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Wednesday July 17th 2024

Hellboy | 2004

Hellboy filming location: National Monument, Vítkov Hill, Prague
Hellboy film location: the ‘Squeaky Clean Waste Management Plant’ in ‘New Jersey’: National Monument, Vítkov Hill, Prague

Guillermo del Toro’s film of Mike Mignola’s comic book is clearly a labour of love, and del Toro regular Ron Perlman was born to play the otherworldly red curmudgeon.

Set in the USA and Russia, the film was made entirely in the Czech Republic, mainly around Prague.

The forbidding ‘Squeaky Clean Waste Management Plant’ in ‘Newark, New Jersey’, which houses the HQ of the ‘Bureau For Paranormal Research And Defense’, is the rear of the National Monument, U Památníku 1900, atop Vitkov Hill, northeast of Staré Mesto (Old Town).

The massive building, built in the late Twenties and early Thirties in honour of Czechoslovak legionaries, became the burial place for Communist dignitaries in the Fifties. It was acquired by the National Museum in 2000 and, after restoration, was opened to the public in 2009. The Memorial contains the Ceremonial Hall, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Klement Gottwald Mausoleum (though the one-time President is no longer on show) and exhibition halls. The frontage is much more grandiose, boasting a huge equestrian statue.

The interior of the Monument (which you can visit) also provides the entrance hall in which newbie John Myers (Rupert Evans) arrives, and was later used on-screen as the site of the ‘Miami Bodyworlds’ exhibition in 2006 Bond reboot, Casino Royale.

Hellboy film location: Ministry of Transport, Prague
Hellboy film location: the ‘code red’ call-out to the ‘Machen Library’: Ministry of Transport, Nábrezí Ludvíka Svobody, Nové Mësto, Prague

Coincidentally, the building seen as the exterior of the ‘Bodyworlds’ exhibition in Casino Royale was also used in Hellboy.

The Ministry of Transport (Ministerstvo Dopravy Ceské Republiky), Nábrezí Ludvíka Svobody 1222 Praha 1, facing the River Vltava in Nové Mësto, became the ‘Machen Library’ to which Hellboy, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and Myers are dispatched in a garbage truck after the 'Code red' alert, and encounter Sammael.

The name of the library is a reference to Welsh fantasy writer Arthur Machen, a great influence on the legendary author HP Lovecraft who, in turn, inspired Mike Mignola.

Although parts were filmed in the studio, the ‘Russian’ cemetery, where a grumpy corpse (voiced by del Toro himself) is reanimated to help find the mausoleum of Rasputin, is Olšany Cemetery (Olšanské hřbitovy), Vinohradská 153 in Žižkov. The largest graveyard in Prague (it held as many as two million burials), famed for its many remarkable art nouveau monuments, is also featured in From Hell, Van Helsing and Joel Schumacher’s 2002 Bad Company.

There are several entrances to the cemetery, on Vinohradská, east of Flora metro station, and also beside the chapel on Olšanská. The oldest gravestones can be found in the northwestern corner, near the 17th-century Chapel of St Roch.