Danny Trejo tours the Underworld

National Geographic made a documentary called “Map of Hell” and got Danny Trejo, aka “Machete”and other nefarious characters in films and on TV, to host and direct it. The results are surprisingly informative and refreshing.

Trejo begins with asking the audience, “What if I died?” He casually admits he’d probably go to hell. “But which hell?” he wonders. Thus begins his tour of historical perspectives on Hell, starting with the ancient Egyptians and ending in the present day.

The tour is pretty thorough for a general audience, too. The doc delves into the ancient Greeks’ view of where we go after we die (if we go anywhere), stops at points in time where the idea of Hell evolves through their cultural development, and continues on through a timeline of changing perspectives on the nature of Hell and who ends up there.

As someone who started out on a very bad life road and later changed his ways, Trejo makes the perfect host because he’s believable. The exploration of Purgatory alone is worth watching the film, perhaps especially for Catholics both active and lapsed. God knows I’ve forgotten most of what I learned in catechism classes in my early years. It was comforting to be reminded that Catholics are the ones who invented the second chance of Purgatory, and of how it works for both the living and the dead.

Danny Trejo, as he says in the doc, is (these days) a nice guy who smiles a lot and does all he can to help others. He’s right; check out his bio (Google is your friend). His willingness to imagine himself dead and headed for some sort of hell is admirable; not every actor would be willing to do that. Highly recommended.