Guillermo del Toro's film of Mike Mignola's Hellboy may or may not turn out to be a huge hit with the mass audience, but if the reaction from the film's first screening, at the Austin, Texas South by Southwest music festival, is any indication, the film will be a huge hit with the core audience of comic book and horror movie fans.  In his opening remarks before the screening del Toro said, 'We're finally seeing movies made for geeks by geeks,' and reviews on the Ain't It Cool and Revolution SF Websites leave no doubt that savvy critics familiar with the Hellboy property loved the movie.  As Mark Finn of Revolution SF put it, 'Only a Hellboy geek would have made this movie and put as much good stuff in the film.  More amazing is the fact that all that weird and wonderful stuff really works as a movie.'


Quint, whose review is currently up on the Ain't it Cool site, was less familiar with the Hellboy comic series, but just as impressed with the movie, 'The film kicks so much ass, guys.  Del Toro plays to all the great base geek cornerstones.  Tentacled Lovecraftian Gods, hot super-powered chicks, badass butt-kicking anti-hero, evil nazi zombie assassins, supernatural monsters, and Baby Ruth addiction.  It's all there!'


One of the primary reasons that Marvel's superhero films have done so well is the fact that the directors, Bryan Singer (X-Men), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil), are both knowledgeable about and sympathetic towards the properties they are filming.  Guillermo del Toro, who also directed Blade 2, has a special passion for Hellboy and judging from these early reviews that passion made it to the big screen.  This isn't the era of Batman & Robin, these directors have a real feel for properties they are adapting for the big screen. 


Will Hellboy reach a mass audience -- we will have to wait and see -- but there is little doubt from these early reviews that the film will energize and please an awful lot of comic book fans.  With lots of Hellboy movie merchandise available including comics, graphic novels, trading cards, toys, and statues retailers should be able to do well even if the film doesn't get much penetration beyond the precincts of fandom, but if it does, look out.