7 Underrated and Terrifying Movies That Send You Straight to Hell [Watch]


Dread Central’s sister gaming site DreadXP has been enjoying a run of successful games from some of the most exciting and up-and-coming indie developers creating today. Last Valentine’s Day, Dread XP published the Lovecraftian-inspired Sucker For Love from developer Akabaka to great acclaim.

This year, DreadXP is aiming for something much more devilish with the game Redtape. Here’s the synopsis:

Redtape is a finished release of a Ludum Dare 48 project by Fransisco Lucas and NeitherNathan. It’s a tale of a lone red demon employee who needs some paperwork signed by the Director of Hell Inc, the Devil himself. We the player must find our way through the pipeline of procedures in order to be approved for an audience with the big red himself.

Redtape is inspired by Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy from the 14th century. Specifically, Inferno, where Dante descends into the depths of hell. To celebrate the game’s release and our continued fascination with the many iterations of Hell onscreen, I’ve compiled a list of seven lesser-known titles that delve into the underworld of Hades. Admittedly, watching these titles won’t get you any closer to the Kingdom of Heaven. But we’d probably rather host a movie night in Hell, anyway.

Jigoku (a.k.a. The Sinners of Hell)

Where You Can Watch: Criterion Channel

Director Nobuo Nakagawa is widely considered to be the father of the Japanese horror film. While Kaneto Shindo’s feudal ghost story Onibaba is more well-known internationally, Nakagawa’s Jigoku (the location of hell in Japanese Buddhism) is a much more striking and violent film that deserves more widespread acclaim. Made in 1960, Jigoku looks and feels way ahead of its time, mostly due to the amount of graphic violence displayed in the finale. The story centers around a theology student pursued by his doppelgänger into the depths of the underworld. Clive Barker must have seen Nakagawa’s film before writing The Hellhound Heart, the novella that became the springboard for Hellraiser (I’ll get to that godforsaken franchise in a minute).

Invitation to Hell (1984)

Where You Can Watch: Tubi

Unbeknownst to me until just recently, horror maestro Wes Craven directed this made-for-TV movie for ABC in May of 1984. For reference, A Nightmare on Elm Street came out just six months later in November, changing Craven’s career trajectory forever. Invitation to Hell featured All My Children star Susan Lucci as a mysterious vixen named Jessica Jones who attempts to recruit Robert Ulrich’s family into a strange country club. Lucci sort of comes off as a cross between Gozer from Ghostbusters and an alien from V, she’s just a lot more sultry and a lot less menacing. At a party set on Halloween night, the family discovers that the temperature inside the club is through the roof. Because they are in HELL. After the opening sequence, you should be totally hooked.

Highway to Hell (1991)

Where You Can Watch: Tubi and Prime Video

Kristy Swanson. Chad Lowe. Lita Ford as a hitchhiker. Sold. If you need more convincing, Highway to Hell was written by Brian Helgeland (976-EVIL, L.A. Confidential) and features Lowe blasting rubbery demons with a 12-gauge shotgun. It’s essentially a Gen X version of Race With the Devil starring Peter Fonda. There’s also a stop-motion version of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the third circle of Hell in Dante’s The Inferno. Early ’90s nostalgia aside, Highway to Hell is starting to find a new appreciation for its raucous spirit, top-tier low-rent villains, and steadfast dedication to over-the-top camp. Watch it with a friend. Or 5 friends. Or 10 drunk friends.

Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)

Where You Can Watch: Full Moon Features

Ascending from Hades with her dog named (wait for it) Hellraiser, Angela Featherstone plays a demoness named Veronica who visits Earth to wreak havoc on the wicked. Veronica feeds the body parts of her victims to her dog. She’s still worthy of love, though, and a young doctor she meets along the way accepts her for the bloodthirsty demon she really is.

Surprisingly well-directed by Linda Hassani, Dark Angel: The Ascent feels like an R-rated comic book come to life. Glenn Danzig’s hardcore comic book company Verotik had a title called Satanika that shares a lot of connective tissue with Dark Angel, actually. It’s no wonder that Full Moon fans who saw this on video back in the day still hold it in high regard. Once they can remember the title, of course.

The Prophecy II (1998)

Available To Rent On-Demand

The fact that Christopher Walken starred as the Archangel Gabriel in three installments of The Prophecy franchise is one of the biggest mysteries in Hollywood history. No matter the reason, it’s clear that Walken is having a blast ripping and chewing up the scenery. In Prophecy II, Lucifer orders Gabriel to keep a prophecy (surprise) from coming true. Namely, the ancient prognostication that the birth of a half-human, half-angel hybrid of Jessica Beals (Flashdance, The Book of Boba Fett) must be prevented at all costs.

In one of the great cinematic pairings (I’m serious), Gabriel enlists the help of Izzy (Brittany Murphy), a teenager who Gabriel keeps alive after she committed suicide with her boyfriend. The chemistry between Walken and Murphy is sublime. Their scenes together are worth revisiting the sequel if it’s been a minute. Or, if it’s your first time, subject yourself to the entire ungodly trilogy, a three-parter that’s really only rivaled by Dante’s O.G. epic poem consisting of InfernoPurgatorio, and Paradiso.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Where You Can Watch: Hulu

The fifth installment in the Hellraiser oeuvre is less violent and much more melodramatic than Barker’s original masterpiece. It’s also a far cry from the worst entry in the series. There are A LOT of contenders for that top prize. After the success of Hulu’s resurrection of Hellraiser from new master of horror David Bruckner, Hellraiser: Inferno is actually one installment that’s worth revisiting.

After joining up with the monsters of Midian in Nightbreed, Craig Sheffer returns to Barker’s world to star in Inferno. Sheffer plays a shady detective investigating a murder caused by those horrid hooks from the Lament Configuration. Doug Bradley returns as Pinhead and proceeds to torment Sheffer using Hell’s dreaded puzzle box. The horror of Inferno really lies in the idea of eternal torment. Sheffer learns that reliving his own death over and over again is a fate worse than Hell itself. (I think I just gave myself goosebumps.)

Baskin (2015)

Where You Can Watch: Roku and Prime Video

Beware of Baskin. Can Evrenol’s highly disturbing descent into madness has been called the Turkish Drag Me To Hell. Based on one of Evrenol’s short films, the story follows a group of corrupt cops who fall victim to their own investigation. They are called out to a remote building in the middle of nowhere that winds up being a portal of sorts. The ending of Baskin will scar you. Rarely has there been a series of nightmarish images of the underworld depicted in any film, foreign or domestic. Years after watching the premiere of Baskin at Fantastic Fest, I can easily still picture the writhing, twisting blood orgy that Evrenol and a cast of humanoid creatures unleash in the finale. Going from a police procedural to a hardcore horror film makes Baskin feel almost like a documentary. That sense of reality makes the ending that much more unsettling.

Let us know your favorite hellscapes on film over on Twitter at @DreadCentral. And be sure to play Redtape, out now on Steam!



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