We dropped a line to The Devil himself, and asked whether he'd be open to answering a few questions.
Much to our surprise, he replied straightaway, saying he'd love to have the opportunity to address what he felt was an unfair portrayal of Hell and its minions. Here's the transcript of our conversation:
THE DEVIL: Keith is fine.
US: So how are you today, Keith?
THE DEVIL: I'm alright. I've a bit of an achey back, and I'm working through a mountain of paperwork, but I've had worse weeks. Thanks for asking.
US: Have you played the new Doom game?
THE DEVIL: No, but I've heard about it. Apparently, you fight demons from Hell, or something.
US: Yes. There are demons from Hell who attack Mars in the far future, in retaliation for the human race exploiting Hell for its energy resources.
THE DEVIL: Well, there you have my issue in a nutshell. We're being completely misrepresented as the bad guys, so that the supposed goodies can get away with whatever they like. Once again. I ask you: is anyone completely good? Of course not. And conversely, nobody is completely bad. How many demons are killed in Doom by the main character? I'm told that most of the demons are just wandering around, until the main character comes in and shoots at them. And yet we're the ones who are labelled as the enemy. It's cultural terrorism.
THE DEVIL: I'm happy to hold up my hand and admit that in the past, we did a lot of things wrong. I'll apologise here and now for that. But it was down to some of our more overzealous members. We're working hard to show that Hell isn't what it used to be, that there's more to it. We're in the midst of rebranding. New Evil, we're calling it. Hell will be getting a thorough facelift, and we're changing the name to Brillzone.
US: But aren't you yourself responsible for all the most terrible things that have ever happened to mankind?
THE DEVIL: As I always say: where's the evidence?
US: The Bible says you turned into a snake and tempted Eve to disobey God's instructions.
THE DEVIL: I was trying to get her to think for herself, that's all. To keep an open mind and ask questions. Not just accept the narrative. What's wrong with that? So, what... we're all meant to blindly do as we're told, regardless, because some troll sitting on a cloud told us we should? That apple could've been rotten for all Eve knew. A bird might've pooed on it.
US: So how do you define New Evil?
THE DEVIL: Evil is a very subjective thing. Most people see Brillzone as a place from which all sin and bad stuff stems. By doing that - "Oh, it was The Devil that made me slap that dog" - people get to absolve themselves of any personal responsibility. Was it me, or was it the fact you're a vicious fool? I mean, it's shocking, this media narrative, which gives people the permission to do whatever they like. It began with The Bible, and continues through games such as Doom and Dark Souls. New Evil is about keeping everything everyone loves about evil, while making it more accessible.
THE DEVIL: Have you ever been to Luton? It's not much different. <LAUGHS> No, seriously, Brillzone isn't like that anymore. We've got a lovely leisure centre, shopping malls... I'm sipping a Starbucks right now as I'm talking to you. We just want people to give us a chance, and stop stereotyping us.
US: But surely you've played up to that role?
THE DEVIL: How? Again, show me the evidence. Look, everybody feels they need a boogeyman. Everybody wants to unite against something. Something or someone who gives them permission to let rip. So that they can vent all those pent-up frustrations that they build up in their day-to-day life. I get it. But why does it have to be us? Why are we the ones being shot at in video games? Why isn't it, I dunno... just to pluck a group of people out of the air... carpenters? Why can't carpenters be the enemy instead of demons?
THE DEVIL: I'm more frustrated than angry. Have you seen the abuse I get on Twitter and Instagram? I posted a picture of my dog, Cerberus, the other day, and then just started getting tweets that were all like "You're shit" and "Why don't u stick your head up ur dogs bum?". I shouldn't let it get to me, but it does.
US: Surely, though, subjectively or not... Hell is populated by people who did very bad things.
THE DEVIL: You get those elements in any community, though. You get good people and people who aren't so good. Yes, Adolf Hitler lives here, but he's at the more extreme end, and seems utterly unrepentant. Pol Pot, however, feels terrible about his behaviour, and he's not the only one. He's currently running a very popular therapeutic drum circle with others like him. On any given week, you might find Tomas de Torquemada, Robespierre, and Neil Armstrong attending.
US: Neil Armstrong is in Hell?
THE DEVIL: Yes, he lived a mostly blameless life, but right before the end he kicked the head off a duck, for some reason.
THE DEVIL: Just give us a chance, guys. Hell - sorry, Brillzone - isn't like you see in the movies, and in video games. Nobody is going to push you into a lake of lava, unless you sign up for it. Nobody is going to jab you with a pitchfork, unless you ask them to. Most of the time we just bumble along, providing nobody tries to stop us doing what we love. We're not hurting anybody, unless they specifically request it.
THE DEVIL: When you're playing games like Doom, just remember that it's meant to be entertainment. It's not a documentary. If it were, every one of those demons you so gladly shoot at would have a life, hobbies, a home - just like everyone does. It's playing into their hands.
US: Thank you, Keith.
THE DEVIL: You're welcome. Have a good one, yeah.