Monday, June 23, 2008

Hulk Review: What's Old Is New Again

I saw INCREDIBLE HULK this weekend. I thought it was very good! Not great - for reference, I thought SPIDERMAN 2 and BATMAN BEGINS were "great". Those two movies had solid characters, great action.

HULK was just good on both those fronts - and that is enough for me to recommend it to friends and I will probably buy the DVD.

The thing I really liked about HULK was it was an obvious tribute to the old HULK television show starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. It had the "eyes" moment before a change, Banner as a lonely drifter - it even had a Lou Ferrigno cameo which was wonderful. As a big fan of the old show growing up, this movie definitely won over my heart in that respect.

I thought the Ang Lee HULK film was average - not bad, not good. I thought it needed more action and better pacing. But my biggest gripe with the Ang Lee HULK was that the script seemed to make Banner out to be a tragic victim, always on the run, hating his destiny. Granted, that seems the essence of Banner doesn't it? But the tone was all different - in Leterrier's HULK, there is not much time spent on the brooding, sad Bruce Banner. In this one we get a Banner that is on the run, and he is looking to protect people from himself, to find a cure. The excitement factor is there - this is not a man that is looking to run and hide and mope, which is how I felt about Lee's Banner. And most importantly - the Hulk is made to be a HERO. I thought this was sorely lacking in the previous film.

And the excitement factor is definitely there - the Hulk is on the run from the military and facing an worthy adversary in THE ABOMINATION - a Hulk-like villain with intelligence and an insane evil streak. It makes for a fun finale, and more "Hulk Smash!", which is always a great thing for a summer popcorn movie. Norton was a perfect Bruce Banner - I will always think of him as The Hulk - any further casting will be met with great skepticism.

If I had any complaints, it is that the HULK was a little too "monstrous". Lots of veins popping out under the skins, lots of Hulk roars, he always seemed to be covered in dirt and lurking in the shadows. I thought that was all a bit over the top - I like my heroes to be "presentable", darn it, and finally the Hulk is a hero!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Russian Mystic Grigori Rasputin

Many people don't know that Grigori Rasputin, the villain from the first Hellboy movie and also the first Hellboy comic "Seed of Destruction", was actually a real person. Much of what is known is a mixture of legend and fact. This much is clear - he has earned a prominent spot in Russian history.

Grigori Efimovich Rasputin was born in Siberia, the exact date is unknown - most guess between 1882 and 1875. Some of the more interesting parts of his legend are as follows:

  • Rasputin was born a peasant in Siberia. His father was rumored to be a criminal - a horse stealer. Grigori was thought to have had a sister, Maria, and a brother, Dmitri. According to legend, Maria drowned in a river, and Dmitri was to have died from pneumonia after falling into a pond. Grigori, of course, met his own fate in a river in his home town.

  • It is said that as a child, Rasputin would talk to his father's horses in a "child language", comforting them. He was also said to have a mysterious talent for identifying thieves.

  • Rasputin's early introduction into the spiritual realm was with the Khlysty sect through a chance meeting with a stranger. Khlysty had several "unusual" beliefs, among them a believe in the reincarnation of God in man. This "mysterious resurrection" empowers a person with powers to heal, prophesy, raise the dead, and deal out judgement at the Apocolypse. However, Rasputin's daughter claimed he rejected the sect's teachings.

  • Rasputin gained power by becoming an advisor to Russian Czar Nicolas II, after being called on to heal his son, Tsarevich Alexei, from hemophilia. His influence on the Czar was of great concern. One example, from Wikipedia notes: "When Rasputin expressed an interest in going to the front to bless the troops early in the war, the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Duke Nicholas, promised to hang him if he dared to show up there. Rasputin then claimed that he had a revelation that the Russian armies would not be successful until the Tsar personally took command. With this, the ill-prepared Nicholas proceeded to take personal command of the Russian army, with dire consequences for himself as well as for Russia."

  • Grigori weakened the integrity of the dynasty by his odd behavior and beliefs, but also by bragging about his influence with the Tsar. This brought about a conspiracy to murder him by a group of nobels. Legend says that the men first poisoned him, but oddly Rasputin was unaffected. They then shot him four times, but again, he still lived. At this point they bound him and threw him in a river to drown. His body was later recovered - an autopsy revealed the cause of death as hypothermia.

  • Rasputin's body was later exhumed and burned. As the body burned, it appeared to sit up in the fire. (This legend is attributed to the tendons in the body shrinking as they were cooked)

For more reading check out these sites:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We've Seen The Tooth Fairies Before

Here is a little unknown fact for you "casual" GDT fans out there - have you noticed the swarming, nasty, sharp toothed fairies in the Hellboy 2 trailer? Those are tooth fairies - mean little buggers. Come in swarms. Well, this is an idea that GDT has had for some time!

In 2004, Dark Horse published a collection of Hellboy short stories called Hellboy: Odder Jobs. (This was a sequel to a previous publication called Hellboy: Odd Jobs). Anyway, the Odder Jobs collection included stories by Frank Darabont, Tim Lebbon, James A. Moore, and others. Also featured was a Hellboy short story written by Guillermo, and it was about Hellboy's first encounter with tooth fairies!

So if you want a good "prequel" read in preparation for Hellboy 2, check it out. You can click the link below to buy it at the DTF Store.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ideas For a Hellboy Party

Its getting very close to the Hellboy 2 premiere!! Can't wait to see it - even though I'm biased (is running a GDT fansite considered "bias"? Really?) this movie looks like it will be a blast. I'm going to have a party this weekend with some friends who have never seen the first movie - this will be their first introduction to Hellboy. I encourage everyone to do the same! If you have any pictures of your party, send them to me and I will post them for the fan community to see. You can email me at parker @

So do you need some ideas for your party? Well here you go:


A screening of the first Hellboy movie is an absolute requirement! Make sure you convince (or con) your buddy with the big screen TV and surround sound system to host the party.


I prefer to serve true Hellboy food for my guests - Nachos and Baby Ruth bars. Bonus points for any guest who dips their candy bar IN the nacho cheese when they eat it. Chili is also acceptable, or if you are feeling really crazy, huge pancakes - at least 2 feet in diameter. Don't forget the Bud Light. After dinner cigars optional.

  • Costume contest. I recommend giving a "most obscure" award. My recommendation is to go as Agent Clay, complete with ear piece and hair plugs

  • Trivia contest. Here's a good one to use.

  • Six Degrees of Hellboy - you know the game. Only instead of Kevin Bacon, use Ron Perlman.

Attending the Premiere

If you are planning a big night on the town to attend a premiere on July 11th, be sure to go all out in full costume. If no costume, I recommend wearing the official DTF T-Shirt. If you are over 21, hit a couple of bars and order up some Bud Light.

Last, but not least, dig up a corpse somewhere and speak to him in Russian.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Haven't Seen THE ORPHANAGE - What Is Wrong With Me?

I made a painful admission to some friends on the DTF boards not too long ago - I haven't seen THE ORPHANAGE.

Their response:


I know - it is sick. And you'll really think I'm weird after I tell you why...

First of all, I have a legitimate reason why I missed it in theaters. I wanted to take my wife to see it, so we scheduled ahead - two weeks after the U.S. release date. Got a babysitter and everything, then - POOF - it was gone. Just like Kaiser Soce. Can't imagine why it was out of my local theater so soon. Actually, I can - the word "Foreign Film" is a bad word to theater owners.

So I missed a chance to see it in the theater - but its been out on DVD for a while now, right? So what's the problem?

Here's the thing - I'm not obsessive compulsive. Not much anyway. I mean, sometimes I obsess about germs, but just little stuff, like when I exit a bathroom, I grab the most uncommon part of the door handle possible to avoid bathroom germs. That's not that weird, is it? Some people open a bathroom door using a paper towel - or worse, I've seen people flush a toilet with their foot (Gross!! Don't they know that if you are at a urinal, you are likely to be standing in urine drippage prior to said foot flush??)

Anyway, here is my other obsessive compulsive tendancy - I HAVE TO WATCH MY NETFLIX MOVIES IN THE ORDER THEY ARE ADDED TO MY QUEUE.

Let me explain to those of you who don't subscribe to Netflix. You select movies you want to watch from their website. Those movies go in a queue in the order that you select them - each new movie you select goes to the end of the queue. Then Netflix mails them according to your queue order.

So when I put THE ORPHANAGE in my Netflix queue, there were other movies in front of it! I have the option of moving THE ORPHANAGE to the top of my queue, but I CAN'T DO IT!! Something holds me back - it is as if shifting my queue order will rain down fire and chaos into my movie watching world. I can't explain it. But alas, it has greatly delayed my ORPHANAGE viewing - a review will come soon...right after I watch BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: RAZOR, THE MIST, MICHAEL CLAYTON, and FUTURAMA THE MOVIE: BENDER'S BIG SCORE.

I'm sure many of you out there have quirks like this - please share them!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How About a Ghost Story?

I know most of you GDT fans out there like a good ghost story. Here's one I found while on vacation this weekend. My family and I had travelled to West Virginia for a family reunion. My father was born there, raised near the coal mines of Premier, WV. During our trip, we passed through Greenbrier county, home of one of the most famous ghost stories in U.S. History.

I found a website that tells the TRUE story better than I ever could, so click here to read it.

Also, here is a historical marker that stands in Greenbrier to this day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some Foxtrot LOTR Fun For You

I'm a big fan of the comic strip "Foxtrot" by Bill Amend. One of the truly great things about the strip is that it taps into some truly geeky stuff through the "Jason" character - an opinionated nerd of epic proportions. When the LOTR movies were coming out, Amend put out quite a few strips focused on the Tolkien saga. I wanted to post some for you for your enjoyment. Be sure to check out the official Foxtrot website, and also click over to this great Interview with Bill Amend from

It would be great to see more of these Tolkien tributes from "Foxtrot" when THE HOBBIT comes out - Amend's work is hilarious.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A "Fair Warning" To Hobbit Fans

Check out this post that GDT made over at the TORN message boards:

To LOTR fans on Hellboy 2 As the opening of "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" draws near I feel the urge to reiterate a fair warning. The Aesthetics of the film are quite "Pop" and colorful and -obviously- more influenced by the hyper-saturated palette of a Kirby comic book than a Fairy Tale or a Fantasy work.

Please do not get confused by either the palette of the film or its tone. It uses the comedic and interpersonal banter from the first film and the monster design is quite outlandish and colorful. We made a deliberate move away from the Celtic / Nordic aesthetics present in most Fantasy films because we knew we could NOT out do bigger productions (like LOTR) at that game.

We are a $85 m dollar film and we tried to find our own "look" so we endeavoured to create a very idiosyncratic melange of Arabic architecture and design and Oriental motifs. We took Japanese suit of armour patterns allowed it to be imbued by Celtic motifs, etc- you can see some of that in the trailer.

Our Elfland is more akin to Dunsany or perhaps even Moorcock in its aesthetics, using the stark contrast of dark against white skin and golden eyes.

Our magical world is broader and freer -even surreal at times- and suits the tone of this film.

I am exceedingly aware of Genres and moreso when I mix them and / or mix them together. Most of Hellboy will give you almost no indication of what will come to pass with the HOBBIT. There is, however a PROLOGUE done with Old Wooden Puppets that will share some faint traces that eventually you will be able to find in certain passages in the forthcoming movie. But even then, please do not take this as a verbatim through line.

When I started HBII I had NO inkling that the HOBBIT would really come my way and I wanted to use the Fantasy Worlds that lie beneath as a metaphor of all that mankind is extinguishing with its unedning greed.

It is my dearest hope that this message will prevent speculation of what in "Pan's Labyrinth" or "Hellboy II" will indicate what the HOBBIT will be. In time there will be definite aesthetic choices that will guide the film towards a yuxtaposition of PJ's and my visual proclivities but I think it will only be visible in retrospect and it would be almost impossible -and rather perverse- to try and divine it at this stage.

The same goes for tone and theme. Nevertheless, if some
of you enjoyed the first :Hellboy" or "Pan's Labyrinth" for that matter I would
love to have you grace a theater with your derriere and allow our tale to find

All the Best


I get from this post that GDT is well aware of the ever-observing eye of "Hobbit Nation". No doubt he will be under a measure of fan-scrutiny he has never experienced before. Hellboy has its loyal followers, but not in the large numbers represented by Tolkien's fans. This is what we call a "pre-emptive strike" - answering the question before it is asked.

So don't fret "Hobbit Nation", your beloved story is in good hands. I'm sure most of you are well aware of that already.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

GDT on the Tomatometer

I was wondering today how GDT's movies stacked up on the infamous "Tomatometer" at

The "Tomatometer", as many of you already know, is how the website "rates" movies - it basically compiles reviews from all over the internet and gives an "overall" rating in the form of a simple mathematical calculation - "% of Positive Reviews". So, if a movie has 5 positive reviews out of 10, it gets a 50% rating on the "Tomatometer". The great thing about the 'Mater Meter (ha! I just thought of that) is that it can include hundreds of reviews which can give it an good overall critical review.

So, now that I'm done explaining something that you already know, let's go to the numbers:

Cronos: 88%
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 29
Average Rating: 7.3/10

Mimic: 54%
Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 14
Average Rating: 6.3/10

The Devil's Backbone: 92%
Reviews Counted: 97
Fresh: 89
Average Rating: 7.5/10

Blade 2: 56%
Reviews Counted: 127
Fresh: 71
Average Rating: 5.9/10

Hellboy: 79%
Reviews Counted: 182
Fresh: 144
Average Rating: 6.7/10

Pan's Labyrinth: 96%
Reviews Counted: 184
Fresh: 176
Average Rating: 8.6/10

The 96% approval for Pan's Labyrinth is particularly impressive. That ranked it as the #7 best movie of 2006 on The Devil's Backbone was #22 in 2001.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chet Zar and The Golden Army

The wonderful Doctor A from the DTF and Hellboy message boards noticed something - that some of the creature designs from Hellboy 2 look like the works of Chet Zar. GDT later confirmed Zar's participation:

Chet is indeed a key sculptor at SPECTRAL MOTION and he designed the CHAMBERLAIN
entirely. I am the proud owner of a few Chet paintings and I admire him greatly.
Cathedral head was designed by me and modified by Mignola and then sculpted by
Chet- you'll get the full story in the ART of book!
Here are the designs GDT is referring to - The Chamberlain and Cathedral Head, respectively:

Not really familiar with Chet's work, and getting such positive reviews from the gentlemen above, I hit the internet to explore and I have been fascinated by Chet's work. I'm intrigued of how some of his dark works have a goofy, whimsical nature to them. Anyway, here are some recommended links for you to explore on your own, and a couple of works that I thought were pretty cool: