Steven D. Greydanus prepares the audience for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army by reminding us that wicked monsters may point us toward the truth… and that sometimes it’s easier for us to comprehend demons than angels.

“Believe it or not, he’s the good guy.”

So proclaims the tagline for Hellboy II: The Golden Army, opening in theaters this week.

Well, he definitely needs explaining. With his horns —filed to stumps or not — as well as his red skin, goatee and tail, Hellboy overtly embodies universally recognizable cultural iconography of the enemy of mankind in the great war of powers and principalities.

This imagery isn’t limited to Christianity. George Lucas claimed to have included Hindu and Greek mythology in researching the look of the similarly demonic-looking Darth Maul. (“A lot of evil characters have horns,” Lucas told Bill Moyers in 1999).

Still, Hellboy’s world “like those of other recent supernatural-themed films including Constantine and Ghost Rider” seems significantly shaped by Christian culture.

 

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