Mike Mignola created the Hellboy series with two goals in mind; to make the comics whimsically entertaining and incredibly terrifying. Mignola managed to pull off this seemingly contradictory feat, giving the series an air of adventurous wonder and cosmic horror at the same time. For the agents of the B.P.R.D., facing off against a herald of the apocalypse is just another day on the job. But for people like us, encountering any of Hellboy's villains would probably evoke an existential crisis!
Hellboy's rogue's gallery consists of Nazis, witches, liches, and evil gods. Here are ten of the most frightening foes that Big Red and his friends have tangled with over the years. Since the films borrow heavily from Mike Mignola's comic books, we'll discuss both the comic and cinematic versions of characters when applicable.
The first baddie on this list is one of the most iconic - at least in terms of his costume. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen was once a timid Nazi scientist who worked alongside Herman von Klempt. After a freak lab accident horribly disfigured him, Klempt rebuilt Kroenen from the ground up as a cyborg.
In the first Hellboy movie, Kroenen is much more deadly and creepy than his comic book counterpart; comic Kroenen's still a Nazi scientist, but he's mild-mannered and reserved. Movie Kroenen, on the other hand, is a sadomasochist who's addicted to operating on himself! Despite his kind-scary, kinda-cool appearance, Kroenen's evil deeds and ambitions pale in comparison to everyone else in this article.
9 Herman von Klempt
Kronen's BFF and a once renowned Nazi scientist, Herman von Klempt was terrifying before circumstances turned him into a literal talking head. His cryptic demeanor, unethical experiments, and menacing personality made other Nazis wary of dealing with him in life. Even Rasputin steered clear of von Klempt back in the day!
Though Herman is probably the least physically imposing threat in Hellboy's rogue's gallery, his sheer mad genius more than makes up for his (literal) shortcomings. It also doesn't help that von Klempt has an army of genetically engineered cyborg gorillas at his disposal - just one of these things is strong enough to give Big Red a run for his money!
Nothing gets the imagination racing like the vastness of space. Whenever you stare out all of that dark matter and all of those stars, you can't help but wonder what's out there. Cosmic horror, however, suggests that the mysteries of the cosmos are best left unanswered. Because what if we peer too far into the abyss, and we find something we don't like?
Conversely, what if we find something that utterly and totally hates us? Something like The Ogdru Jahad or any of their 369 children - dubbed the Ogdru Hem! Sadu-Hem is one of the first of these creatures that Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. encounter. Impossibly powerful and incredibly evil, Sadu-Hem committed numerous heinous acts before Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and Hellboy killed it.
Mike Mignola is a big fan of mythological stories from around the world. He was keen on introducing characters like the Baba Yaga and King Arthur into the Hellboy Universe as a way to spice things up. He also liked to have those kinds of characters play major roles in Hellboy's stories - even if they played the role of the villain.
Enter Hecate, the Goddess of Witchcraft. If you were able to deduce that Hecate was a villainous monster based on her title alone, you'd be one hundred and ten percent correct! Hecate not only practices the occult but is madly in love with Hellboy - emphasis on 'madly.' The Goddess of Witchers became a recurring villain in Hellboy's stories, constantly stalking and pursuing Red.
6 The Black Flame
Even though Hellboy's first stories came out in the mid-1990s, heroes and villains have fought against one another since the dawn of time! In the 1930s, a man by the name of Lobster Johnson fought against the forces of evil and the occult. One of Johnson's greatest foes was a menace dubbed the Black Flame.
Johnson defeated the first Flame (a man named Raimund Diestel), but couldn't prevent the mantle from passing to another. Another, far more terrifying, Black Flame rose to prominence decades later - an evil CEO named Landis Pope. Pope used his powers to take control of New York city and summon demons into our world.
Though Sadu-Hem was only active for a relatively short time, it wreaked much havoc and turned a whole town into frog-monsters during its tenure. Do you want to know what makes all of that even scarier? Saud-Hem was one of the weaker members of its family!
When compared to Katha-Hem, Sadu-Hem almost seems cute in comparison. The moment Katha-Hem entered our world, all hell broke loose; anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in the demon's warpath got turned into monsters. Event the combined military might of the US Army couldn't harm Katha-Hem! In the end, Liz had to use an ancient artifact to burn the monster to ash.
4 The Conqueror Worm
Of all the Ogdru-Hem that Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. have encountered, none probably strike more fear into the hearts of Mignola's fans than the Conqueror Worm. Fished out of Dark Space by demon-worshipping Nazis, the Worm possessed the corpse of Ernst Oeming - needing a vessel to unleash its devastation upon the world.
When Herman von Klempt helped the Conqueror Worm land on Earth, the destruction that it wreaked was unbelievable! Cities burned, thousands died, and the end of the world seemed to be just on the horizon. Hellboy, Roger the Homunculus, and Lobster Johnson thankfully intervened - canceling the apocalypse just in the nick of time.
3 The Queen Of Blood
Since we mentioned King Arthur earlier, some of you may wonder where the Lady of the Lake is? For a long time, Hellboy fans wondered the same thing. As more comics came out, we gradually discovered more and more about Hellboy's family tree: his father is the demon Azzael and that his mother is Sarah Hughes - a Wiccan descendant of King Arthur!
Here's where all of the pieces come together: Hellboy rejects his claim to Britain's throne, evoking the wrath of the Queen of Blood. After a bloody confrontation, the Queen of Blood reveals that she's actually Nimue - the Lady of the Lake. She then tears Hellboy's heart from his chest - killing him and kickstarting the end of the series.
We couldn't write an article about Hellboy's scariest villains and not give a shout out to the mad monk himself - Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Based on the real-life adviser to Tsar Nicholas II, Rasputin is a dyed-in-the-wool occultist and mystic who dedicated himself to the Old Gods.
We don't know what's scariest about Rasputin; that his real-life counterpart was just as insane as his comic iteration, that he endured multiple forms of torture and come out unscathed, or his nihilistic view towards human life. Hellboy and B.P.R.D. spent years fighting Rasputin, working overtime to keep his machinations from coming into fruition. With every successive attempt, Ras got closer and closer to kickstarting Armageddon!
1 The Ogdru Jahad
In the grand scheme of things, the Ogdru Jahad are beings that have pulled the strings of all the villains that we've previously discussed. They're the monsters that drove the Queen of Blood mad, as well as the beings that encouraged Herman von Klempt and Rasputin to delve further into the occult.
We all know the deal thanks to the films - Hellboy's Right Hand of Doom is the key to unleashing the Ogdru Jahad upon the world. Should that happen, the events described in the Book of Revelation will come to pass! The scariest thing about The Seven Who Are One is that Hellboy's goodwill is the only thing keeping them at bay. All Big Red needs is a push in the wrong direction and it's all over.