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Face Off: Van Helsing vs. Hellboy

01.23.2014by: Dave Davis
In last week's Face-Off column, it was a tight race as to whether your favorite movie version of Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan was played by Harrison Ford or Alec Baldwin. We'll call this one... too close to call!

This weekend in I, FRANKENSTEIN, Aaron Eckhart arrives in theaters as Frankenstein's creation, now reimagined as a superhuman defender of mankind during a war between gargoyles and demons.

Seems like a good time to have another pair of prominent big-screen monster-fighters face off against each other -- VAN HELSING and HELLBOY. Who's the better battler of beasts?
Also Known as
The Left Hand of God
The Right Hand of Doom
Job Description
Travels the world of the late 19th century and eliminates malicious boogeymen for The Knights of the Holy Order, a secret section of the Vatican proclaiming themselves the “last defense against evil”
Works as a special operative for the clandestine Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD), which protects the population from being annihilated by occult and supernatural threats
Fashion sense
Black leather duster jacket, heavy metal hair, pimp hat
Brown trenchcoat, bare chest, filed headhorns
Mission
Go to Transylvania and assist the royal Valerious family with their blood oath to eliminate the threat of nefarious vampire Count Dracula, whose continued existence is preventing several generations of deceased Valerious kin from entering the gates of Heaven
Stop the resurrected Grigori Rasputin from exploiting Hellboy's demon origins to free the imprisoned serpentine creatures called Ogdru Jahad who'll destroy the Earth, and then later prevent the elven Prince Nuada from activating the indestructible Golden Army, which will exterminate mankind
Disadvantage
Has no memory of his true identity
Occasionally has to ride in the back of a garbage truck
Arsenal
Two custom revolvers with crucifix handgrips

Grappling hook gun

Sawed-off shotgun

Gas-powered automatic crossbow that fires something like a thousand bolts before reloading

Spinning Tojo blades
"The Samaritan", an oversized revolver that fires special monster-killing rounds containing garlic, holy water and white oak shavings

"Big Baby", a six-shot handcannon that fires powerful shells engraved with the words "SUCK ON THIS". It also has a built-in music box
Love Interest
Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), a Transylvania native who Van Helsing accidentally kills when he turns into a werewolf and knocks her onto a velvet couch
Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a troubled pyrokinetic who Hellboy eventually wins the heart of (and knocks up with twins)
Other Accomplices
Friar Carl, a gadget guru

Frankenstein's monster
Abe Sapien, a kindly amphibian with empathic abilities

FBI agent John Myers, a new BRPD recruit

Professor Broom, Hellboy's surrogate father who raised him from a little demon

Johann Krauss, a German psychic and disembodied ectoplasmic spirit who inhabits a special containment suit

FBI director Tom Manning

Nuala, the peaceful elf princess who wants to help stop her twin brother from destroying mankind
Primary Foes
Count Dracula, an ancient effete vampire who walks up walls and generally overacts

Dracula's vampire brides, a trio of buxom flying she-demons

Velkan Valerious, a werewolf

Igor, Dracula's laboratory lackey
Grigori Rasputin, a Russian mystic seemingly killed during a WWII Nazi experiment, only to return decades later

Kroenen, a deadly Nazi assassin kept alive by black magic and clockwork parts

Ilsa Haupstein, Rasputin's lovely but lethal henchwoman

Sammael, a hellhound whose death brings about the reincarnation of two more Sammael

Nuada, an exiled elf prince with a grudge against humanity

Mr. Wink, a giant cave troll who assists Nuada

Actor
The multi-talented Hugh Jackman, best known for portraying the adamantium-clawed mutant Wolverine in the X-MEN movies while simultaneously garnering critical acclaim for his serious dramatic work
Veteran character actor and voice actor Ron Perlman, who has appeared in more movies and TV shows than most people would have time to watch in their life
Director
Stephen Sommers, who has also given us THE MUMMY, THE MUMMY RETURNS, G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA and DEEP RISING
Guillermo del Toro, who has also given us THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, BLADE II, PAN'S LABYRINTH and PACIFIC RIM
Origins
Professor Abraham Van Helsing was originally introduced in Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel "Dracula". Variations and descendents of the character have since appeared in other media, including comics, games, TV shows and movies. Notable actors to portray the character include Peter Cushing, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Plummer.
Created by writer-artist Mike Mignola in 1993, Hellboy has since appeared in numerous comic stories published by Dark Horse Comics, along with several novels, two feature films and a pair of animated movies.
Hellboy
Jackman's VAN HELSING may have more technique when he's dispatching enemies, but unfortunately he's stuck in a cheerless adventure packed with silly script decisions and inconsistent CGI spectacle.

Hellboy has a refreshingly straightforward punch/shoot style, and rather than fight bastardizations of Universal monsters, he must contend with evils in human form along with more fantastical opponents such as dog-demons, Lovecraftian tentacled chaos-things, devilish tooth fairies, an elemental forest god and a self-repairing mechanical army.

Ultimately the playful tone and team dynamic of the HELLBOY movies are more satisfying, and the demon who rejects his wicked heritage for the sake of good wins this clash.

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+0
6:11PM on 02/02/2014

Of course Hellboy,

but I have to tell you, I always enjoyed Van Helsing despite its bad reputation.
but I have to tell you, I always enjoyed Van Helsing despite its bad reputation.
Your Reply:



7:18AM on 01/24/2014
Fail.
If anyone is surprised by this we are provoking your movie buff membership.
Fail.
If anyone is surprised by this we are provoking your movie buff membership.
Your Reply:



11:05PM on 01/24/2014
Don't you mean "revoking"?
Don't you mean "revoking"?
4:39AM on 01/24/2014

Should have been a landslide victory for Hellboy

How did this face off even happen, Hellboy is 10 times better as a movie. Selma Blair won over Kate Beckinsale's terrible accent.
How did this face off even happen, Hellboy is 10 times better as a movie. Selma Blair won over Kate Beckinsale's terrible accent.
Your Reply:



+5
1:29AM on 01/24/2014
On what bizarro planet does Selma Blair win over Kate Beckinsale??
On what bizarro planet does Selma Blair win over Kate Beckinsale??
Your Reply:



12:57PM on 01/24/2014
There's more to a female character than just the looks of the actress playing her? Liz is actually a pretty cool character, and tough. Kate Beckinsale's character just gets chickified, and she's not very interesting.
There's more to a female character than just the looks of the actress playing her? Liz is actually a pretty cool character, and tough. Kate Beckinsale's character just gets chickified, and she's not very interesting.
7:19AM on 01/24/2014
Hahahahaha
So fucking true.
Hahahahaha
So fucking true.
9:18PM on 01/23/2014

Hellboy

Comparing a horrible pile of CGI shit like Van Helsing to Hellboy is sort of offensive to the latter
Comparing a horrible pile of CGI shit like Van Helsing to Hellboy is sort of offensive to the latter
Your Reply:



3:43PM on 01/23/2014

yeah Hellboy by about a billion miles

Van Gelding is pure garbage.
Van Gelding is pure garbage.
Your Reply:



12:11PM on 01/23/2014
No contest
No contest
Your Reply:



11:14AM on 01/23/2014

Van Helsing

Van Helsing is entertaining but Hellboy was just Ron Perlman trying to not be Ron Perlman and failing.
Van Helsing is entertaining but Hellboy was just Ron Perlman trying to not be Ron Perlman and failing.
Your Reply:



9:11AM on 01/23/2014
'Van Helsing' is an embarrassment to Van Helsing. I'm sure the upcoming 'Van Helsing' refuck will also be an embarrassment to Van Helsing. Bram Stoker needs to wake from his undead slumber and punch these Hollywood fuckers right in the nuts.
'Van Helsing' is an embarrassment to Van Helsing. I'm sure the upcoming 'Van Helsing' refuck will also be an embarrassment to Van Helsing. Bram Stoker needs to wake from his undead slumber and punch these Hollywood fuckers right in the nuts.
Your Reply:



8:21AM on 01/23/2014

Hell (wait for it) boy

Hellboy is a great film. Van Helsing had potential but didn't really deliver. Not much of a contest really.
Be interesting to see if we ever get a third Hellboy and what the rebooted Van Helsing ends up like - is Tom Cruise still involved or did I imagine that?
Hellboy is a great film. Van Helsing had potential but didn't really deliver. Not much of a contest really.
Be interesting to see if we ever get a third Hellboy and what the rebooted Van Helsing ends up like - is Tom Cruise still involved or did I imagine that?
Your Reply:



8:12AM on 01/23/2014

Hellboy

While I have a soft spot for Van Helsing, despite my extremely low tolerance for big budget CG stupidity (maybe because of its use of the classic Universal monsters, or maybe because I was a dumbass 14 year old when it came out), there's no way I could pick it over Hellboy. Hellboy rocks!
While I have a soft spot for Van Helsing, despite my extremely low tolerance for big budget CG stupidity (maybe because of its use of the classic Universal monsters, or maybe because I was a dumbass 14 year old when it came out), there's no way I could pick it over Hellboy. Hellboy rocks!
Your Reply:



+12
7:27AM on 01/23/2014
Did you do this just so you could bury Van Helsing? These movies aren't even in the same league. Van Helsing felt like I was watching someone play a video game for two hours.
Did you do this just so you could bury Van Helsing? These movies aren't even in the same league. Van Helsing felt like I was watching someone play a video game for two hours.
Your Reply:



9:58AM on 01/23/2014
IS more entertaining
IS more entertaining
9:57AM on 01/23/2014
Watching someone play video games are more entertaining.
Watching someone play video games are more entertaining.
6:56AM on 01/23/2014
Yeah not a very close victory. Hellboy by a mile.
Yeah not a very close victory. Hellboy by a mile.
Your Reply:



6:01AM on 01/23/2014
Of course Hellboy!
Of course Hellboy!
Your Reply:



+6
4:36AM on 01/23/2014

Easily...

the most one sided victory in history?
the most one sided victory in history?
Your Reply:



3:29AM on 01/23/2014
Hellboy for me. Everything about the movie seems to be in perfect harmony. As for Van Helsing, the third act was CGI mayhem that is too hard to follow.
Hellboy for me. Everything about the movie seems to be in perfect harmony. As for Van Helsing, the third act was CGI mayhem that is too hard to follow.
Your Reply:



3:28AM on 01/23/2014

Hellboy still edges it...

Even though Hellboy have 2 movies compared to Van Helsing's 1, I still feel Hellboy edges it. Thought Jackman was a decent Van Helsing too. Would be interested to see how he'd fare in the hands of a more accomplished director and script. That said, it's Hellboy 3 that I'm clamouring for. Good feature, this.
Even though Hellboy have 2 movies compared to Van Helsing's 1, I still feel Hellboy edges it. Thought Jackman was a decent Van Helsing too. Would be interested to see how he'd fare in the hands of a more accomplished director and script. That said, it's Hellboy 3 that I'm clamouring for. Good feature, this.
Your Reply:



3:07AM on 01/23/2014

Soft-spot for Helsing.

Not sure why, but I really like Van Helsing. It's not even that good of a movie, but I've never grown tired of it. Hellboy, however, always seemed a bit too dry for my liking. I'm with Jackman and Helsing all the way!
Not sure why, but I really like Van Helsing. It's not even that good of a movie, but I've never grown tired of it. Hellboy, however, always seemed a bit too dry for my liking. I'm with Jackman and Helsing all the way!
Your Reply:



+13
2:36AM on 01/23/2014
i agree with almost all these catagories but... Kate Beckinsale is MUCH better then Selma Blair by alot!
i agree with almost all these catagories but... Kate Beckinsale is MUCH better then Selma Blair by alot!
Your Reply:



8:10AM on 01/23/2014
Kate Beckinsale is beautiful, but you have to admit that her characterization is kind of weak. Liz Sherman is a badass.
Kate Beckinsale is beautiful, but you have to admit that her characterization is kind of weak. Liz Sherman is a badass.
2:25AM on 01/23/2014

Hellboy

Hellboy hands down. Now hopefully we get to see Del Toro finish the trilogy by giving us one more Hellboy film.
Hellboy hands down. Now hopefully we get to see Del Toro finish the trilogy by giving us one more Hellboy film.
Your Reply:



+8
1:23AM on 01/23/2014

Holy heck that's a much more detailed face-off than usual

And I like it. Way better then the standard 4 or 5 categories. Also, I naturally agree with the verdict. Of course Hellboy deserves to win.
And I like it. Way better then the standard 4 or 5 categories. Also, I naturally agree with the verdict. Of course Hellboy deserves to win.
Your Reply:



3:29AM on 01/23/2014
A very thorough face-off.
A very thorough face-off.
1:32AM on 01/23/2014
I agree, Dave did good work on this piece.
I agree, Dave did good work on this piece.
1:20AM on 01/23/2014
No contest whatsoever, Red all the way. A lot of people were saying I, Frankenstein looked very Van Helsing-esque, but I honestly found it to be not half bad and the visual effects work for one was a whole lot more refined and less goofy than in Van Helsing. The Hellboy movies are an excellent display of del Toro's vivid imagination, and Ron Perlman as Hellboy is one of the greatest comic book movie casting decisions ever.
No contest whatsoever, Red all the way. A lot of people were saying I, Frankenstein looked very Van Helsing-esque, but I honestly found it to be not half bad and the visual effects work for one was a whole lot more refined and less goofy than in Van Helsing. The Hellboy movies are an excellent display of del Toro's vivid imagination, and Ron Perlman as Hellboy is one of the greatest comic book movie casting decisions ever.
Your Reply:



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