For every issue of Holdfast, Laurel and I watch a film franchise that fits the current theme. Of course, this issue's theme is pretty broad: Gods and Monsters, which is basically a fancy way of saying religion and politics. What would we choose?
The Hellboy films seemed like an excellent option - neither of us had seen the first one since it had come out, and neither of us had seen the second one at all. Plus, Ron Perlman. And it was kind of nice to give our bums a rest after all the trilogies we've sat through for the other issues, and just watch two.
So, grab some snacks and settle in for Laurel and Lucy watch the Hellboy films! Spoilers, obviously.
Hellboy (2004, dir. Guillermo del Toro)
The opening exposition text swims across the screen.
Laurel: You know what, sometimes I like a good backstory text. Give us a read and cut straight to the action.
Lucy: Ooh! Look – this film combines politics and religion – set during WWII and Roosevelt's paranormal advisor is a character.
It's 1944 and the good guys need to prevent the Nazis from doing a bad thing in Scotland.
Laurel: Wow, this Scottish abbey is heavy-duty – an abbey built on an intersection of ley lines.
Lucy: The Nazis are already there! Damn. Hmm. They've really put a lot of swastika flags and banners up? I mean, first things first when you're racing to open a portal to hell, right? And set up camp in the rain? Get those banners flying!
Laurel: There are also a lot of sunglasses being worn in the rain at night.
Lucy: I suppose that one guy isn't human [blade-armed sand-blooded Nazi Assassin Kroenen], but don't know what that other guy's excuse is, what a diva.
Laurel: I forgot Rasputin is in this!
Lucy: Don't look into his eyes!
Laurel: I'm not going to! He's some kind of immortal wizard Satan-worshipper!
Lucy: Oh good, Rasputin really got walloped.
Laurel: He'll be back. He's Rasputin.
Nice scientist man wins over baby Hellboy with Babe Ruth bars.
Lucy: He is carrying a lot of candy bars for a combat mission. Or is that normal? Maybe you're supposed to always carry sugary snacks with you just in case.
One of the GIs cries, "It's just a baby boy!"
Lucy: He is clearly a demon. They have definitely just accepted this demon child and become fond of him immediately. Look, they're having a photo taken! They're nicer to him than I would be. Because I would be like, 'No. That is a demon.'
Laurel: And that is why YOU, with your unloving icy manner, would doom the entire planet! Hellboy would grow up mean and evil because you didn't show him human kindness.
Lucy: That is basically what is going to happen to my future children. Sorry 'bout it, world.
Laurel: What? That is a box of kittens. Who takes a train with a box of kittens? Not just one kitten. A box. Of kittens. A normal cardboard box, not a carry-case. A box! Of kittens!
Post-fight Abe is injured and loads of FBI agents are dead, but they have captured the "dead" body of creepy robot assassin.
Lucy: Oh, no, don't take him back with you. How do you think he's stayed alive so long??? Burn him! Burn him now!
The assassin wakes up and stabs Broom through the head.
Laurel: Well. I mean. That was quicker and more painless than dying of cancer?
Broom's funeral in the rain.
Laurel: Lovely John looks so nice with wet hair.
Lucy: Time and a place, Laurel. Time and a place.
The team go to Russia to kill Rasputin.
Laurel: How long is this action sequence? So long.
Lucy: Why is robot sand assassin trying to kill Hellboy? I thought they needed him for a portal ritual.
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Present day: evil Nazis bring Rasputin back to life again.
Laurel: Oh dear. But, at least he doesn't have any eyes as they got melted out.
John Myers, a new FBI agent, arrives for work at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence.
Laurel: Ooh, I fancy him.
Lucy: Wow, that was fast.
Laurel: Ooh, John Hurt!
Lucy: Huh. He looks so old. Like, older than he looks in real life, now, over ten years later.
John Hurt is dying of cancer.
Lucy: Oh ok.
Laurel: Abe Sapien! I forgot it's Niles Crane.
John is assigned to look after Hellboy, but almost immediately they get called out as a library has been broken into, supernatural style.
Laurel: Aw! Haha! Hellboy hid his cigar when he saw (father figure) John Hurt, adorable.
Hellboy fights a demon.
Lucy: That demon really looks like a Predator. From Predator. Crossed with a dog.
Laurel: Hellboy is SO immature. John totally helped him and he's acting like an idiot about it. Mmm. John.
Very long fight scene.
Lucy: This is really going on a bit. I mean, just kill it. Stop throwing it around. Just kill it.
Laurel: Yep. Could do with this monster dying now.
Monster gets reborn. Rasputin gets new eyes.
Lucy: Noooooo, don't give him new eyes! They are hypnotic.
Laurel: I do quite like the way this Nazi lady is smoking a cigarette and shaving his head at the same time though. Like an evil, sexy barber shop.
Hellboy goes to see Selma Blair in a psychiatric institution.
Lucy: Selma Blair! Where is she now?
Laurel: Now the FBI boss is smoking cigars. Everyone loves smoking in this film! Although, if I was immortal and/or a demon, I'd smoke all the time too because it would be fine. This FBI dude is a normal old dude though, he should quit.
Abe Sapien does some kind of magic water creature flashback vision to what happened at the library.
Lucy: He is really quite useful.
Laurel: Uh oh. Sexy FBI John and Selma Blair just looked at each other and there was definitely chemistry.
Rasputin is in Selma's room! He makes her dream of fire.
Lucy: Shit. I wonder what his plan is. Drive her back to the team and…? That makes Hellboy evil and want to open the portal again? I don't know.
As Hellboy loves pancakes, Lovely John brings him one million of them.
Laurel: I am going to pretend he made them all himself and he's an excellent pancake chef as well as a hot man.
Professor Broom tells Lovely John to stay with Hellboy, who needs him, as Lovely John is pure of heart.
Laurel: Of course he is. Lovely John making pancakes. Lovely John, standing around with his pure heart, being lovely.
The team go to investigate the subway area, to destroy the Predator demon dogs.
Lucy: These FBI agents are all for it.
All the FBI agents die. Hellboy is fighting a demon in a subway station, and a lady has a BOX OF KITTENS.
Hellboy is fighting a load of demons and there are loads of demon eggs. Lovely John SLAPS LIZ IN THE FACE to wake her power up.
Laurel: What! Lovely John! What are you doing?
Lucy: I don't agree with that. I know she's not in control of her power that well, but why would slapping her anger her more than seeing her Hellboy love being attacked by hundreds of Predator demon dogs? Unnecessary violence.
Rasputin eats Selma Blair's soul.
Lucy: What! Is she dead? What!
An eclipse happens, and Hellboy grows his horns back and opens the portal, which seems to destroy the moon???
Laurel: What! Wow, this is pretty perilous.
Rasputin turns into a tentacle god, but Hellboy explodes him from the inside out.
Selma Blair and Ron Perlman kiss.
Lucy: Um. How old is Ron Perlman? I know mentally Hellboy is a young man, but… it's still Ron Perlman. Sorry, Selma Blair.
That was pretty fun we decide, but also agree it feels like a sort of obligatory first movie where Hellboy supposedly has to battle his demonic origins. But also at the same time it never really feels like he has a real crisis about it.
Hellboy II The Golden Army (2008 dir. Guillermo del Toro)
In 1955, Broom is reading Hellboy a Lord of the Rings rip-off.
Lucy: Huh! Steampunk Lord of the Rings! Not sure about using a mechanical army to defend a pastoral landscape though, elves.
Laurel: That evil elf prince looks familiar.
Lucy: [googles] Haha! It's thingy from Bros! We saw him in Blade II! Guillermo del Toro must love him.
A piece of the crown that controls the mechanical army is for auction in New York. Luke Goss of Bros fame and his goblin minion throw horrible facehuggers around.
Laurel: Ew! This is like bits of all our other movie marathons put together.
The team show up… without Lovely John.
Lucy: Haha! He's been transferred to Antarctica.
ABE TOUCHES LIZ AND FINDS OUT THAT LIZ IS PREGNANT.
Lucy: Wowzers! By the end of the film, I'd like us to come up with alternative lyrics to Red Right Hand please, for the title, "Giant Red Cock."
Laurel: Sure. Although, I think the lyrics are already fairly powerful and you could just replace Red Right Hand with Giant Red Cock and it would be fine.
Liz wants to use her fire power to destroy all the gross tooth fairy face huggers so everyone has to hide.
Lucy: I don't know. I feel like if you're on a mission with her then you should probably be in full fire-retardant armour or something.
Elf council meeting.
Laurel: Super Pan's Labyrinth vibe!
Lucy: There are so many elves in America! Who knew.
Luke Goss of Bros fame kills all elvish bodyguards and his Dad. He gets a nosebleed and so does his twin sister.
Laurel: Oh ok. They are physically linked. So, at the end, she will have to kill herself in order to kill him so he doesn't destroy the world.
Lucy: Sure. Sure sure sure.
The team's new FBI liaison officer arrives. He is a German robot powered by ectoplasm!
Lucy: Oh my god! I love him!
The team go to investigate who sent the tooth fairy face huggers, and go to a Troll Market. AMAZING SEQUENCE OF AMAZINGNESS FOLLOWS.
Laurel: Haha! This is hilarious! I love the Scottish troll.
Lucy: This is so good! So much going on. I also appreciate that suddenly we are in a troll market and of course we are, everyone is fine with that.
Abe Sapien and the elvish princess have a moment. Luke Goss of Bros fame releases a magic bean, which turns into a giant forest god.
Laurel: Why doesn't Luke Goss just try to fight Hellboy, like he has fought everyone else? With his spinny sword fighting?
THERE IS A CLOSE UP OF FOREST GOD'S GIANT WOODEN COCK.
Lucy: Oh. My. God. That was amazing. This is so good.
After the fight, the people who saw it are super annoyed with Hellboy.
Laurel: Why? You idiots. He was trying to help you! What were you watching? He literally saved a baby during the fight.
Luke Goss of Bros fame turns up and stabs Hellboy with some kind of magic spear and feels his sister's boobs.
Lucy: Ew! Is he doing that because when he touches her, he feels someone touching him? Ew!
The spear piece is stuck and is going to pierce Hellboy's heart unless they give Luke Goss the last crown piece. Abe finds it but doesn't tell anyone. They travel to Ireland.
Lucy: Haha! The Giant's Causeway has a real giant there! Awesome!
Laurel: Wait, what's happening now? Who is this angel of doom character? She just lives here too? Lots going on in Ireland.
John, lovely, lovely John....
Liz burning down the house
Even though Angel of Doom lady tells Liz that Hellboy will end the world, Liz still gets her to remove the spear piece.
Lucy: Cool, spear piece is out. Time to kill Luke Goss and stop him waking up the army!
Abe gives Luke Goss the last piece of the crown.
Laurel: WHAT. What are you DOING? You don't NEED to do that now that the spear piece of out of Hellboy! You dummy! At least get your elf princess love out the way beforehand!
Fight scene. Ectoplasm dude turns one of the robots into himself, which is awesome, and fights loads of the other robots.
Lucy: Liz is doing nothing. I guess when you're pregnant you don't fight anymore. Come on, Liz! Smelt the robots!
Laurel: Are Hellboy and Luke Goss fighting over a pit of giant whirling cogs? Why is there that pit?
As predicted, elf princess kills herself, and Luke Goss of Bros fame dies too.
Lucy: Poor Abe. He'll never find anyone else to love his watery ways.
Liz finally does something useful and melts the crown so no one can wake the robots up again. They all quit their jobs and go off to have half human half demon babies.
Laurel: Well, I really liked that! Up until the final battle scene when Abe was a doofus. The troll market scene was A+.
Lucy: [sings] But hidden in his coat is a giant red cock. Stacks of green paper on his giant red cock. Designed and directed by his giant red cock.