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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Review: Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Trick 'R Treat
As we come to the end of 2016's 'Month of Horror' I thought it would be a good idea to review a severely underrated horror movie. Trick 'r Treat never got a widespread showing when it was released instead having it shown in a select few cinemas. The only reason why I know about the film is because James Rolfe of reviewed it two years ago. Trick 'r Treat is also one of the few movies which truly embraces the premise of Halloween; even the Halloween movies, with the exception of the third one, merely had the holiday as a backdrop. Halloween is my favorite holiday, I love horror, I'm interested in pre-Christian belief systems, and I am not religious holidays like Easter and Christmas never had the same effect which Halloween had. As a result I was very eager to see this film, so let's begin the review.

It is not easy to explain the plot of Trick 'r Treat. It is an anthology movie where instead of one story finishing another begins all four stories, (roughly), occurs at the same time. If you look out at times you can hear or see characters from another story in the background. One story, the first and shortest one, revolves around a couple coming back from a costume party. The girlfriend is very dismissive of the traditions of Halloween whereas the boyfriend fully embraces and loves them. It soon turns out that it is a wise idea to respect the traditions. Another story deals with a murderous principal, (played by Dylan Baker), who takes the traditions of Halloween. The third revolves around a virgin student, (played by Anna Paquin), whose friends and older sister are trying to get her to lose her 'virginity' but there is a twist to it. My favorite story deals with a group of kids pranking an unpopular girl from their school at the site where a bus full of mentally ill children crashed into a lake, and it happens to go brutally wrong. The final story deals with the neighbor of the homicidal, Halloween-loving principal, (played by Brian Cox), who loathes Halloween and comes afoul of a figure seen in all the other stories. Seen in every story is a child wearing a burlap sack called Sam who acts as the enforcer of the Halloween traditions.

The overlapping plots of Trick 'r Treat are done really well. They do not get confusing and it is quite interesting to see how each scene fits into the chronology of the story. Each story even has a twist which fits extremely well in the overall narrative. Despite going from cruel pranks, to werewolves, to demonic pumpkin children, to vampires it seems natural. The way the story is structured allows it not to seem overly far-fetched. Director and screenwriter Michael Dougherty did a fantastic job. Surprisingly the murderous principal story is extremely tense which was very effective. My only criticism for the plot is with the prank story, and the virgin story twists it does seem somewhat predictable. I managed to correctly guess from the outset the prank story twist and I almost did correctly guess the virgin story twist, (without giving too much away I guessed it would involve a creature of the night but guessed the incorrect creature).

The acting varies in quality throughout the movie. The more well-known actors like Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox did fantastic jobs in their various roles. Surprisingly event the child actors did really good jobs which I was surprised about. Leslie Bibb who plays the girlfriend in the first story is somewhat stale although she is not in the film for too long so it's not a major issue. Similarly Anna Paquin's friends, although not the sister character, do seem overly cliche and boring but they are side characters which again is just me being pedantic.

Sam unmasked
The effects are stunning. I am a huge fan of practical effects which the movie heavily relies on. At only one part could I identify something as CGI, and even then it was not overly bad CGI. The mask for Sam when he's unmasked is fantastic. It genuinely looks creepy and the effect is enhanced through the lighting in that scene. The costumes and makeup for the zombie children are extremely realistic as well and at times were quite unnerving to look at. By far though my favorite effects involved the werewolves. It was a very unique transformation scene which was quite captivating to watch. I would say it was one of the best werewolf transformation scenes in cinema after The Howling and An American Werewolf in London.

Final Points
Trick 'r Treat truly embraces the idea of Halloween. It brings together the modern idea of Halloween, and the ancient idea of Samhein. We have parties and festivals, and then we have sacrificial rituals. We have urban legends, and we have spirits attacking people for removing their wards against evil. Trick 'r Treat embraces the old and the new. Quite literally as well due to the fact that there is a scene which I thought was referencing the fantastic vampire movie The Lost Boys. The demonic child character Sam also appeared in director Michael Dougherty's 1996 animated short Season's Greetings. It just shows that early ideas can be left to evolve and become something better.

For fantastic effects, creating a perfect Halloween atmosphere, with a few mediocre performances I would give Trick 'r Treat a 7.5/10. Thank you for reading and have a happy Halloween!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

What If: The 1938 War of the Worlds Actually Happened?

The Martian Tripods
Continuing 2016's 'Month of Horror' we're going to look at an alternate history scenario which I've been planning to do since the very first 'Month of Horror' in 2014. Released in 1898 H.G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds became a momentous landmark in the history of science-fiction. It also made people scared: an alien force landing on Earth wiping out everything in their path. In 1938 while working with The Mercury Theater on Air Orson Welles on October 30, 1938 aired an adaption of the novel. He changed the setting from Victorian England to contemporary America, and spliced news of a Martian invasion through regular broadcasts. Reports later came back that people believed that Earth had been invaded by Mars causing instances of mass hysteria. Although the mass hysteria has been over-exaggerated, only 27% of people writing to the Theater believed it to be real, the idea of an alien invasion terrified people. For that reason the alternate history scenario for 2016's 'Month of Horror' will be if Martians actually did invade in 1938. First though, we have to see what the world was like on 30 October, 1938.

The World in 1938
In 1938 the United States had been slowly recovering from the Great Depression which had ravaged the world economy over the previous nine years. Under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, (FDR), the economy of the United States had slowly started to recover thanks to his New Deal program. These were a series of acts and presidential executive orders which had the aim to reduce unemployment, provide relief for those in poverty, recover the economy, and reform the economy and banking system to avoid another Great Depression. These reforms had mixed success. By 1938 the economy had not recovered but, bar the 1937 recession, the economy had steadily started to improve. In 1932, the year before FDR was sworn is as president, unemployment was at 23.6% while in 1938 it had dropped to 19%. Today FDR is regarded as one of the greatest presidents as a result of his actions. However, race relations were appalling in the 1930s. Although membership of the Ku Klux Klan plummeted during the 1930s this was more to do with economic downturn rather than better race relations. Jim Crow laws barred African-Americans, Native Americans and Asians in various states caused widespread discrimination, and in states with no Jim Crow laws ethnic minorities were forced into ghettos. Lynching was perfectly legal. Although FDR was sympathetic to the plight of African-Americans he was forced not to pass legislation to help them due to the fact that he would have lost the support of racists in the Senate who he needed to pass his New Deal bills.

Other areas of the world the situation was grim. World exports dropped rapidly which decimated Chile's economy, 80% of the economy was reliant on foreign exports. In the UK the industrial North, Wales, and Scotland saw widespread unemployment causing several hunger marches, in Thailand (then called Siam), a revolution ousted the king, the Peruvian economy was destroyed, and in France riots broke out. China started to crumble thanks to civil war and foreign invasion. The Soviet Union was hardly hit by the Depression but Stalin's forced industrialization caused widespread famine where in Ukraine up to 7.5 million starved to death in what has been described as a genocide. Around the world militarism and far-right politics took root. In the early 1930s Japan invaded northern China forming a puppet government there, and following the assassination of the prime minister Japan started becoming extremely ultra-nationalist. In 1937 this escalated into the Sino-Japanese war. Across Europe the democracies which survived the 1920s, (not a booming decade for them), started to fall. Both Britain and France avoided falling to far-left or far-right politics but both countries faced challenges from these parties; in Britain Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists obtained large amounts of votes. In 1936 the weak Spanish Republic descended into civil war as right wing authoritarianism in the military tried to oust the government, succeeding in 1939. 1936 also saw Mussolini's Italy annex Ethiopia in a particularly bloody war which ended one of the last independent African countries. In 1933 German democracy permanently fell as Adolf Hitler became chancellor. In the September of 1938 Hitler almost plunged Europe into war over his attempts to annex the steel rich 'Sudetenland' of Czechoslovakia which his faltering economy desperately needed, (using the pretext of defending 'Germans' who lived in the region). The world was expecting a war. This scenario they will get a war but not the one they expected.

The Invasion
The Martians Invade
For the purpose of this scenario the Martian invasion will carry out in the same way as the radio drama broadcasted it. On October 30 1938 regular radio broadcasting is interrupted by a newsflash saying that strange explosions have happened on Mars. Shortly afterwards something lands in Grover's Mill, New Jersey which transpires to be a metallic cylinder. The cylinder opens revealing a tentacled being who then proceeds to incinerates the crowd at the scene with a heat ray. The New Jersey National Guard is sent to fight the Martian only to be met with a giant tripod constructed by the Martian. The tripod then manages to wipe out the National Guard. A state of emergency is declared by the state, and reports emerge that other cylinders have landed in New Jersey, Buffalo, Chicago, and St Louis. More and more tripods rise from their craters and the United States army proves to be ineffectual against the invaders. As they go they destroy bridges, railroads, roads, and power stations. The only time the army succeeds in damaging one of the tripods it releases a toxic black cloud which kills all life which it touches. The New Jersey tripods march through Newark and with ease cross the Hudson to invade New York City. Manhattan bears the brunt of the attack with the black smoke descending on the island in accompaniment to the tripod heat rays. As they move through city after city they capture humans in order for them to harvest their blood.

Just as all hope is lost the tripods start collapsing. One by one they fall until none are left. It is quickly learnt that common human diseases proved fatal for the Martians. Within a few hours humanity learnt they were not alone in the universe, was invaded by another lifeform, and survived only thanks to microorganisms.

Despite victory over the Martians the country is not celebrating. Millions would have been killed as the Martians across the land. Chicago, St Louis, Buffalo, Newark, and New York City are either destroyed or are partially destroyed. Manhattan is no longer in existence. The radio drama focuses largely on the New Jersey Martians but we can estimate the direction which the other Martians went in. The Chicago Martians would have headed to the nearest large city which would likely be Naperville, while the St Louis Martians would have headed to Springfield, Illinois. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Martians would be the only ones to cross international boundaries by crossing the Niagara Falls and into Canada. From there their devastation would take them to Hamilton, and then to Toronto. Each city would either be utterly destroyed or would be partially destroyed. Rural areas would also be devastated thanks to the Martian black smoke. Both Canada and the United States would be plunged into crisis. There would be a refugee crisis thanks to the millions of people displaced thanks to the Martians. In 1940 New York City had a population of just over 7 million people. If even three-quarters of this population was killed by the Martians there would be over one million people displaced.

The economies of the United States and Canada would go into rapid decline. The New York Stock Exchange was located in Manhattan, an area destroyed by the Martians. Thousands more would still die through starvation, illness, and exposure. Thanks to Illinois being attacked meat production drops in the United States, and the use of the black smoke along the Mississippi would poison a huge chunk of the river for months. Agriculture along the Mississippi would be decimated as the black smoke's poison is inadvertently used to water crops. Just as seriously thousands would drink the water and grow ill with many dying as a result. Although filtration is quickly adjusted to prevent poisoning the damage is still done. For farmers the 1920s was a decade of depression, and FDR did try to help them. The Martian invasion virtually destroys mid-western farming so much that to actually feed itself the USA has to mass import food from abroad. Those displaced are hardest hit. Thanks to the Martians tearing up bridges, roads and railroads it is increasingly difficult to get aid to refugee camps, (named 'Martianvilles'), and with a food shortage this exacerbates an already perilous situation. In the first days all aid has to be airlifted in. During the broadcast it was reported that opportunistic militiamen were planning to use Martian technology to dominate the region. Following the invasion these militiamen become local warlords, (although due to the sheer advancement of Martian technology they cannot use the weapons), and often confiscate aid for themselves. Quickly aid has to be distributed with army aid.
In the United States at least there is a quick government response to the crisis. FDR was known for involving himself with the public, and would personally try and get to areas devastated by the Martians. A 'Third New Deal' would be put into place with the express aims of dealing with the refugee crisis, defending the United States from another attack, and rebuilding the destroyed cities. His quick implementation of bills to take unemployed laborers, or displaced laborers, to rebuild the cities, and quick actions to deal with the farming crisis would keep some people supporting him. However, his popularity would soon drop. The sheer size of the crisis and the over reliance on foreign imports means that the country remains extremely weak. Race riots would break out in mid-western refugee camps, and quite likely northern refugee camps, as prejudices boil over. A fear of anything unknown is amplified and immigrants get heavily discriminated against. Only thanks to policies to prevent further poisoning on the Mississippi, and the gradual repopulation of the cities does FDR retain any popularity. Emigration could even be encouraged with Americans and Canadians being encouraged to return to their ancestors homes of the UK, Ireland and France to alleviate some of the population pressure. Likewise, the UK and France would likely be the biggest contributors of aid to the United States and Canada, as well as possibly the USSR. Far-left and far-right politics would rage in the United States which the USSR would eagerly capitalize on, Hitler viewed the USA and Canada with disdain in contrast. Philadelphia and San Francisco now becomes the main centers of commerce.

The World
The world would look on in horror at what happened in the USA and Canada. Canada would easily get aid from the UK due to it being a member of the Commonwealth, but due to the fact that the UK was facing its own problems aid would be limited. Most of the food aid would be taken from India in turn causing food shortages there, and increasing tension between the British and Indians. However, for the first time the world would feel somewhat united. Throughout history people have been united by foreign invasion, (such as how Italian and German nationalism grew following Napoleon's invasion). Quite likely governments would work more closely together in fear that the next Martian invasion would be of their lands. This would not be a true unity though. Nations would still heavily distrust each other despite the fact that there is a chance of a second invasion. During the Second World War when the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia different ethnic groups allied with the Nazis to massacre other groups, and Winston Churchill even made plans to go to war against the USSR as they were fighting the Nazis. Governments rearming to defend themselves were not only preparing to war against Martians. Quite possibly wars start with the pretext to defend themselves against the Martians. Despite initial economic growth by 1939 Hitler had caused unfettered inflation thanks to rearmament which was crippling the economy, so he had to go to war to solve this. Hitler could either threaten war with Poland or invade with the pretext of securing land to protect Germany during an invasion. Likewise Japan could argue its continued occupation of China was to secure Chinese political stability and resources to protect themselves from invasion. If a Second World War does break out the USA would not take part; still crippled from invasion it would be too weak to even consider taking part.

A big issue would be Martian technology. Two nations would actively adapt Martian technology salvaged from the tripods: the USA and the UK. The USA has two reasons for this: a possible answer for the black smoke and to use Martian technology against them. Meanwhile, the UK would simply want to use it in case war with Germany occurs. Quite likely spies from France, Germany, the USSR, and possibly Japan would also find these blueprints to make their own weapons. Canada, and later other Commonwealth countries, would receive Martian technology after complaints.

The Second War
The Next Wave
A second invasion would be inevitable. After improving their technology, including flying machines, and defending themselves from illness the Martians launch a full scale invasion. In 55 and 54 BCE Julius Caesar invaded Britain with a small force but a century later Rome would properly invade Britain and conquer it. The first wave was Caesar's invasion, the second would be a full scale invasion. The Martians land all across the world near heavily populated areas: London, Paris, Philadelphia, Berlin, Munich, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong etc. Still crippled since the last invasion the USA struggles to fight the war. How humanity does it is hard to imagine, but now it becomes a true war of the worlds.

Thank you for reading and the sources I have used are as follows:
-Give Me Liberty!: An American History by Eric Foner
-The Penguin History of the United States by Hugh Brogan
-Europe: 1880-1945 by John Roberts
-A History of Japan by R.H.P. Mason and J.G. Caiger

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Real Life Dracula

Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Continuing 2016's 'Month of Horror' we'll look at possibly one of the most famous horror icons of all time: Count Dracula. Dracula came to life in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula and is recognized as being one of the most influential vampire novels of all time, (another one possibly being Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla). Stoker's novel has heavily influenced the world's perception of vampires, and so has the many adaptations. The second adaptation Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror, (the first adaption was a Soviet film entitled Drakula which has unfortunately been lost), created the ideas of vampires dying in sunlight. However, Bela Lugosi's performance as Dracula in Universal Studio's 1931 classic is the adaptation which heavily inspired all other perceptions of Count Dracula. The cape, his hypnotic stare, and the thick Romanian accent that are all associated with Dracula came from Lugosi's performance. Dracula, though, is not entirely a work of fiction. Count Dracula is based off of a real person; a real person even mentioned in the novel as possibly being Dracula himself. A real person whose name influenced Stoker to change the name of his antagonist from Count Wampyr to Dracula. This person was Vlad III, voivode (prince) of Wallachia/Walachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler.

The Land of Dracula
Walachia c.1390
Walachia was a principality located in what is now Romania. At the start of the fifteenth century Walachia became a puppet state of the far larger and more powerful Ottoman Empire to the south. Vlad Tepes, (Vlad Dracula), was born between 1428 and 1431 in Transylvania to the voivode, Vlad Dracul, who would seize Walachia when his half-brother died in 1436 becoming Vlad II. Several years prior to this Vlad had joined an order called the Order of the Dragon which was a fellowship of Christian knights designed to resist the Muslim Ottoman Empire from conquering Christian Eastern Europe. It was his membership of this fellowship that Vlad gained his surname 'Dracul', Romanian for 'devil' or 'dragon', so as a result his son was called Vlad Dracula, 'son of the dragon'. When Vlad Tepes was born Transylvania and Walachia were trapped in constant warfare with the Kingdom of Hungary to the north constantly warring against the Ottoman Empire to the south. In 1442 the voivode of Transylvania, John Hunyadi, managed to route the Ottoman Empire in Walachia Vlad was forced to flee to the Ottomans. The Ottomans promised to restore Vlad but, in return, he would have to give them annual tribute and, leave his sons, Vlad and Radu, as hostages at Tokat. During this period of captivity he tried to escape leading to him being beaten, possibly sexually assaulted, and generated a deep loathing of the Ottomans.

Vlad the Impaler
Vlad the Impaler
In 1447 Vlad II and his son, and Vlad Dracula's oldest brother, Mircea, were killed fighting against John Hunyadi and his puppet voivode who then invaded the Ottoman Empire. With the Ottomans invading Walachia Vlad quickly broke into Walachia and declared himself voivode. However, this was short lived and he had to return to exile in the Ottoman Empire. He returned in 1456 and reigned until 1462 when he was imprisoned by the Hungarians. He would remain captive until 1476 and would continue his reign for a short period until his death either in the December of 1476 or the January of 1477.

During his time in power he would often war against the Ottomans, and brutally suppress opposition to his rule. His cruelty is what has made him famous. A papal legate in 1462 wrote to the pope to inform him of the stories of Vlad's cruelty, and in 1463 a poem was performed for the Holy Roman Emperor entitled Von ainem wutrich der heis Trakle waida von der Walachei (Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia). Among the brutalities that Vlad has reportedly committed included having people who performed homosexual acts to boiled in oil, mass executions of boyars at the start of his second reign, and of course impalement. Vlad has refined this method of execution so much that it could take up to three days for a person to die, but it was not a simple stake through the heart as we would imagine killing a vampire would be like. The stakes he impaled people on were very large. A good example is this 1499 German woodcut below of Vlad having people impaled.
The woodcut
After refinement he would have some people impaled through the anus until it went through another part of the body, (there is a woodcut depicting this but due to Google's policies it is too gory and disturbing for me to show you). Even the unrefined method of impalement did not bring a quick death. Victims could be still be left for days until they died through exposure. Some of the most gruesome accounts say that Vlad would dine among the impaled bodies, (as depicted in the woodcut), and dip his bread in blood. On the banks of the Danube it is believed that he had around 20,000 people impaled! Fifteenth century sources also claim that he regularly had people boiled alive, skinned alive, disemboweled or decapitated. Historia Pannonica, written around 1495, even says he had the turbans of some Ottoman messengers nailed to their heads as it was against their custom to take them off while greeting someone. Vlad III Dracula's legacy after his death remained a bloody one with Europe naming him Vlad the Impaler.

How much is true?
Most of the sources of Vlad's atrocities come from either German or Russian sources; most of these originate after his death. The Holy Roman Empire was not allied with Walachia so had reason to portray him negatively, and the Russian paint him negatively as he converted to Catholicism. A combination of most of our depictions being after his lifetime, and from people who were actively against him could indicate that the atrocities were overblown. However, this does not whitewash his infamy. However, outside of Walachia Vlad was known for his cruelty which does show that he did have a reputation. Even Romanian historians and oral tradition, which usually shows Vlad more positively, reports on his cruelty. Constantin Rădulescu-Codin, an early twentieth century Romanian teacher, compiled local legends of Vlad and, some are just as disturbing as the German and Slavic sources, including Vlad burning the lazy, poor and lame. From here Vlad's penchant for sadism and cruelty can be corroborated. Although it is likely that the number of Vlad's victims were exaggerated his infamy is still well justified.

Count Dracula is regarded as one of the greatest villains of both literature and cinema. Even when he is the 'hero', such as in the manga and anime Hellsing, he is still cold, ruthless and sadistic. Something similar to his real life counterpart. Vlad the Impaler may have been unable to turn into a bat or cloud of fog, or could sleep outside a coffin, but he did share the sadism and ruthlessness of the vampire which he inspired.

Thank you for reading and the sources I have used are as follows:
-One Bloody Thing After Another by Jacob Field

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Comics Explained: Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
Long time readers of this blog will know that every October I do the 'Month of Horror' where each week I do a blog post relating to the horror genre. This week we'll look at a comic story arc dealing with demons and monsters: Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. Hellboy is one of the most overlooked great comic book character and comes from one of the most overlooked comic book company (Dark Horse). Seed of Destruction is one of the best known of Hellboy's comics with it serving as the biggest influence by Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy. Mike Magnolia and John Byrne produced a dark and gripping tale which we shall go over today.

Chapter One
Hellboy against a Frog Monster
Seed of Destruction opens in 1944 as a group of US commandos go on a mission accompanied by a superhero called The Torch of Liberty; England's top medium, Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones; Professor Malcolm Frost of the Blackfriar's College; and a paranormal expert, Trevor Bruttenholm. On Tarmagant Island, a fictional small island off of the Scottish coast, Lady Cynthia predicted the apocalypse would start thanks to a Nazi project. They find the Nazis have started some ritual in a stone circle being led by a fabled mystic: Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin promised Hitler to use mysticism to win him the war with Project Ragna Rok. Using magical gauntlets he plans to bring the Ogdru Jahad, powerful Lovecraftian-esque demonic gods, from their magical prison and into the mortal world. Rasputin fails to summon the Ogdru-Jahad but he does summon a different being; a devil-like child the size of a monkey with a stone gauntlet for a hand. The Trevor Bruttenholm and the commandos take a photo of the new arrival naming him Hellboy.
The photo
Over the next fifty years Trevor Bruttenholm raises Hellboy as his son who ages at a slower rate than humans. Bruttenholm had himself and Hellboy working for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) fighting paranormal disturbances. In 1992 Bruttenholm had vanished on a mission in the Arctic circle. With three other people he investigated a cave at the north pole where they find a tentacled statue with a figure meditating at the bottom that seems almost alive. Upon touching the the statue he blanked out. Upon telling Hellboy this a plague of frogs from nowhere descends on them causing Bruttenholm to yell 'Save Yourself!' at his adopted son. Something suddenly kills Bruttenholm leaving hole-like markings on his dried out corpse. It soon transpires that a frog-humanoid monster had killed Hellboy's adopted father which Hellboy soon kills. Hellboy later rings the BPRD Director, Tom Manning, to inform him of what happened just as in a stately home a frog jumps into an old woman's teacup...

Chapter Two
Chapter 2
Searching for clues about his father's death Hellboy travels to the mansion of Lady Cavendish with his friends, (and BPRD members), Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien. Liz Sherman has pyrokinetic abilities who was taken in by the BPRD when, as a child, she lost control of her powers and, incinerated her parents, brother and pet dog. Meanwhile, Abe Sapien was originally a Victorian society who dabbled in the arcane arts. This caused him to become a fish-human hybrid and he was sealed away by his fellow cult members. With no memory of his old life the BPRD found him and named him 'Abe' as the date on his chamber was the date which Lincoln was assassinated on. With these two agents he starts to question Lady Cavendish. She reveals that she is the final heir of the Cavendish family after her two sons went with Bruttenholm on his polar expedition. It transpires that it is almost a curse for the Cavendish family to search for the temple as for the last nine generations all the Cavendish family members who searched for the temple went missing. The agents leave to their rooms as a shadowy figure says to Lady Cavendish: Children, come kiss your mother goodnight.

The three are escorted to their rooms by the Cavendish butler who Hellboy remarks that he looks exactly like the final person to search for the temple with Bruttenholm, Sven Olafsson. When free Abe jumps out of the window into the nearby lake to search for clues, (being able to breathe like a fish underwater), as Hellboy and Liz discuss the butler through a phone. Suddenly frogs enter Liz's room causing Hellboy to scream for her to get out. Upon finding her room empty he bumps into the butler and starts demanding answers only to see the butler transform into a frog monster. After a fight he apparently kills the frog.
Fighting the Frog
 Hellboy then finds Lady Cavendish dead with the same dried body, and hole marks than Bruttenholm had. As he laments the fact that he could not save her the dark figure from earlier makes himself know. The figure is revealed to be Rasputin who orders Hellboy to kneel before him. When he refuses tentacles burst from the floorboards and drags him underground. Meanwhile, Abe's searching in the lake makes him realize that the area is a place of death...

Chapter Three
Hellboy awakes under the manor realizing that he is in an Aztec temple. Rasputin informs him that the temple was built for the Ogdru-Jahad who the Aztecs thought could be appeased by blood sacrifice. He then informs Hellboy that he brought him into the world to act as a tool to unleash the Ogdru-Jahad; fifty years prior he had used the Nazis to achieve his own purpose of summoning the Ogdru-Jahad. Hellboy quickly shoots Rasputin in the face only to see that it did nothing causing Rasputin to send him flying across the room with a single curse, despite all the talismans that Hellboy had on him. Angry at Hellboy's defiance he orders Sven Olafsson, now transformed into a powerful frog monster, to attack Hellboy. As this is happening Abe discovers a tunnel to a series of subterranean caves where the two Cavendish boys, now frog monsters, were nursing the body of their mother who Rasputin ordered them to kill. Abe then discovers the body of the first Cavendish to search for the temple, (Elihu Cavendish).

As Hellboy is beaten by the Olafsson monster Rasputin begins lecturing him on his own backstory. After being shot, poisoned, stabbed, and thrown into a river by the Russian nobility he was resurrected by the Ogdru-Jahad as they saw him as the person to free them. For twenty years he lived in Italy until found by Heinrich Himmler. Himmler gave him to Hitler who wanted Rasputin to use magic to win him the war in Project Ragna Rok. After handpicking a select group he began preparations to free the Ogdru-Jahad, (not to help the Nazis but to bring about a new Eden). After summoning Hellboy, (something which he did not know about), and the fall of the Third Reich he went to the Arctic temple on the orders of the Ogdru-Jahad where he started meditating with the statue, (really a creature called Sadu-Hem). Trevor Bruttenholm's touch awakened him and searched through his memories where he learnt of Hellboy's existence. He manipulated Bruttenholm to bring Hellboy to Cavendish Hall where he planned to use him to release the Ogdru-Jahad. However, Liz's pyrokinetic powers could also be used. Rasputin had Olafsson kidnap Liz so he could channel her powers through himself and into a reawakened Sadu-Hem who would release the Ogdru-Jahad from their crystal prisons.
Chapter Four
The Ogdru-Jahad begin to awaken from their prisons as Liz's powers flow through Sadu-Hem and into the prisons. As this is happening an alien race watches the crystal prisons shake as they fear that once the Ogdru-Jahad destroy Earth they will turn their attention on the rest of the universe. Hellboy manages to force a concussion grenade down the throat of the Olafsson monster just as Rasputin starts the same spell that he used fifty years prior to release the Ogdru-Jahad. Suddenly, Abe appears possessed by a vengeful Elihu Cavendish and throws a spear at Rasputin piercing his chest. Rasputin's lapse in concentration causes an uncontrolled surge of Liz's powers which fries Sadu-Hem. Cavendish stops possessing Abe long enough for him to pull Liz from the power surge so she would not suffer the same fate as Sadu-Hem. The surge in energy starts to cause the cavern's collapse. Furious about being thwarted Rasputin tries to kill only to find he has spent too much of his energy. After failing to blackmail Hellboy by saying if he kills him Hellboy would never know his true purpose Hellboy crushes the monk's head with his stone right hand. As the BPRD agents wonder what Rasputin meant by Hellboy's true purpose a frozen castle's machines start to turn back on. A ice sheet cracks with Rasputin's disciples standing behind it...