Whatever they're looking at, there's only one proper response: "Oh, crap."
"As you entered the lobby, there was an inscription: '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."Guillermo del Toro
— Dr. Trevor Bruttenholm
's films based on Mike Mignola's comicbook series
, starring Ron Perlman
as the big red guy, Doug Jones
and David Hyde Pierce
as Abe Sapiennote
, and Selma Blair as Liz Sherman. They take a lot of liberties with the source material (which Mignola himself was perfectly fine with), to the point where it's better to think of them as an Alternate Continuity
rather than an adaptation.
In the final days of World War II
, the Nazis and Grigori Rasputin
open a portal to the Void, attempting to summon the Ogdru Jahad
to destroy the world. Allied soldiers, with the help of occult expert Trevor Bruttenholm, destroy the portal, but not before something comes through: A baby demon. Bruttenholm adopts him and the soldiers of the unit name him "Hellboy."
Sixty years later, Hellboy is one of the best agents in the US government's top-secret Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, alongside Abe Sapien (a fish-man
with Psychic Powers
) and Liz Sherman (a pyrokinetic
who vacillates between wanting to be on the B.P.R.D. and wanting to be a normal human
). They're joined by Naïve Newcomer
FBI agent John Myers, who was chosen specifically by Professor Bruttenholm to provide the moral support for Hellboy to become a man.
And Hellboy will need all the support he can get: Rasputin has been resurrected by his lover Ilsa Haupstein and his personal assassin
Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. The villainous trio frees the hellhound Sammael
, as the first step in a plan to force Hellboy to fulfill his destiny and destroy the world.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
It's been a few years since the last movie. Myers has been (literally) Reassigned to Antarctica
. Hellboy and Liz are an Official Couple
, but their relationship is going through a rough patch. Hellboy, chafing under the bureaucratic leadership of Tom Manning, decides to break the Masquerade and reveals himself to the public
—but the public's reaction
is far less pleasant than he expects. To rein Hellboy in, the B.P.R.D. upper brass sends Johann Krauss (a spirit medium
who's been reduced to ectoplasm) to take leadership of the team.
Meanwhile, Abe meets a nice elf girl, Princess Nuala of Bethmoora, and they hit off quite well. Unfortunately, her twin brother Prince Nuada has declared war on humanity
. He plans to reawaken the Golden Army
—invincible automatons that nearly drove humanity to extinction the first time they were used—and he kills just about everyone who stands between him and the crown that would allow him to control the Army.
It falls to Hellboy and his pals to stop Nuada, but given the way humanity's been treating them lately, our heroes can't help but feel a little sympathy for the genocidal Jerk Ass
. And as if this wasn't enough, Liz finds out she's pregnant
, which... worries her.
A third film was reportedly in the conceptual stage, but del Toro recently announced that it would "probably not
" be happening, as there were no studios interested in financing it.
These films provide examples of:
open/close all folders
- Adaptation Distillation: Hellboy is a rough condensation of the plots of Seed of Destruction, The Right Hand of Doom, and Box Full of Evil, with a sprinkle of Wake the Devil. Hellboy's character design was also slightly modified, as in the comics he has cloven hooves instead of feet. The producers also worried about having to change the Right Hand of Doom to a Left Hand of Doom before casting Perlman, who is ambidextrous.
- Adaptation Expansion: Professor Bruttenholm's relationship with Hellboy (as father-son) gets a lot more focus here than in the comics.
- Adaptational Badass: In the graphic novels, Kroenen was just a gas-masked Nazi with a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. The first movie turned him into a Surgery Addicted Clockwork Nazi Cyborg Assassin with a taste for arm blades...and a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate.
- Affably Evil: Rasputin allows Professor Bruttenholm a moment to prepare for his death and assures him that it will be quick. And it is. Kroenen generally preferred efficiency over sadism anyway, but still. Considering that the professor was terminally ill, it may even have counted as a Mercy Kill. Their little theology discussion beforehand, while decidedly antagonistic, was still very civilized.
- And I Must Scream: Kroenen wasn't killed by being impaled in the gear pit. Hellboy had to throw in a giant gear to finish him off.
- Angels, Devils and Squid: Hellboy's devilishness and the Lovecraftian elements are obvious; angels don't appear directly, but their dried tears kept Sammael's essence restrained until his release and religious icons possess holy power.
- Art Imitates Art: A brief video clip of Hellboy copies the famous film footage of Bigfoot.
- Ascended Extra: Bruttenholm and Kroenen get much larger roles here than in the original comics.
- Asshole Victim: The little kids who taunted and threw rocks at Liz when she was a child, triggering the self-defense explosion that killed them. True they were little kids... but they were little kids throwing rocks at another kid. Little kids or not you really cannot feel bad for them AT ALL.
- Asteroids Monster / Explosive Breeder: Sammael. It lays a lot of eggs, and every time it gets killed, two of those eggs hatch and immediately grow to adulthood. Nothing short of firebombing all the adults and all the eggs simultaneously can stop them.
- Audience Surrogate: Myers. Most viewers agreed that one was not necessary, hence his absence from the second film.
- Bad Moon Rising: After Rasputin forces Hellboy to use his giant right hand to unlock the Tunguska door by sucking out Liz's soul, the door sends some kind of energy ray to the moon, which turns into a portal to let the Ogdru Jahad enter the world.
- Bedtime Brainwashing: The villain did this to Liz, resulting in Liz burning the entire asylum.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Grigori Rasputin as master mystic. Granted, even many of his contemporaries thought there was something weird about him. Also, Adolf Hitler as an accomplished mystic. Early in the movie, Bruttenholm briefs Myers on the Occult Wars which happened with the Nazis acquired mystical artifacts (such as the Spear of Longinus) and ended when Hitler finally died in 1958. Myers corrects him, saying Hitler died in 1945; Bruttenholm simply gives an amused "Did he now?"
- Bigger Bad: The Ogdru Jahad.
- Bigger on the Inside: Rasputin's Tomb.
- Big Eater: Hellboy, if the massive plates of food brought into his room six times a day are any indication.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Kroenen's preferred weapon.
- Bodybag Trick: Used by Kroenen to infiltrate B.P.R.D. headquarters.
- Book Ends: The first movie begins and ends with a monologue asking "What defines a man?"
- Bullying a Dragon: Yeah, throw rocks at the pre-teen pyrokinetic. Real smart, kids.
- Came Back Wrong: Rasputin returns from the Void with An Eldritch Abomination in his stomach. Although it's not technically "wrong" as far as his side is concerned.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Sammael is called a hellhound. He does not resemble a dog in any way (except his canine teeth.)
- Color-Coded Characters: Hellboy has a red light on his communicator, Abe has blue. Those colors are also their B.P.R.D. callsigns.
- Combat Tentacles: Behemoth uses them in its fight with Hellboy.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Sammael.
- Cosmic Horror Story / Lovecraft Lite: If anything, the movies are even more upfront with the Lovecraft influence: Mignola's Ogdru Jahad were reptilian, while del Toro's are betentacled crustaceans.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: Hellboy's first fight with Sammael leaves his right hand on fire. He lights a cigar with it before putting the fire out.
- Covered with Scars: Kroenen
- Crystal Prison: The Ogdru Jahad's prison.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Hellboy's dialogue is laced with some of the snarkiest deadpanning of any film in the 21st century thus far. Professor Bruttenholm gets a pretty good one in 1944, so apparently that's where he got it from.
- Liz also has rather snarky moments, and given her depressing background, this makes sense.
- Deal with the Devil: Inverted: Hellboy briefly submits to his true form in order to get the love of his life's soul back (long story short, Grigori Rasputin steals her soul, stating that he can only get her soul back to her if he opens the gate).
- Description Cut: Tom Manning states on TV that the B.P.R.D. does not exist. There's then an immediate cut to an establishing shot of B.P.R.D. headquarters.
- Dual Tonfas: The bladed version is Kroenen's weapon of choice.
- Dull Surprise: Selma Blair's portrayal of Liz Sherman. Justified, as she's supposed to be depressed and heavily medicated due to her tragic past, and she gets much better in the second film, after she finally comes to terms with her emotions and powers.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Rasputin's crazy Clock Punk mausoleum.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Ogdru Jahad, Sammael, and Behemoth (that thing that crawled out of Rasputin's stomach).
- Exploited Immunity: The title character's immunity to fire comes up a few times:
- Hellboy defeats a demon by grabbing a live subway rail. He's fine (because he's fireproof), but the demon is less fortunate.
- When Hellboy is fighting swarms of Sammaels, Liz the pyrokinetic releases a fire blast that took all the Sammaels down while leaving Hellboy intact.
- Extra Eyes: Sammael has three eyes, two on the right side of its head, and one slightly larger on the left.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Kinda. After revealing his plan to the Professor as well as the knowledge that they would kill him afterwards, Rasputin assures him that his death will be quick and painless. Seconds later, Kroenen swiftly stabs him through the back of his neck, at the top of the spinal cord, killing him instantly.
- Gas Mask, Longcoat: Kroenen
- Ghostapo / Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The first movie doesn't even start to show off the Nazis' capabilities with a Clockwork Nazi assassin. World War II was simply the public face of the decades-long "Occult Wars" which began shortly after World War I and lasted until the Allies finally killed Hitler in 1958. Only Mignola knows how America Saved the Day.
- Good Hurts Evil: When Hellboy regrows his horns and is briefly evil, the crucifix from his rosary leaves a burn mark on his hand.
- Groin Attack: When the Professor is recalling the history of Rasputin he mentions that when Rasputin died the first time he was castrated as part of his death by Humiliation Conga.
- Happily Adopted: He may have had rows with the Professor in the movie but its obvious Hellboy loved him like any son would.
- Heart in the Wrong Place: Kroenen doesn't seem to have a working heart or blood in the film adaptation, but the clockwork device that keeps his body going ... somehow ... is in the upper left side of his chest.
- Hellgate: Rasputin's portal to the Void.
- Hellhound: Sammael. Though he looks more like a cross between a Thanator and a Predalien than an actual dog.
- High Voltage Death: Double Subverted when Hellboy is battling Sammael the first time. Hellboy grabs the third rail of a subway. He just gets a little jolted, but Sammael gets barbecued. Hellboy then lights a cigar off a flaming bit of Sammael stuck to his stone hand.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Rasputin, obviously, though his villainy didn't start until after his historical death.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: When Liz is still having problems accessing her powers, she goads Meyers with this.
- Ignore The Disability: Clay warns Myers not to stare at Hellboy's filed horns. With predictable result.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Liz. Hellboy too, to an extent. He sands his horns to fit in and generally likes to pal around with the other B.P.R.D. agents when he's not working.
- I Know Your True Name: Invoked and played with, as Rasputin knows Hellboy's real name, Professor Bruttenholm most likely knows but refuses to say it, and the viewer is left wondering if Hellboy himself knows right up until his final confrotation with Rasputin. Turns out, Hellboy does know his demonic name: Anung Un Rama.note
- In-Series Nickname: Hellboy has two: "HB" and "Red".
- Involuntary Group Split: A varation, with raising walls.
- It Always Rains at Funerals: During Professor Bruttenholm's funeral.
- Kiss of Death: Rasputin gives it to Liz. It's not death for her, but for all the other inmates of the looney bin she's in, cause it makes her fire power go haywire and blow up the whole building.
- Kiss of Life: Hellboy to Liz.
- Knife Nut: Kroenen. Not only does he love his Dual Tonfas, but when he's shown without his trenchcoat, he's got several knives strapped to his arms and legs.
- Like a Badass out of Hell: Rasputin. Hellboy himself, especially at the end, when he saves Liz.
Hellboy: I said "Hey, you on the other side; let her go. 'Cause for—[chokes back a sob]—for her I'll cross over...and then you'll be sorry."
- Love Triangle: Between Liz, Hellboy and Myers (who seems to vacillate between trying to reconcile Liz and Hellboy and falling for Liz himself).
- Masquerade: Hellboy, the B.P.R.D., and the occult are all kept secret from the public, and one of Tom Manning's jobs is to appear on TV and deny that they exist.
- Malevolent Architecture: Kroenen's Living Labyrinth (actually Rasputin's Tomb) comes complete with Spikes of Doom and Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom.
- Naïve Newcomer: Myers.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Kroenen is a Nazi clockwork zombie cyborg assassin who can sprout blades from his
- Nurture Over Nature: The core of Hellboy's character, as he was created to herald the return of various Eldritch Abominations but was raised by a good man.
- One-Liner: "I'm fireproof. You're not." And "I'm gonna be sore in the morning..." Made all the better because this was the last line Ron Perlman recited while working on the film. The cast and crew gave him a standing ovation.
- Out of the Frying Pan: After resisting Rasputin's temptation to summon an eldritch abomination to Earth, Hellboy kills Rasputin—which allows another abomination, hiding inside Ras'—to begin wreaking havoc.
- Pedestrian Crushes Car: Hellboy punches an oncoming car with his stone fist to save Myers who is lying on the road, causing it to flip over them both.
- Piggybacking on Hitler: Rasputin.
- Power Incontinence: Liz's pyrokinesis blew up an entire city block when she was eight years old. Later in life Rasputin uses that memory to have Liz destroy the mental institution she was living in while she was asleep. It's the biggest reason she's afraid of her power.
- Product Placement: For Baby Ruth bars in the first one, but, as in Back to the Future, the wrapper on Prof. Broom's bar is from the right era.
- Rasputinian Death: Rasputin, obviously. And he's still not technically dead.
- Removing The Earpiece: Done twice by HB in the first movie. The second time, it leads to several redshirts getting killed while he couldn't be reached.
- Screw Destiny: Hellboy was born to bring about the Apocalypse. After Myers reminds Hellboy that he has a choice, Hellboy tells Rasputin what he thinks of his destiny by ripping off his own horns and stabbing Rasputin in the gut with them.
- Self-Harm: Kroenen severely mutilates himself and he survives it only thanks to some kind of black magic.
- Supernormal Bindings: Rasputin binds Hellboy in stocks and chains inscribed with Hellboy's true name. The only way for Hellboy to break these bindings is to say his name, tacitly submitting to his destiny as Prince of Hell and bringer of the apocalypse. Of course, making Hellboy fulfill this destiny is Rasputin's entire goal.
- Tastes Like Friendship: Baby Ruth bars in the first movie. Also, milk and cookies from a nine-year-old kid.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Ilsa, Kroenen and von Klempt.
- The Tunguska Event: Rasputin's giant rock, sent to Earth by the Ogdru Jahad, was the cause of the Tunguska explosion.
- Unfazed Everyman: Myers. Once he adjusts, he's pretty much unfazed by the rest of the movie.
- Villain Teleportation: Used by Rasputin.
- Welcomed To The Masquerade: The movie begins with Agent Myers being brought in to the BPRD, a paranormal investigation unit. Downplayed in that his FBI skills don't do him any good against the various monsters and ancient evils they meet up with. He was only brought in to keep tabs on the title character.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out if Clay survived his stabbing (but it's strongly implied that he wouldn't).
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Hellboy almost became this after Rasputin killed Liz in front of him and sent her soul into the Ogdru Jahad realm in order for him to force him to become the beast of the apocalypse and unlock the portal. The only reason he didn't is because Myers managed to get him to snap out of it by reminding him of what he once was.
- Yawn and Reach: Lampshaded
Kid: Look! He's yawning! He's ''bored!
Hellboy: Yeah, yeah, the ol' "stretch and yawn trick." Watch and learn, kid.
- You Are Worth Hell
Ilsa: (to Rasputin, seconds before death) Hell will hold no surprises for us, my love.
- "You Killed My Father! Your ass is mine!"
- Your Costume Needs Work: A little Biting-the-Hand Humor on Hellboy's part during his first adult appearence.
Hellboy: I hate those comic books, they never get the eyes right.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
- Adrenaline Makeover: Liz in a big way.
- All Trolls Are Different: The trip to the Troll Market in the second movie illustrates this point magnificently. They're all different from each other.
- Aliens in Cardiff: In their search for the Golden Army, a force that can conquer the Earth, the protagonists end up in... County Antrim.
- Anti-Villain: Nuada. He's spent centuries, possibly millennia, watching the mythical creatures that once ruled the world fade into the background as humans expanded, and the royal family has been reduced to ruling from sewers. He wants to take the planet back from the humans in the name of the fey beings before their kind dies out completely.
- Art Shift: The opening exposition is depicted as a massive war between carved puppets, illustrating how young Hellboy's imagination pictures the human/Fair Folk conflict his foster father describes. This allows the actual appearance of the various fey races to be dramatically revealed later in the movie.
- Astral Projection: Johann Kraus' ability...or, rather, nature.
- At the Crossroads: "I am his Death, and I will meet him at every crossroads."
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Dr. Krauss in The Golden Army.
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: Troll Market.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Hellboy finds out the hard way that being famous isn't all it's cracked up to be.
- Bigger on the Inside: Fairy cities (Troll Market, Bethmoora) seem to operate exclusively on this principle.
- Binding Ancient Treaty: Prince Nuada bases his war plans on humanity's breach of one of these.
- Bittersweet Ending: Nuala kills herself to stop her brother from stabbing Hellboy in the back. Regardless of whether you interpreted her sacrifice as heroic or pointless, it was still pretty bitter.
- Blade on a Stick: Nuada's preferred weapon.
- Broken Angel: The dying plant elemental.
- Broken Masquerade: A frustrated Hellboy deliberately sets himself up to get blasted out of a building...and lands right in front of camera crews from what appear to be every TV station in New York state. When a horrified Manning asks what he's done, Hellboy nonchantly replies "Guess we're out."
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Liz gets hit with this hard, as apparently no one had any idea it could happen. Given that it's been several years since she and Hellboy became romantically involved, it apparently took a while for the genetics to match up right.
- Captain Obvious: "The Troll Market! As you may know, trolls live under bridges —"
Hellboy: Hey! genius! There are over 2000 bridges in New York.
Abe: — (but research) indicates a location under the eastern end of the Brooklyn bridge!"
- The Cast Showoff: Ron Perlman and Doug Jones both actually have decent singing voices, which makes their hilarious, slightly off-key duet fall squarely under Stylistic Suck.
- Chekhov's Gun: The legend of the Golden Army. It describes how whomever wears the crown has the power to command the Golden Army, if unchallenged. Near the end of the movie, when all seems hopeless for the heroes, Hellboy remembers the legend and challenges Nuada for the right to wear the crown, forcing the Army to temporarily halt while setting the stage for the final battle between them.
- Color-Coded Characters: Like in the first film, Hellboy has a red light on his communicator, Abe has blue. Liz has a gold/yellow one, and Krauss has white.
- Convenient Color Change: The Golden Army glows red once they are activated by Prince Nuada. When Johann takes control of one soldier, it glows blue. How else would you know it's him and he's good?
- Costume Porn: The elves and the trolls in the Golden Army. Especially Nuada and Nuala.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Critics have pointed out that most of the second half of the film could have been solved easily if Nuala had just asked the B.P.R.D. to help her destroy the last crown piece - without that, Nuada wouldn't be able to wake the army in any case. It's particularly frustrating when Liz is easily able to melt the full crown at the end, begging the question of why they didn't simply do that earlier.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Nuada vs. the guards and his first encounter with Hellboy. Justified in that Hellboy had been pretty hammered in the first fight, having been drinking heavily after Liz wanted to separate, and was barely able to walk down stairs without stumbling. The second fight is much more closely matched.
- Did Not Think This Through: Hellboy outing himself in the hopes of becoming a celebrity of some sort. It doesn't work out for him.
- Drowning Our Romantic Sorrows: "You're in love. Have a beer."
- Evil Albino: Prince Nuada.
- The Evil Prince: Nuada again.
- Eyeless Face / Eyes Do Not Belong There: The Angel of Death: eyes on its wings instead of its face.
- Exact Words: Only a "prince" may challenge Nuada for control of the Golden Army. When Hellboy challenges him, he snubs it off because he is not "royalty". Then his sister reminds him that Hellboy is the son of the King of Darkness, the "Fallen One" and is technically royalty, meaning that he must accept Hellboy's challenge at the climax of the film.
- Hellboy promises not to Kill Nuada, as he knows it would kill his sister, who his friend Abe is in love with. However he didn't say anything about not kicking his ass, which he does with glee.
- Fair Folk: The Elf world and troll world are explicitly thus. Prince Nuada of Bethmoora is specifically the prince of the Tuatha De Danaan. And the tooth fairies.
- Fake Crossover: A series of TV ads for The Golden Army showed Hellboy interacting with James Lipton, Chuck, and the Ghost Hunters, and appearing in American Gladiators and a PSA.
- Fantastic Fragility: Destroy or disassemble the Golden Crown, and the Golden Army becomes inert.
- Fantastic Racism: Hellboy experiences hatred and prejudice. He also takes an immediate dislike towards Krauss, which he claims is because Germans make him "nervous". Given how he first came to this dimension and Kroenen in the previous film, is there any wonder why? And Prince Nuada doesn't view humans in a favorable light because of their wanton destruction of the environment.
- Fertile Blood: When the plant elemental is killed, its blood blankets the city and sprouts moss, grass, and flowers.
- Flanderization: Tom Manning. In the first movie, while not a very good field leader, he was still a competent bureaucrat; he and Hellboy butted heads but ultimately gained a bit of respect for each other, and bonded over cigars. The second movie made him almost completely incompetent, and reduced him to bribing Hellboy with cigars to keep him in line. Maybe justified by the fact that, without the professor, there is no one who can truly keep Hellboy from doing something stupid.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Mr. Wink.
- Foreign Cuss Word: Kraus, after reprimanding him about radio silence during a covert operation, said in an undertone "schmutziger Affe", which is German for "dirty ape" (Stylistically more correct would be "dreckiger Affe", but compared to the butchering of German in other films, its more or less OK). And at the end of the film, when Hellyboy, Liz, Abe and Krauss decided to leave the B.P.R.D., Krauss told Manning to "suck my ectoplasmic schwanzstucker". The word "Schwanzstucker" doesn't exist in German, but it contains the German word "Schwanz", which is "tail" and a mildly obscene word for the penis. Could also double as Getting Crap Past the Radar. In the German dub the word "Schwanzstück" is used, which sounds REALLY awkward, but stylistically correct. This was probably a del Toro Shout-Out to Young Frankenstein.
- Four Element Ensemble: In Hellboy 2, we have...
- Air: Krauss
- Water: Abe
- Fire: Liz
- Earth: Hellboy (the loosest association, mostly because he has the rocky Right Hand of Doom. He is also rational and down to earth character, much more than strict but capricious Krauss.)
- Fragile Speedster: Prince Nuada, especially in comparison to Hellboy.
- Funny Background Event: Check out the monster-wrangling in the background when Abe and Manning are walking down the hall.
- Glamour Failure: The Spectacles cause this, allowing the person wearing them to see the "true nature of things".
- Gratuitous German: Johann Krauss, whenever he feels like insulting someone. Seth Macfarlane, who played Johann, actually speaks decent German.
- Half-Identical Twins: Nuada and Nuala are both very pretty with the same white hair.
- Hat of Power: The crown which allows its wearer to control the Golden Army.
- Healing Factor: The Golden Army's soldiers are virtually indestructible due to their ability to reassemble themselves completely despite being broken up into a thousand pieces.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Mr. Wink dies this way.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Abe Sapien, you Genre Blind fool. The fact that said hostage and the Big Bad had a Synchronization makes an especially dumb move. He can't actually hurt the hostage without hurting himself. And if he were willing to do so, he could do it from the other side of the planet by hurting himself directly. However, the heroes didn't know this, and had no way of knowing that Nuada was probably bluffing.
- Humans Are Bastards: Pretty much every normal human outside the B.P.R.D. treats Hellboy and his group like unstable monsters. This is probably why they end up quitting. Which is strange, given that a lot of people were quite enthusiastic about Hellboy in the first. A possible explanation is while they enjoyed the urban legends about Hellboy, even making an in-universe comic-book about him, being confronted by the truth that he really does exist was simply too much for people to handle. And Nuada's Freudian Excuse revolves around his (not entirely untrue) belief that humans are this.
- Humans Are Flawed: The main reason we're bastards is because we were created with a void in our hearts causing an endless greed.
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Hellboy gets guilt-tripped over this here.
- Intangible Man: Krauss outside of his suit. Used for an amusing sequence when he beats up Hellboy using locker doors.
- Irish Names: Nuala is actually a real name, but it's not pronounced like it is in the film. The correct pronounciation sounds more like "Noo-la"
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Hellboy tends to overdo it, throwing his witnesses across the room before he's gotten any information.
Hellboy: Where'd they get the tooth fairies?
Baby-Like Tumour: We'll never talk. Never, ever, ever.
Hellboy: Feeling a bit chatty now, are we?
Troll: I'll talk! Only don't hit me, anymore.
Baby-Like Tumour: Chick-en..!
- The Juggernaut: The Golden Army, do to their ability to reassemble themselves.
- Keystone Army: The Golden Army, with Nuada's crown as the keystone.
- Kill All Humans: Nuada's goal.
- Killer Rabbit: The tooth fairies.
Krauss: Poor creature. Starved, bought and sold on the black market—
Hellboy: Yeah, right. He bit off part of my tail!
- Last of His Kind: A bit of a plot point with the faerie creatures. Nuada and Nuala, being psychically linked, certainly seem to be the last prince(ss)es of the Elves. Then there's the Plant Elemental.
- Left Stuck After Attack: Hellboy ducks under Mr.Wink's fist on a chain and it lands in some kind of ore grinder, eventually pulling Wink himself in.
- Literally Shattered Lives: The elves die this way.
- Masquerade: The Fair Folk and other supernatural elements walk around unseen protected by an aura of glamour.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Golden Army, though unlike your normal Mooks, they're all Implacable Bots and Nigh Invulnerable.
- Morph Weapon: Nuada's Blade on a Stick magically grows longer during his duel with Hellboy, nearly spearing his opponent by surprise.
- Nature Spirit / Physical God: The plant elemental that Nuada sics on Hellboy.
- No OSHA Compliance: The furnaces of Bethmoora.
- No Shirt, Long Jacket: Hellboy, moreso here than the first movie.
- Not So Different: Hellboy's similarity to the Plant Elemental, as well as to Nuada himself, is brought up several times.
- Our Angels Are Different: Not as out-there as the ones from the comics, Angel of Death borrows from Arabic myth and has its eyes on its six wings instead of its face.
- Our Elves Are Better: Elves rule a secret kingdom of The Fair Folk and all appear albino with somewhat cracked-looking skin. Twins are linked psychically and if one dies the other dies too. They also turn into stone upon dying for some reason.
- Our Fairies Are Different: They're mostly either The Fair Folk or Fluffy the Terrible.
- Our Monsters Are Different: And they are, being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world.
- Perpetual-Motion Monster: The Golden Army.
- Pet the Dog: In several instances Prince Nuada was kind to members of species other than the humans he despises, including a dog. He also seems genuinely upset when his Dragon is killed. Justified by the fact that his big problem is with humans overrunning the planet and pushing out other species. Hellboy loves cats.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Hellboy and Mr. Wink. Also, Hellboy and Krauss against the Golden Army.
- Pulling Themselves Together: The Golden Army.
- Put on a Bus: Hellboy has Myers shipped to Antarctica before the start of the film.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery: Prince Nuada.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Literally. Poor, poor John Myers. The cynical way to look at this is that Hellboy removed any impediment to his and Liz's relationship; a more idealistic one is that he was trying to keep Myers safe. Of course, given the Lovecraftian overtones of this franchise, being sent to Antarctica might not help...
Hellboy: He said he liked the cold!
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: In The Golden Army notably, Hellboy's brashness and emotional volatility contrasts with Abe's apprehensive thoughtfulness.
- Rocket Punch: Mr. Wink. Crosses over with Artificial Limbs.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Nuada prefers to do everything personally. This might have something to do with the fact that literally everyone else refuses to do anything.
- Sequel Non-Entity: Myers' absence from the second movie is explained by his reassignment to Antarctica. His story in general counts as a Shaggy Dog Story, since he was supposed to look after Hellboy once Bruttenholm died and Red himself had him reassigned.
- Shout-Out: In a shout out to John Landis, a movie marquee See You Next Wednesday.
- Shower of Angst: Hellboy has a short one in the sequel after Liz tells him she's leaving for a while.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: A feature of the elves in the film.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Hellboy and the audience come to see that Prince Nuada has some legitimate grievances against humanity. He's still a sadistic dick in how he responds.
- Synchronization: Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Liz isn't particularly tomboyish in the first film, but with her snarky attitude and combat boots becomes the tomboy to regal, demure Princess Nuala.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Hellboy spends the first half of the film being rather unkind to those around him, even his best friend (Abe Sapien) and girlfriend (Liz). Even compared to the first film he seemed to be tripping on an It's All About Me phase. This eventually blows up in his face when making his existence known to the world doesn't work out as well as he thought it would, which humbles him considerably.
- True Blue Femininity: Princess Nuala. Her main color is blue (with gold accents and a gold dress later).
- Turn in Your Badge: HB and pals hand in their belts and (most of) their guns to announce their resignation from the B.P.R.D.
- Twin Telepathy: Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala. Exaggerated, since this is constantly active, leading Nuada right to Nuala.
- Twincest: Del Toro's DVD commentary as well as the actor that plays Nuada say that Nuada and Nuala had something going on, and the library scene had rather interesting implications.
- Ungrateful Bastard: In the second movie, most bystanders immediately go accuse the B.P.R.D. as freaks after just having been saved from a plant elemental! Then again, Hellboy was jumping around and scaling buildings to fight that thing while juggling an infant, and not always very carefully, either. Infant Immortality or not, can you say, "shaken baby syndrome?"
- Uniqueness Value: The plant elemental in The Golden Army.
- The Unmasqued World: In the second movie, Hellboy reveals himself, which causes Tom Manning no end of grief.
- Villainous Friendship: Prince Nuada is genuinely fond of Mr. Wink. In fact, when he goes to confront Hellboy about the latter's death, all he says is, "You'll pay for what you did to my friend back there."
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Nuada.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Nuada, sort of.
- Worf Had the Flu: Hellboy loses his first fight with Nuada due in no small part to the fact that he's completely hammered, and even then, he holds his own until he's distracted. During the rematch, sober Hellboy holds his own until he can grab Nuada.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Inverted; Nuada never actually says he'll let them go. Even then, only Abe's surprised.
- YouTube: A constant pain in Manning's ass, since, before the reveal, people first take money from him to suppress the video, then post it on YouTube anyway.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. Abraham Sapien went from reasonably handsome◊ (if fishy) in the comics and animated movies to a much more inhuman, fish-like appearance◊ in the films.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Liz has black hair in the films instead of auburn like the comics and animated movies.
- All Myths Are True: The premise of the series.
- All of the Other Reindeer: "Hey, Hellboy! You ugly!"
- Alternate Continuity: Mignola said in one of his interviews that he felt that the way he did Hellboy was just one interpretation, and he didn't want the movie to be a rehash of that, so he let del Toro interpret the franchise his own way for the movies.
- Always Save the Girl: Averted in the first film (Hellboy saves the world instead of Liz, then saves Liz anyway through sheer badassery); justified with Liz in the second (given how well Hellboy's been able to Screw Destiny so far, Liz's decision to save him—even though he's prophesied to end the world—makes sense) but Abe does it in standard fashion. Hellboy immediately calls him on it, and Abe promptly retorts that he would do the same for Liz. They seem on pretty good terms when they're done.
- The Antichrist: Hellboy, though he's not too keen on the idea and becomes an Anti Anti Christ.
- Author Appeal: The first film has a strong influence from Mike Mignola, with Nazis, eldritch abominations and a very dark, Gothic tone. The second film is more fantastical, owing to director Guillermo del Toro's input, especially in terms of the Troll Market's inhabitants.
- Badass: Hellboy, Liz and Nuada, to name a few.
- Badass Bookworm: Abe
- Badass Longcoat: Hellboy in the standard-issue B.P.R.D. trenchcoats. Kroenen in his black leather Nazi trenchcoat. Also Rasputin in his intricately embroidered coat.
- Berserk Button: Lets just say that Hellboy catching you trying to eat a cat is not going to end well.
- BFG: The Big Baby in The Golden Army. The Samaritan in the first movie. Its bullets are large enough that they hardly even qualify as 'bullets' anymore, being more akin to small artillery shells.
- Bloodless Carnage: During the fight scenes, Guillermo del Toro uses everything but blood: sweat, Sammael spittle, slime, gumballs, and coins from a pay-phone are just a few examples. The only bloodshed that occurs in either of the two movies is symbolic.
- Bond One-Liner: Hellboy is fond of these. "I'm fireproof... you're not."
- Brains and Brawn: Abe and Hellboy, especially in the first movie.
- Burning with Anger: Liz, when she's angry at Hellboy. Or about to go whup some ass. Either or.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the first two movies, Roger the Homunculus is visible in a display case in the B.P.R.D. hallways. Rumor has it, he'll be an important character in Hellboy III.
- Clock Punk: So, so much.
- Clockwork Creature: Kroenen is a clockwork Nazi. Also, the Golden Army is Nigh Invulnerable because they are made of giant wind-up gears and can piece themselves together.
- Covert Group with Mundane Front: B.P.R.D.'s headquarters are disguised as a waste disposal facility; the transports for HB and Abe are disguised as garbage trucks.
- Crazy Cat Demon-man: Hellboy has dozens of cats, it's one of the things he and Liz fight about in the second movie.
- Crossover Cosmology: Much like the original comics. Devils, Lovecraftian horrors, fairy-tale creatures, and God is implied to exist as well.
- Cute Kitten: Hellboy loves kittens. There's even a scene in the first movie where he goes out of his way to save a box of kittens from falling to their deaths during a fight with Sammael. Reprised in the second movie where he's supposed to be spying on a troll, but disobeys orders and breaks cover to prevent her from eating a kitten.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Hellboy himself, though the villains try to convince him that he should be evil. A few other things like the Angel of Death also count.
- Demon Slaying
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Specially-made bullets with holy water, garlic, white oak, silver shavings..."the works."
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hellboy's standard M.O. Also, given Hellboy's true name and nature, this probably applies whenever someone punches him out.
- Downtime Downgrade
- The Dragon: Kroenen and Ilsa to Rasputin. Mr. Wink to Nuada. He dies rather quickly for a Dragon, though.
- Emerging from the Shadows
- Extranormal Institute: The B.P.R.D.'s offices. Taken to a ludicrous level in the first act of The Golden Army.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink
- Feed It a Bomb: The death of the Behemoth.
- Fish People: Abe
- Four-Fingered Hands: Hellboy's stone hand has only four fingers.
- Geek: Abe. "Ooh, goggles! Yay! I must try them on."
- Gentle Giant: Hellboy loves cats.
- Gilligan Cut: In the beginning, when Tom Manning is interviewed on TV.
Manning: — I want to tell you and I want to tell the American public one thing. This Bureau for... umm...
TV Anchor: — ...Paranormal Research and Defence.
[cut to properly subtitled facility of B.P.R.D]
- Goggles Do Nothing: Subverted, as Abe's goggles protect his aquatic eyes while also, as expected, looking really cool
- Happily Adopted: Hellboy's fond memories of his surrogate father and his supportive childhood is a fundamental reason of why he keeps trying his best to the right thing, hard as it is.
- Hand Cannon: Hellboy's not a very good shot, but The Samaritan uses really big bullets. The Big Baby is a giant pepperbox pistol with six barrels. Or maybe a pepperbox grenade launcher, firing what look like 40mm rifle grenades in oversized shotgun shells.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Hellboy and Liz.
- I Call It "Vera": Hellboy's Hand Cannon is named the Samaritan, and his BFG is named Big Baby.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Kroenen is capable of deflecting bullets at his attackers and Diagonal Cutting stone statues. Prince Nuada is shown bisecting water droplets in midair.
- Interspecies Romance: Hellboy (demon) and Liz (human). And in the second film, Abe (ichthyosapien) and Nuala (elf) as well.
- Kill It with Fire: Liz uses this a lot, obviously. Sometimes she becomes a Woman On Fire for that extra boost of awesome.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: At least in the movies. This can be a more supernatural version of a character keeping a dog, since cats are more mysterious and occult. Hellboy also goes well out of his way to save some kittens during his fight Sammael.
- The lady who owned the kittens in need of rescue, also. She's only on screen for a second or two, but it's apparently taking six or seven other bystanders to restrain her from rushing into danger to retrieve them.
- Lightning Bruiser: By human standards Hellboy is definitely this, but since his actual fights tend to be against various supernatural creatures, he can be anything from a Fragile Speedster (compared to the Behemoth,) or a Mighty Glacier (compared to Nuada).
- Living Labyrinth: Two, one at the end of each film.
- Mobile Fishbowl: Abe sometimes wears water goggles and water tanks when he is out of his tank. Based on the comics this is more to keep him from drying out than to help him breathe; he has both lungs and gills.
- Mr. Fanservice: Perlman mentions that all the female TAs were "smitten" with Hellboy, and suspects that many were crestfallen upon seeing him out of makeup and costume for the first time.
- Muggles: Every supernatural entity's opinion of ordinary humans, including B.P.R.D. agents.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, the Ogdru Jahad, Anung Un Rama (the last a subversion...although it being a subversion depends entirely on whose side you're on).
- Nice Guy: Myers.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hellboy, on several occasions.
- Oh, Crap: HB's had so many of these moments that this is literally a Catch Phrase. However, his best one is an unspoken one, at the end of The Golden Army where Liz reveals she's carrying twins, his face is PRICELESS.
- Power Trio: Hellboy, Liz and Abe.
- Pretentious Latin Motto: The motto of the BRPD is "In absentia luci, tenebrae vicunt." Or, "In the absence of light, darkness prevails."
- Promoted to Love Interest: Liz Sherman; she's more like a little sister to Hellboy in the comics. Played with in the first movie, when Liz tells Myers that she's known Hellboy all her life.
- Psychic Powers: Abe is telepathic and able to read the past of objects and places, probably to allow them to do an Info Dump for the audience without it seeming too awkward.
- Red Right Hand: Left hand, too.
- Red Shirt: Just about any non-main character who has the gall to tag along with the main characters on their missions isn't coming back.
- Rock Theme Naming: The various B.P.R.D. redshirts are all named for minerals.
- The Right Hand of Doom: Of course.
- Rule of Cool: Many of the supernatural and magical elements are poorly explained, if an explanation is offered at all, and actually analyzing the plots reveals holes. However, both films are still very cool to watch.
- Scenery Porn: The Troll Market in the second film.
- The scene of Bruttenholm befriending "baby Hellboy" is very reminiscent of the Baby Ruth scene from The Goonies — including the yummy-sounds.
- There are shoutouts to Mike Mignola scattered about - in Liz's flashback sequence, one of the buildings is called "Mignola Plaza", and one of the headstones in the Russian cemetery is inscribed with Mike Mignola's name in Russian.
- The "I'm not a baby, I'm a tumour" scene in the second film is possibly a shout out to Total Recall (1990).
- Quite a few nods to Looney Tunes.
- Some Elder Things show up in the Troll Market.
- Hellboy lives on the [[Area51 51th floor]] of the BPRD HQ.
- Shown Their Work: With Mignola and Del Toro co-producing, it wasn't hard to squeeze in all kinds of obscure mythological references. Of course, it's a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, so...
- Smoking Is Cool: Hellboy is constantly smoking cigars; the second film even included a disclaimer that the smoking was for artistic effect and not an endorsement of smoking. It may double as a real-life Actor Allusion as Ron Perlman is an avid cigar afficionado.
- Snowy Screen of Death: When Liz has her pyrokinesis fit in the psychiatric institution, the CCTV cameras go full of static as the fire wave destroys them. And again in the auction hall in TGA, along with the lights blacking out.
- The Southpaw: Hellboy is left-handed, most likely due to his big, cumbersome Right Hand of Doom. Quite convenient, really, since Ron Perlman is left-handed, and functionally ambidextrous.
- Spin to Deflect Stuff: Kroenen uses his blade-tonfas to block bullets and shoot them back at people.
- Spy Catsuit: Abe's wetsuit is effectively this.
- The Stinger: Halfway through the credits of the first film, there's the punchline of a Brick Joke.
- Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Rasputin gives a vision of Hellboy causing the end of the world.
- Stylistic Suck/In the Style of...: Hellboy reads a Jack Kirby-styled Hellboy comic book at one point in the first movie. He considers it a Guilty Pleasure.
- The Team Normal: John Myers, in the films. And then he gets transferred to Antarctica in the second movie!
- Touch Telepathy: Abe Sapien can learn about objects or people by touching them. For example, he can touch a weapon left behind at a crime scene and see exactly how the crime happened—or he can touch a superior's hand and realize the man is dying of cancer. On a more positive note, when he touched Liz' belly, he detected, that she is pregnant with her S.O. Hellboy's child.
- Urban Legend: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., until he goes public.
- Verb This!: "Name this."
- What Measure Is a Non-Super?: While there are significant Badass Normal characters in the first movie, by the sequel the entire non-superpowered roster of Hellboy's unit consist of one commander whom everyone treats like dirt and a Redshirt Army who die fast, often, and completely unmourned by any of the superpowered members. Hellboy was more shocked over the death of the rampaging tree-monster than over any of his human allies.
- Wife Husbandry: Hellboy & Liz.