A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV animated movie centers on the occult and can be quite scary. Based on a popular series of graphic novels known for their creepy depictions of the undead, it follows in the same vein. The storyline centers on vampires, and there's plenty of blood, including a few torture scenes. Blood seeps out from a ghastly torture device, victims are shown drained of blood, and some ghostly statues weep bloody tears. The overall effect is dark and spooky and could easily be disturbing for young viewers.
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What's the story?
Blood and Iron is the second animated feature based on Mike Mignola's popular graphic novel series about Hellboy, an actual demon who was raised by people and is now part of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, an elite squad charged with protecting the world from the undead. Mignola co-wrote the story, which retains the same dark, gloomy feel that make his comics so much fun. The movie has two parallel story lines. In one, Hellboy (voiced by Ron Perlman), his aging mentor Dr. Broom (John Hurt), and the rest of the BPRD team investigate a haunted mansion. In the second story, told through flashbacks, Broom takes on a vicious female vampire, Erzsebet, who likes to bathe in the blood of young women. It soon becomes clear that Erzsebet has been resurrected in the present and is still angry with Broom, who destroyed her 60 years ago.
Is it any good?
Just because it's a cartoon, don't think HELLBOY: BLOOD AND IRON is automatically OK for kids. With vampires, harpies, scores of bloody ghosts, a pack of demonic wolves, and one angry snake goddess, this made-for-TV movie is pretty intense even for older tweens and teens -- and it might deliver a few decent chills to adults as well.
The two stories are fairly straightforward monster-hunting tales, but they also have interesting undertones regarding faith, which sets the film apart from so many other monster-in-the-dark features. It's definitely worth noting that this movie is heavier on demon-smashing fight scenes and is much more chilling than its predecessor, Hellboy: Sword of Storms. That film was centered on Japanese mythology and was a bit less violent and more thoughtful.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about immortality and vanity. The villain -- a particularly nasty female vampire named Erzsebet -- has traded her soul in exchange for eternal beauty and enjoys maintaining her appearance by bathing in the blood of young maidens. Would you want to live forever? What if doing so meant becoming less than human? Families can also discuss what it means to be good. The main character, Hellboy, is -- quite literally -- a demon. How do others perceive him? Why is it important not to judge people based on how they look on the outside? Also, how do the animated Hellboy tales compare to the live-action version? Are the cartoons less scary just because they're animated? Why or why not?
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