'Hellboy' Director Reveals Why They Chose to Go R-Rated

In the original comics, Hellboy battled all manner of monster, with the story of a demon raised by humans inherently incorporating mature themes and imagery. Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy films never shied away from the darker themes, though, likely in an attempt to appeal to wider audiences, these films pulled their punches and skirted by with PG-13 ratings. The upcoming incarnation of the character has an R rating, allowing the film to embrace the more gruesome and crass facets of the character, thanks to previous films like Deadpool and Logan proving how a comic book movie could be a success with more graphic violence. Hellboy director Neil Marshall recently detailed the freedom allowed to him by embracing the R rating.

"I think it’s no accident that we’re going down that route following the success or proven success of those kind of films that you can do that, you can do this kind of movie aimed at, you know, the adult audience, that in some ways it was always intended for, especially with this character and this material," Marshall shared with JoBlo. "So that didn’t hurt us, for sure. But it was never a case of like, it was always a case of when in doubt, go back to the source material and not go running wild and start throwing things in that didn’t belong to that world. So it was never a case of like, hey, we’ve got freedom to do whatever we want."

Marshall added, "But what it did feel like was, and you know, when they said it was good to do the R-rated thing, it just meant we weren’t making it with handcuffs on, in a way. It was like making it without limits, but not treating it as limitless,if that makes any sense."

The previous Hellboy films felt more influenced by sci-fi and fantasy films, with Marshall confirming his perspective of the character took more inspiration from traditional horror elements, which were emphasized when embracing the R rating of the adventure.

"It certainly has its roots more in that world of gothic horror, and I think that’s part of the texture of the film as well," the director confessed. "Quite a bit of it’s set in the UK. And it ties in, it’s got a little bit of kind of like 'Hammer' Gothic, you’re sitting in this amazing kind of old country house kind of thing. And it’s taking Hellboy out of his comfort zone, in some respects, and putting him into this different world that we’ve not seen him in before. But it definitely taps into kind of gothic horror sources and roots and all that kind of stuff that I love so much."

Fans can check out Hellboy when it lands in theaters on April 12th.

What do you think of the filmmaker's remarks? Let us know in the comments below!

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