Hellboy

The Hellboy reboot, helmed by British director Neil Marshall, isn’t doing so hot. That’s a real shame, because Marshall’s track record with hyper-violent action-horror has been fantastic so far. While rumors of production woes definitely explain the film’s lack of cohesion, there are kernels of good stuff in the new Hellboy. Horror fans have delighted in the movie’s gory brutality, and some of the sequences work as fun standalone scenes; while Hellboy might not work, it’s easy to see some of Marshall’s skills on display.

So, if you’re looking to understand more about the man who helmed Hellboy, or if you’re just looking for an alternative film to watch with the same kinetic, savage energy, check out our guide.

The Basics

Bio: Neil Marshall was born on May 25, 1970 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Marshall became known as a member of the “Splat Pack”, directors credited with brining ultra-violent R-rated horror back into the mainstream. (Other members include Alexandre Aja, Darren Lynn Bousman, Eli Roth, Leigh Whannell, James Wan, Robert Rodriguez, Greg McLean, and Rob Zombie.) Marshall won the British Independent Film Award for “Best Director of a British Independent Film” and a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film for his second feature, The Descent.

Trademarks:

  • Hyper-violent horror
  • Intense action sequences
  • Big, outlandish group action scenes
  • Celtic imagery and designs
  • Often features tough female heroes and villains

Frequent Collaborators: Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham

Television Episodes

It should be noted that in addition to directing five feature-length films and a TV movie, Marshall has also directed some of the most highly acclaimed episodes of several major series. He directed both “The Watchers on the Wall” and “Blackwater” episodes of Game of Thrones for HBO – both episodes feature extended, intense action sequences. Marshall was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his direction on “The Watchers on the Wall”.

Marshall also directed two episodes of Constantine, the Timeless pilot, “The Stray” episode of Westworld, two episodes of Lost in Space, and “The Great Red Dragon” episode of Hannibal.

Dog Soldiers (2002)

The Plot: A squad of British soldiers training in the Scottish wilderness discover the remains of a Special Forces team that was ravaged by werewolves. With no way to communicate with the rest of the world, they must try to survive the night.

Best Action Sequence: During the film’s climax, there is a huge fight with several werewolves that ends in a massive gas-line explosion.

Best Horror Gag: A jump-scare involving a flying cow carcass.

Most Ferocious Female: A local zoologist named Megan who helps the soldiers turns out to be a werewolf herself, capable of resisting the urge to change.

Watch it: Available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

The Descent (2005)

The Plot: A year after a car accident takes the lives of her husband and daughter, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) and her five friends take their annual camping trip. They decide to explore a deep cave in the mountains but become trapped about a mile beneath the earth during a cave-in. Running out of supplies is the least of their problems, however, as they realize they’re not alone underground.

Best Action Sequence: Cornered by the creatures, Juno (Natalie Mendoza) jumps into a pool of water some ways below. The creature is waiting, and Juno must battle it underwater with only a knife.

Best Horror Gag: Sarah wakes up to discover that she’s in the creatures’ feeding pit, surrounded by the fetid corpses of animals. She realizes with horror that the creatures are devouring her friend, and they slurp and click gleefully as they dine.

Most Ferocious Female: While all the women of The Descent are forced to be ferocious to survive, the female creatures in the film are equally terrifying. This film is chock-full of scary women.

Watch it: Available to stream on HBO or to rent on Google Play.

Doomsday (2008)

The Plot: In 2008, the deadly Reaper Virus spreads throughout Scotland, leading to a quarantine of the entire country. Thirty years later, an outbreak of the virus resurfaces in London. An elite team, led by Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), goes into the dystopian Scottish wilderness to find a cure. The Scotland of 2037 is Mad Max with rolling hills and highlands, and Eden is its Max.

Best Action Sequence: While escaping a tribe of insane cannibals, Sinclair is confronted by the cannibal leader’s psycho mistress, Viper (Lee-Anne Liebenberg). The two duke it out in an intense sword battle, and at least one head will roll.

Best Horror Gag: Someone accidentally blows off someone else’s head with a shotgun in a gore gag reminiscent of the training death in Starship Troopers.

Most Ferocious Female: Viper has wicked-cool facial tattoos and a freaky long tongue, but Sinclair is basically the female Snake Plissken – so she wins this one.

Watch it: Rent it on Amazon or iTunes.

Centurion (2010)

The Plot: In A.D. 117, Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on the Roman front, marches north with General Virilus’ (Dominic West) Ninth Legion. The Ninth Legion is tasked with wiping out the Picts for good, removing the barbarian hordes from Scotland. Behind enemy lines, Dias and the legion must fight to survive.

Best Action Sequence: Dias and the remaining Roman troops set up an ambush for the Picts, resulting in a wild, bloody battle.

Best Horror Gag: A wounded Roman soldier is left as bait for wolves and is assumed to be eaten alive.

Most Ferocious Female: Centurion features two fierce ladies: Arianne and Etain. Healer Arianne (Imogen Poots) helps hide the Romans from Etain and her forces, despite the Picts being extremely dangerous. Etain (Olga Kurylenko) is a Pictish warrior with blue woad tattoos across her face and a hellish war-cry from her tongue-less mouth.

Watch it: Available to rent on Google Play and Amazon.

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