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Hellboy (film)
Hellboy poster
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Writer(s): Guillermo Del Toro
Release Date: April 2, 2004
Running Time: 122 mins.
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Hellboy is a 2004 supernatural thriller film based on the Dark Horse Comics work Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola. A sequel entitled Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released on July 11, 2008.


The film begins in the year 1944, as the Nazis build a dimensional portal off the coast of Scotland during World War II. With the help of the resurrected Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, they intend to use it to free the Ogdru Jahad—monstrous serpentine entities imprisoned in another dimension—thinking that it will aid them in defeating the Allies. Rasputin, however, knows that this will instead be an apocalyptic event that he believes will create a new paradise. He succeeds in briefly opening the portal with the aid of his disciples, Ilsa von Haupstein and Obersturmbannführer Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Adolf Hitler's top assassin. A small Allied team is sent to destroy the portal, guided by young Professor Trevor Broom (Professor Bruttenholm in the comics), who is well-versed in the occult. In the ensuing battle, the German scientists and soldiers are killed and the portal is destroyed—in the process absorbing and apparently killing Rasputin—while Haupstein and Kroenen escape. Afterwards, the Allied team discovers an infant demon with a stone right hand who had come through the portal before its destruction; they affectionately dub it "Hellboy."

Sixty years later, young FBI agent John Myers is transferred to Broom's Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD); there he meets the adult Hellboy and a psychic, amphibious humanoid named Abe Sapien. He also learns that a third BPRD member, Liz Sherman, has recently checked into a mental hospital in an attempt to protect others from her volatile pyrokinetic abilities. Despite regular visits and coaxing from Hellboy, who appears infatuated with her, she is determined not to return.

Meanwhile, Kroenen and Haupstein resurrect Rasputin somewhere in the mountains in Moldova. The three travel to New York City's Machen Library of Paranormal Artifacts, where they unleash a monstrously powerful hellhound known as Sammael. Rasputin imbues Sammael with the power to reincarnate and split his essence, causing two of the creature's "eggs" to hatch and mature in seconds each time one dies. Rasputin then visits Liz as she sleeps, reactivating her powers and causing the near-total destruction of the hospital. Afterwards, Myers talks to her, and convinces her to return to the bureau, at least for the short term.

Sammael's ability to multiply quickly becomes a major problem, as Hellboy repeatedly kills it, creating dozens. During a hunt for the beast in the sewers of New York, Abe is injured during an attempt to retrieve some of their eggs, and Kroenen critically wounds one of the FBI agents sent with Hellboy, and Sammael devours the other two agents. Kroenen, whose mutilated body is now run by mechanic parts, then shuts himself down and pretends to be defeated just before Hellboy arrives. Kroenen's body is brought to the bureau for examination. FBI Director Tom Manning is angered by Hellboy's recklessness, which he feels is indirectly responsible for his agents' deaths. Hellboy gets mad and threatens Manning just as Liz returns, almost causing her to leave again just as quickly. Myers, in an effort to help her overcome her difficulties with Hellboy, takes her out for coffee and to talk. Hellboy, jealous, covertly follows them.

While they are away, Rasputin appears at the bureau, reanimating Kroenen before they confront Professor Broom. Out of twisted respect for Broom's protection and nurturing of Hellboy, Rasputin promises him a quick death, but first offers him a vision of the future, showing Hellboy is the agent that has destroyed the world. Rejecting Rasputin's vision of Hellboy's destiny, Broom is stabbed in the neck by Kroenen and, clutching a rosary, collapses and dies.

Manning takes over the B.P.R.D. and, with the help of Hellboy and the others, manages to find Rasputin's mausoleum in an old cemetery outside Moscow, Russia. A team led by Manning and Hellboy and a corpse named Ivan whom Hellboy resurrected as a guide enter the mausoleum, but swiftly become separated. Hellboy and Manning find their way to Kroenen's lair, where an enraged Hellboy, with Manning's help, defeats Kroenen once and for all, to avenge the death of his father. Telling Manning to stay back, Hellboy reunites with Liz and Myers at Sammael's nest to defend them, but the creatures overwhelm him. In an effort to help, Liz, with some encouragement from Myers, ignores the fear that has prevented her from unleashing her full potential and uses her pyrokinetic powers to encase herself in fire, which she uses to incinerate the army of Sammaels and all the eggs. Unfortunately, this effect renders Hellboy, Liz and Myers unconscious and they are captured by Rasputin.

To force Hellboy to release the Ogdru Jahad, Rasputin sucks Liz's soul out of her body, telling Hellboy that Liz will come back to life only if he complies. Hellboy, not wanting to lose Liz, awakens his true power as Anung un Rama, causing his horns to regrow. He nearly releases the Ogdru Jahad, but the injured Myers reminds him of who he is and that he has the right to choose his own path. Remembering his true self and what his father brought him up to be, Hellboy snaps off his horns, returning to his former self and resealing the Ogdru Jahad. As Rasputin screams his frustration and disappointment at Hellboy, Hellboy stabs him in the belly with one of his broken horns.

Rasputin has one last trick up his sleeve: he is possessed by a creature from the Ogdru Jahad. The tentacled Behemoth bursts out of Rasputin's body, grows to immense size, and kills Rasputin and Ilsa. Hellboy grabs a stone sword from a nearby statue and attacks the Behemoth's tentacles, then allows himself to be swallowed while detonating a belt of live hand grenades. The subsequent explosion tears the Behemoth apart from inside, destroying it. Liz's vital signs are gone when Hellboy returns from the fight, but he whispers into her ear, and suddenly her life is restored. When she asks how her soul was returned, Hellboy replies that he simply told the creatures from the other side the cost of taking her: "Hey, you on the other side. Let her go. Because for her I'll cross over, and then you'll be sorry." She and Hellboy kiss as she surrounds them in flame, and the narrator, Myers, says that what truly makes a man is "Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them."

Mid-credits there is a scene, where a forgotten and frightened Manning is lost several levels down in the dank and dim halls of the mausoleum, listening to maybe the rustle of footsteps, and looking to see if there's anyone around.


  • Ron Perlman as Hellboy
  • Selma Blair as Liz Sherman
  • Ladislav Beran as Karl Ruprecht Kroenen
  • Doug Jones as Abe Sapien
    • David Hyde Pierce as the voice of Abe Sapien
  • John Hurt as Professor Trevor Broom
  • Rupert Evans as John Myers
  • Karel Roden as Grigori Rasputin
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Tom Manning


The film was shot in Czech Republic.

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