One of the hallmarks of DC’s long-running Hellblazer comics was the trope that whatever gets close to protagonist John Constantine tends to come to a dismal end, whether those are friends, lovers, or NBC shows bearing his name. This is partly because Constantine is not really a good guy. Sure, he (largely) fights for good, but rarely at the expense of self-preservation. At his core, Hellblazer’s John Constantine was a complicated, bisexual, chain-smoking magic addict–qualities that double as strong reasons why that version of the character would never make it to network television undiluted.

Luckily for fans of Hellblazer’s “magnificent bastard” Constantine, there’s John Constantine: Hellblazer - The Soul Play, a short fan film “made for a fraction of the cost of a single FX shot of the Constantine TV show” by Waking Dream Studios in Mansfield, England. Structured like a classic Hellblazer one-shot, it sees Constantine gambling with his soul and the souls of his friends in the company of a group of low-level demons. It’s a low-budget affair and the acting is stilted in spots, but it screams “labor of love,” and more importantly, captures the essence of the classic comics in a way the show seems incapable of replicating. Forewarning: The language is very not safe for work.

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[via io9]