time favourite actors I suppose it could do with some improvements. There are lots of hellish elements in this throughout the film. Topped off with mega power struggles over the earth by the realms of evi!! Bwahaaahaa…hell is depicted as a MTV program break, brief flashing colours and flames. The depictions are better in the next film in the list.6/10
As promised a film with better hell scenes, John Constantine, or Hellblazer (comic) often visits hell to gain footing against the demons trying to take over the earth. A potential candidate for a semi decent remake, Constantine is a giant step in the right direction for bringing a comic to life, hell is an apocalyptic version of earth, filled with swarms of demons, slow motion smoldering and a dreamlike ambiance between the ruined buildings. This film also has one of the best Satan performances from Peter Stormare. 7/10
08.The Beyond (1981)
One the greatest zombie, occult, horrors EVER, I have the shirt to prove it. This film is packed full of a different horror aspects and it’s all leading up to the opening of the 7th gate of hell, situated beneath a haunted hotel. The previous occupier of room 36 was a warlock who was tortured and destroyed by the local residents who were afraid of his actions but he remains in the room and orchestrates the new owner into opening the gate to hell.There is a stunning painting and all the iconic makings of a retro nasty in this film, honestly it has it all, a well manufactured gem.10/10
09.Double Vision (2002)
When people start turning up dead due to mysterious and supernatural causes, the Thai police force entertain an FBI officer to join the force, bringing with him his years of FBI service and knowledge he teams up with a beat down Thai officer and despite the language barrier they manage to uncover the connection of the death to the Taoist levels of hell.6/10
A second comic book remake, this time reproduced by one of my favourite directors Del Toro and brought to life by the ever talented Perlman. Hellboy; whose real name and purpose is the unlock the prisons of old ones who are destined to rule this realm, pretty much a opening the gates of hell scenario but in a slightly more Lovecraft fashion, and for argument sake I could also chuck in other Lovecraft inspired films like From Beyond and The Mist too.. But I’ll leave that for another list.9/10
Also, I guess i have to mention…
Little Nicky (2000) a comedy so I was forced to watch it while babysitting my sister one day… It’s bearable I suppose. Nicky (Adam Sandler), one of the sons of Satan has to stop his brothers from opening up hell… Tarantino has a cameo as a priest, it’s a funny family thing but there are boobies, head boobies.. it was painful to watch, possibly my own personal hell. 3/10