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Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007)

by on 2011/05/25

“For that which causes us trials shall lead us to triumph.”

* * *

I chose this instalment of the Hellboy animated series, Hellboy: Blood and Iron, because it has a vampire in it.

Frankly, I choose a lot of things because they have a vampire in them. More often if there are *vampires.* I’m predictable that way.

In this case, this animated feature centres around a vampire legend I am somewhat interested in: Báthory Erzsébet, Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. A countess in the early 1600s in Eastern Europe, she was implicated in the murders of an alleged 650 women. The legend has it that the so-called Blood Countess bathed in human blood to retain her youthful beauty.

She’s also a featured character in the Dracula the Un-Dead, the sequel to Dracula written by great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker. I met Dacre Stoker when he was in town for a book signing – I blithered something incoherent at him and he signed my book.

It was a sort of vampire pilgrimage for me. I liked the book and I’m quite hopeful it will be made into a movie.

Until then, there’s Hellboy: Blood and Iron to explore the creepy fascination of the Blood Countess. Directed by Tad Stones and Mike Mignola, this visually interesting made-for-TV movie is a must-see for Hellboy fans. Voice acted by the original actors of the Hellboy live-action franchise, there’s the sub-woofer rumble of Ron Perlman as Hellboy, the languid voice of Selma Blair as Liz Sherman and the sinister elegance of John Hurt as Professor Bruttenholm.

I love Hellboy series passionately. My site co-creator Hacker Renders (with whom I am still mad at for his gutting Fantastic Mr. Fox review …Chicken Run? *sputter* Chicken Run?) gave me the animated movies as a gift. I didn’t expect a great deal from them other than a way to complete my Hellboy collection – as a demonstration of my fangirl-dom. I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover how fun, well-made and great looking they were.

This particular instalment brings an interesting story told in an interlaced, slice-and-dice of past and present. In 1939, Young Prof. Bruttenholm is sent to investigate a series of murders in a remote Eastern European village and comes face to face with the Blood Countess. Flashing to the present, after a series of prophetic dreams about her return, Prof. Bruttenholm follows Hellboy on a routine, politically motivated investigation of a haunted hotel in the Hamptons, Long Island.

Owned by a rich and politically-connected millionaire Oliver Trombolt (Grant Albrecht), the Hampton house is home to series of unexplained events. Grumbling all the way, the team isn’t expecting to find anything more than poor wiring, drafty windows and faulty plumbing, and instead faces down some serious primordial evil.

The Blood Countess (Kath Soucie) didn’t disappoint, neither did her harpy-hag helpers (Grey DeLisle, Dee Dee Rescher). But the real standout in this feature is Hecate, the Queen of the Crossroads, necromancy and witchcraft, voiced by Cree Summer. She’s the evil scene stealer of this piece.

Sometimes animation gives us gifts that live-action can’t. Case in point here is Hellboy fighting a metallic Hecate, who makes herself corporal by transforming an iron maiden. Hellboy and a giant, serpentine Hecate battle through the ruined walls and exploding ceilings of the haunted mansion. That certainly didn’t suck.

“Lady, I was going to cut you some slack because you’re a major mythological figure.”

No slack needed here.

Hellboy fans, you need this. Really. Everyone else, check it out. It is a solid 75 minutes of hack, slash, crush and pound animation.

* * *

75 minutes

Unrated but not appropriate for children under 13 at all. Who would have thought the cartoon to have so much blood in it?

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