'Hellboy' at 15: Guillermo del Toro explains how he made a 'milk and cookies' scary movie for the whole family (exclusive)

You’ve heard of body horror and Gothic horror, but were you also aware that there’s also such a thing as milk-and-cookies horror? At least, that’s what Guillermo del Toro claims and we know better than to argue with the Oscar-winning director of such modern genre classics as The Devil’s Backbone and Crimson Peak. For an example of what a milk-and-cookies horror movie looks like, look no further than Del Toro’s own 2004 hit Hellboy, starring Ron Perlman as Mike Mignola’s comic-book demon. “You can watch them on the sofa with the whole family,” the filmmaker explains in an exclusive clip from an all-new retrospective featurette included on a 4K-enhanced 15th anniversary edition that streets on Oct. 15. “They’re scary, but not scary. Maybe scarier for the adults!” (Watch the clip above.)

Del Toro credits special effects legend Ray Harryhausen with inventing the concept of milk-and-cookies horror through vintage adventure movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The menagerie of monsters that populate those films — from sword-swinging skeletons to giant crabs — raced madly through his mind as a child, eventually inspiring him to create his own cinematic creatures. The director points to the Minotaur that Sinbad fights in Eye of the Tiger as one such foundational inspiration. “I was with my mom, and the Minotaur impales the guy and lifts him! The guy is flailing in the lens and I’m enchanted. I wanted that sort of action-adventure fusion with humor and good heart in the Hellboy movies.”

Four years after Hellboy, Del Toro directed Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which laid the groundwork for a trilogy-capping final installment. Unfortunately, that last film will never be seen on the big screen, as the director himself confirmed on Twitter two years ago.

Del Toro’s planned storyline won’t appear in comic book form for that matter; Mignola rejected that idea preferring to keep his creation’s cinematic and comic continuities separate. Instead, the film franchise underwent a full-fledged reboot that resulted in a poorly-reviewed new chapter starring David Harbour in place of Perlman. And unlike the original Hellboy, the R-rated 2019 version — which came and went from theaters this past spring — was more blood-and-guts than milk-and-cookies. Clearly, the audience has spoken and they prefer their Hellboy movies with Oreos, not bloodshed.

Hellboy will be available in a 4K 15th anniversary edition on Oct. 15; pre-order on Amazon.

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