Hellboy, as a concept, shouldn't work as well as it did in 2004. (Well, we saw what rebooting it in 2019 did....)
Mike Mignola's comic blends folklore, mythology, the paranormal and Lovecraftian horror, and needed a director who could take all that and make it visually appealing, and coherent to the layman. It also needed a lead actor who could portray the strength, vulnerability and humour needed for a main character who would put off the most conservative of viewer just by being a big red demon with the word 'hell' his name.
The winning combination of Guillermo del Toro's direction and Ron Perlman headlining made Hellboy from what could have been a dull, lifeless mess to a rich, funny, heartwarming, visually stunning story of a comic book hero that came years before the MCU made superheroes the norm.
Ron Perlman simply is Hellboy. He will always be Hellboy. Sorry David Harbour, but it's true.
With a cast rounded out by the master of bodily expression Doug Jones, a subdued but intense Selma Blair and the always wonderful late John Hurt, Hellboy really stands out as something special against the X-Men and Spider-Man movies of the same era.
This episode also includes a virtual interview with the co-writer of the screen story, Peter Briggs, who very kindly took some time out to answer some questions I sent him and recorded his responses. He can be found on Twitter @ThePeterBriggs. This is only the second interview he has ever done on Hellboy, so I'm delighted he was able to feature on this episode! The first interview is available here and is an interesting read!
Next week we conclude this double feature with Hellboy II: The Golden Army!
I would love to hear your thoughts on Hellboy! You can get in touch on
or you can email me general hellos, feedback or suggestions:
verbaldiorama [at] gmail [dot] com
Thank you to patrons Simon E, Sade, Jardiel, Claudia, Simon B, Laurel, Derek and special thanks to new Patron Jason, who's joined as a Ted Theodore Logan patron, for supporting Verbal Diorama!
My website is at https://verbaldiorama.com
Thanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:
Massive thank you to the wonderful Peter Briggs, co-writer of Hellboy (2004) @ThePeterBriggs for being involved in this episode.
@schoolofmovies, who also have a Hellboy episode, and it's phenomenal. I highly recommend you check it out!
Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song
Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook
Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)
Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
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