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Swenson, Sharon Lee. "Guardian Demons in Hellboy: Hybridity in contemporary american horror films." Hell and its Afterlife. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Eds. Margaret Toscano and Isabel Moreira. London, New York: Routledge, 2010. 
Added by: joachim (6/24/21, 1:06 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (6/24/21, 1:09 AM)
Resource type: Book Chapter
BibTeX citation key: Swenson2010
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Hellboy", Adaptation, Film adaptation, Horror, Mignola. Mike, USA
Creators: Moreira, Swenson, Toscano
Publisher: Routledge (London, New York)
Collection: Hell and its Afterlife. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
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Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 American horror/fantasy/action film, presents as protagonist not a heavenly redeemer nor a protecting angel, but a satanic savior and guardian demon who embodies our contemporary anxieties, desires, and guilt—a hybrid monster who cinematically mirrors our social liabilities and assets, our personal sins and virtues, and our individual and community aspirations and guilt. In sum, he is a hero from hell who uses his hybridity to close rather than open the Gates of Hell in order to save us from both sin and death. The hell of Hellboy is subliminally presented as a creation of our own making, its boundaries expanding into the here-and-now while simultaneously seeping into our most hallowed institutions and indwelling within us personally. For we, not the Satan of Milton, have created not the hell of Dante but the hell of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and all they represent in terms of our willingness to violate the rule of law and to employ arbitrary force and violence against civilians once thought to be protected by civil liberties and guaranteed by constitutions. Horror films operate metaphorically, below the level of consciousness within the shared dream/nightmare state of film spectatorship, dramatically and symbolically enacting individual and collective concerns and their (superficial) diegetic resolution. The subtext of Hellboy mirrors the social context of post-9/11 America as a retaliating superpower that is both “the great Hope” and “the Great Satan” and of post-9/11 Americans as citizens of a world where individuals are, like Hellboy himself, hybrids of good and evil, virtue and vice, and love and lust, the human and demonic.
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