The following was sent in a March 5 email to Cal Catholic by Matt Lickona, writer for the San Diego Reader and author of Swimming with Scapulars.
If man was born to suffer as the sparks fly upward, just imagine what it’s like for a devil.
Bat Out Of Hell imagines life in the Inferno as a slightly darker version of life on earth. Sure, everybody’s doomed to suffer endlessly, but within the ranks of the damned, you’ve still got your haves and your have nots, your lordly tormentors and your grumbling, exploited underclass. Bat is very much among the latter, but he’d do just about anything to change that.
The trouble is, he’s not very good at his job, namely, ensnaring human souls and leading them down that broad and easy path to perdition. Maybe it’s because God hates him. Maybe it’s because he’s not quite bad enough to be a good devil. Maybe it’s because, even among the those who have lost paradise, he’s still creation’s biggest loser. But whatever the reason, things never quite go Bat’s way. Which is not to say he won’t keep trying — he’s got all eternity to get it right.
What we’re trying to do is produce the pilot episode of what we hope will be at least a 10-episode series set in the freaky world depicted by the Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. A world full of corruption and indulgence, angels and devils, torture and torment, sin and (just maybe) salvation.
The tidbits above hopefully give you some idea of what we’re about. Below, you can find the opening minutes of the pilot. Thanks for your time! Let’s raise a little hell! Also a lot of money!
Imagine this. Forever.
The title song
Everyone has always wanted to do a Tom Waits impression. Well, at least I did. Jesus shrugged.
If you’re curious, and would like to see the show’s opening act, you can check it out at batoutofhell.tv.
Hieronymus Bosch — Muse, character designer, and background artist. I have loved Bosch’s art — without exactly realizing it — ever since I read George Jonsen’s 1977 children’s book, Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls. Illustrator John O’Brien’s work in that book has been referred to as “Bosch for babies,” and there’s one bird-man in particular who might pass as Bat’s first cousin.
Encountering Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights on a college dorm-room wall felt like a discovery and a return to childhood at the same time.
I had an interesting college experience.
By the time his Last Judgement showed up at my local free art museum, I realized something was up. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson tells a story about trying to come up with an idea for a project after his film The Frighteners. “We just kept thinking, saying, ‘Well, it’s got to be like Lord of the Rings,’ or, ‘It should be just like that, but like Lord of the Rings‘… After a few days of doing this, we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we find out about Lord of the Rings?'” That’s kind of how I feel about using Bosch to tell Bat’s story. It’s not like I’m going to improve on his vision of hell, so why not just go with it?
I can’t top this bottom.
Mark Lickona — Animation director and editor (plus voice work). Mark is my brother and longtime collaborator. He’s also written for animation: fourteen episodes of the Chaotic series that aired as part of 4KidsTV on Fox, then later on The CW4Kids, Disney XD, and finally, Cartoon Network. Also the creator of, among other things, the Frankeneinstein series of animated shorts. Check them out here.
William Wilson — Sound engineer. William is a classical guitarist extraordinaire who also happens to make apps and run a recording studio. And he composed and performed the music for the title song below (with a little help from trumpeter Tim O’Neill).
Finian Lickona — Music-maker. Finian is my stupidly talented first born. He wrote and produced the theme music in that opening video, as well as most of the other music you’ll hear in the opening scenes. Just now, he’s working on a prep guide for the math portion of the SAT.
Matthew Lickona — Creator and writer (plus voice work). I’m a staff writer and film critic for The San Diego Reader, a weekly newspaper. The less said about me, the better. Suffice it to say that Bat has my sympathies.
We’re asking for $25,000 to produce our roughly 23-minute pilot episode. My collaborators have already done a good deal of work gratis to produce the show’s opening minutes. Here’s what it will cost to finish: $12,000 to Mark for animation, $2,000 to William for sound work, $1,000 to Finian for additional music, $2500 to Kickstarter and the money-transfer people. The remaining $7500 will go toward building a website to host and sell the show (plus future episodes!), paying the voice actors, obtaining higher-res images where possible, and fulfilling rewards.
Plus I hear there’s gonna be hell to pay…
Hopefully this presentation will convert many souls, and I wish Matt much success in this enterprise of his. We do not hear much about hell or devils today during sermons or in catechism classes It is because the ‘church of nice’ thinks that everyone will be saved, and that there is no hell. If there is no hell, why was Christ born, and why did He have to suffer and die for us? I know there is a hell, and I pray every day that I do not wind up there when I die. My Jesus mercy!
Is this article a joke?
CCC: ” 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.”
The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
CCC: ” 1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;
for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.
In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:
“Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen. “
Anyone interested in “HELL” should read “DIARY, Divine Mercy in My Soul” by Saint Faustina.
It has a NIHIL OBSTAT and IMPRIMATUR.
From the content comes the “Chaplet of Divine Mercy”, and Divine Mercy Sunday (week after Easter), and the picture of JESUS with the words:
“Jesus I trust in you”.
It contains Saint Faustina’s conversations with both Jesus and the Blessed Mother, and that Jesus let her see Hell so that no one may disbelieve in Hell.
I agree with PETE and MAC. Not a fan of this animation. Hell is not a joke to cartoon with.
St. Faustina’s vision of Hell – from her DIARY” – paragraph 741.
” Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:
– – – The First Torture that constitutes hell is: The loss of God.
– – – The Second is: Perpetual remorse of conscience.
– – – The Third is: That one’s condition will never change.
– – – The Fourth is: The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger.
– – – The Fifth Torture is: Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own.
– – – The Sixth Torture is: The constant company of Satan.
– – – The Seventh Torture is: Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.
These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.
From St. Faustina’s Diary – cont.
” These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.
” Indescribable Sufferings
There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses.
Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned.
I would have died
There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.
No One Can Say There is No Hell
Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin.
I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like…how terribly souls suffer there!
Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them.
O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin. ” (Diary 741)
I took the “hook”….quite an interesting take on “Screwtape”. Language in hell along with visuals were upsetting to my piety now and when I was a child reading about those Trolls. hmmm, but for those that are lost, I wonder about the salvation factor it may produce?
Oh, I don’t think you need to go to Hieronymus Bosch’s art to find the truly weird and odd, some would say diabolical (I do; that was Bosch’s didactic point, his effort to warn believers).
I think back on the May 2008 “Catholic” Call to Action conference in San Jose (attended by many local proud Catholics) and their closing “mass”: These puppet-images (which “performed” at the “mass”) make Bosch seem tame.
Or, from another New Mass liturgy fairly recently:
The second photo was a good way to destroy Good Friday. Well done, Screwtape!
By the way, powerful observations, Joyce. Food for the conscience.
Check out the authentic Catholic Bible, the Douai Rheims, and observe a very distinct difference in the translation of the word,” REPENT “. IN EVERY CASE IN BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT THE WORD REPENT IS TRANSLATED ” DO PENANCE”. Figure it out. They mean two different things. Doing penance is an active atoning act or actions, while repentance is a turning away from sin. Repentance is followed by penance. The. Holy. Father at the time of the La Salette messages told the faithful, ” The secret of La Salette is this: Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” Ponder that.
Mary there are more than one authentic Catholic Bibles.
I like the RSV-CE. (Revised Standard Version -Catholic Edition) (large print)
the NAVARRE Bible for a study Bible.
The CCC uses the RSV-CE, and so does the NAVARRE.
If it is good enough for Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis it is good enough for me.
…interesting observations, Mary. Translations are critical as are accurate definitions of what words actually mean.
Every Catholic should be able to use the Catholic Bible that they like best.
I also have chosen the RSV-CE in large print.
” Many Bible scholars consider this translation to be the best rendering of Scripture into modern English” – see EWTN internet catalogue.
If it was good enough for Popes John Paul II, and Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) for the CCC, it is certainly good enough for me.
Although Mother Angelica liked the Jerusalem Bible, she recommended the RSV-CE frequently.
I agree ANDREW and Pat. I use to prefer the Douai Rheims version but now I have several other approved versions too. I do not want to discourage anyone from reading the word of God, so it is best that they use what they like best! I agree!
Douay-Rheims Bible Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;”
1 Corinthians 6:9
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men”
Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
Rev 21:8 ” But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,”
1 Corinthians 6:9 ” Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,”
Matthew 25:41 ” Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; “
“Truth suffers, but never dies.”
~~St. Teresa of Avila
“The usual snare with which the devil catches the young is to fill them with shame when they are about to confess their sins. When he pushes them to commit sins, he removes all shame, as if there were nothing wrong with it, but when they are going to confession, he returns that shame magnified and tries to convince them that the priest will be shocked by their sins and will no longer think well of them. Thus the devil tries to drive souls to the brink of eternal damnation. Oh, how many lads does Satan steal from God – sometimes forever – by this trick.”
~~St. John Bosco
“Meditate on the horrors of Hell which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell, and how few there are that are saved.”
-~~ St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Its good to read St. Teresa of Avila’s take on the truth…..it gives me hope especially since this society has embraced moral relativism. God help us
1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”
1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,”615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”616
1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.”617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
CCC 1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621
Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622
When quoting the CCC use “quotes” so people can accurately see the beginning and end.
Use …… a succession of dots if leaving anything out of a CCC paragraph for accuracy.
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