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There is something about a horned demon taking on foes like vampires, Nazis, and even Rasputin himself that just screams R-rating. While #GuillermodelToro brought us his own fantastical take on #MikeMignola's #Hellboy series back in 2004, there is no denying that it was more of a family affair than its red-soaked origins on the page. Although Del Toro returned for the 2008 sequel, we sadly never got a third film, an R-rating, or #RonPerlman playing Big Red in live-action ever again.
Now, The Descent director #NeilMarshall will be the man to steer the franchise in a bloodier new direction and take the reins from the lauded Del Toro for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen. Stranger Things star #DavidHarbour is already trying on his "Right Hand of Doom" as our titular Hellboy, but does the film's R-rating come naturally, or are we just jumping on the Logan bandwagon?
Go Hard Or Go Home
Speaking to Mick Garris’s Post Mortem podcast (via EW), Marshall revealed that he feels honored to usher in a darker era for the character on our screens. Also, Marshall confirmed that he will be very much be looking to Mignola's bloody roots and the Hellboy #comicbook series, which began back in 1993:
“We’ve been granted permission to do it R-rated, which for me is just like taking the cuffs off. It’s like, okay, so now we can just make the movie we want to make. It’s not like I’m going to force it to be R-rated, but if it happens to come out that way, just because of my own sensibilities, then fine. And nobody’s going to stop us. So, that’s the main [difference]. And I’m sure, obviously, the success of things like 'Deadpool' and 'Logan' have not hurt that cause. But, also, when you go back the original material, it is kind of bloody, so I’m going to embrace that.”
There will obviously be those who look at the success of the likes of Logan and Deadpool and see Marshall as just jumping on the bandwagon. However, where some comics are certainly more kid friendly, the original Hellboy material is anything but. The shadow of death, occult zombies, and supernatural disasters were around every corner, which is what made the comic book so popular in the first place. Del Toro's era may have had its #horror elements (the morgue scene with Karl Kroenen), but the PG-13 rating undoubtedly hindered it.
The Real Deal
As for letting the red stuff flow, Marshall confirmed that the new "bloodier" era of Hellboy would be relying on some good old-fashioned practical effects rather than dodgy CGI:
“It’s definitely going to be as practical as we can possibly make it. I love to do stuff in camera whenever I possibly can, and use CG as the amazing tool that it is, to enhance or expand upon the world, but not to use it to replace reality, when you can do it [for] real.”
Given that Marshall worked on two of the biggest Game of Thrones battle episodes — "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" — this is no surprise. Thrones is notorious for using actual action rather than relying on the trickery of computers, so apart from the odd green screen dragon, most of the effects are real.
Forget the buzz around other R-rated possibilities like Sony's Spider-Man spin-offs and Venom, Hellboy should be the only R-rated comic book film you are excited for. We have already seen promo posters, fan art, and Harbour getting ready, but with shooting expected to start this Fall — and a 2018 release — expect our big red bastard to light up a cigar and come punching his way onto our screens very soon.
An R-rated Hellboy promises to be something quite spectacular and may finally give Mignola's material the justice it deserves. Well, when the word "blood" is in the title, it makes sense that Rise of the Blood Queen at least attempts to live up to its own hype.