Van Helsing is a 2004 action movie of action movies that stars Hugh Jackman as the eponymous Vampire Hunter. In this incarnation, he works as an agent of the Knights of the Holy Order in the Vatican to hunt down monsters and other abominations. Aiding him is Friar Carl, a slightly irreverent tinkerer and inventor that supplies him with the speciality equipment and comic relief he needs to take down the creatures of the night.Yeah. It's just that kind of movie.Van Helsing and Friar Carl are sent to Transylvania to help the last of the Valerious family, Anna and her brother Velkan, destroy Dracula - because if they don't, several generations of the family will never get to heaven. Once there, Van Helsing finds himself facing down Dracula and his brides, werewolves, and even Frankenstein's creation in the course of his mission - and discovering a few secrets about his own past, with plenty of Universal Horror / Hammer HorrorShout Outs along the way.A reboot that's planned to be released in 2014, is currently in the works, to possibly be written by the writing team behind the Transformers films.
This movie contains examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Claws: Werewolf Gabriel leaves claw-marks on a stone statue during his brawl with Dracula.
Silvia Collocca (Verona) has often been compared to fellow Italian actress Monica Bellucci. It can't be a coincidence that Collocca is playing the same character Bellucci played in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Affably Evil: Dracula is surprisingly pleasant and polite for a bloodsucking hellbeast.
All There in the Manual: The three actresses playing the Brides revealed some nifty extra information about their characters you don't get in the film at all such as Verona being the oldest and Dracula's favourite, Marishka is the middle bride and was a gypsy, and Aleera is the youngest and most jealous. Silvia Colloca said that Verona was "very confident and very wise, never loses her temper [...] she is very dangerous for that reason because she is not very predictable."
Angel Unaware: The title character is implied to be this, due to repeatedly being referred to by Dracula as "Gabriel" and, at one point, the "left hand of God". Van Helsing also early on mentions to Carl that he remembers fighting Romans at Masada in 72 AD. The Novelisation actually downright confirms this: Van Helsing is mentioned as having two large disfiguring scars between his shoulder blades, right where wings would be. The scars would seem to imply they were forcibly torn out.
Anna manages to cut off Frankenstein's monster in mid-rant:
Anna: What do you want? Frankenstein's Monster: ...To exist.
The Monster himself gets one at the start of the story.
Frankenstein's Monster:(to the angry mob)WHY?
Artistic License - Religion: Van Helsing must kill Dracula to prevent the Valerious family from "passing into Purgatory" and never reaching Heaven. Yeah, except that, according to Catholic dogma, passing into Purgatory means eventually ending up in Heaven. The movie states that they would be stuck in Purgatory forever, because of a special deal the original Valerious made.
Art Shift: A prequel was released that showed Van Helsing's encounter with Mr. Hyde that was referred to in the opening scene of the movie, it is also an animated cartoon.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Anna has this. Her idea of a sensible solution when confronted with a horde of vampires is to grab a mace that was mounted on the wall, brandish it, and start to throw herself into the horde. Fortunately, Van Helsing is there to drag her out of harm's way.
A-Team Firing: Van Helsing might want to spend some time at a shooting range before his next assignment.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: The vampires when in monster mode have no nipples and genitalia on their seemingly nude bodies. Justified in that all the creatures that transform have their clothes transform too. The lone exceptions are the werewolves, who retain their pants when transforming, even as they rip off their upper clothing and skin.
Captain Ersatz: This probably fits under a different trope, but this movie is very, veryCastlevania. Namely when Dracula turns into a bat-demon (cue Dance of Illusion).
Captain Obvious: "You're choking me!" Gee, Anna, was the choke hold he had on your neck your first clue?
Captive Date: Dracula takes Anna to his masquerade ball and forces her to dance with him while waiting for Van Helsing to arrive. No ropes used, but it's clear he's using some kind of mind control or muscle control.
Carrying the Antidote: There's a very good reason why Dracula carries the antidote for lycanthropy. He doesn't just annihilate all the werewolves because he needs someone far stronger than a normal human to channel the energies needed in his attempt to bring his horde of baby vampires to life. Before Frankenstein's Monster, he really did need at least one alive. Plus, they make useful servants who have to obey his every command. After their first full moon at any rate.
Christianity Is Catholic: The Knights of the Holy Order supposedly encompass monster-hunters of all religions... but it's housed in the Vatican and run by Catholic priests. You do, however, see Buddhist monks, mullahs, and some other clergymen in the "base".
Coat, Hat, Mask: Van Helsing sports these for his intro shot, but quickly ditches the mask.
Confessional: Van Helsing meets his superior in one of these.
Every Car Is a Pinto: ... including horse-drawn carriages loaded with wooden stakes and explosive charges. That are on fire. Justified as the carriage in question was meant to be a 19th century equivalent to car bomb.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Why else would she be Princess Anna Valerious? Even the vampires call her that. And, you know, the thing about her father being king of the gypsies.
Exposition of Immortality: Van Helsing remembering fighting the Romans in 73 A.D and also Dracula introducing himself as born 1422, murdered 1462. The film's set in 1888.
Fanservice: You've got Hugh Jackman, and shirtless, suffering Velkan for the ladies, and Anna (Kate Beckinsale) & the Brides for the men. And, of course, the Monster Mash premise is probably meant as fanservice of a non-sexual sort.
Happy Harlequin Hat: Friar Carl wears one of these as part of his jester costume for the masquerade ball where he and the title character meet Dracula. He twitches his head to make the bells ring in the graveyard where they stash the Frankenstein monster, out of anxiety, for laughs, or both.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Transylvanian village that has the unfortunate location to be closest to Dracula's castle has a really creepy gravedigger that is eventually killed by Velkan in his werewolf form. Upon dying, he rolls into the grave he was digging.
To be fair though, the novelization of the film points out that while he's not quite as foolish as to believe Dracula is altogether altruistic, he has no idea whatsoever that Dracula is a Vampire. This lack of knowledge comes back to bite him in the ass once the creature is successfully brought to life.
Hot Gypsy Woman: Anna, the Gypsy princess. Marishka was apparently a gypsy too before she was turned.
Howl of Sorrow: Van Helsing does this in his werewolf form after having the cure injected into his body and Carl confirms that Anna is dead. It morphs into a Big "NO!" as he transforms back into a human.
Frankenstein's creature is this. While he's a strong believer that Humans Are the Real Monsters, he does everything he can to make sure Dracula don't get his claws on him in order to save mankind from Dracula's evil. When he gets busted, he allies with the party in order to stop Dracula from finishing his plan.
Lesbian Vampire: The Brides of Dracula display some notable lesbian tendencies, especially Brides Verona and Aleera. Marishka might have shown some too, if she'd lasted longer. Aleera is bisexual and seems very interested in Anna.
Light Is Not Good: All three of Dracula's brides dress in flowing pastel dresses but they turn into batlike harpies to signify just how badass they are.
Carl: Here, take this. [he hands Van Helsing a bag, then begins to fill it] Carl: Rings of garlic... holy water... silver stake... crucifix... [they pass two monks test-firing a Gatling gun] Van Helsing:Why can't I have one of those?
Motivational Kiss: When Van Helsing and Anna split up before the climactic battle, he to face down Dracula using his werewolf power to defeat the vampire and she to retrieve the werewolf cure serum.
Mr. Exposition: Carl. Lampshaded in the scene where he is explaining Dracula's backstory and he gets annoyed when Anna and Van Helsing fill parts of it in.
Mr. Fanservice: Every single male character in this movie except Frankenstein's Monster.
Ms. Fanservice: Like her male counterpart, any female presences, especially Anna and the Brides.
No Ontological Inertia: When Hyde's arm is cut off, it turns into Jekyll's arm. (Helsing has a reputation as a serial killer because so many of the monsters he kills turn into human corpses.) And killing Dracula causes anything created by him to die.
Minor: Dracula and his brides can all turn into harpy-like humanoid bat creature. Major: Dracula's demonic form is only fully revealed for the final battle. It's the same as his brides, only darker and with less-human features.
Van Helsing's werewolf form seems to be much larger and more brutal looking than the previous two werewolves seen in the film. He's also a literal angel who has lost both his wings but seems to be as powerful as a human (or possibly superhuman) can get in this film's universe.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Kate Beckinsale's ambiguously Eastern European accent can't seem to hold up for more than a few minutes at a time. Strangely, with Hugh Jackman's English accent some American pronunciations seep through at times as well. (Strange because Jackman is Australian.)
Our Vampires Are Different: Somewhat — they can shift from monster to human forms and can reproduce. As Van Helsing states, since they're undead their offspring are stillborn. Thus the need for energy filtered through a supernatural source (i.e: werewolves or Frankenstein's Monster) to bring them to life. Dracula himself seems to operate under different rules, as he himself can't be killed via a stake through the heart unlike his brides, because he has no heart. Crosses also burst into flame around him, and he can transform into an even bigger batlike demon. His only weakness is the bite of a werewolf.
Our Werewolves Are Different: When they transform, they rip the skin of their former human selves off as if it were clothes, and can be controlled by a vampire if their willpower isn't strong enough.
Rescue Sex: Friar Carl saves a random townswoman from falling to her doom by making a diving catch. She's very grateful... and quite happy that he's not bound by vows of chastity. We don't see either of them again for some time...
Shout-Out: The tie-in video game alludes to "An ancient clan of vampire hunters known as the Belmonts."
Spiritual Successor: To Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both movies state that Dracula became a vampire in 1462, Dracula turning into a giant humanoid bat first came from that and the brides were given an Adaptation Dye-Job similar to those in Dracula. What's more is that Silvia Collocca has often been compared to Monica Bellucci, fellow Italians who both played Dracula's queen bride. The blonde bride dies first in both films too.
Steampunk: The design of the Frankenstein Monster in particular; but a good deal of equipment seen being used in the movie is very impressive-looking for the time period.
Standard Female Grab Area: Anna is repeatedly grabbed by the Vampire brides by the arm, or held by Dracula effortlessly. In theory it should be that they're so incredibly strong she can't resist, but she clearly isn't even trying to pull free, just whimpering a little.
Stripperiffic: Anna runs around fighting vampires and werewolves wearing a corset, peasant blouse and high-heeled boots. Averted with the brides, whose fancy gowns transform along with them.
This Was His True Form: Why Van Helsing is considered a murderer by the Muggles. When he defeats the monstrous Mr. Hyde, for example, Hyde changes back to the measly Dr. Jekyll as he falls to his doom, and the French authorities don't see this transformation...
Anna and her brother Velkan tend to Leeroy Jenkins when they attack things, such as werewolves, despite knowing that if they die their entire family won't be allowed into Heaven. Presumably the Knights realized this, which is why they sent Van Helsing in the first place.
The Villagers don't fare much better. They give a flimsy justification that the vampires only attack because they're feeding (taking "only" one or two people a month), and if they were to fight back and kill the vampires, the remaining ones would only come back and slaughter them in revenge. Still, you'd think they'd try to deter them... it'd be very easy to do if they were all armed with bows instead of hatchets and pitchforks. Or more logically, if they resettled their village far away from Frankenstein's castle!
Torso with a View: Mr. Hyde shows off a hole clean through his right arm while talking about his and Van Helsing's previous skirmish in London.
Transformation Sequence: Several; the vampires shapeshift from human to bat-creature forms, while other humans become werewolves.
Vampire Monarch: All the vampires and werewolves answer to Dracula, who presumably was the first vampire.
Vampire Refugee: Van Helsing gets turned into a werewolf, and is prophesied to kill Dracula in this form. Meanwhile, Carl and Anna race to get the antidote to him before the last stroke of midnight, at which time he'll be a permanent werewolf.
Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Played with. Van Helsing can see that Frankenstein's monster is not really evil. The Knights of the Holy Order haven't met him, however, so they don't and have sent orders for Van Helsing to kill him as soon as possible because he isn't human and because destroying him would cut off Dracula's plot.
Weird Moon: The moon is full for weeks in Transylvania and apparently waxes and wanes like crazy. After Van Helsing is bitten, Carl tells him that the next full moon is in three days. Repeat: there was a werewolf attack the night prior (meaning that there must have been the full moon), and three days later, it would be full again. There is a travel montage to get somewhere, but not one to get back. While the moon is still weird, this sort of gives an excuse for the "three days later" bit.