Van Helsing

Essay by Drain_Bramaged87High School, 12th grade May 2004

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Van Helsing, a rather strange character. Originally, in Dracula by Bram Stoker, he was just a slightly bonkers ginger Dutch guy into cutting off chicks' heads and stuffing their mouths with garlic. A hypnotist evangelist with a pocket full of Communion wafers. But good old Hammer Horror cheerfully ignored a lot of this as Peter Cushing took on the man.

The character was distorted still further by Cosgrove House when they produced their incontestably brilliant series Duckula. Although still vaguely Dutch (or at least Central European), Von 'Goosewing' was a feathered Sherlock Holmes fetishist with a faintly psychotic obsession with staking the David Jason-voiced vegetarian vampire hero.

It says a lot that Stephen Sommers's take on Helsing owes significantly more to Duckula than it does to Bram Stoker.

The story in a nutshell is simple enough. Van Helsing stalks around killing naughty creatures while wearing a big hat. Dracula has some diabolical plan which is basically a thin excuse to shoehorn werewolves, vampires and Frankenstein's monster into the same film.

A high-profile cast both helps and hinders the film. Kate Beckinsale flounces and pouts her way around in tight trousers, and occasionally kicks off with her sword. I mean, OK, yum, but the accent... Dracula is not the only one to have struck a deal with the Devil, Beckinsale has consistently chased the big-budget high-profile roles in recent years (Pearl Harbour, Underworld) and is fast squandering the immense respect she earned in earlier roles (Much Ado About Nothing, Cold Comfort Farm).

David Wenham, fresh from playing the amusingly useless Faramir in a certain trilogy, gets himself a haircut to play a comedy sidekick. A randy monk, no less. His comic skills are more than adequate, and he only occasionally grates on the nerves with Frank Spenceresque bumblings.

Jackman himself...