Hellboy II: Creatures of Hellboy’s World

Creatures of Hellboys World

I have always loved movies where the star is the monster. That has branded my view of art and storytelling all my life, says del Toro. The director demonstrates this devotion to monsters of all shapes and sizes in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. In the first movie, we did big, big creatures, he says. One thing I wanted to explore this time was what would happen if the first attack came from tiny creatures that are actually cute. Hence, the tooth fairies were born.

Tooth Fairies

Dainty and almost Tinkerbell-like, the fairies have little else in common with their spritely namesake; they have an insatiable appetite for calcium and are happiest when eating through human flesh to get to it. Guillermo outdid himself on the cuteness scale with the tooth fairies, but theyre nasty little things, says Selma Blair.

Solution Studios created an animatronic tooth fairy for a scene in the B.P.R.D.s medical bay in which Johann reanimates the fairy, but the full-scale infestation of the burrowing predators in the auction house fell to Mike Wassels visual effects team. He would seamlessly create the swarm that attacked the B.P.R.D. after the carnivores had already eaten through a number of auction guests earlier in the evening. Wassels crew would need to make it appear as if Hellboy, Liz and Abe were frantically gunning and flaming through the nest of fairies.

Plantlike Elemental Creature

Wassels group also created the plantlike Elemental creature, which stands more than 70 tall after water activates its properties. Interestingly, the Elemental seed comes from Nuadas grenade; the weapon shoots out magical Elemental spores that, after touching water, sprout into a forest and will choke anything in their way to achieve the goal of reforestation. Originally used by elves to grow an ecosystem, its been eons since one has been activated.
Solution also designed the juggernaut Golden Army soldiers, which play on-screen as 16-tall mechanical robots that morph from an egglike state to full militia. This Golden Army has been dormant since Balor put them to rest, but it has been silently waiting for a new wearer of the crown to command them. Del Toro asked his artists for an enormous chamber that could house the hundreds of golden eggs. The stunning designs were brought to life at Solution.

Fifteen Characters

Prosthetic creatures abound in “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” With more than two dozen of them on set over the course of the shoot, the Hellboy II creature department was one of the productions largest. Spectral Motion from Los Angeles took charge of 15 characters. Solution Studios, Creature Effects and Euroart Studios from the U.K., DDT from Spain and Filmefex from Hungary also made contributions to the horde of trolls, goblins and creatures of the night.
This is the most massively scaled film Ive ever worked on, says Mike Elizalde, founder of Spectral Motion. Its been challenging, but also rewarding because of the cleverness and relevance to the story that each character has.


Spectral Motions many achievements include Wink, the Princes lumbering sidekick and a match for Hellboy in brute strength. He is portrayed by actor Brian Steele, who is 67 tall as Steele, but 75 as the drooling beast. The Wink suit, an animatronic masterpiece, weighs 130 pounds. Coupled with Steeles body mass, the suit was stunning that he could maneuver, much less walk, as long as he was able in the suit. Winks facial expressions and the movements of his weaponlike hand (with built-in mace) were controlled via radio by puppeteers.
The finish, the quality, the mechanics, the articulation, the personality that these prosthetic characters have been given is incredible. The first time we all saw Wink, we couldnt believe it. The whole set just stopped and assembled around him; it was spellbinding, lauds executive producer Chris Symes.

Stunt coordinator BRAD ALLAN sums the cast and crews respect for Brian Steeles work: The effort Brian goes through just to make this character walk is amazing, let alone fight.
Elizaldes painstakingly detailed daily routine included the application of Hellboys prosthetic makeup. Perlmans entire face was covered, along with much of his neck, arms and torso, in a process that typically required about three hours. To wear rubber glued to your body and face and then get in front of the camera and, on cue, give the emotion youre supposed to give is tough, says Elizalde. Ron is a great actor, and his emotion reads through the makeup.
Del Toro agrees. Sometimes I have to push, or pull back, a performer in prosthetics until he/she finds the right wavelength, he explains. But with Ron, theres no need. The man is a master in makeup.

It took makeup artists THOM FLOUTZ and SIMON WEBBER five hours every day to transform Doug Jones into Abe Sapien. The process for his new characters, the massive Angel of Death and the simpering Chamberlain, was also labor-intensive.

Angel of Death

Remarks Perlman: The Angel of Death was, to me, the most impressive of the new makeups and conceits that has been created for the film. Shes got eight wings and stands 9-feet tall on an 80-pound frame. I always play characters under gobs of makeup and obstacles, Jones muses. Sometimes theyre heavy; sometimes theyre hot; sometimes theyre glued onor theres a mask with mechanics, which keeps me from hearing the other characters dialogue, or theres a vision problem and I cant see where Im supposed to put my prop. But my job is to look as if I wake up this way every day, and the design work is so beautiful that it becomes something really fun for me to give motion to.
For the character of Johann, Dodd explains the need for multiple performers: Ive got two animators that are on very big radio-controlled units. One animates my mouth, which is basically two little things that pop up and down in time to whatever Im saying. And the other one controls how much smoke you can see in my glass bubble, as well asat various key momentsthese two eye-like things on the front of my mask that are a form of breathing apparatus. Every time Johann wants to sigh, or theres a climactic moment, smoke will shoot out of that point.

For the many other creaturesfrom the Tadpole Vendor to Cathedral Head to a bevy of trollsdel Toro commissioned a number of artists to work on their creation, and left it to one of the shops to bring them to life. He is well known to bounce ideas from one artist to another; the results are an amalgam of designs that look as if they have existed since the dawn of time.

Battling a Robotic Army

The showdown in the Golden Army Chamber just past the Angel of Deaths lair provides the dramatic climax of Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The lavishly choreographed spectacle involved every department of the production.

The stunts team worked closely with the visual effects department in planning Hellboys battle with the computer-generated Golden Army soldiers. But the one-on-one fight between Hellboy and the prince is a flesh-and-blood encounter that required close collaboration between stunts and special effects, not to mention close calls between Ron Perlman and Luke Goss.

The dramatic design of the Golden Army Chamber heightened the fights ferocity. The huge golden cogs that flank the stage where the prince imperiously surveys the army become the fighting arena of the two combatants. The cogs movement is also the trigger that brings the Golden Army to life.

The action began with a shout of Start the cogs! from first assistant director CLIFF LANNING. Every film has a slightly different range of effects and, in this movie, its the cogs that make the difference, says assistant SFX supervisor MANEX EFREM, who oversaw their construction and operation. Because of the cogs, this looks like no other fight youll ever see. The cogs spin, some move vertically, some are beveled gears. Its very much like a fighting ballet.

The cogs inspired stunt coordinator Brad Allan. We saw an opportunity for some comedy and some excitement. Were channeling a little bit of Charlie Chaplin from Modern Times and a little Jackie Chan, plus our own Hellboy flavor.

The two combatants have completely different fighting styles, suggests Allan. Hellboy is a strength guy, a stone-fisted brawler. The prince is all speed and stealth, lean and like lightning.

Although the physically fit Luke Goss performed much of the sword and spear work, Allan upped the ante by mixing in top Chinese martial artists. As is Allan, theyre veterans of the Jackie Chan stunt team. Because the princes fighting technique is based on evasion, del Toro and Allan also decided to add somersaulting to his moves.

I had no idea how I was going to find a power tumbler with the stature and physique of Luke Goss, because most of them are stocky little guys, says Allan. But by typing tumbler on YouTube, I found DAMIEN WALTERSa tall, skinny, blond, blue-eyed guy who is the No. 3 power tumbler in the world today. Hes not a professional stunt performer, but his skill was exactly what we needed, and his work was so outstanding that the entire crew broke into applause after most of his takes.

Wielding the ancient spear of Bethmoora, Prince Nuada knows almost no equal. In fact, he almost destroys Hellboy in a previous battle before their rematch in the Chamber. Concept artist Velasco explains of an early version of the drawing, created by PABLO ANGELES: The main idea was for the spear to be a kind of telescopic device, so when it is short it can be used as a double-bladed sword and then extend to spear, he shares. All the weapons of the elf royalty are richly decorated. We were trying to stay away from just Celtic motifs and create our own patterns. In the end, we moved the design toward more Oriental and Islamic ornamentation.