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Coming Attractions

Exploring Heaven, Hell and Satan


“What Dreams May Come” (PolyGram Films, opens Oct. 2)

Think of it as Dante meets “Mork and Mindy.” Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. take a tour of Heaven and Hell (it’s not clear from promo materials if Purgatory is on the itinerary). Just as Dante did far more to shape popular religious consciousness in his day than most theologians ever did, this type of film both expresses and contributes to the grassroots spiritual imagination of our time. Rated PG-13.


“The Devil: An Unauthorized Biography” (Odyssey, Oct. 4, 9 p.m. ET) Think of this one as Kitty Kelley writing about Beelzebub. It’s a three-part special examining “Satan’s roots in diverse religious communities around the world.” Part 1 looks at the roots of Satan in Egypt and Mesopotamia, Part 2 at how religious authorities used the devil as a political weapon in medieval Europe and Part 3 at images of the Lord of Darkness in today’s society. A BBC production.

National Catholic Reporter, October 2, 1998