Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
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Hellboy (2004) Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
In the coldest regions of space, the monstrous entities Ogdru Jahad – the Seven Gods of Chaos – slumber in their crystal prison, waiting to reclaim the earth…and burn the Heavens.
Der Vermis Mysteriis, page 87.
With that very Lovecraftian beginning, one might expect a horror movie based on unnamable dread and certain doom. Instead, you get a movie about the power of choice.
Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (John Hurt) and the Indian head division stopped Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) from waking the Ogdru Jahad; but the portal created let something into our world, a red skinned infant with horns and a right hand made of stone. Professor Broom adopted the waif, and named him Hellboy. Now, sixty years later, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is grown, and Professor Broom is grown old, and both work for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. When asked what that was, Professor Broom answered this way,”In the absence of light, darkness prevails. There are things that go bump in the night, Agent Myers. Make no mistake about that. And we are the ones who bump back.”
Agent John Myers (Rupert Evans) is recruited to be Hellboy’s handler. He does not think he is up to the task, and there is some conflict between him and “Big Red”. He asks the Professor, Why him?
John Myers: He doesn't want me with him. I know that much. He respects Clay, not me.
Professor Broom: You're doing fine.
John Myers: No, I'm not. Look, I'm really sorry, but I'm not your guy.
Professor Broom: I'm dying, Agent Myers. Like any father, I worry about him.
Professor Broom: In medieval stories, there is often a young knight who is inexperienced, but pure of heart.
John Myers: Oh, come on. I am not pure of heart.
Abe Sapien: Yes, you are.
Professor Broom: Rasputin is back for him. What I'm asking of you is to have the courage to stand by him when I am gone. He was born a demon; we can't change that. But you will help him, in essence, to become a man.
Hellboy and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, Voiced by David Hyde Pierce) are the back bone of the BRPD’s investigation and interdiction force. Abe Sapien is basically the creature from the Black Lagoon with psychic powers, a genius intellect and a very sweet nature. He investigates Hellboy interdicts. On Myers first mission, they are called the Museum where something has been released from an ancient statue. Sammael, the hound of resurrection, is tough, agile, and strong, lays eggs in living flesh with its tongue, and when it is killed, arises again as two. Their first match is a draw; Hellboy killed it, but did not know about the rising again as two.
The last member of the core group is Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). Liz is a pyrokenetic; she starts fires with her mind. She is the object of all of Hellboy’s longing and desire. Liz begins the movie in an institution where she is receiving help controlling her condition. Liz is afraid to get close to anyone; her powers are lethal, and poorly controlled. Hellboy is self conscious about his appearance; that’s why he grinds his horns down, to fit in. Two quotes describe their relationship, and its potential best.
(Talking to Liz, re: his appearance)
Hellboy: I wish I could do something about this. But I can't. But I can promise you two things. One: I'll always look this good.
Hellboy: Two: I'll never give up on you... ever.
Liz: I like that.
Quote number Two: Hellboy (to the charred remains of Sammael) I'm fireproof, you're not.
Sammael is just part of a bigger plot. As they investigate and hunt, they are drawn deeper and deeper into the plot. Who is responsible? What do they want? Will Hellboy stop them? And who will end up with Liz? Myers or Hellboy? Will the looser still like the winner? Will he eat the winner?
I love this movie. It understands a few of the rules for successful Comic Book movies; first, you can not do this on the cheap. Your production values have to be the best. Second, never scrimp on the special effects. They got that one right; they pulled out all the stops; the special effects are stunning; the costuming is wonderful (nominated for the Saturn award) and the makeup unbelievable. This won the Saturn award. One important thing to remember as well, is the less human the hero looks, the more human he must be played. They handled that as well.
Nor do they scrimp on actors. Even the small parts are played well, if with a bit of over the top verve. That is to be expected. The movie is rather over the top.
The plot and pacing are superlative, the cinematography exquisite and moody, and the choreography of the fight scenes is amazing.
Basically, they knew they had a legendary tale, and spent the money to do it right.
It is riddled with running jokes; Hellboy eats six times a day; Myers and Clay shlep giant stacks of pancakes, vats of chili and spaghetti. Hellboy likes cats, one of his humanizing traits. He has a dozen, and in the middle of the subway fight, rescues a box of kittens, holding onto it while he puts the beatdown on Sammael.
Ultimately, though the real charm of this movie and this hero is this; Hellboy is a demon. He is a tool, to be used to destroy the world. And yet he is a hero. He had a loving father, who taught him right from wrong, and gave him the strength of character to make his own choices. And he chooses to do what is right, even when that is the hard choice, the painful choice. And that makes him a hero.
It's a comic AND a movie: Hellboy animated.
Hellboy: Blood and Iron.
Hellboy: Storm of Swords.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Hellboy: The Troll-Witch and Others.
The Master of the Macabre: H. P. Lovecraft
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dunwich Horror.
Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: At the Mountains of Madness
H.P. Lovecraft Collection III: Out of Mind
H.P. Lovecraft Collection I: Cool Air
Die Monster Die!
The Dunwich Horror
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
The Call of C'Thulhu (A Masterpiece!)
Dreams in the Witch House
Inspired by the Master's Hand:
The Courtyard by Alan Moore
In the Mouth of Madness
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older