Monday, April 28, 2008

HBII Viral Marketing, Part 2

Behold the Secret Device!

A magical tool that seems to be used by HETFET activists, this device is used to covertly transmit http messages.

Enter the date of the HBII premiere and you get a message that spells out:

This is a blog by fairy lover, Lexi Lloyd - she's a bubbly little character, ain't she? Watch the videos and you will see she has found a cat with a nametag that says, "Mr. Omatta 12-23-44".

12-23-44 is Hellboy's birthday (on Earth). Mr Omatta is the name of a psychic of the BPRD. Enter Hellboy's birthday in the Secret Device and you find a new site:

Also, I forgot to mention there is a site out there for Uthyntrol, the anti-aging drug:

HBII Viral Marketing, Part 1

The viral marketing campaign for HELLBOY 2 is in full swing right now, so I thought I would guide you through a few of the sites, and perhaps tease some information out of them. Today we are starting with the granddaddy of all the sites -

HETFET, or Humans for the Ethical Treatment of Fairies, Elves and Trolls, first popped up on our radar after the full-length theatrical trailer showed up at the official Hellboy 2 site.

The members of HETFET are serious about "protecting the rights" of these fantasy creatures and are looking for volunteers to take action. You can support their cause by uploading pictures and videos of your protests and demonstrations, or purchasing "Save the Trolls" T-shirts.

The most significant part of the HETFET site is the Breaking News sections, which so far has reports on the following:

  1. The Secret Device is a mysterious portal tool for unlocking secret messages - and leading true HETFET activists to important internet locations. Click on over and see. Many of the sites that are held by the secret device will be discussed in later posts.
  2. Augustine Pharmaceuticals unveils anti-aging wonder drug. The drug is called Uthyntrol - and it seems to be the new fountain of youth, but how is it made? HETFET has their suspicions - could this new wonder drug be produced through unlawful fantasy creature testing? Only time will tell...

Friday, April 25, 2008

GDT's Journey to Middle Earth

It's official - GDT will be on his way to Middle Earth soon. Whew....the speculation is over. Congratulations to GDT, Peter Jackson, and all involved in this great undertaking. Guillermo is going to be up to his beard in monsters, fantasy and mythology, and I know for him that is a dream come true.

So what are we fans going to do for three years while GDT is off in New Zealand? Usually these productions are pretty tight-lipped, so it might be kind of quiet around here. We may have to just entertain ourselves for awhile.

For those bored fans out there, I recommend visiting (or TORN for short). They seem to be on top of the latest news, and it might be a good place to start for learning all about the Tolkien mythology. With such amazing coverage at TORN, I am wondering where DTF will find its "niche" for providing fans information. Tolkien has a large, rabid fan base, and given the limited amount of time that I can devote to DelToroFilms (I am a family man with a 9 to 5, after all), it may be hard to keep up. It would be nice to offer something special (news, feature, production blog) that these other sites can't offer.

Well - we do have a sense of "family" here at DTF. A virtual Shire, if you will.

Without the hairy feet (I hope).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hot Topics from the NYCC

NYCC - That's New York Comic Con for those of you unfamiliar with the DTF parlance. If you're going to party in the Labyrinth, you gotta drink the Kool-Aid.

If you read the full report at, then you are already familiar with the hot topics that got stirred up in GDT world. (It's his world, we're just living in it....and buying $4.00 popcorn). Everybody has an opinion - especially me - but I'm just more informed than most people. That doesn't make my opinions more valid, it just means I spend too much time on the internet googling "Hellboy 2".

So anyway, let's get on it, shall we? It's been more than a week since my last blog entry, and frankly, I'm anxious to get to talking Big Red...

The Sizzle Reel and Seth McFarlane

This is the "trailer" that GDT showed at NYCC. It is a full minute longer than the theatrical trailer, but it has a lot of incomplete VFX. For this reason, you likely won't see it again. But the word on the street is that there was some Johann footage, including some hard-core ectoplasmic action (easy fan-fic folks). But the real news is that GDT confirmed that Family Guy's Seth McFarlane is voicing Johanne. So before you comic purists go crazy thinking the bubble-head is going to be giggling like Peter Griffin and fighting giant chickens, GDT has defended his choice saying that Seth is a remarkable talent and speaks fluent German. That's good enough for me. You can't deny that Seth's voice work is considerable, even if it is more on the comic side. To me, this is like casting Kelsey Grammar as Beast in X3. The casting is so intriguing that you can't wait to see how it works out on the screen, even if you think the actor is all wrong. That controversy raises the level of interest in a film - at least to movie nuts who blog about such things. Ahem. (Incidentally, I thought Grammar was great).

Hellboy 3

GDT has been dropping hints about how The Hobbit is VERY close to being a done deal. That means, if HB2 is a smash, and Universal greenlights a sequel, we may not see it for 5 or 6 years. Ron Perlman will be I think 8o years old by then...wait a minute (checks Wikipedia)...nope, he'll be around 63 or 64. Same difference - either way he'll be eligible for the Senior special at Denny's. (Ron - if you're out there, I'm just kidding. I like to chide old people. They get so cute when they're angry. Like nippy, gray-haired dauchsands).
I think GDT wants to direct HB-cubed himself, but 5 or 6 years is a long time to wait. My gut feeling? Ron is tough and will stick it out. HB2 will do above average at the box office, gangbusters on DVD, GDT will finish the Hobbit, and Universal will bankroll HB3 next on a similar budget as HB2 and rake in more cash. HB3 will be a "sound investment" for Universal, and GDT's best option as he tries and tries to get ATMOM financed.

HETFET, as we now know, stands for Humans for the Ethical Treatment of Faeres, Elves and Trolls. These viral HB2 sites are blowing up! Start at and navigate your way around the web. There is some clever stuff out there, and some mysteries and riddles (check out Sometime soon I'd like to outline what can be learned from these sites, so we'll see if I can squeeze in another post on this topic soon. GDT seems to be enjoying the joke - as he was recently seen at a HETFET protest rally (picture from Comics2Film).

I wish I had a chance to attend NYCC - sadly, my budget is limited to going to LA this year for the fan screening. I hope to see many faithful DTF fans/Labyrinth readers at the shindig.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Am...Disappointed

I finally watched I AM LEGEND last night, and as you saw from the title of this post, I was a little disappointed.

I read the Richard Matheson book several years ago and really enjoyed it (it IS a classic). So naturally, the ending didn't live up to expectations. I won't spoil it here, but it seems like it would be a good idea to leave the book's ending since it EXPLAINS the title of the film. Everybody asks me why the movie was called I AM LEGEND - and all I can say is, "read the book." It seems like, once again, the studio pushed for the "happy Hollywood ending"- essentially making this film just another run-of-the-mill zombie movie. I encourage everyone to read the Matheson novel - it is much more satisfying.

My other major problem with the film is the CGI zombies. The zombie/vampire/monsters in the film are entirely done in CGI. Too much CGI is always a bad thing for the simple reason that you can't quite make CGI characters look 100% convincing. Gollum from LOTR is the best I've seen with a CGI character, and nobody else has come close. I believe the "scare" factor of this film would have greatly benefited from real actors in makeup - I'm glad GDT shares this philosophy.

I am pleased however that a studio took a chance on a big budget special effects horror movie, though. This film did pretty good at the box office, so I'm hoping that movies like this will open the doors for ATMOM to get made. GDT is insisting on keeping out any "happy Hollywood" ending in ATMOM and - judging from LEGEND - seems to be a just battle.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

GDT On Fairy Tales, Part 4

The last in my series of GDT quotes on the topic of fairy tales:

Interview by Elvis Mitchell

EM: We've talked about this before, but one of the things that used to make movies terrifying--all those B pictures we grew up on, the fantastical stories we've talked about, even Grimm's fairy tales, is that--
GT: Children die.

EM: Absolutely.
GT: That aspect of things is mostly sanitized from even the news now. When you'd see footage of a war in the '70s, you would get the occasional retina-burning image of a family running away, being doused with napalm, or a little girl screaming. To me, that's war. It's not soldiers in uniforms looking cool or great night footage of rockets flying. War is when it hits your child or your mother or your grandmother. When you read any of the great fairy tales, be it Oscar Wilde or Hans Christian Andersen, or be it in the oral tradition, they all have a very strong element of pathos.

EM: Which is something that you have in Pan's Labyrinth. In fairy tales we're used to the possibility of wrongs being righted. But that doesn't necessarily happen In this movie.
GT: Because the little girl might have the moment that is an exact quote of the little matchbook girl in Hans Christian Andersen, where she lights the last match and she is finally in a happy place, and she smiles, and then she dies.

EM: But what you get In American movies Is that kids represent innocence, and you can't kill off innocence. So there's a belief that's sort of contrary to what you're saying--that basically evil can consume everybody.
GT: Evil has the characteristic of being resilient. It's harder to work toward what's right, the common good. It's easier to be selfish.

EM: So you're saying that evil is easier because it's an easy way out.
GT: It's the easiest way out. It is the straight path, the shining path, the most tempting path. The rewards of modesty or goodness or kindness are far more subtle.

EM: But those rewards that you're talking about--the ones that come with sacrifices and compromises--are about being an adult.
GT: That's why I think the best way to address these little truths is in fables. This conversation is taking place, and we may be nodding or not, but the reality is that fables get at what we're talking about so much more efficiently.

EM: Do you think you could make a movie like Pan's Labyrinth in America?
GT: No. Never. Impossible. Because the biggest stigma of genre or fantasy movies is that they are supposed to be watered down. The studio's mentality is like, "How do we make this fully accessible?" If we had tested the movie with an audience, the ending would be completely different.

EM: If Bambi [1942] were made today, his mother wouldn't die.
GT: No. But Walt Disney, the original man, anti-Semite or not, the guy understood the value of pathos. Fantasia [1940], Pinocchio [1940], Alice in Wonderland [1951]--they're all full of darkness.

EM: Do you feel now like you've had a chance to expunge some of the darker fairy tales that you wanted to get out of your system?
GT: I would like to continue. You know, Hellboy II is also a bit of an exploration of the fairy world. It's a funny thing: I have an impediment that most certainly makes me the least accurate judge of what it is, but to me, Hellboy is the sort of film I've done that I group with The Devil's Backbone and Cronos and Pan's Labyrinth. I don't group it with Blade II [2002] or Mimic. I think of Hellboy as a personal movie, strangely enough. I can defend Blade II and say that I love it, but it's not as personal a movie in the way that Hellboy is for me. Hellboy II is even more personal to me than Hellboy. I really have a grand plan for taking him all the way to the fulfillment of his destiny.

EM: And you're not a guy who tends to be drawn toward happy endings.
GT: Not really. There was a great phrase that I love in a screenplay written about a decade ago where a demon says to a guy, "Lost causes are more beautiful." I really believe that.

GDT On Fairy Tales, Part 3

More quotes from Guillermo on the topic of fairy tales:

From Atomic Chat:

The reality of that is cemented deeply into the most traditional fairytales that used to come out of the most harrowing of environments. People tend to forget that Hansel and Gretel came out of one of the biggest famines in Europe. Fairytales come from times of plague, famine, war. And we’re also seeing brutal moments of mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide, murder, you know, but fantasised. It is make believe, but the horror deal comes as a direct descendant of the fairy tale.

From Combustible Celluloid:

(On fairy tale themes of PAN'S LABYRINTH)

"There is such a huge tradition in fairy tales of the pre-pubescent heroine going through the tasks and the rite of passage," he says. "There are even books written about it by feminists and studious people who analyze fairy tales. The most powerful example is a tale by Hans Christian Andersen called "The Snow Queen," where the girl has to go through an ordeal that is ambiguous and scary and vaguely disturbing to rescue the boy she loves. You can have all the other films and stories added to that pile, and it's really a tradition."

From HighBeam Encyclopedia:

EM: Where did the idea for Pan's Labyrinth come from?

When I first thought of the idea, I was reading a book called The Science of Fairy Tales. I started making notes about the essential images and symbols in fairy tales: the key, the dagger, blood spilled, the choice, the three doors, the moon, the mother, the rose, the toad, the root, the underground, the mandrake, the unborn baby as a token for passage. So I distilled these elements and took them into another context, which was fascist Spain in 1944.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

GDT On Fairy Tales, Part 2

From The Evening Class Blog Q & A:

I love monsters and I think fantasy is the last refuge of spirituality in this time because we have essentially [gone] through the '50s and '60s and '70s, and all the iconoclastic taking down of rightfully—disgusting institutions; but, anything that was erected after that essentially was or has become as hollow as those institutions. So we took down all the crap and we erected new crap. [Laughter.] We erected every boring, materialistic sort-of-reality t.v. shit to drive us on. I believe that in this age one of the few moments where I can feel like a child and can feel spiritually uplifted is through fantasy. I really believe in monsters in the way that a Baptist would receive Jesus. …Monsters were invented by primitive man to explain—first of all—nature. Then as they became socially more complex they started inventing monsters to talk about the things that scared them about themselves and eventually it's psychological. Monsters have a direct tap into spirituality and consciousness. I feel that I have an intimate, almost religious, contact with fantasy creatures."

"The origin of the fairy tale," Del Toro answered, "is an oral tradition. Normally what would happen is cobblers and tailors traveling from town to town would stay at homes and charge a warm bed and a meal and then the whole family would sit around the cobbler or the tailor and they would tell a story, many times about a cobbler and a tailor in a fairy tale. That's why they figure so prominently in fairy tales. They had to entertain the whole family, children and adults, so they talked about contexts that felt alive and contemporary at that time. They talked about famine. They talked about war, pestilence, and they peppered [the stories] with incredibly brutal moments either to entertain the adults or to scare the children shitless [laughter] and into behaving. So there [are] two kinds of fantastic tales: one is extremely repressive, pro-establishment, and tells the children don't go out at night, obey your parents, don't be ambitious, and this kind of thing; and then there is the other one, which is absolutely insane and brutal. But all of them were peppered with really dark, incredibly almost Freudian, elements. I felt that they had been [whitewashed] and sweetened and taken beyond recognition into being Disneyfied, if you would. I wanted to recuperate the brutality because I believe that without a context of horror then the magic is meaningless. If all you're going to have is little elves singing happily all the fucking time. The fact is my fantasy has always been absolutely non-liberating. It has helped me deal with the real world but I never imagined myself singing to little bluebirds or chipmunks or stuff like that. The way I see fantasy is not a way to escape reality but to articulate reality. To use those elements to learn your way around the world and I believe that fantasy is a way to create parable, to talk about big truths but in a way not married to outcome, or married to a political outcome, an immediate outcome. Darkness is necessary in those cases to bring forth … this movie, if it worked with you—because a movie, I keep saying, is like a blind date, y'know?—if it worked with you, if it tickled you in the right places, then the movie hopefully transported you to a vulnerable place where you can be a kid again. Now we, as adults, in order to be shocked by the horror like a kid and experience the wonderful like a kid, I have to push your buttons and they're hidden under layers and layers of social fat. I have to push really hard like deep tissue massage."

GDT On Fairy Tales, Part 1

First - thanks to Kate on the message boards for getting me thinking about this topic. GDT is a huge fan of fairy tales and I find it interesting to read about how they have influenced his films. I thought I would post some quotes for your enjoyment.

From Devil's Backbone Interview at FreakCentral.:

You mention fairytales in regards to Blade II, and I have noted that the fairytale style is a cornerstone for your films.
It's funny you say that because in every movie I make I consciously try to insert fairy tale elements. I try very hard. I'm a huge fan of a particular group of Victorian illustrators that specialized in illustrating fairy tales. Kay Nielson, who illustrated some beautiful children's books, Arthur Rakham (right)--very beautiful sepia work, and I try to incorporate elements of those images in all of my work. Into Devil's Backbone went that oversized oven in the kitchen and the big oversized scissors hanging on the rack. I have this feeling, and I know in my gut that it's right, that horror stories are nothing but the stepchildren of fairytales. They're a derivation of that and the imagery tends to lend itself very nicely to that.

In that they teach morality through cautionary examples?
Quite the opposite: I believe they talk about a far more subversive morality than that in fairytales. I believe that fairytales are an instrument of instruction and that horror tales are the illegitimate offspring of that. The best horror tales to me are those that have an anarchic point of view--the ones that have no preconceived notions of what should be. At the same time I think that horror is without a doubt a beautiful instrument and an expansive container for metaphors.

From Pan's Labyrinth Interview:

“In the time of spiritual formation, for me, both fairy tales and the Bible had the exact same weight. I was as enthralled by a parable in the Bible about the grain of mustard, as I could be about three brothers on their quest to marry a princess. I found equal spiritual illumination in both. Even when I was a kid, funny enough, I used to be able to find those fairy tales that felt preachy and pro-establishment, and I hated them. I hated the ones that were about, ‘Don’t go out at night.’ There are fairy tales that are created to instill fear in children, and there are fairy tales that are created to instill hope and magic in children. I like those. I like the anarchic ones. I like the crazy ones. And, I think that all of them have a huge quotient of darkness because the one thing that alchemy understands, and fairy tale lore understands, is that you need the vile matter for magic to flourish. You need lead to turn it into gold. You need the two things for the process. So when people sanitize fairy tales and homogenize them, they become completely uninteresting for me.”

Monday, April 7, 2008

Add a New Show To The List

My time is very precious these days. Having an 8-to-5 job, plus 45 minute commute each way eats into my time. And no, my job is not running (I wish it was - imagine the DTF news coverage you fans would get then! Actually, screw you guys, imagine all the perks I would get!). Plus, I have a very demanding, very active, very mischevious one-year-old boy. Add to all that my affection for sleepy time, my window for video and literary entertainment is pretty thin. I have a stack of books on my must-read list (and comics), and I have a large queue of television shows waiting in my DVR (the poor man's Tivo).

Well, add another one to the list. My wife ordered "Dexter" on Netflix, despite my protests. You see, EVERYONE says how good this show is. It is racking up rewards. And the had me hooked before I even watched a show - a forensic expert (blood splatter expert, to be specific) is also a serial killer, and hunts down the evil people that slip through the cracks of Miami's justice system. Since it also stars Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under), I was sold before I even saw the first episode.

So I watched it last night, and just as expected, I am hooked.

It is completely original, dark, and doesn't (so far) make out Dexter to be a vigilante. He is a sick person, a man that is empty inside and is a slave to his compulsion to kill. His interaction with the characters around him (other cops and investigators at the Miami PD) keep it light for us viewers. After all, you can't be inside the mind of a killer all the time - its a little depressing. But as Dexter points out early on, "he has learned to fake it." The joking, the friendships - its him, but its not him.

So I look forward to more episodes - I'm already intrigued by Dexter's past, and the "Ice Box Killer." I don't think I'll be caught up on all these shows (Dexter and others) until my son is in college.

You know, prior to DVR and DVD, I never had this problem. Stupid techology! Making my life enjoyable and convenient!! (shakes fist)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happy Birthday My Hellboy!

My beautiful son turned one year old today. You are my greatest gift, my best friend. Dad loves you beyond measure. Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hellboy 2 Full Trailer Review


That's my review of the new HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY trailer (which you can watch here at DelToroFilms). My friend on the Hellboy message board, Damascinos, said, "I feel like I did at age 5, seeing Hammerhead for the first time in the Star Wars bar and having my entire concept of "monster" rewritten."

He hit the nail right on the head.

That's exactly what it felt like to me. I have not seen such a plethora of wild and original creature designs on screen since the 80's when I would drag my parents to the theater (over and over) to see Return of the Jedi. I don't want to call it revolutionary, that's a big word with big connotations, but I definitely see that GDT and his creature and concept designers (Wayne Barlowe, Mike Mignola, and Francisco Ruiz Valasco, to name the ones I know of) are really going the extra mile. This is the stuff that widens the eyes and feeds the imagination. Amazing stuff.

We also get to see some vintage Hellboy moments - puffing the cigar, punching monsters, and laying down some cool one-liners ("You woke up the baby"). Also introduced in this trailer is some internal conflict that is going to be facing Hellboy - it seems he will be questioning how he fits in with the world of men, and he will be presented a choice of some kind from the Angel of Death.

One of my few complaints was that the "Don't call me babe" dialogue between Hellboy and Liz didn't quite work - seemed like it was kind of squeezed in there, maybe as an audience introduction to Abe Sapien. I suspect it didn't work because it was taken out of context, so I have faith that the gag will work within the movie itself. Also, not much screentime for Johann, so I wonder how much he will be used in this film.

But hey, I'm not going to nitpick - you can't fit everything into a theatrical trailer, and I wouldn't want it to. I'm excited to see this film in July. Looks like more action, more monsters, more everything.

And I want to see what happens when HB pulls the trigger on the Big Baby. I can only hope it trims monsters down like shooting a machine gun at an elm tree.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Think The Hobbit Is Going To Happen

For some time, I've held back on convincing myself that THE HOBBIT would be GDT's next project.

"Still to early," I would tell myself. "A lot can happen."

While most have sat back with bated breath waiting for the announcement, I have kept an open mind that maybe, just maybe, Universal would swoop in and offer a project that GDT could not refuse - say, ATMOM, for example.

But I think it is time to say it - THE HOBBIT will be GDT's next project.

I've been watching the news, and GDT's posts, and it seems the path is clear, and its just a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Look at a few quotes from El Maestro in the past couple of days:

"I am dying to share news but I have to be patient and wait until the papers are done and my attachment is real. Nevertheless- a LOT of progress in defining the films, their cast and crew. And, may I add, we are all happily in synch about all creative aspects so far and all willing and eager to move forth. "

"All I can say is, creatively we are all in sync and eager to commit and move forward."

What can I say? With quotes like that, I'm convinced its going to happen. And I'm excited - although this will be around a five year commitment for GDT, the result is going to be two very exciting, staggeringly beautiful fantasy films. With monsters, and swords, and Hobbits, and wizards, and dragons...

To quote BACHELOR PARTY - "All the stuff that makes life worth living!"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hobbit Roles for GDT favorites

First, let's get the latest update on The Hobbit out of the way:

April 1, 2008, 9:25am, EDT: No updates at this time.

There, feel better? Reporting on The Hobbit is kind of like being in "the hatch" in LOST - every so often I push a button, a clock resets, nothing happens, and then I wait to push the button again.

But wait...I DO have something to say...from a second hand source...with an ever-so-tiny tidbit of information...that might occur...if GDT signs on to direct...which he hasn't....yet....

My source, a lovely lady from the DTF message boards, says GDT has a few roles in mind for Doug Jones in The Hobbit, and also has a role in mind for Mr. Ron Perlman. Ha ha! Let the speculation again!!!

Just for fun, here is where I would like to see these actors if The Hobbit gets greenlit with GDT in the chair...which it hasn't....yet:

Ron Perlman

Smaug: I hear Ron Perlman's voice in my head when I read Smaug's dialogue in the book. His deep, intimidating vocal chords would serve the dragon well.

Beorn: Half bear- half man. Beorn has that "intimidating presence," but can also be a good guy. And he can put the beat down on pesky Wargs. Although I picture Beorn in my head to look like Hagred from the Harry Potter books - count on GDT to go in a completely different direction, which is why Ron is my choice for this character.

Doug Jones

The Great Goblin: Dougie would be perfect for this underworld monster. Pencil him in...with ink!

Spider of Morwood: Wouldn't it be cool to see Doug do motion capture animation on this creature? Totally. Sweet. Pencil him in....with ink!

Galion: The drunken elf that allows the dwarves to escape. Heck, it would just be fun to see Doug with very little prosthetics, outside of some pointy ears. And this could be a fun, comedic role for him - I love it!

But alas, my musings above are mere speculation...or conjecture....well, maybe not conjecture, but definitely speculation. Oh, well....

Status on The Hobbit as of April 1, 2008, 9:37am, EDT: No update.

Pushes button. Clock resets.