David Harbour's Hellboy Is Abs-olutely Horrifying

What the hell is going on with Hellboy’s abs here?
What the hell is going on with Hellboy’s abs here?
Photo: Empire Magazine (Lionsgate)

It seems like it’s been ages since we got our first look at noted father figure David Harbour as the new take on Mike Mignola’s Hellboy or heard anything major about Lionsgate’s upcoming reboot of the beloved franchise. Thankfully, today, that changes.

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In a recent interview with Empire magazine, director Neil Marshall explained some of the logic behind the studio’s decision to go with a darker, more adult-oriented spin on Hellboy in order to differentiate this film from previous incarnations. And the magazine debuted a new image...

Empire’s full Hellboy image.
Empire’s full Hellboy image.
Photo: Empire Magazine (Lionsgate)
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This Hellboy, Marshall said, is so blood-soaked (and R-rated) in large part because those were the kinds of stories Mignola originally wrote:

“It was always a case of, ‘When in doubt, go back to the source material.’ Some of the stuff is pretty sick. More violent and more bloody. We weren’t making it with handcuffs on.”

As much as we all loved Ron Perlman’s Hellboy, there was a certain degree of lightheartedness that always made him a bit more lovable than his name let on. It’s interesting that Marshall’s choosing to at least partially try to play up some of the character’s more monstrous elements—something made clear by his much grimier, more demonic appearance here.

What’s really scary, though, is that when Hellboy bursts into theaters on April 12, 2019, it’s going to be impossible to look at his barrel chest and not see it as a humongous, throbbing heart.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

lightninglouie
lightninglouie

I like the Del Toro Hellboys a lot, especially the second one, but they really have nothing to do with Mignola’s comics beyond the character designs and some basic story concepts. That’s fine — Del Toro actually understands the various genres he’s playing with, unlike a lot of filmmakers, and the movies work really well as dark fantasy/cosmic horror fantasy stories in their own right, rather than adaptations. And to be fair, there’s not a whole lot to adapt in the early comics — he’s not super-lovable or emotionally vulnerable like the Perlman version, coming off as more of a generic tough guy, especially in the first miniseries with Byrne scripting (ugh — really glad Mignola trusted his own storytelling instincts after that).

I’m not 100% sure about the Marshall version, but damn, Harbour really seems to get the character — he’s a monster, and not a cuddly one at that, but the sort of guy who’d probably give you nightmares if you saw him coming down the street. If they can represent the raw minimalism and Lovecraftian horror of the Mignola version it’ll be pretty damn amazing.