HELLBOY: THE CROOKED MAN Trailer Looks Weird (Not in a Good Way)

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and its myriad spinoffs are up there as my favorite comics of all time. The mix of Gothic, cosmic, and monster horror with a helping of gallows humor works for me so, so much. Guillermo del Toro famously made a couple of Hellboy movies with Ron Perlman. While good in their own GDT way, neither of them (especially the second one) truly felt like a proper adaptation of the source material. The 2019 Neil Marshall Hellboy movie with David Harbour adapted the source material directly, but the movie itself was very, very bad. Now we get Hellboy: The Crooked Man and…well, just take a look. Then we’ll talk.

First some context. The Crooked Man was a three-issue arc from Mignola and artist Richard Corben from 2008. It detailed one of Hellboy’s earlier missions for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. In 1958 Appalachia, Hellboy encounters some witches and witch-adjacent people and eventually cross paths with the titular Crooked Man, a hanged war profiteer from the 18th Century who has returned from Hell to act as the region’s resident Devil. He’s pretty terrifying, especially as Corben illustrates him.

Hellboy: The Crooked Man looks to be a very faithful (and small) adaptation of that particular story. On its face this is a good thing. One of the major issues with the 2019 movie is that it adapted way, way, way too many stories, not least of which The Wild Hunt, the longest and most epic story in the Mignola canon. Focusing on a one-off adventure and maximizing the horror is a pretty good idea.

Hellboy (Jack Kesy) looks concerned in the trailer for Hellboy: The Crooked Man.
Ketchup Entertainment

However, just looking at it, you can see the very low budget. You may have noticed the movie comes our way from Ketchup Entertainment. KETCHUP ENTERTAINMENT. Brian Taylor (of Crank franchise fame) is directing, with himself, Mignola, and Mignola’s Baltimore collaborator Christopher Golden on screenplay duties. Jack Kesy (who very briefly played Black Tom Cassidy in Deadpool 2) portrays Hellboy and he just kind of looks unfinished. If Harbour was TOO made up, Kesy looks like a decent amateur cosplay attempt.

So who knows! It may be good. It certainly seems focused more on the actual horror. Which is the proper direction to go following the dark fantasy mishmash of the last movie. But I’m not convinced after this wack first look. I would love it if one day any live-action outing properly snags the tone of the comics. Whether Hellboy: The Crooked Man can do that will have to wait until it comes out later this year.

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. He hosts the weekly pop culture deep-dive podcast Laser Focus. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Instagram and Letterboxd.

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