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Being Dragged Off to Hell (or if being clever, Descend 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, it is not irreversible. See Like a Badass Out of Hell.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Dragged Off to Hell include:

Anime & Manga

  • This is the fate of pretty much any Apostle that dies in Berserk. We see two examples in the course of the manga: the Count after he refuses to sacrifice his daughter to save his life and be reborn, and Wyald after Zodd rips him in half for trying to kill Griffith before the Eclipse.
    • It's also the inevitable fate of everyone who get's branded for sacrifice (no exeptions), get's killed by an apostle or was unwittingly working for one (lot's of people) or is filled with hatred at the moment of their death (life in Midland is cruel, so even more candidates available). Hell is a really crowded place in this universe...at least ,if you get lucky, you have a chanse to "merely" become a restless spirit that haunts the area in wich it died.
  • This happens to one Hollow (or specifically, the soul of the serial killer that turned into said Hollow) in Bleach.
  • At the end of Fullmetal Alchemist, Father, the Big Bad is dragged screaming into the Gate of Truth and receives an Ironic Hell. By extension, this is the fate of any alchemist who attempts to resurrect the dead, although after being taken, they are sent back alive (minus an organ or limb).
    • If you consider the "In Memorium" omakes to be canon, then Shou Tucker's fate is ultimately this (since we see Nina and Alexander in Heaven, while he's being engulfed by flames below). Given that no other villain save Father receives such a fate, this says a lot about Tucker.
  • This happens to Shiva in Saint Beast: Seijuu Kourin Hen.
  • Essentially the premise of Hell Girl. In exchange for their souls at death, people can have those who wronged them immediately dragged to Hell.
  • This is the fate of who ever looks behind in Morioh's Spirit World during Part 4. Koichi was only just saved by Rohan wiping his memory of looking behind. Cheap Trick and Yoshikage Kira however.......Weren't so lucky...
  • Losing a Bakugan Brawl when a Doom Card is in play automatically results in being sucked into the Doom Dimension for the unlucky Bakugan that loses, which is pretty much the Bakugan Hell. Thankfully, the Brawlers when a bet that allows all the Bakugan sent there to be set free after being sent there themselves. According to Word of God, this happened to Naga when he was defeated, though we don't see it.
  • Although she doesn't die, Miko's sister Miyu is kidnapped by demons in La Blue Girl because they believe her to be the princess (because Miko wore her panties, so she has Miko's scent all over her lady parts.) Miko has to go rescue her from the Shikima Realm and its Horny Devils.
  • The Gehenna Gate in Blue Exorcist contains a bunch of figures and resembles a ball pit. Should anyone go into the gate, the figures latch on and drag them down; a fate the protagonist narrowly avoids.


Comics

  • Depending on your interpretation, this may be the final fate of the eponymous Cerebus the Aardvark.
  • Anton Arcane's most despicable act in Swamp Thing is condemning his own niece, Abby, to this horrible fate.
  • The villains in the Tintin story The Broken Ear are dragged off to hell after drowning.
  • 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 more mundane variant in BPRD 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.


Film

  • This is the ultimate goal of the Gypsy Curse placed upon the protagonist of Drag Me to Hell. She fails to break the curse in time and ultimately suffers this fate.
  • Ghost: When Sam Wheat's murderer is himself killed, a group of small shadowy creatures appear and drag his spirit to the underworld.
  • The ending of Nightmare On Elm Street.
  • At the end of Friday the 13th (film): The Final Friday Jason gets pulled down into hell, leaving only his hockey mask; then the mask is dragged down by Freddy Krueger.
  • The fate of the two serial killers turned serial ghosts in The Frighteners.
  • Adam West in Zombie Nightmare.

 Crow: (thoroughly impressed) WOW! So Hell's right there!

Servo: Yeah. That’s why you should call before you dig.


Folk Lore

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


Literature


Live Action TV

  • At various points during the second series of Being Human, the forces of purgatory repeatedly try to drag Annie (not a villain) into the afterlife. They succeed in the finale.
  • In the 1970s British Time Travel show Timeslip the villain is dragged screaming through a time portal at the end. Whatever's on the other side will probably be pretty hellish for him.
  • Almost happens to Spike on Angel, but avoided by turning Pavayne, the ghost trying to do so, into a human.


Music


Tabletop Games

  • A common plot device in any RPG with fantastic bend. Some Dungeons and Dragons modules have this befalling the Big Bad of the story, half the time due to a botched attempt to summon something from the Nine Hells / The Abyss / what-have-you.
    • 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.
  • Exalted have 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.
  • The New World of Darkness book Inferno introduces Hell and its metaphysics to the setting. It's perfectly possible to open a gate to Hell... 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.


Theater

  • In pretty much every version of the Don Juan story (including Molina's original, Moliere'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.
  • Drawing from the folklore about Faust, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus has this as Faustus' fate (unlike the later Faust poem/play by Goethe in which Faust is redeemed).
  • This was the fate of J. Wellington Wells from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer.
  • In the stage musical version of Disney's Mary Poppins, the evil Miss Andrews 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.


Video Games

  • A few fatalities in Mortal Kombat feature this:
    • Shinnok in Mortal Kombat 4 has a fatality where a giant skeleton hand emerges from a portal, grabs the victim, squeezes until their head pops off, and then goes back into the portal with the body, leaving the head.
    • Scorpion in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has a fatality where he disappears into hell, and then drags his victim down through the floor. A few seconds later, their skeleton is thrown back out.
    • Scorpion's fatality in Mortal Kombat Trilogy had a giant skeletal hand reach out of the ground to drag the opponent below.
    • In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Scorpion and his opponent are teleported to hell, in which a bunch of Scorpion clones pop out of the lava to savage the opponent to death.
    • In 2011, Noob Saibot uses this as his basic throwing attack. One of his fatalities has his shadow begin to drag the victim into hell, but as soon as the shadow is below the portal, Noob Saibot closes it off, cutting the victim in half.
  • Persona 4 has a nominal example: the final boss uses an attack called "Summons to Yomi", instantly killing any character who's at critical health.
  • In Bayonetta, whenever you finish off a boss, it gets dragged to hell by a bunch of clawing red arms. Also happens to Bayonetta on the game over screen if you choose not to continue.
  • A variation is used in Planescape: Torment - there is a high level spell that does it, opening a portal to the Abyss under the target, resulting in him being pulled in by some demons For Massive Damage
    • Also happens to the protagonist himself at the end of the game, unless he imagines himself out of existence.
  • Silent Hill 1 - Happens to Dr. Kaufman if he survives to the end of the game.
  • Doom 3 has this happen with you. No, seriously. You survive and proceed to chew up Hell, though.
  • Domino Hurley in Grim Fandango. He's not dragged down personally, but the train he's riding is.
  • In Theme Hospital, when a patient dies, they either float up to heaven as angels, or the ground opens up beneath them and they sink in a fiery pit.
  • Canonically, this is what Akuma/Gouki's Shun Goku Satsu move does: pulls both him and his victim to the underworld, where they're set upon by demons based on how evil their souls are. For a guy like Bison/Vega, it's pretty much a One-Hit Kill, but if one manages to clear their mind of all thoughts, you won't be harmed, which is how Gen and Gouken survived it.
  • In Gauntlet (1985 video game): Dark Legacy, many of the boss fights end with a defeated boss being dragged off by something. The Lich is probably closest to the literal trope.
  • Kratos's death at the start of God of War II. He gets better.
    • Expect a temporary visit to Tartarus to be a feature of every God of War game.
      • It's a well known fact among videogame players that death's revolving door was inaugurated in Tartarus by Hades entirely for Kratos' personal use.
  • At the end of The Legend of Spyro Trilogy Malefor meets his demise when he's grabbed by a group of dragon spirits whom are heavily implied to be the souls of his elders, who drag him down screaming into the core of the planet to an unknown but likely horrific and well-deserved fate.
  • In Dark Souls there is an pitch black void called the Abyss that requires a special ring to enter, presumably because of the several hundred foot drop required to enter it. However, if you unequip the ring before defeating the boss your character is horrifyingly dragged into the darkness. You even get a special deaths screen saying "You were consumed by the Abyss."


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • 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 that served as his Soul Jar.
  • 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 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, the bulldog antagonist made a pact with the demonic Big Bad Red (who is, of course, 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.
    • Also, at the climax of the original film, as Charlie is saying his last goodbye, a huge demonic dragon (heavily implied to be the Devil himself) comes to drag his soul to hell (since he gave up his place in heaven to return to Earth) but thankfully for him, Anabelle comes to take him back to heaven because he'd died in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • 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.
  • Grim can do this to people in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, but he saves it for people who really piss him off, like The Boogeyman, proving that, unless you're a really smart little kid, messing with Death is a very, 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.
  • Happens to Hades in Hercules, by his own subjects no less.
    • And Jafar at the end of the Hercules/Aladdin crossover episode.
  • At the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo gets weighed down into a sea of molten lead at the bottom of the Notre Dame cathedral by a sinister-looking gargoyle.
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