If there's one thing you can count on Guillermo del Toro for, it's bringing gothically beautiful creatures into the world of cinema. With The Shape of Water on the way this fall, we'll most assuredly see another one of his patented beasties grace the screen once more. But perhaps one of the most memorable monsters of del Toro's past is the Angel of Death, which featured prominently in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and its genesis was an act of divine inspiration. The famed director laid out its creation as follows:
For example, the Angel of Death in Hellboy 2, which has the eyes and the wings, that was created originally for a project in 1994. And it was inspired by a Mexican painting in a church, where arch angels have eyes in every feather. I took a note. I was in a church and I drew it in my notebook and it stayed there. It was dormant until I was able to afford the mechanical eyes and the wings, and all that stuff. I thought, 'That would be a great Angel of Death.'
As you can see in the quote above, del Toro took inspiration from both his macabre sensibilities, as well as a heaping dose of Hispanic religious imagery. Both of those sources are heavy inspirations on Guillermo del Toro's entire filmography, but its inspiration has most intensely been felt in the Hellboy series. With various creatures existing in the various realms of the B.P.R.D's jurisdiction, there's a lot of room for these wild entities to roam free. But as del Toro previously stated, the project that the Angel of Death was originally meant for was in a different universe altogether.
That project that Guillermo del Toro was talking about in his remarks at the Annecy festival, recorded by Au Cafe Des Loisirs, was a film by the name of Mephisto's Bridge. Taking inspiration from the novel Spanky by Christopher Fowler, the film was about a man who struck a deal with the Devil to swap his mortal soul out for that of the Horned One. But as far as history went, that film never worked out, which left this creature to eventually be re-purposed for Hellboy II: The Golden Army. You can watch the finished product, courtesy of the clip from the sequel, below.
Looking back through the bestiary of Guillermo del Toro's mind, it only makes us more excited to see The Shape of Water, which will be in theaters on December 8. In the meantime, you can revisit Hellboy II: The Golden Army on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD; and if you'd like to learn more about the creatures of Guillermo del Toro, we recommend his book, Cabinet of Curiosities, which is available at all fine booksellers.