If you like science fiction in the Burroughs' Tradition (and we sure do) then you will dig watching Hellboy, The best movie of the year '04 thus far, and it is now available on DVD. And yes, we've ordered a copy and are getting the popcorn microwaved for its imminent arrival and yes, yes, this editor waited to see Spiderman 2 before making that "best movie thus far" claim - so there. Yeah, uh-huh ... you just keep on whining like your not-hero, Peter Parker, there Marvel fans.
Now, back to the better film, Hellboy, if y'all missed it in the theaters that's no surprise considering that it was released in the middle of all the hoopla over Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ* and the only notice Hellboy received was from some fundamentalist /conservative christian twits who were comparing gate receipts of the two films to make a claim of moral victory for their religious views - but never mind that lunacy. Hellboy was also out in theaters in April right before tax time, can you say, "really bad timing for good PR?" Sheesh... talk about hell - boy! Who's idea was that?
UPDATE - Hellboy has arrived at TSC's underground parking and publishing stage door via official, gone-postal, state-sanctioned media-mail ~ YAY! More updates to follow ...
In the abscence of light, darkness prevails.
* Supreme Uber Junker's note ~ we won't be reviewing Mel Gibson's The Passion because, A. - it's not the sort of movie we review, and B. - we are not really smart, scholarly or worthy enough to be criticizing the birth /life /crucifixion /resurrection of Christ. Unlike some people out there.
When watching Hellboy the movie's strong ties to the Lovecraftian Tradition are obvious. In fact, Hellboy is the classiest on-screen depiction of the Cthulhu Mythos ever, so what's the Burroughs part? Well, it's the portal itself. As opened by Grigory Rasputin and his NAZI allies using a combination of post-industrial age technology and Victorian mysticism to bridge the galaxy and create a doorway to another ... something or other.
All this "portaling" around that goes on nowadays is the result of fledgling serialist Ed Burroughs way back in 1911 having to figure out how to get John Carter forty-eight million miles to Mars in Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess. And his solution was to portal him there using a mystic Arizonian indian cave location and Carter's own warrior spirit to portal Captain John Carter to Mars ( the planetary body that represents the god of his vocation). But Burroughs wasn't H.G. Wells so he didn't give a fig about trying to make sense of exactly how and why it happened enough to satisfy a whole society of Fabian critics... so who cares? Ever since, Sci-fi- writers have gone to some great lengths to explain the variable combinations of science, magic, technology, witchcraft, cosmic hypnotism, energy, spoken incantations, will of god(s) or devil(s), spaceships, mysticism, cracks on the 'noggin, hallucinatoric drug use and just plain dumb luck that they've used in pulp fiction to get their heros to places extra-earth in time, space and dimension to where all the fun is.
Anyway, post Burroughs portaling in science fiction, fantasy and horror is something that never really has to be explained, it just happens - forget it and move along. Somewhat contemporaneously, in the Lovecraftian Tradition, that portal is expanded into the doorway that allows monstrous evil gods and giants travel to earth from different galaxies and dimensions to cause us b-i-g trouble. These things do have basis in bible stories and Renaissance Fantastic Literature - but nevermind about that stuff now.
Hellboy himself, as a baby demon, gets portaled to a castle in Scotland from another universe in 1944 because of the action of secret paranormal NAZI scientist goons under the direction of Adolph Hitler who then fall under the attack of a squad of American dog-faces under the secret direction of Franklin Roosevelt. And, surprisingly, this all makes perfect sense as it is presented in the movie. Of course, the headlong battling between good and evil and evil and good and evil and evil help too.
And that's the great thing about Hellboy. It doesn't drag anywhere and does an adequate enough job of palming off an explanation of just what the heck is going on here, and moves quickly along enough that you won't have to listen to some braying, sofa-jockey demanding to know why,
"If that Gandalf The Great fellow is such a great wizard how come he doesn't just conjure up a bazooka and shoot that flying thing out of the sky?"
Yes, we all know THAT person ... Hellboy shuts 'em up, but good.
originally Posted by Tom Novak on August 3, 2004 - before he ever even had his own category here ... gosh, those were the days.