Van Helsing is a 2004 American gothicaction film written and directed by Stephen Sommers. It stars Hugh Jackman as vigilante monster hunter Van Helsing, and Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious. The film is an homage and tribute to the Universal Horror Monster films from the 1930s and '40s (also produced by Universal Studios which were in turn based on novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley), of which Sommers is a fan.
The eponymous character was inspired by the Dutch vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing from Irish author Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Distributed by Universal Pictures, the film includes a number of monsters such as Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and werewolves in a way similar to the multi-monster movies that Universal produced in the 1940s, such as Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula.
Despite mostly negative reviews, the film grossed over $300 million worldwide.
In 1887 Transylvania, Doctor Victor Frankenstein creates a monster with the aid of Count Dracula, who reveals that he plans to use the creature for his own evil plans. Dracula kills the doctor as a mob of villagers storms the castle. His assistant Igor escapes, but the villagers chase the monster to an old windmill and set it ablaze. The villagers are scared off by Dracula and his brides, who witness the monster and the doctor's research apparently destroyed by the fire.
One year later, after killing the elusive Mr. Hyde at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, monster hunter Van Helsing returns to the Vatican in Rome. He learns that his mission to destroy Dracula and his amnesia are penance for unremembered sins that cause nightmares. He is tasked with helping the last of an ancient Romanian bloodline, Velkan and Anna Valerious, who must kill Dracula so that their ancestors may enter Heaven. Carl, a friar, provides Van Helsing with aid and weapons. In Transylvania, Velkan is apparently killed during an attempt to trap and kill the Wolf Man, and Anna is attacked by Dracula's brides shortly after Van Helsing's arrival. He saves her life and kills Marishka, one of the brides, but as the last of her line, Anna becomes more determined to kill Dracula. In order to protect her, Van Helsing knocks her out to prevent her from leaving. She awakens that night and encounters Velkan, who reveals Dracula has a dark secret, but to her horror, he becomes the Wolf Man after having been bitten by the original one earlier and attacks. After she and Van Helsing track him to Frankenstein's castle, they discover that the vampires are attempting to give life to their born-dead children, using Velkan as the source of the power. Van Helsing, dubbed "Gabriel" by Dracula, realizes they had ties in the past. Van Helsing refuses Dracula's offer to return his memory and escapes. The experiment fails, and the vampire children die, but Velkan turns on Anna as he is consumed by his curse. Van Helsing and Anna escape together.
Under the remains of the old windmill, Van Helsing and Anna encounter Frankenstein's monster. Because he is not evil, Van Helsing cannot allow him to be killed, even though he claims to be key to Dracula's experiment. The Wolf Man witnesses the conversation and escapes to inform Dracula. Meanwhile, Carl discovers a painting that comes to life, depicting a werewolf and a vampire battling. The group travels by carriage to Budapest, luring the remaining brides into a trap and killing Verona. The Wolf Man ambushes the real carriage and bites Van Helsing before being killed. Anna is captured and held as a bargaining chip in exchange for Frankenstein's monster. They hide him in a crypt, but he is taken by the count's undead underlings while Van Helsing and Carl rescue Anna. Returning to the Valerious' castle, Carl discovers an inscription and creates a doorway to the castle. After failing to free Frankenstein's monster from his imprisonment, he lets them know of a cure to lycanthropy that Dracula possesses. Carl determines that the bite of the Wolf Man is the only way to kill Dracula. He and Anna take Igor to find the cure while Van Helsing goes to free Frankenstein's monster. Igor escapes while the final bride, Aleera, assaults Anna as Carl tries delivering the cure to Van Helsing. Igor confronts Carl on a bridge, but the confrontation sends Igor falling to his demise. Frankenstein's monster saves Anna and urges her to help Carl and Van Helsing. She kills Aleera and arrives at the castle. As the Wolf Man, Van Helsing and Dracula battle. Dracula tries reasoning with the Wolf Man, but Van Helsing bites Dracula, who dissolves into a skeleton. Anna bursts in, causing her to be attacked and accidentally killed by Van Helsing, but not before she delivers the cure. Van Helsing returns to normal, stricken with grief over what he has done.
At a funeral pyre, Van Helsing witnesses the spirits of Anna and her family ascending into the clouds while Frankenstein's monster rows away on a raft out to sea. Van Helsing and Carl ride off into the sunset.
- Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing, a legendary hunter of monsters.
- Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious, together with her brother are the last descendants of an ancient Romanian family.
- Richard Roxburgh as Count Vladislaus Dracula, the ruler of Transylvania and Lord of the Vampires.
- David Wenham as Carl, a friar of the Holy Order.
- Shuler Hensley as Frankenstein's monster.
- Elena Anaya as Aleera, Dracula's most sadistic concubine.
- Will Kemp as Velkan Valerious, Anna's brother, who is turned into a werewolf.
- Kevin J. O'Connor as Igor, a former servant of Frankenstein's, now working for Dracula.
- Alun Armstrong as Cardinal Jinette, Van Helsing's superior in the Holy Order.
- Silvia Colloca as Verona, Dracula's consort and the leader of the Brides.
- Josie Maran as Marishka, Dracula's youngest concubine.
- Tom Fisher as Top Hat, a Transylvanian grave digger.
- Samuel West as Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
- Stephen H. Fisher as Dr. Jekyll.
- Robbie Coltrane as the voice of Mr. Hyde.
The film's original soundtrack was composed by Alan Silvestri.
Vivendi Universal Games published a Van Helsing video game for PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC and Game Boy Advance. The game follows a similar plot to the movie, has gameplay similar to Devil May Cry and the PS2 and Xbox versions feature the voice talent of many of the actors including Hugh Jackman.
Van Helsing also features in a slot game produced by International Game Technology. The game is available in real world casinos and online, though users in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the US are excluded from playing the online games.
The film opened at #1 in the weekend of May 7–9, 2004. The film grossed US$300,257,475 worldwide of which US$120,177,084 was from the US.
Van Helsing received mostly negative reviews by critics.Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 23% of 213 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads: "A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload."Metacritic rated it 35/100 based on 38 reviews. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle greatly disliked the film, writing: "Writer-director Stephen Sommers (...) throws together plot strains from various horror movies and stories and tries to muscle things along with flash and dazzle. But his film just lies there, weighted down by a complete lack of wit, artfulness and internal logic. ... What Sommers tries to do here is use action as the only means of involving an audience. So story is sacrificed. Character development is nonexistent, and there are no attempts to incite emotion. Instead, Sommers tries to hold an audience for two hours with nothing up his sleeve but colored ribbons, bright sparklers and a kazoo. What he proves is that this is no way to make movies."Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4 stating that "At the outset, we may fear Sommers is simply going for f/x overkill, but by the end, he has somehow succeeded in assembling all his monsters and plot threads into a high-voltage climax. Van Helsing is silly, spectacular and fun."
Sommers expanded the story of Van Helsing in two direct spin-offs:
Reboot and shared universe
See also: Dark Universe (franchise)
In May 2012, Universal Pictures announced that they are rebooting the film with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as a two-year deal to produce a modern reimagining and Tom Cruise to star as the title character and also produce the film.Rupert Sanders is in talks to direct the film. Orci spoken to IGN that he has hinted that both The Mummy and Van Helsing reboots will have a shared universe. On November 11, 2015, Variety reports that Jon Spaihts and Eric Heisserer will write the reboot, but Cruise left the film. However, in 2016, Cruise signed back on to star in Kurtzman's The Mummy, which was released in theaters on June 9, 2017.
- ^ ab"Van Helsing". www.filmcommission.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- ^"Van Helsing (2004)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
- ^ abc"Van Helsing". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-10-12.
- ^IGT Slots Blocked Territories
- ^Wloszczyna, Susan (2004-05-10). "Marketing goes to heroic measures". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-10-15.
- ^Van Helsing Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- ^"Van Helsing". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-10-15.
- ^"CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- ^LaSalle, Mick (May 7, 2004). "'Van Helsing' a monstrosity of a movie". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- ^Ebert, Roger (May 7, 2004). "Van Helsing". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- ^"NOMINATIONS FOR 31ST ANNUAL SATURN AWARDS ANNOUNCED". Film Threat. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
- ^""Spider-man 2" Big Winner at the 31st Annual Saturn Awards". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on 2005-07-25. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
- ^McNary, Dave (2005-01-10). "Spidey pic catches 6 f/x noms from VES". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
- ^"Orci, Kurtzman sign two-year Universal deal". Variety. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- ^"BREAKING: Rupert Sanders Circling Universal's Tom Cruise-Starring VAN HELSING". Twich. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- ^Tilly, Chris (18 October 2013). "Bob Orci Discusses Van Helsing Reboot".
- ^"Forget Franchises: Why 2014 Will Be Hollywood's Year of the 'Shared Universe'".
- ^Kroll, Justin (November 11, 2015). "Universal's 'Van Helsing' Reboot Enlists Scribes Jon Spaihts and Eric Heisserer (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
1 nomination. See more awards »
People who liked this also liked...
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein's research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose.
Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh
Gabriel Van Helsing(TV Series 2016)
After his biological father is killed, an orphan learns he's the last heir to the legendary monster hunter, Abraham Van Helsing, and all hell is after him.
Stars: Gabriel Hazlett, Talathanus Dennis, Steven Pierce
Action | Crime | Thriller
A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it's all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him.
Director: Dominic Sena
Stars: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry
Ultimate Avengers II(Video 2006)
Animation | Action | Adventure
When the Chitauri invaders are sighted in the African kingdom of Wakanda, the Avengers covertly enter the advanced nation to investigate.
Directors: Will Meugniot, Dick Sebast, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Justin Gross, Grey DeLisle, Michael Massee
See full cast »
In this animated prequel to the Van Helsing movie, Van Helsing travels to London to deal with the mischievous Dr. Jekyll.
Plot Keywords:prequel|supernatural hunter|big ben london|london england|queen victoria| See All (15) »
Genres:Animation | Short | Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
Certificate:Not Rated| See all certifications »
Parents Guide:Add content advisory for parents »
Release Date:11 May 2004 (USA) See more »
Also Known As:Van Helsing Animated See more »
Production Co:Universal Cartoon Studios, Universal Home Video, Universal PicturesSee more »
Show more on IMDbPro »
Sound Mix:Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio:1.78 : 1 See full technical specs »
Did You Know?
TriviaHugh Jackman played Wolverine in the X-men and in this he sheaths a metal claw once and Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde are the basis for the Incredible Hulk while Wolverines first appearance was in the Incredible Hulk. See more »
GoofsIn the live-action film, Carl says he is not a field man and that he's never been out of the Abbey. In the prequel, Carl goes with Van Helsing to London with no fuss or argument. See more »
QuotesGabriel Van Helsing: [adjusting the last touches on Carl as he is dressed as a woman to be bait for Mr.Hyde] Could you stop squirming?
Carl: If you had bougth me the proper sized corset I wouldn't have to squirm!
Gabriel Van Helsing: There. A vision of loveliness.
Carl: I told the cardinal when he got your cable, I am not a field man!