Back to All Events

Abandon all Hope: Cinematic Depictions of Hell in Horror

  • Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA, 01970 United States (map)

Hell has captured the imagination of artists, poets, scholars and filmmakers in ways the heavens could not aspire to, perhaps because it’s much more relatable to us modern earthlings who know more of suffering than we do of paradise. As such, what was once understood as a literal site of torment for the wicked and sinful has undergone several re-imaginings and re-conceptualizations over the years; from a physical place across the Styx where the damned suffer en masse, to more modern versions, where divine punishment is meted out on a personal basis, occasionally infiltrating the Earthly realm.

Drawing from examples in genre cinema, including The Beyond (1981), Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Event Horizon (1997), Constantine (2005), this lecture will explore a variety of the genre’s depictions of hell, and how those cinematic depictions correspond with contemporary belief systems of sin, punishment and justice.

Presented by Andrea Subissati

Andrea Subissati is a sociologist and writer on horror and cultural studies. Her masters thesis When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead was published along with other work appearing in The Undead and Theology (2012) and The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015). She joined the staff of Rue Morgue magazine in 2014, and became Executive Editor in 2017. Andrea has appeared on the TV horror documentary Why Horror?, co-curates The Black Museum and co-hosts The Faculty of Horror podcast. 

Earlier Event: October 14
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages
Later Event: October 14
Rosemary's Baby