Hellboy Animated (Part 2): “Hellboy: Blood & Iron”

Hello, my friends.  The supernatural fiends and the occult’s odious outings are still going strong, so somebody has to deal with it.  As such, I welcome you back to the last entry of my mini-series known as…

Hellboy Animated!

Last time, our heroes had to deal with a pair of Japanese weather-controlling demons who looked to break free, reunite with their dragon cohorts and unleash their wrath upon the world.  If you wish to know what I thought about that noticeable venture, then make sure you check out my review of the predecessor known as “Sword Of Storms”.  For now, we have one more entry that this particular partnership between Starz Media and Revolution Studios had to offer.  Spirits will rise and blood will flow in this follow-up outing known as…

Originally debuting on March 10, 2007 on Cartoon Network, this second and final small-screen entry would ultimately come to DVD on June 12.  So with the terrors of Japan behind them, what sort of otherworldly menace will ol’ Red and company go up against?  Let’s cast a light on this movie and find out.

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Just like our previous entry, we have our opening narration on how ol’ Red wound up on Earth, which eventually led to the formation of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Unlike last time however, this part is actually narrated by Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm (voiced by the late John Hurt, reprising his role from Del Toro’s live-action films).

Following a cemetery-themed opening credits, we truly begin down below as Anung un Rama a.k.a. Hellboy (voiced by Ron Perlman) is wading through the sewers while some hidden figure looks from afar and wonders if he’s the one that she’s been looking for.  Just then, he’s contacted by Abraham “Abe” Sapien (voiced by Doug Jones) as Anung informs him that he’s currently unsure of where he is among this twisting maze of waste-filled water.  Just then, he hears a noise and arms himself in defense.  Shortly afterwards, he’s approached by a robotic Minotaur as a fight breaks out.

Hellboy gets rammed into the wall as the mysterious figure views the scene from afar.  Just as the Minotaur prepares to strike again, proper assistance arrives as Abe swims in and kicks the robo-being down.

With our heroes recovered, Sapien proceeds to distract the mechanized Minotaur with some gunfire as Hellboy jumps onto it and strike the back of its head.  Unfortunately, it has another surprise in store as it fires out a retractable fist and hits ol’ Red twice.

It tries to launch another metal fist attack, but Anung dodges and grabs onto the chain, ripping the mechanism from its arm.  He then swings the fist around and strikes the Minotaur’s head as it shatters and causes the foe to fall into the water.

However, it’s not done yet as it gets up with its occupant exposed.  This time, it’s Abe that finishes the job as he leaps up and yanks the skull out as the Minotaur is finally defeated.  After Hellboy crushes the skull with his Right Hand of Doom, he contacts Elizabeth “Liz” Sherman (voiced by Selma Blair) and tells her to inform Prof. Broom that they took care of business.  She then says that he’s in bed and that he’ll have to find out tomorrow morning. From there, the scene ends with the mysterious figure wondering who could have convinced Anung to fight against his “own kind”.

From there, we transition into a flashback in 1939 as a younger version of Trevor Bruttenholm (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) escorts a group of Transylvanian officials on a search-and-rescue mission within a decrepit castle.  Also within the faction is Father Lupescu (also voiced by James Arnold Taylor) as he sees skeletons bound onto torture devices and suddenly has flashes of female victims suffering gruesome fates.

It turns out that this group is looking for a missing lady named Anna who’s also the fiancee to one of the officials.  Suddenly, Trevor comes across a fresh trail of blood as the group fears the worst, but he assures Lupescu that his services are greatly needed.  After following the red-soaked trail to a wall, they break it down as they discover Anna lying unconscious next to a bathtub.

Trevor then examines the tub and discovers it to be filled with blood before he heads over to Anna and sees that her neck had been bitten, thus confirming her demise.  As he takes out a hammer and stake in order to prevent her from coming back as a blood-sucking demon, he asks Father Lupescu for help.  However, he’s too terrified to assist as he drops his crucifix and runs off.

As such, the fiancee decides to use the hammer in order to free Anna’s soul.  However, their job isn’t done yet since they must find the perpetrator.  They head over to the tomb and open it up, only to discover that it’s empty.  Following a distracting noise, the group soon discovers that one of the officials is missing.  Just then, Trevor notices a drop of blood that’s just fallen onto his arm.  He shines a light towards the ceiling as he and the two remaining men discover that their comrade has become the newest victim to their supernatural target: Erzebet Ondrushko (voiced by Kath Soucie).

The two officials run off in terror as Trevor heads after them, while Erzebet summons her pack of wolves to hunt them down.  The two civil servants head back the way they came before reaching the central chamber.  Because of the numerous hallways, they’re unsure which one heads towards the exit.  Trevor catches up and tries to have them calm down, but the approaching wolves squelches such notion as the two officials split up and each take a hallway.  Unfortunately for them, they’re ultimately hunted down and mutilated offscreen.

Suddenly, the room gets illuminated in blue flames as Erzebet arrives to finish the job.  Fortunately, Trevor manages to open up his flask and douse her with some holy water.  After it singes her face, she dives right for him as they slam into the tapestry and crash through the window.  Because the sun has already risen, she begins to burn in the morning glow as Broom manages to grab onto the balcony in order to save himself.

In a final act of preservation, Erzebet transforms into mist and retreats into the dark depths of her castle.  As Trevor pulls himself up, he’s suddenly approached by her wolves.  Fortunately, they don’t dare to get burned within the sunlight as the flashback ends with them also vanishing into the dark.

Back in the present, Prof. Broom wakes up and prepares to get dressed.  Suddenly, he sees some blood on his hand and Erzebet’s reflection in his mirror.  He turns around and discovers that she’s not there.

Just then, Hellboy comes in and informs him that he missed breakfast.  Afterwards, he tells his fatherly professor that he’ll see him at the upcoming briefing before taking his leave.  Afterwards, Trevor checks his hand and discovers that there’s no blood on it.

Later, a B.P.R.D. meeting is about to occur as Prof. Broom looks over the mission dossiers while our main trio jokingly discuss about a pastry shop in Budapest.  With their fellow agents having also arrived, the meeting gets underway following the arrival of Tom Manning (voiced by Jim Cummings) and Katherine “Kate” Corrigan (voiced by Peri Gilpin).  In the initial batch of mission assignments, Hellboy & Agent Clark are being sent to Tibet in order to take care of a resurrected monastery, while Abe & Liz will be sent to British Columbia in order to deal with a lake monster named Ogopogo.

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Afterwards, Manning brings up one last mission concerning a house in the Hamptons that was recently purchased by a hotel/casino tycoon named Oliver Trumbolt.  He’s been looking to open the grand home as a resort, but it’s reportedly haunted.  Because the agents see it as a negligible favor, no one initially offers to take it.  However, Tom says that Oliver has a strong friendship with Senator Langsford, who happens to have strong financial ties to the Bureau.  As such, Agent Sydney Leach (voiced by Rob Paulsen) ultimately ends up with the assignment.

Just then, Trevor speaks up and says that it would be better if Hellboy investigated the Hampton house.  Not only that, but Abe and Liz should also be allowed onto the mission as he makes his decision on “a hunch”.  However, Manning isn’t entirely willing to allow Hellboy handle the case on the grounds that it requires “man power”.  Fortunately, Agent Clark manages to compromise and says that he’ll take a team to Tibet.  As such, Prof. Broom concludes the meeting as he goes to grab some necessary items since he’ll also be joining his team on the upcoming mission.

Later, the group is preparing to head out.  A befuddled Hellboy wonders why Trevor is accompanying them since this will be his first assignment in 15 years.  Liz is unsure herself, but tells Anung that they’ll have to keep an eye out for his safety.  After Abe gives Prof. Broom his duffel bag filled with his necessary supplies, the helicopter takes off and begins its flight.

During the aerial trip, Kate proceeds to inform our agents about the Hampton house’s history.  Having been originally built by an eccentric millionaire, it housed a pagan fertility cult during the 1920s.  To this day, there’s still some paranormal activity haunting the place.  Hellboy then asks Prof. Broom as to why they’re heading towards the grand home, but Trevor isn’t willing to tell his team yet unless he’s “sure”.

From there, we head into another flashback, which portrays the youthful Broom, Father Lupescu and the Transylvanian officials making their way towards Erzebet’s castle.  Trevor takes a quick rest due to the heightened elevation, but Lupescu is concerned about the setting sun as he wishes to head back and return under the light of the following day.  However, the fiancee official refuses since he wants to rescue his beloved Anna.  As such, they continue on their journey.  Just then, Lupescu gets spooked by the sounds of a demonic bird, which causes him to drop his crucifix and bible.  As he picks up his belongings, one of the officials tells him to keep the cross as close as he can since vampires hate the mere sight of it.  From there, the flashback ends with Trevor telling him that it’s actually about “the faith of the person holding it that gives it power” before they continue on their quest.

Back in the present, Hellboy, Abe, Liz, Trevor and Sydney arrive at the Hampton house as the butler lets them in.  From there, they’re greeted by Oliver Trumbolt (voiced by J. Grant Albrecht) as they make their way into the mansion, unaware that they’re being watched by a particular group of ghosts.

Oliver leads them into the main parlor where they proceed to set up their equipment.  Just then, his photographer starts taking their picture in order to be used on his tourist brochure.  This annoys Hellboy as he gets the camera man to stop.  Later on, Anung expresses his discontent with Trumbolt to Prof. Broom.  While Trevor does agree in that it’s something they’ll have to put up with, he’s still certain that there’s some supernatural activity within the premises.

We then have a quick scene where a disheveled man has just finished a task and wishes to be left alone, but a pair of demonic hags aren’t even close to being done with his services.

Later on, Liz and Sydney have finished installing wireless cameras in the hallway.  As they proceed through the corridor, a ghost closes a nearby door and briefly spooks Leach.  Afterwards, Sherman proceeds to install a motion sensor.  He then mentions about Prof. Broom and his father-son relationship with Hellboy, to which she begins to discuss about how the Allied Troops reacted when Anung was initially summoned to Earth.

Though originally feared by a superior, the soldiers & Trevor take a liking to him and even come up with his name: Hellboy.  From there, the little devil would be raised by Broom at an Air Force base in New Mexico.  Back in the present, Liz installs the motion detector when Sydney suddenly notices the statues crying.  She initially thinks that the stone figures are possibly connected to some faulty plumbing, but her assumption is proved wrong when they notice a nearby ghost that begins to bleed down her arm.

As such, Sherman proceeds to contact Abe as he’s also installing a security camera and learns about the ghost sighting.  Suddenly, he starts to see his own breath as the room begins to grow cold.  Unbeknownst to him, several female ghosts begin to crowd the adjacent windows before a candlestick gets flung across the room.  From there, Sapien contacts Liz and lets her know that they have several ghosts to deal with as the windows are suddenly covered with blood-soaked handprints.

Meanwhile, Hellboy makes his way into a dimly-lit kitchen as he demands for any supernatural being to show themselves.  Suddenly, a bunch of knives drop down onto the counter and begin to spin around on their tips for a brief moment.  After they stop and fall over, he suddenly notices a pool of blood with a trio of ghastly women standing over it.

Later, Anung arrives back at the parlor and reports his findings to Trevor.  He then expresses his worry for his father figure due to his age, but Prof. Broom confidently assures him that he’s not willing to retire just yet, despite him no longer being the Director of Field Operations.  Shortly afterwards, the rest of the team arrive back with Oliver as our agents prepare to begin their scanning operation.  After the butler provides them with some donuts and coffee prior to taking his leave, our operatives proceed to get underway as they shut off the lights.

Not too long afterwards, the sensors begin to pick up some supernatural activity.  Several female ghosts begin to float throughout the building before they suddenly disappear.  They ultimately reappear in the parlor and proceed to head right towards Trevor as they lift him into the air.  He suddenly spouts a foreign message before he falls onto the floor.

Hellboy, Abe and Liz rush to his side to ensure that he’s still OK as Broom tells his agents that the apparitions were frightened.  Suddenly, they notice a circle that’s recently formed around the professor as he proceeds to examine it.  He tells the group that this has become a serious matter since it contains the words “Ordog” (devil), “Banya” (witch) and “Pokol” (Hell).  In addition, it also has the names of the two witches who trained Erzebet in harnessing her fiendish powers: Marianna Molnar and Treszka Bologh.

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It turns out that Oliver is familiar with Erzebet as he explains that she was the Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of innocent women so that she could maintain her youthfulness.  Not only that, but he plans on using the infamous lady’s image as a huge draw towards the house.  However, Trevor tells him that those female ghosts represented each one of Erzebet’s victims.  He then explains that while she was alive, she actually tortured and killed 613 young women.  However, her gravest acts came about when she became a vampire.  Broom expounds that over the course of her existence, she managed to mutilate over a thousand people.  Even though he was able to defeat her back in 1939, he thinks that someone could possibly be trying to bring Erzebet back from the dead.

After Abe mentions that it would require “something intimately connected to her”, Oliver leads them to a room where Erzebet’s various torture devices had been brought over from her actual castle.  Sydney then comes across a giant plaque as Trumbolt reveals that it’s Hecate as Trevor mentions that the Greek goddess of witchcraft, magic, crossroads, ghosts and necromancy had the vampiric Erzebet as her high priestess.  Afterwards, a wax statue of Erzebet is brought in by the same disheveled man.  As he takes his leave, Broom gets a familiar feeling about him.

From there, we transition into a flashback that takes place on the night prior to the rescue mission.  Father Lupescu is having a private prayer session when he suddenly hears a door closing.  He calls out to whomever caused such a stir when the candles in the room are swiftly extinguished.  Just then, the front door opens as a trio of supernatural wolves enter and run towards him.  Lupescu tries to run away, but he trips onto the main platform.  Fortunately for him, the wolves vanish into thin air.

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However, Erzebet then appears as she tells him that she’s aware of his upcoming trek to her castle alongside a group which contains “that englishman”.  She then proceeds to taunt his religious faith towards God and that her “goddess” grants her limitless power with endless beauty.  From there, she gathers her wolves and tells him that he’s “the forsaken one” as she takes her leave, thus ending the flashback.

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Back in the present, Oliver calls up a fellow business associate named Marcos and informs him about his recent ghost encounter.  Instead of being spooked, he finds this even more thrilling as he hopes to locating more real-life haunted houses in order to have a monopoly on his own financial franchise.  He then exclaims that something must be done about “the professor”, due to him being a roadblock to his overly-ambitious goal.  Oliver then mentions that he’ll try to think of something before concluding his call and prepping for bed.

Meanwhile, our agents are hard at work on their assignment.  Just then, Sydney starts to pick up another ominous sound.  However, he’s not able to find out where it’s coming from.  After seeing Prof. Broom sleeping upon a couch, Hellboy decides to go looking around the mansion as he also brings Abe with him.  With Leach also willing to join them, Anung tells Liz to look after Trevor before he and his group head out.

Unbeknownst to our group, a stirring is taking place over in the nearby landscape.  It turns out to be Marianna Molnar & Treszka Bologh themselves a.k.a. the Harpy-Hags (voiced by Dee Dee Rescher and Grey Delise-Griffin) as they place Erzebet’s ring into a summoning circle and proceed to cast a spell in order to resurrect their vampiric master.

From there, we shift into reverse-flashback territory again as the eventual victim herself, Anna (also voiced by Grey Delise-Griffin) is walking through the empty streets of Transylvania at night.  Unbeknownst to her, Erzebet’s wolves are watching her from the rooftop.  Just then, she sees the Harpy-Hags emerging from an adjacent building as she quickly ducks into a nearby alley.

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They initially walk by, but it turns out that they’ve noticed her as they approach and praise the young lady for her upcoming wedding.  They tell Anna that it’s not safe for her to be out-and-about at this time of night, though they have seen her wedding gown as they encourage her to go check it out for herself.  As such, Anna decides to do just that as she heads out.

A short time later, Anna arrives at the seamstress’ store as she calls out for the business’ owner Marie.  However, she’s suddenly approached by Erzebet as she informs Anna that Marie is upstairs tending to her baby.  Unbeknownst to the bride-to-be however, she and her child had already been murdered.

As such, Erzebet informs Anna that she’ll help with her final fitting.  She evens explains why she’s wearing a formal dress herself as she fabricates about coming over to the shop following an opera performance.  From there, Anna tries on her wedding gown as Erzebet tells her that even though it comes with a veil, she didn’t want to “cover the rosy cheeks of such a young girl”.  Anna then passively comments about her talking like “a old woman” and that she couldn’t possibly be older that her “older sister”.  This irritates Erzebet as Anna then says that she almost didn’t come here tonight due to the numerous murderings of young ladies.  After they briefly bring up Father Lupescu and his meeting with “the englishman”, Anna suddenly realizes that her seamstress isn’t casting a reflection in the mirror.  From there, the flashback ends with Erzebet biting her neck offscreen.

Back in the present, Oliver is asleep when he’s suddenly woken up by a strange noise.  He’s then approached by the supernatural wolves as the Harpy-Hags send them after the property owner and mutilate him offscreen.

Over in the parlor, Broom is suddenly awoken by the sound of several security cameras having their video feed getting cut.  From there, the sub-level motion sensors are triggered as Liz informs Hellboy’s group about it.

They arrive at the torture chamber display as they discover the same disheveled man from before and inquire him on what he’s doing here at this hour.  He explains that he sold Erzebet’s various devices of persecution to Oliver before trying to excuse himself.  However, Hellboy stops him and notices a tiny bit of blood on his sleeve as he demands to know where it came from.  Unfortunately, he’s not willing to talk.  Fortunately, Abe notices a trail of blood leading towards a particular wall.

Sydney then proceeds to find the false brick as he presses on it and reveals a secret passageway.  As the group head inside, they ultimately come across a hidden room where they find Trumbolt’s deceased corpse.  After Sydney comes across a bathtub containing Oliver’s actual blood, Hellboy tells the disheveled man to explain himself and he even inquires on why he was strangely looking at Prof. Broom.

Just then, he and Liz arrive as Trevor reveals that this man is actually Father Lupescu.  The former priest then warns our group that Erzebet is getting resurrected, to which Broom offers him the chance at personal redemption by informing his agents on where they can find the vampiric fiend.  Lupescu says that she’s in the grove, but he’s unwilling to take them there.  From there, Trevor gives him back his crucifix as a token of thanks before taking his leaving alongside his agents.

However, he’s suddenly met upon by the Harpy-Hags as they prepare to punish him for assisting them our heroes.  As such, they carve some magical symbols into a mystical doll and transform him into a monster.

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From there, we transition into another flashback as Lupescu is doing his duties within the church.  He then tells Anna that she shouldn’t worry about her upcoming wedding, despite the recent slaughtering of some young women.  He assumes that it was caused by rabid wolves while also mentioning that no vampire would dare enter this house of holy worship.  With his confidence in the Lord at an all-time high, he comforts her with a quote from the book of Joshua: “Be bold and strong. Banish fear and doubt, for remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.  He then tells her that she has to get to Marie’s shop in order to check out her wedding gown.  With her confidence restored, she heads out to do just that.

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Afterwards, he met upon by Prof. Broom.  Because this was their initial meeting, Lupescu asks him if his profession within the supernatural could possibly lead him down a dangerous path.  Trevor says that he stands strong with his personal beliefs before telling him that the recent attacks were caused by a vampire and that it’s aligned itself alongside “an ancient goddess”.  As such, the flashback ends with him telling Lupescu that must hold onto their own faiths since its what ultimately saves them.

Back in the present, our agents are making their way through the mansion in order to get to the grove.  Suddenly, they hear a growl from behind.  From there, Trevor heads out with Liz while Hellboy, Abe and Sydney stay behind to confront the transformed Lupescu.  Leach is easily knocked out of the scuffle while Anung and Sapien struggle against their lycan adversary.  Ultimately, Ape gets knocked unconscious and is discreetly dragged away while Hellboy continues his fight against the werewolf.

Meanwhile, Sherman and Broom are hustling towards the grove.  Back inside, Abe finds himself chained to the ceiling and at the mercy of the Harpy-Hags.  Because of his cold-blooded makeup, they’re not able to use his blood to feed Erzebet.  However, that doesn’t stop them from deciding to mutilate him at their expense.

Back with Hellboy, his tussle against the werewolf makes its way towards the trophy room.  The fight ultimately concludes with Anung grabbing a beheaded deer and stabbing the lunging lycan with its antlers.  Afterwards, a woozy Sydney rejoins him as Hellboy tells him to find Abe while he makes his way towards Liz and Trevor.

Meanwhile, Sherman and Broom are slowly making their way through the thick trees as Trevor tells her to go on without him since it’s vital for them to interrupt the ritual.  Just as Liz is about to head out, they hear some howling as she arms herself in order to protect the professor.  With the supernatural wolves closing in, Broom insists that they keep pushing forward.  Suddenly, the surrounding pack backs off.

By the time they finally arrive at the grove, they find out that they’re too late as Erzebet has been resurrected.  Just as Liz is about to engage their foe, she suddenly get blindsided by her as she receives a vicious backhand and gets knocked out in the process.  Fortunately, her pyrokinesis is able to protect her from Erzebet’s blood-sucking wrath.  From there, she recognizes Trevor and tries to attack him.

Fortunately, Hellboy arrives in time and fends her off.  However, Erzebet is able to get some assistance from Hecate as a fissure opens up with Anung falling into the darkness before she captures Prof. Broom and flies off back to the mansion.

A quick montage ensues with our heroes in their darkest hour while Erzebet’s ghostly victims look on throughout the house.

A short time later, Hellboy floats into an underground chamber before he’s then approached by the goddess herself: Hecate (voiced by Cree Summer).  She asks him why he bothers to walk among humans since she and him are among the few remaining beings of their kind.  Even after admitting that she returned Erzebet to the mortal world (just so she can receive “sacrifices of blood”), she still wants Anung by her side.  However, he still refuses as he delivers a swift punch before she suddenly disappears.  He then finds a glow within the water as he looks to get back at Hecate, but ultimately comes across several snakes.  They proceed to attack him, but he ultimately frees himself.  However, the serpents pursue him as he makes his way up a statue before he’s forced to tangle with his slithering adversaries.

Back inside the mansion, Abe has been suffering the torturous wrath of the Harpy-Hags.  Just as they’re about to resume their devilish handiwork, Sapien summons enough strength to kick them way and stand upon an adjacent table so that he can rip his shackles from the ceiling in order to fight back.  From there, the Harpy-Hags remove their cloaks and tussle with him before they take off towards the skies.  Fortunately, Abe manages to free himself from his restraints and grab onto a harpy’s legs.  However, the other harpy manages to plunge her talons into his back as he plummets towards and lands onto the ground.

Back at the grove, Liz finally regains consciousness as she finds herself confronted by the supernatural wolves.  Fortunately, she uses her pyrokinesis in order to make quick work of them.  Afterwards, Abe is able to get up and reach her as he gets to see her handiwork.

Back inside the hidden room, Trevor manages to wake up and is met upon by Erzebet who chastises him simply for his age.  Afterwards, she gets into her blood-filled bathtub and soaks herself with Oliver’s vital fluid.  With her youthful appearance restored, she gets out to confront Broom once again.  Suddenly, she starts to feel a blessed burning upon her body.  It turns out that Trevor has laced the blood with holy water as she reverts back to her petrifying figure.  From there, he manages to break a leg off of a nearby chair and use it as a stake in order to protect himself from an attacking Erzebet as she finally meets her grisly end.

Afterwards, her ghostly victims (who’ve been present during Erzebet’s downfall) are fully restored as the numerous victims, including Anna and Father Lupescu, are finally freed as their souls fade out towards eternal rest.

Meanwhile, Hellboy reemerges within the torture chamber display and manages to trap the snakes back within their underground cavern.  However, his fight isn’t done yet as the iron maiden approaches him and transforms into Hecate as she still wants him to forsake humanity.  Fortunately, he’s still reluctant as ever as they proceed to tussle against each other.

During the fight, the Harpy-Hags fly in as they begin to praise their goddess.  However, Hecate proceeds to take one of them out with a strike of her tail as the other harpy flies off and takes her leave from the mansion.

From there, Hellboy and Hecate resume their final battle as the struggle makes its way throughout various parts of the mansion.  During this, Sydney is struggling to locate his fellow agent.  Fortunately, Abe, Trevor and Liz manage to rejoin him as Broom asks about Anung’s whereabouts.

Just then, they’re confronted by Hecate as her fight against Hellboy has reached the parlor.  She manages to pin him down as Sapien tries to help his teammate out, but is unable to as she easily smacks him away.  Liz tries to fight back as she begins her fire-powered attack on Hecate’s hand, but that proves to be a bad idea as the goddess withstands the heat and simply uses it to grab Anung and cause him even more pain.

Hellboy tries to fight back with his gun, but he doesn’t the chance as she slams him with her tail and the resulting impact disarms him.  Fortunately, it lands near Sydney as he manages to distract Hecate with a well-aimed head shot.  After she takes her fight with Anung out of the room, Trevor tells his fellow agents that only Hellboy can stop the opposing goddess now, yet dawn is fortunately approaching.

Meanwhile, the climactic tussle has made its way to the main hall as the scars of battle are finally catching up to ol’ Red.  Hecate approaches him and once again tries to convince him that they should be allowed to inhabit the planet without the presence of humans.  Fortunately, Hellboy sees some sunlight peaking in through the mostly-covered windows as its radiant glow causes some harm to her.  As such, he runs up the stairs in order to unveil one of them.  Despite the vicious struggle, he manages to reach one.  However, it turns out that it was a tapestry.  Fortunately, he punches through the wall as some sunlight comes in and begins to affect Hecate.

From there, he punches the goddess outside as her form reverts back into an iron maiden before she emerges as a snake and retreats underground.  With his final battle over, Anung collapses from his wounds.

Afterwards, we head into one final flashback as Trevor is about to embark on his journey to Transylvania when he’s then met upon by his assistant named Malcolm.  He discover a Leumarian parchment depicting the familiar Right Hand of Doom as he states that it can’t be used by anyone, since it’ll bring about the Apocalypse upon the world.  Broom then tells him that since the forces of evil can have beings like Erzebet as their representative, then they must believe that the forces of good will have their own champion.  Until then, they’ll continue to fight the good fight.  From there, we head back to the present as the main narrative comes to a close with Hellboy resting up with his surrogate father sitting at his side.

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And so, the film ends on a post-credits scene as Tom Manning says that the U.S. government officially claims “the lobster” to not exist, hinting that the next outing will feature Lobster Johnson in a tale titled “Shadow of the Claw” (or “Hellboy: The Phantom Claw” as it would be known as, which unfortunately never came to pass).

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As for the characters that were present here, it’s time to delve into my analysis for them.  First up, we have Hellboy.  Because his surrogate father gets to take part in a supernatural mission, he and his fellow agents do take up the role of children having to partially watch over Broom.  Of course, Trevor is mainly able to take care of himself as the film displays.  While he does have his own signature “I’m sick of this crap” attitude that comes with a certain degree of brashness, he’s long been well-tempered throughout his life and it’s allowed him to work with his fellow agents while sharing an occasional bit of banter without any severe level of ill-will.  It ties in with our main villain when he ultimately comes across her as Hecate wants him to stop fighting his fellow supernatural beings in order for them to become the prominent species of Earth. She wants him to forsake humans and join her side, but he’s had a strong upbringing by this point and thus he never wavers from his long-standing position on (as what Del Toro’s first Hellboy film stated) “what makes a man, a man”.  It feels like a mild response to the previous entry where he doesn’t really have an arc, but it’s more of an overall theme that pulsates throughout the movie.  The idea of a family-like unionship pulsates throughout as our agents each get their moments to shine while Hellboy is the only one who physically able to take on Hecate.  He has a strong rapport with his comrades and that level of experience is on display.  Like last time though, there’s not much of a significant character change that I noticed with the possible exception of Anung appreciating Broom even more following their venture.  Even still, Ron Perlman is still a joy as ever to listen to as his vocal tones continue to bring a certain swagger and a solidified personality to Mignola’s creation.

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Next up, let’s feature someone who was absent from our last entry.  Fortunately, he gets to shine in a big way as it’s none other than Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm.  Like Del Toro’s first live-action Hellboy movie, Broom gets some significant time to shine.  Both are especially true when you consider that in the inaugural comic book arc called “Seed of Destruction”, he was killed off by an amphibious monster at the end of the first issue.  While his live-action counterpart does get a reasonable amount of things to do in the ’04 film, he’s ultimately killed by Rasputin’s right-hand man Kroenen.  Here, Trevor gets to flex his elderly muscles throughout the past and the present.  The 1939 flashbacks shows his youthful self with an eagerness to help others as he presents himself as wise beyond his years, though that’s partially due to Lupescu’s faith getting challenged by Erzebet and the eventual ineptness of the Transylvanian officials.  Still, his encounter with the blood-sucking demon shows the preparedness that he would carry throughout his life.  Even after a 15-year layoff between missions in the present, he lets his agents know what they’re up against and treats them with fatherly respect.  In terms of eternal reverence, we also see a small kinship between him and Lupescu as he believes in the priest’s services for the Lord and never lets him sway, even after Lupescu becomes disheveled and is placed within indentured servitude to Erzebet’s Harpy-Hags.  He never gives up on the former father since they both share a belief in the Lord’s positive influence.  This partnership is also one of the better representations of Christianity as it’s not shoved down your throat at any point and it compliments the narrative since it can be used with any other person’s religion to represent the inner strength that one has built up thanks to its influence.  In the end, seeing Prof. Broom taking out a major villain like Erzebet is arguably the most satisfying moment that his character has ever done.  It’s a culmination of his experience, his quick-minded reaction and him wishing to put a dangling thread on his life away for good.  Just like in Del Toro’s live-action films, John Hurt continues to impress with his performance as he delivers his lines with the quality of a true professional.  No matter what future endeavors the property takes and no matter where cinema heads, he will always be missed.

As long as we’re still on the heroic spectrum, let’s quickly discuss the rest of our featured B.P.R.D. agents.  With Abe Sapien, he’s mainly competent throughout.  His physique provides for some athletic feats on both land and in water (albeit sewer) as he even withstands some moments of battle or even torture.  This time around, he gets to prove his athleticism on dry ground while withstanding the adversarial abuse that comes with this venture.  Once again, Doug Jones makes the most of his time in voicing the character right before he gets do so (in addition to physically portraying again) in “The Golden Army” the following year.  He’s mainly an energetic monotone that never sounds dull and always sounds confident.  While it would have been nice to see Abe have a character in one of these animated ventures, he was still a trusting and fun comrade to watch throughout this journey.  With Liz, she’s somewhat scaled back in terms of having a character arc.  Unlike last time where there was a partial mention of how she has a somewhat lack of control over her pyrokinesis, it’s presented here as her having more of a confident mastery of her powers.  Unlike last time where her greatest fight came against a aquatic dragon serpent and it took all of her might just to burn it back towards the depths of its underwater domain, she has no trouble incinerating some otherworldly wolves who’re loyal a vampiric demon.  Though not as prominent as she was last time, Selma Blair does do a nice job with what she’s been given as she displays several tonal degrees of confidence, caring, determination and focused fighting.  Finally, we have Sydney Leach.  While Broom fills the role here that Kate Corrigan had last time, Leach is essentially handling the part that Russel Thorn has last time.  Instead of being the team’s resident psychic, he’s the self-described “human metal detector” who does get to display his special talent.  Most of the time though, he’s mainly the tech guy who’s eager to help out the team.  He mainly shows his worth either behind a computer monitor or within a group, but it is a nice touch that he uses Hellboy’s handgun in order to help him out against Hecate.  For such a humble part, Rob Paulsen nicely slips into this role.  He sounds confident throughout and matches the upbeat personality that his character mainly presents during the majority of the movie.

Finally, let’s delve into our set of villains here.  Similar to “Batman Begins” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, it’s a superhero film that presents a food chain presentation with three separate villains.  Not only that, but this is the only one where the antagonists are all women.  At the top of this devious order, we have Hecate.  She keeps herself hidden from plain sight and gets little mention until she finally makes her presence known to Hellboy.  As mentioned, she doesn’t like it that Anung is constantly combating against the various otherworldly creatures and constantly demands him to join her side in the world.  If she had a way to tempt him into coming over to her and it was saddled with just enough truth in order to win him over, then I could have seen her as a devious goddess who’s also a master manipulator.  Despite that, it was nice to hear Cree Summer lend her vocal talents in something after such a long time of reviewing various projects without her.  She has a nice range with her anger that starts low and ultimately reaches true godly fury.  In the middle of this antagonistic chain, we have Erzebet.  Out of everyone here, she’s the most prominent of them all.  She starts out in her most terrifying form during a flashback before her influence over the Hampton mansion is slowly felt while her loyal subjects look to resurrect her.  Between her & Broom, they make for a nice piece of commentary on aging and how one can lose themselves if they let that pursuit consume them.  Even though both have been around for several decades, Trevor is able to accept the fact that he’s gotten old and that it comes with vast wisdom from his life experiences.  With Erzebet, she never to terms with that and thus relies on her vampiric traits in order to cheat Father Time.  Despite her otherworldly strength and speed which helps her terrorize her victims, she’s ultimately done in by Broom’s knowledge in hunting the deviously occult.  Kath Soucie does pull off an Eastern European accent pretty nicely in both of her character’s form and delivers some old-world terror that’s effectively delivered throughout.  Finally, we have our Harpy-Hags.  While that it what they’re normally credited as, they do have actual names thanks to Broom’s encounter with Erzebet’s victims.  Even though the DVD didn’t have a subtitle function (just like the previous entry, weird), I found an online transcript of the film that contains the spoken dialogue and that’s how I discovered that their names were Marianna Molnar and Treszka Bologh.  They never call each other by their actual names and only refer to each other as “sister”, but it’s an interesting discovery that I found.  Anyway, they’re the loyal underlings who mainly serve Erzebet but have no problem in praising their ultimate master in Hecate (at least until one of them gets squashed for interrupting her fight).  They delve in dark magic and mainly stay out of physical confrontation until otherwise.  The fact that they’re also Harpies is generally well-handled considering that they have to wear cloaks in order to hide their grotesque appearances.  It also gets a bit of display once Abe breaks out of his imprisonment and begins to fight them off, not to mention when one of them strikes him in the back.  Because one of them gets struck by Hecate’s tail and the other simply flies off, I do wonder whether one or both would have turned up again had this line of animated films been allowed to continue.  Either way, Dee Dee Rescher and Grey Delise-Griffin excel in bringing a sinisterly creepy delivery to their voices, which allows them to stay in the shadows within their mysteriousness until they’re ready to magically strike.

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Because the film is loosely based on the 1996 comic book storyline called “Wake The Devil”, there are some notable influences that the movie uses for its story.  In Issue #2, Hellboy crashes into a Romanian castle that’s occupied by Ilsa Haupstein and her Nazi cohorts.  Shortly upon arriving, he immediately fights a buff, semi-mechanical being named Unmensch who has a retractable fist.  Just like the Minotaur brawl, he manages to grab the chain and rip it from his arm.  Other elements that were transferred over from the comic includes the following: a group of young women (including one named Anna) that ended up getting killed, bird-like creatures that talk & worship their “goddess of crossroads” Hecate, Hellboy plunging his hands into water in order to retrieve someone only to pull up some snakes, Sydney (or “Sidney” as it’s spelled there) Leach demonstrating his title of “Human Metal Detector” by opening a hidden door, Hellboy coming across & fighting Hecate herself, Hecate wanting Hellboy to stop fighting his fellow supernatural creatures, Hecate getting defeated by sunlight after getting punched out of a building (Side Note: Everything involving the encounter with Hecate happens in Issue #4 of “Wake The Devil”) and even a iron maiden with a mention to a countess who killed young girls in order to bathe in their blood & keep her youth (Elizabeth Bathory in “Wake The Devil”).  It follows a similar strategy that Del Toro’s 2004 film followed when he loosely adapted “Seed Of Destruction” in his flim, which is interesting since “Wake The Devil” brings back Rasputin, Ilsa, Kroenen and a Nazi scientist named Leopold Kurtz, though they’re more in the background and preparing for a much grander scheme that they plan on unleashing later on.  Also unlike the movie, Hellboy is mainly on his own throughout the majority of the tale, Abe gets paired up with Agent Clark, while Liz and Leach get to have Agent Bud Waller in their group.  All three groups are sent to different parts of Romania in order to locate Castle Giurescu and stop an attempt to revive Vladimir Giurescu.  During the venture, Clark dies via stake impalment, Waller gets killed by Roger the Homunculus (whom Liz accidentally brings back to life with her pyrokinesis) and Leach singes his right hand while trying to free her from the being.  Obviously, that’s a bit too extreme for an animated film that’s rated TV-14 (since it did debut on television).  As such, what it ultimately does on its own terms is serviceable, yet remains focused on its narrative.  The choice for having a series of flashbacks told in reverse-chronological order was interesting since it proceeds to flesh out Trevor, introduces us to a main villain and explains some important character details that led up to the initial encounter.  This is especially the case with Father Lupescu who starts out (chronologically, at least) confident in the Lord’s spirit before he ultimately descends into a broken man, both spiritually and physically.  It can be seen as him initially not knowing what sort of supernatural threat that he and the town were up against combined with his youthful naivete.  It could also be seen as a warning to those who solely look upon religion as their sole means of protection when one has to actually take proper steps to combat against mankind’s numerous adversaries, both internally and externally.  Unlike Lupescu, Broom’s occupation and experience allows him to have a proper balance of the two sides.  He has a solid belief in Christianity, but he also takes the necessary steps to counteract the supernatural evils of the world in order to not get overwhelmed by it.  As such, he serves as the Lupescu’s last chance at hope before the former priest gets transformed into a werewolf against his will and ordered to fight back against everything he originally stood for.  While it’s not the dominant theme throughout the film, Trevor and Lupescu’s combined theme of redemption does feel well-handled throughout.  Elsewhere, a case could have been made for giving Hellboy a character arc where he struggles with maintaining his ties to humanity since Hecate wants him to be by her side and fight with his fellow supernatural denizens.  Unfortunately, it’s not really explored until the Greek goddess herself shows up.  It’s mainly because Broom’s inclusion made the family dynamic take more of a center stage presence.  Not to mention, Anung is far too entrenched within his surrogate father’s upbringing since he never even considers betraying his teammates.  As such, the story presents itself in a good and competent manner that’ll satisfy fans of the character without feeling like it’s in service of breaking new grounds.  In terms of the action scenes, they’re mostly engaging throughout.  The opening sewer fight helps to set the stage for the movie, the fight against the transformed Lupescu delivers a genuine sense of struggle and Hellboy’s struggle with shining some sunlight upon Hecate is effective due to the lengthy fight that he’s been through up to this point.  However, the climactic battle is somewhat lackluster due to it being a lot of hitting, smashing and running.  It would have been nice to have seen Hecate enact some powers that made sense to what she is outside of summoning several snakes to her beck and call.  Other than that, Abe’s escape from the Harpy-Hags, Elizabeth’s utter singeing of the supernatural wolves and Trevor’s impaling defeat over Erzebet properly served the narrative and helped it flow nicely.

While the animation is still pretty good throughout, I’d be remissed if I didn’t mention the four face-palming (even if somewhat hilarious) flubs that I noticed during my viewings.  As pictured above, these were the ones that I was stunned that the editors failed to notice.  First up, we have Kate as she’s explaining the details of the Hampton house to our agents.  Apparently, she decided to wear special gloves that disappear and reappear on a whim.  Next, we have Trevor as he’s captured by Erzebet and is being flown back to the house.  While he does open his eyes in a state of consciousness, I guess he has to be flown in reverse in order to shut them again.  Seriously though, rewinding footage of any kind (for the most part) is just a special kind of laziness within a forward-moving narrative.  Moving on, we have the fight against Erzebet in the main parlor.  A mistake popped out when Hecate smacks Abe over towards a monitor that’s on a stand.  It turns out that technology is far more advanced in this world that I thought for the time since it can duplicate itself and remain upright even if you crash down upon it.  Lastly, this flub was one that I didn’t notice until fairly late in the review process.  It’s the tailend of the climatic battle as Hellboy has knocked Hecate out into the sunlight and reverts her back into a snake within an iron maiden.  During the tussle inside the house, a broken railing got lodged into the upper left part of his chest and more towards his shoulder.  However, the wound vanishes for a short bit before coming back in the next.  In the end, these errors remind me of the time period of when these projects were made and released, specifically the growing pains era of comic book/superhero films.  It’s that era between 2002 and 2007 after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film made the genre popular again and various properties were being tried out.  There were some standouts (like Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins and Del Toro’s Hellboy), but others that were either generic/formulaic (Ghost Rider and Tim Story’s Fantastic Four duology), dull (Elektra and Ang Lee’s Hulk) or utterly abysmal (Pitof’s Catwoman and Blade: Trinity).  Even the Marvel Animated Features kicked off its run during this period, as all involved had various degrees of quality.  Despite its own flubs, they don’t severely from this film’s enjoyment factor.

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Overall, this was an entertaining trip into traditional supernatural despite a few bumps along the path.  The main characters are still a joy to watch, the animation is mostly solid, the action scenes are mainly well-handled and the narrative is simple enough and never confuses its viewer.  While I would have enjoyed a few more supernatural surprises from our main female villains, they were handled really well and held their own within this tale.  While it is a shame that no more animated ventures came for Hellboy and company, they’re both worthy of being watched and enjoyed by anyone who’s fascinated with this character.  You could hint down the original DVDs if you want to also have access to its original bonus features, or you could get both films in one setting thanks to its 2-in-1 Blu-Ray and even the 4K Ultra HD DVD releases.  Either way, they’re worth watching and leave you satisfied with absolutely no risk of feeling like “crap”.

Hellboy (created by Mike Mignola) is owned by Dark Horse Comics.

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