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The comic book based Blade trilogy brought the horror…and Guillermo del Toro!

Catching up with DC ‘s delightfully gory, yet sadly canceled, Swamp Thing series gets one nostalgic for other horror themed comic book movies. So, here are 15 of them that brought the horror while delivering comic book movie entertainment!

Keanu Reeves battled supernatural forces in the comic book based Constantine!


(To get to the reviews of the titles listed that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ




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HELLBOY (2019)

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is back from comic book page to movie screen and unfortunately, without Ron Perlman and Guillermo del Toro. Not the conclusion of the previous film’s proposed trilogy, it’s a new origin story with a new cast and a far darker and somewhat less humorous tone. This latest incarnation finds Hellboy (Stranger Things’ David Harbour) dealing with both the truth of his destiny to bring about the apocalypse and the resurrection of the Blood Queen Nimue (Milla Jovovich), who’d love to help him. The heroic demon has to wade through an army of creatures and even some close to home betrayals to try and bring her down and save the world.

Reboot is directed by The Descent’s Neil Marshall from a script by Mike Mignola and Andrew Cosby. As such, it is darker, edgier and more of a horror film than the PG-13 superhero films that preceded it. There are gallons of blood and gore spattered on the screen as Hellboy and allies, psychic Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), were-beast Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) and his “father” Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) battle dozens of monsters, demons and mythical creatures. There is a lot of bloody action and while it lacks the charm and fun of del Toro’s flicks, it is entertaining enough in it’s own right. Marshall’s visual style is different than del Toro’s, but no less spectacular, as we are treated to all sorts of monsters including a wrestling vampire, the pig-like Gruagach (Stephen Graham), Slavic folk legend Baba Yaga and a trio of hungry giants. The film has it’s stumbling points, such as that it is rather plot heavy with elements of everything from monsters of myth to King Arthur, Merlin and Excalibur. We also get another retelling of Hellboy’s origin that isn’t different enough to make it necessary, though this flick does delve deeper into who he really is. We also once again get glimpses of his apocalyptic destiny that are very familiar to what we have already seen. Sure this is a reboot, but it recovers quite a bit of old ground without enough innovation to keep it fresh. The film feels a little overloaded with all that goes on, though ironically, the final confrontation with Nimue came across as a bit underwhelming. It’s over quicker than one would expect after a two hour build up. No it’s not del Toro’s Hellboy, but it’s not the train-wreck early word makes it out to be, either.

As for Marshall’s cast, Harbour is solid as Hellboy. He doesn’t quite have Perlman’s roguish charm and arrogant swagger, but he actually is pretty good in the role. McShane is a veteran actor and his Professor Bruttenholm is less the doddering old man than John Hurt’s interpretation and is given a bit more of a gruff, grizzled demeanor. Kim is also fine as the macho soldier with a ferocious secret in his B.P.R.D. operative Daimio. He and Hellboy butt heads at first, but we know they will bond at some point. Sasha Lane is cute and feisty as the psychic Alice and Jovovich is a suitable enough villain, though never really given strong enough material to let her unleash her inner Maleficent. She could have been a bit more over-the-top. The dozens of CGI supporting monsters are rendered well enough, though some appear a bit more cartoony than others.

In conclusion, this reboot is not as memorable as del Toro’s adaptations, yet is not an insult to them either. Neil Marshall has a heavier hand than Guillermo and this flick stretches it’s R-rated limits, but he also creates some impressive otherworldly sequences with a cool array of beasts and critters. The film is loaded with action, but also felt a bit bloated at times with a lot of plot elements. It has a decent cast and if we can’t have Perlman, Harbour isn’t a bad replacement. Not the mess early word has made it out to be, though not an equal to the previous cinematic incarnations that came before it.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) rebooted Hellboys.








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THE AXIOM (2017)

Indie horror finds pretty McKenzie (Hattie Smith) and her brother Mark (Zac Titus) traveling with friends to the expansive Cinder Park to find their lost sister Marylyn (Maria Granberg). They are told by local bar owner, Leon (William Kircher) that Marylyn has gone through a portal in the woods that leads to an alternate dimension called “The Axiom”. Desperate to find her sister, McKenzie follows his directions, despite her disbelief and soon she and her friends find out The Axiom exists and it is a dangerous place indeed.

Alternate dimension spin on the traditional cabin in the woods horror…and there is a cabin…is written and directed by the aptly named Nicholas Woods. It’s a low budget indie, but one that tries to freshen up the traditional deep woods horror with some inventive twists. It has some effective moments, as our group of five meet some strange beings in this otherworldly place and experience delusion and madness amongst themselves. There is a vague explanation as to how this portal got there and director Woods knows not to let his ambitions exceed his budget. There is some effective violence and bloodshed and the sparse seen occupants of The Axiom are well rendered, mostly with practical effects. The cast try hard, with Hattie Smith making a very suitable final girl. Add in murder, betrayal and a last act that goes in an interestingly different direction and it’s an offbeat and imaginative effort that’s definitely worth a look. Also stars Taylor Flowers, Nicole Dambro and Michael Peter Harrison as Edgar, Darcy and Gerrik, respectively, the rest of the group of friends.

You can fInd The Axiom on Amazon Prime.


-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating


A new and bloody red band trailer has arrived for the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Looks like it could be fun and I am a fan of director Neil Marshall, but still am of the old school thinking that if you are going to spend money on a new Hellboy flick, let Del Toro finish his trilogy with Perlman. New flick opens 4/12/19 stars David Harbour as Big Red and Milla Jovovich as the villain.
-MonsterZero NJ




What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with the films directed or produced by celebrated Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro! Some are horror, some are fantasy and some are very comic book! Something for everyone to go with your burritos and tacos and margaritas!

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews of the films covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)

1. Cronos

2. The Devil’s Backbone

3. Mimic

4. Blade II

5. Hellboy

6. Pan’s Labyrinth

7. Hellboy II

8. Pacific Rim

9. Crimson Peak

10. The Orphanage

-MonsterZero NJ



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HELLBOY (2004)

While I’m not familiar with the comic that this is based on, I do know it was created by Mike Mignola and is about a demon who battles other paranormal creatures. Guillermo del Toro’s film adaptation opens during World War II where American commandos thwart the opening of an otherworldly dimension by the Nazis and the Russian monk Rasputin (Karel Roden). Before the rift is closed, occult expect Trevor Bruttenholm (Kevin Trainor during the WWII scenes and John Hurt as an older man), discovers something came through…a red baby demon with a huge stone hand. 60 years later “Hellboy” (a perfectly cast Ron Perlman) has been raised by Bruttenholm and is now part of the Bureau Of Paranormal Research And Defense, battling other paranormal threats to keep us safe. He fights along with fish-man, Abe Sapien (performed by Doug Jones but voiced by David Hyde Pierce), fire-starter and girlfriend, Liz (Selma Blair) and freshman Agent Myers (Rupert Evans). Rasputin has been resurrected and is now lurking about trying to awaken the Lovecraftian Ogdru Jahad and bring them into our world…and he needs to unlock Hellboy’s true demon nature to do it. Can Hellboy and Co. defeat Rasputin when Hellboy himself is the secret to the success of his plans to destroy our world?

As guided by del Toro, Hellboy is a visually cool and fun supernatural superhero story with some really good action set pieces and plenty of equally creepy monsters and characters. His design work is captivating and the action moves at a good clip as we go from some skirmishes with otherworldly beasties in New York to it’s fun and gooey climax in Russia. And the SPFX are for the most part flawless with both practical and CGI FX used to bring del Toro’s vision of Mignola’s world to the screen.

The cast are all good for the most part with Perlman stealing the show and the supporting cast backing him up well. What brought this down a bit for me was Rasputin was kind of a standard villain with Karel Roden really not seeming to get the material as did the rest of the cast. He seems to take things a bit too seriously and to be honest, is a bit bland. Even the supporting villains were a bit more matched with the material such as the blade wielding zombie, Karl Kroenen (Ladislav Beran). The pacing can be a little off at times too, a subplot involving a rivalry for Liz’s affections with Myers kinda slows things down a bit, but overall, it’s a fun and colorful fantasy flick that paved the way for an even better sequel.

A solid 3 Hellboys!

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Guillermo del Toro cranks things up for the Hellboy sequel which really scores with an amazing visual style and some stunning creature design. Del Toro this time brings a faster and more even pace to this one, as well as, a story that is a bit more Brothers Grimm than Lovecraft and that helps lighten the tone a bit, too. There’s a little more humor (Hellboy and Abe drunkenly singing Barry Manilow is sidesplitting), but the film never gets silly.

The story this time finds Hellboy (Ron Perlman) outing himself to the general public while a noble but vengeful elf prince, Nuada, (Played with dignity and strength by Luke Goss) plans to resurrect the mythic Golden Army to rid the world of mankind, so the creatures of fairy can return to their former glory. His twin sister, Nuala (Anna Walton) tries to thwart his efforts at genocide and allies herself with Hellboy and the team to protect pieces of a golden crown which can resurrect and control the goblin-made mechanical army. Can Hellboy defeat this powerful elven prince in order to protect the very humans who now seem to reject him, despite all he’s done to protect them?

Del Toro stages some absolutely beautiful set pieces with his trademark sumptuous visually style and design. Highlights of the film being The Troll Market scene and the following sequence featuring a giant plant elemental battling our heroes by the Brooklyn Bridge. They alone are worth the price of admission, not to mention the climactic battle against the Golden Army itself. There is an amazing assortment of supporting fantasy creatures that are incredibly designed and rendered and are worth the price of admission as well. Once again the mix of practical and CGI FX is truly breathtaking and elevate an already very entertaining film.

The cast are mostly all back except, Doug Jones now voices Abe himself and Agent Myers is absent. There is also new team member Johann Krauss, an ectoplasmic gas in a diving suit voiced by Seth MacFarlane, who butts heads…or glass bubbles…with the loose cannon, Hellboy.

Not only is Hellboy 2 a bigger and faster paced supernatural action flick, but it is a visual feast for the eyes and just plain loads of fun. A sequel that exceeds and improves on the entertaining original.

3 and 1/2 Hellboys!

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