In Hellboy (2019), Trevor Bruttenholm doing a horn shave on Hellboy, who is feeling sad about killing his agent Ruiz:

Hellboy: Job didn't kill him, I did. And I buried him 16 feet under the earth, right by the chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, just to make it proper.

Trevor Bruttenholm: He had become unholy, a vampire, a creature of darkness beyond salvation.

Hellboy: A creature of darkness beyond salvation? You mean, we don't all just deserve a little gentle horn shave every now and then?

Why do vampires also deserve a little gentle horn shave?

  • According to Hellboy, because we all do. According to Trevor, they don't.
    – Misha R
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 8:49
  • I've not seen it, but it sounds like Red is suggesting there were other ways to deal with him than killing him (and maybe it's a bit of a "there but for the grace of god go I" moment for him).
    – delinear
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:03
  • 1
    It feels to me like Hellboy's real question is "if you can find a way to accommodate me, why not him too?"
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 16:41
  • Sounds to me like he was being sarcastic. "Oh, he was a creature of darkness beyond salvation? So not at all like me then?" Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


Hellboy is questioning Trevor's assumption that because a creature was born of evil, they must themselves be irredeemably evil. The horn shaving, as discussed elsewhere, represents Hellboy's rejection of his destiny as a harbinger of doom; as such, what Hellboy is suggesting is that Ruiz might not have been beyond redemption. He is also pointing out that he, himself, as a literal demon summoned from Hell, might well have been assumed to be evil on the face of it, when this is clearly not the case. As such, he sort of is poking fun at what he sees as Trevor's hypocrisy. Perhaps there is some guilt involved here, too, considering that he did end up killing Ruiz rather than finding some way of avoiding it.

This also sets the stage for Hellboy's temptation to join Nimue later in the film. She claims that she will allow creatures like Ruiz and Hellboy the chance to be themselves, without being simply dismissed as evil and beyond redemption. Of course, this would come at the expense of having to accept her authority, and her philosophy is not about giving monsters a chance to reform so much as not caring what they do to the world as a whole, but setting the stage for that plot is the purpose of this whole movie introduction.

As a side note, Hellboy seems to be mostly right. While a good number of specific monsters are evil and destructive, and the legions of Hell seem hostile as a general rule, it's worth noting most of that the evil creatures we see are driven by very familiar emotions, rather than simply wanting to wreak havoc. Thus, Nimue is evil, but one of the other witches can be an ally. Indeed, we later see a very similar case to that of Ruiz, albeit with a wereleopard instead of vampirism, which at least heavily implies that Hellboy wasn't so far off the mark. If a good number of monsters shown are violent and destructive - well, so are a lot of the human characters.

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