“You’re in love, have a beer” — Hellboy II: The Golden Army

With the first Hellboy movie being a success, it was pretty much a no-brainer for a sequel to be green-lit. The movie not only made money for the studio, it also brought a new audience to Mike Mignola’s comic book.

Unfortunately, there was a snag, in that Revolution Studios, which produced the movie, went out of business in 2006, the same year the sequel was originally scheduled for.

It took a couple years for the rights to find a home, but eventually Universal took on the property, seeing value in it.

Most of the cast was brought back, including Ron Perlman in the title role, Selma Blair as Liz, Doug Jones (providing his own voice this time) as Abe, and Jeffrey Tambor as Manning. Rupert Evans was in a play in London and was unable to return, so Myers was written out of the sequel. (Hellboy got pissed at him ...

“Aw, crap!” — Hellboy

Mike Mignola first came to prominence as an inker with a very distinctive style, lending his unique brushwork to embellish the pencils of other artists in comics from Marvel and DC. In 1993, he created “Hellboy” for a sketch he did at a convention. The character appeared on a cover of Dime Press and then in a story Mignola did with John Byrne for San Diego Comic Con Comics. Eventually, Mignola decided to use that character as the focal point of stories he wanted to tell in his own comics, and a legend was born. Hellboy has appeared in various comics and comics series for the last 25 years.

He also was adapted into screen form, including two live-action movies and two direct-to-DVD animated films.

Hellboy wasn’t intended to be anything other than a cool comics sketch initially, but Mignola was getting the writer bug. He initially pitched Hellboy to ...

Essential Viewing: The Films of Guillermo del Toro

Let’s hear it for Guillermo del Toro, ladies and gentlemen! One of the most passionate and articulate advocates for genre (in particular) and narrative (in general) as a force for good finally picked up a long overdue best Director Oscar earlier this month. His prolific body of work is filled with movies that are worth your time, so if you’re looking for where to go next in his filmography (or just in need of some excellent rewatch options), here are some suggestions…

Mimic, on its initial release, got somewhat lost in the vast wave of mid-range horror and science fiction that hit cinemas in the early ‘90s. It was also a film that del Toro was unhappy with, as he did not have final cut. That was remedied by the release of a director’s cut released in 2011, which helps the film immensely.

The movie, based on the short ...

The Shape of Water Wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards

Despite host Jimmy Kimmel’s best efforts, the 90th annual Academy Awards ran over its runtime (as usual) but wrapped up with an exciting win for writer-director Guillermo del Toro: The Shape of Water took home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Beating out an impressive slate that included coming-of-age tales (Lady BirdCall Me By Your Name), war films (DunkirkDarkest Hour), and socially-conscious horror (Get Out), The Shape of Water ultimately took home four awards: Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Director for del Toro, and Best Picture.

“I am an immigrant,” del Toro began his acceptance speech for Best Director, going on to praise the “country all my own” he has lived in for the past 25 years as well as Hollywood: “I think that the greatest thing our industry does is to erase the lines in this sand. We ...

The highest form of flattery? In praise of plagiarism

Echoes of Amélie in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, traces of Nabokov in Kristen Roupenian’s Cat Person ... Where is the line between influence and plagiarism?

The age of the internet, where everything is connected, has made plagiarism both easier to commit and more difficult to hide, as many a student has discovered. It has also exposed writers to new levels of examination, such as the recent allegations that Emma Cline, author of the best-selling novel The Girls, took ideas for the book from her ex-boyfriend’s emails, and the various claims that Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar contender, The Shape of Water, is based on a 1969 play, Let Me Hear You Whisper, or has copied scenes from two French films, Amélie and Delicatessen – allegations which Del Toro, or his representatives, have denied.

Two short stories published in the past few months also raise contemporary, as well ...

Directors Who Should Get a Shot at Star Wars

Gary Fisher director Star Wars Carrie Fisher

Good news: More Star Wars movies are in the works! Bad news: They’re being written and produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO’s Game of Thrones and two more in a long line of white men who have been entrusted to tell new stories within the Star Wars universe. As we have no interest in a Thrones-esque, grimdark Star Wars trilogy, we took five minutes and came up with a list of directors whose brilliant, insightful, irreverent, badass voices we would love to see in future Star Wars installments instead.

 

Taika Waititi (Thor: RagnarokWhat We Do in the Shadows)

Star Wars is a universe that handles humor very well when people make an effort to inject it, and that’s pretty much Taika Waititi’s bag. Plus he could brighten up the occasionally drab, desert-y color palette a la Thor: Ragnarok.

 

Ava DuVernay ...

Fast and the Furious cars stunts
Doctor Who "Heaven Sent" time loops SFF Groundhog Day
Westworld Michelle MacLaren
Snowpiercer TV adaptation

Get Out and The Shape of Water Nominated for Best Picture Oscars

Oscars 2018 Best Picture nominees The Shape of Water Get Out Jordan Peele Sally Hawkins Guillermo del Toro Daniel Kaluuya

The nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards were released this morning, and included a number of surprises for genre fans: Most notably, Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water were among the Best Picture nominees, with both men also recognized for Best Director and both film’s leads (Daniel Kaluuya and Sally Hawkins, respectively) earning Best Actor/Actress nods. In addition, The Shape of Water led the list of this year’s Oscar films with a total of 13 nominations.

It’s impressive to see two genre films recognized, especially as both are primarily horror mixed with other SFF elements. Before this year, only seven horror films in the history of the Oscars have been nominated for Best Picture, with only two winning (in bold): RebeccaA Clockwork OrangeThe ExorcistJawsThe Silence of the LambsSixth Sense, and Black Swan.

...

I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water made me feel less human.

On the surface, there are many things to like about The Shape of Water. The main characters, the ones in the right, they are all outsiders. They are people like me. With the exception of Children of a Lesser God, it is the first time I have ever seen a disabled woman as an object of desire. It is the first time I have seen someone swear in sign in a mainstream film. It is one of the only films out there to address some of my feelings about my body or depict them on screen. Let’s be honest, Children of a Lesser God was made in 1986. That’s 31 years of film history. That’s my entire life.

Spoilers follow.

In one sequence: “What is she saying?” the angry (real) monster asks on the screen.

“She’s saying thank you,” ...

Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is Rebooting She-Ra for Netflix

Swift Wind with Sha-Ra

Today Noelle Stevenson, the Eisner Award-winning cartoonist behind the fantasy graphic novel Nimona and the delightful comic book series Lumberjanes, announced the raddest of news: She’ll be showrunning Netflix’s reboot of beloved ’80s animated series She-Ra. It’s one of six new animated series from Netflix and Dreamworks Television including the new season of Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters and 3 Below, the second installment of the Tales of Arcadia Trilogy.

We’re most excited about the return of the Princess of Power, whose series was originally created as a spinoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but who stands alone in this new series.

Stevenson shared the news on Twitter:

Here’s the official synopsis, from Netflix:

From Eisner Award-winning author ...

The Shape of Water Frames Communication as a Revolutionary Act

The Shape of Water, 2017

Watch a Guillermo del Toro film, and chances are you’re watching a story about communication. Some of his stories are fairy tales, some are epics, some are horror, but they all revolve around this central theme—who gets to communicate, who doesn’t, how important it is, and what it costs when you’re denied that ability to connect with others. But The Shape of Water takes this theme farther than any of del Toro’s previous works. In fact, this homage to Creature From the Black Lagoon makes it clear that communication is a matter of life and death.

[Contain spoilers for The Shape of Water]

The particular oeuvre of Guillermo del Toro turns on many themes, but communication is often the spoke of his wheel. Pan’s Labyrinth is the story of a little girl whose inability to communicate her feelings amid worldly horrors leads to her retreating into a different realm. ...

The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017

Check Out the Spooky-yet-Sweet Trailer for Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

The Shape of the Water Say what you will about 2017, at least this year is giving us a new Guillermo Del Toro movie! The Shape of Water is coming to theaters on December 9th? And what if we told you that it seems to be a spooky, complicated story of love and empathy between a mute woman and Abe Sapien’s cousin? The film stars Sally Hawkins as a sensitive lab worker, Octavia Spencer as her boss, Richard Jenkins as a seemingly nice scientist, and Michael Shannon as…well, as Michael Shannon. Plus Doug Jones returns to his Del Toro collaboration as the Sapien-esque creature! Watch the full trailer below!
[via Fanboy Nation!]      

Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters Debuts a Trailer at New York Comic-Con!

Tollhunters Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters debuted its trailer along with a sneak peek at the first couple episodes at New York Comic-con. While the story is a bit predictable – Boy is Chosen One! Boy is helped in Chosen-ness by a pair of sidekicks! He discovers a new world! the new world actually looks pretty interesting, and the trolls themselves are varied and adorable. Plus, it’s Guillermo del Toro! He never lets us down.
Trollhunters premieres on Netflix December 23.  

In Praise of Stepping Away From Sequels, and Making Way for New Heroes

PacificRim-Hunnam Charlie Hunnam, soon to be Lad King Arthur for Guy Ritchie and former Son of Anarchy, will not be returning for Pacific Rim 2. It’s, by all accounts, a genuinely amicable thing that’s been on the cards for some time. Hunnam talked about how earlier drafts of Pacific Rim: Maelstrom focused heavily on his character (Raleigh Becket), but as the schedule locked in it became apparent that he wouldn’t be able to return. It’s a shame, as Hunnam’s always good value and I rather liked Raleigh. But the fact the movie can go on without him is also a testament to just how interesting and versatile a world the Pacific Rim films have built. So, like a kid eating their veggies first, let’s take a look at the downside of Hunnam not returning. It’s a loss because he’s a very weird, and rather clever, leading man for a blockbuster. I ...
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Dark Horse Comics to Publish a Comic Series on Mister Quinlan

Mister Quinlan 200 (GalleyCat)Dark Horse Comics announced plans to publish a miniseries called The Strain: Mister Quinlan—Vampire Hunter. These comics will feature the origin story of Mister Quinlan; this character was originally introduced in The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Here’s more from the press release: “A vampiric abomination seeks to destroy the monster that sired him. Born as a mistake of a powerful vampire known as the Master and raised in the brutal gladiatorial arenas of ancient Rome, Mr. Quinlan must survive long enough to carry out his mission when his target begins hunting him.” David Lapham wrote the story. Edgar Salazar created the interior art. The cover was created by Juan Ferreyra. A 30th anniversary variant cover was designed by Paolo Rivera. The first of five issues will be released on September 14.

Cover Revealed For a Book on the Making of Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth Full Jacket (GalleyCat) The cover has been unveiled for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket art above—what do you think? Nick Nunziata and Mark Cotta Vaz, the co-authors, wanted to created a book that celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the release of del Toro’s fantasy movie. They worked closely with the director to create a book that offers an in-depth look into the making of Pan’s Labyrinth. Harper Design has set the publication date for October 18. Click here to check out sample pages from the book that del Toro shared on his Twitter page.

John Boyega, Pacific Rim 2, and Why We Should All Be Celebrating This Sequel

Boyega-PacificRim It’s a rare and beautiful thing for a piece of news, especially genre fiction or casting news, to be undeniably, unequivocally good. But this week we got just that, as confirmation came in that not only was John Boyega starring in Pacific Rim 2 but that the film would start shooting very soon. Or, to put it another way, Poe’s boyfriend is getting a Jaeger to play with. This really is a good thing all the way down. So much so, in fact it’s worth taking a look at why a sequel to what Honest Trailers good-naturedly called “the dumbest awesome movie ever made” is something to celebrate. Not to mention why the Resistance’s very own Big Deal is such a perfect fit for this world. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Pacific Rim is Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to kaiju movies and mecha. It’s set in an alternate near-future, ...
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John Boyega to Cancel the Apocalypse (Again) in Pacific Rim 2

John Boyega Pacific Rim 2 Idris Elba Stacker Pentecost son Here’s a welcome bit of news about the Pacific Rim sequel: John Boyega has been cast as the lead! Deadline reports that Boyega will play the son of Idris Elba’s character Stacker Pentecost; if he will have as badass a name has yet to be revealed, but we bet he’s inherited his father’s love of bonkers catchphrases. We don’t know much about the plot of the film (tentatively titled Maelstrom), though del Toro has mentioned that it would take place years after the kaiju purge at the end of the first film. No word yet on which of the original cast (if any) will return, but del Toro has hinted that where there’s more kaiju, there’s the beloved science duo of Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman). And if Boyega is going to play an up-and-coming jaeger pilot, it would make sense that dream team Raleigh Becket ...

Crimson Peak is a Breathtakingly Beautiful Subversion of Gothic Romance

Crimson Peak Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing

Of all the genres, horror and comedy are the most subjective. Western, action, noir, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy—these all must follow certain rules to belong to their genre. You can call something postmodern or meta, but if a gunslinger is trying to right a wrong somewhere in Nevada, it’s probably a Western. If the story is taking place on a spaceship in the future, sci-fi is a safe bet. But horror and comedy…they’re trickier. Is a horror movie a horror movie if it doesn’t scare you? Is a comedy still a comedy if you don’t laugh? Is Crimson Peak a horror film? I would say no, and many of the friends I polled also said no. “Gothic Romance” was the term that came up the most (not a term you hear often outside of graduate seminars and Toast articles), and I think it fits the film. When Crimson Peak is at ...

Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak Lucille Sharpe
Crimson Peak Allerdale Hall

Jared Leto Went to NYCC 2015 as a Joker, But Not the Joker

Jared Leto NYCC disguise

For the past few years, it’s been typical convention behavior for at least one celebrity to don a disguise and go incognito among congoers. At NYCC, it was Jared Leto and Mark Ruffalo. Leto, in a wonderfully ironic twist, posed with a Leto-Joker cosplayer and then gleefully tweeted about it. Ruffalo’s costume was arguably even more unguessable.

Afternoon Roundup brings you gender-swapped SFF novels, a surprising visual motif in the last 15 years of movies, and a tour inside Guillermo del Toro’s imagination!

These Stamps Will Be With You, Always

Star Wars: The Force Awakens stamps

Well, until you have to put them on mail, and then lose them forever. That’s the catch-22 of such pretty special-edition stamps—you don’t want to use them! You could always buy two sets of these Royal Mail Star Wars: The Force Awakens stamps. But how come BB-8 doesn’t get his own stamp?? (Hat-tip to Laughing Squid.)

Afternoon Roundup brings you new Pluto images, a comprehensive ranking of every Doctor Who story, and Aliette de Bodard ranting about evil empires!