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Film / Van Helsing

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Van Helsing is a 2004 Supernatural Action Horror-Adventure movie released by Universal Pictures and directed by Stephen Sommers, who did the first two films of The Mummy Trilogy. It stars Hugh Jackman as the eponymous Vampire Hunter, loosely based on the character from Bram Stoker's Dracula. 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 he needs to take down the creatures of the night.

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 due to their family's oath.

Once there, Van Helsing finds himself facing down Dracula and his brides, savage 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 Horror Shout-Outs along the way.

There's also a short animated film, Van Helsing: The London Assignment, which is a prequel to this film.

Van Helsing provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Werewolf Gabriel leaves claw-marks on a stone statue during his brawl with Dracula.
  • Action Girl: Anna wants to be one, right from the get-go. She spends so much time trying to get into fights that at one point Van Helsing actually has to gas her into unconsciousness. Unfortunately, she's still a human fighting supernatural monsters. She's not a complete disappointment, though, given how she performs some impressive feats of agility and acrobatics throughout the film that make up for her comparative weakness.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Kate Beckinsale's character hunts vampires. This was originally what was preventing her from being cast; as she had just done Underworld, Stephen Sommers feared she wouldn't want to do another vampire film. However, her agent convinced him to send her the script, and she immediately signed on.
    • Hugh Jackman plays the role of a grim loner with no memory of who he was, while facing an enemy who knows him and his forgotten past and taunts him for it. He also turns into a werewolf. More superficially he also bares his claws in a very similar way to Wolverine.
    • 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.
    • Kevin J. O'Connor plays another The Renfield character by serving a horror movie villain out of greed. In another Steven Sommers film no less.
  • Adaptational Badass: One of the entire points to making the film was to reinvent the Van Helsing character into a younger, action hero-type. In the book, Abraham van Helsing was an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who spoke comically broken English. He was well built, but getting on in years, and did not perform any notable act of physical skill; he was purely The Smart Guy.
    • Dracula himself as well. He has the majority of powers he had in the original novel, but is also largely immune to all of the original's weaknesses. The only thing that can kill him is a werewolf bite. This was also made a conscious choice regarding the design of his famed ability to turn into a bat, which takes things even further than the 1992 film did. This Dracula's "bat" form is an eight foot tall demon-beast.
    • Dracula's Brides. In this portrayal they're not only directly active in the plot, and serve as second-only to Dracula regarding their threat level but they also have strength and transformation abilities similar to Dracula himself.
  • Adaptational Name Change: The real-world Wallachian nobleman whom Dracula character was based on was Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Tepes or — surpise, surprise — Dracula, son of Vlad Dracul. However, in the movie, Dracula introduces himself as "Vladislaus Dragulia".
    • Actually the historical Vlad III did sign his name that way. Spelling wasn't exactly standardized in that period.
  • Adaptational Origin Connection: Here Dracula funded Victor Frankenstein's experiments for his own puposes.
  • 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."
    • Van Helsing's buzzsaw weapons are actually called 'Tojo blades', but you will only know this if you've played the video game.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Wild Romance" by Kyosuke Himuro.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Van Helsing manages to lop off one of Hyde's arms with a bladed throwing disk.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Oh, look, vampires are weak to werewolves. Looks like Van Helsing has a new way to make Dracula Deader than Dead.
  • 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.
  • Animated Adaptation: The London Assignmentnote , a prequel to the movie.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • 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.
    • Also, a friar isn't a lower degree of monk who hasn't leveled up to taking vows (that's a novice). Monks are members of monastic orders who profess the three vows (poverty, chastity, and obedience) and live in a cloistered ascetic community (like the abbey that Van Helsing says Carl has never left). Friars are members of mendicant orders who profess the three vows and live in the community at large, moving around as necessary to do their work. Carl's right, he's not a monk; but his brown habit and tonsure clearly mark him as a Franciscan friar (Order of Friars Minor), which very definitely means a vow of chastity (though the way he says this to a woman implies he's just taken advantage of her ignorance).
  • Artistic License – Physics: The vanes of the decrepit windmill where the Creature takes Frankenstein's body spin steadily and fairly fast right up until it collapses, despite having only a few square feet of canvas left even before it burns away. This, on a night with little to no wind, judging by how the flames of the mill's destruction burn straight up.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Anna has this trait and it's not helpful. 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.
  • Audible Sharpness: Van Helsing's werewolf claws extend with a Wolverine-like SNIKT.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Van Helsing wields a gas-powered automatic gatling-style crossbow.
  • Backing into Danger: Upon realising there's a werewolf in the large armoury with her, Anna does this in true "horror movie idiot" fashion by walking through the middle of the room (leaving herself open to attack from all sides) while brandishing a pistol (which, being a ranged weapon, gives an even more compelling reason to look ahead and try and spot the monster from as far away as possible). She also commits the other stereotypical horror movie mistake of not looking up, despite knowing that werewolves are capable of a Ceiling Cling.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dracula and Van Helsing have these which shows they are foils for one another.
  • 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.
  • Batman Cold Open: Van Helsing's fight with Mr. Hyde at the start of the film.
  • Bat People:
    • Dracula and his brides have the ability to shapeshift into bat-like humanoids, which they do at several points in the film. Director Stephen Sommers stated in one behind-the-scenes interview that he explicitly wanted the vampires to shapeshift into something other than ordinary bats because "I'm not afraid of bats, but what if my bat had a 15-ft wingspan?".
    • Count Dracula sires a brood of vampire infants, all stillborn and suspended from the vaulted ceiling in their amniotic sacs. Once the Count's Evil Plan succeeds in energizing his offspring with "filtered" lightning, they come to life, and fly on bat-like wings into the nearby town. There, they set upon the townsfolk like a swarm of ten-pound vampire bats.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Any flesh wounds the vampires sustain heal pretty much instantly. Although this is averted when they die and shrivel up.
    • Anna takes a fair share of blows and gets thrown around multiple times throughout the movie but doesn't suffer so much as a scratch... not even after a lycanthropic Van Helsing fatally injures her.
  • Belly Dancer: Marishka certainly dresses like one, though she gets killed before we see much of her characteristics.
  • Between My Legs: The framing of Van Helsing in his first meeting with Anna. And that one moment during the following action scene when he is almost speaking with her special friend. Note that in the bloopers for the latter scene, Hugh Jackman is seen Corpsing and then stage-whispers for someone off-camera to bring him a cigarette.
  • Big Bad: Count Vladislaus Dragulia, AKA Dracula, the vampire Van Helsing has been sent to kill.
  • Big "WHY?!": After Dr. Frankenstein is murdered by Dracula, Frankenstein's monster proceeds to carry the dead body to the top of the windmill and bellows this out to the angry mob down below, questioning their anger at the man who created him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dracula is dead and his plans are foiled, and Frankenstein's monster is free to roam the world. Anna, however, is accidentally killed by Van Helsing in the process of curing his lycanthropy, but with Dracula dead, she and her family are finally allowed to enter Heaven.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Dracula's brides: Marishka (Blonde), Verona (Brunette) and Aleera (Redhead). They get killed in that order as well.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The Brides are Dracula's primary enforcers and are all beautiful.
  • Body Horror: The brides are full of this when they go monster, morphing their faces and unhinging their jaws. One particular scene in the climax had Aleera gets this when the acidic material get thrown in her face. Granted, being a vampire it doesn't kill her, but we see most of it burned before she regenerates.
  • Booked Full of Mooks: Van Helsing and Carl plan to rescue Anna from Dracula as the latter attends a masquerade ball in Budapest. As Dracula dances with the captive Anna, however, he takes her to a big mirror that shows she's the only one with a reflection, meaning everyone else in the room is a vampire.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the village fight, one of the brides grabs a cow while attacking Anna, and tosses the animal through the roof of a house. In the aftermath of the skirmish, Carl notices the (uninjured) cow looking down confusedly from a second-floor balcony.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Anna Valerious can readily kill vampires, Diwergi and even Frankenstein, but she cannot kill her brother Velkan after he's turned into a werewolf and permanently enslaved by Dracula. Even after she accepts that there's no saving Velkan, she still briefly gets upset at Van Helsing for killing the werewolf.
  • 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.
  • Chandelier Swing: The movie is extremely fond of having the heroes swinging from very long ropes and with enough momentum that they should have killed themselves several times.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Light Bomb is introduced early and is useful much later.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
  • 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". As is common in Dracula fiction, little to no reference is made to Orthodox Christianity, the majority faith of Romania.
  • Cigarette Burns: Mr. Hyde puts out his cigar on his tongue before eating the remains.
  • Close on Title
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Van Helsing sports these for his intro shot but quickly ditches the mask.
  • Composite Character:
    • Igor has the role of Fritz from the original Frankenstein movie, but the name (pronunciation, not spelling), accent, posture, and antagonistic role of Ygor from Son of Frankenstein.
    • Frankenstein's Monster retains much of his look from the Universal movies but the eloquent speech patterns and intelligence of the novel.
    • Although Lawrence Talbot is Adapted Out, both Velkan Valerious and Van Helsing take elements of his role.
  • Confessional: Van Helsing meets his superior in one of these.
  • Container Cling: Mr. Hyde traps Van Helsing under a church bell, then hears the sound of his buzzsaw weapons and lifts the bell to find a round hole in the floor. It turns out Van Helsing was actually still hiding in the bell, and slices off one of Hyde's arms.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The final battle — a werewolf vs. Dracula.
  • Costume Porn: All three brides wear very elaborate dresses. Also, the masquerade ball has dozens of extras dressed outlandishly.
  • Crapsack World: Europe is full of monsters that kill with impunity and without detection. There is a holy order to protect them, but due to the fact that most monsters turn human upon death, almost all of them are wanted criminals.
  • Creepy Mortician: The undertaker in the village who greets Van Helsing.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Dracula can melt crosses that he touches.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Werewolf!Van Helsing vs Dracula. The good count spends the majority of the battle begging for his life. Only a brief beatdown at the start, and a fog temporarily de-powering Van Helsing near the end leave some tension on his side.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Averted. The Brides may be cute in their human forms but their vampire forms... not so much.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Van Helsing might be an angel, might be Dracula's protegé, might be Wolverine in an earlier incarnation. Dracula knows him, though. We just never find out how.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Van Helsing, Frankenstein's monster and even Anna dress in dark, gothic colors but are all heroic.
  • Deader than Dead: None of the vampires in the movie are coming back. Not even Dracula.
  • Deadly Disc: Van Helsing uses serrated razor discs both as melee and thrown weapons. Notably, he cuts Mr. Hyde's arm with one, and pins Igor to a wall with another.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Van Helsing and Dracula both get their share of moments.
  • Deal with the Devil: How Dracula became a vampire.
  • Death of a Child: Implied at Dracula's summer home in Budapest, where at least one of the vampires is a little girl. And that's not even getting into Dracula's offspring exploding all over the place, but that probably falls more under What Measure Is a Non-Human?.
  • Decoy Convoy: While transporting Frankenstein's Monster to Rome, Van Helsing's carriage is attacked by Dracula's brides; Van Helsing escapes but the carriage falls into a ravine. One of the brides dives into the ravine and pries the door of the carriage, only to find a bomb lined with silver stakes that promptly blows up and impales her. Riding away from the ravine, Van Helsing spots the carriage that's actually transporting the monster, being driven by Anna.
  • Decoy Getaway: Mr. Hyde traps Van Helsing underneath a church bell. He then hears the sound of Van Helsing's buzzsaw weapons cutting through the floor. He lifts the bell and sees that a hole has been cut in the floor, and it looks like Van Helsing has escaped through it. However, Van Helsing is actually performing a Container Cling at the top of the bell, and slices Hyde's arm off.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The opening scenes, in an homage to old monster movies of the 1930s and 40s.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Aleera is a vicious vampire married to Dracula, who also takes time to creep on Anna before trying to kill her.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Anna was destined to kill Dracula. She fights his brides instead.
  • Destructive Saviour: In his first scene, Van Helsing shatters Notre Dame's Rose Window while fighting Mr. Hyde, and is called out by Cardinal Jinette for his lack of subtlety.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Anna's spirit smiles as she ascends to Heaven.
  • Dies Wide Open: Anna's eyes are still open after she is mauled to death by Van Helsing.
    • The same goes for Mr Hyde's final victim.
  • Digital Bikini: Van Helsing was originally supposed to be fully naked when he discovers he accidentally killed Anna. Test audiences found it too distracting so a CGI loincloth was added to cover him up.
  • Dirty Old Monk: Friar Carl, who isn't a monk.
  • Disater Dodging Cow: During the fight with Dracula's brides, one of them picks up a whole cow and chucks it through a building with a comical "MOO!" When the fight ends, the cow emerges from the wreckage completely unharmed.
  • Disney Villain Death: Igor falls from a great height not to be seen again.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The scene that introduces Friar Carl bears a more than passing resemblance to the inevitable scene in the James Bond film where Bond visits Q to load up on cool toys.
    • Also inverted. The scene where Van Helsing cradles Anna's lifeless body and cries out after killing her accidentally is very reminiscent to X-Men: The Last Stand where Wolverine (also played by Hugh Jackman) clutches Jean Grey's body after she begs him to kill her.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never be the first to stick your hand into a viscous material." And sure enough, he's right.
  • Dracula: He serves as the antagonist of the film.
  • 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 of a car bomb.
  • The Dreaded: It is revealed that Werewolves are this to Dracula because they are the only creatures on earth that can kill him, which comes to play into the climax when Van Helsing becomes one and has Dracula cornered.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Dracula... oh, so very much.
    • Aleera engages in this as well. And it gets her killed. In the words of Anna: "If you're going to kill someone, kill them. Don't stand there talking about it."
  • Evil Redhead: Aleera is the longest lasting of all of Dracula's brides.
  • Exact Words: Van Helsing states that the proposed trade - "the monster for the princess" - must occur somewhere public, with lot's of people, leading Aleera to state the upcoming ball should do nicely. And indeed it is nice for Dracula; barring Anna herself, all the party-goers are vampires.
  • 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.
  • Expy: The Dwergi (Dracula's servants) bear more than a passing resemblance to the Little People of The Saga of Darren Shan.
  • Faceless Goons: Dracula's Dwergi, short demented German dwarves that wear gas masks - and for a good reason. Once Van Helsing smashes one Dwergi's mask against the wall, this individual is shown to have milky white eyes and piranha-like teeth. Not a pretty sight.
  • Family Theme Naming: If you can legitimately consider a Vampire's Harem who made lots of monster babies a family; Dracula and his three vampire brides all have three-syllable names ending with the letter 'a'.
  • Fanservice: You've got Hugh Jackman, and shirtless, suffering Velkan for the ladies, and Anna (Kate Beckinsale) and the Brides for the men. And, of course, the Monster Mash premise is probably meant as fanservice of a non-sexual sort.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: The Holy Order of Knights in Rome sponsored under the Catholic Church are responsible for keeping the world from falling into chaos by exterminating monsters, devils, and supernatural forces. Bonus points with the fact that members of the orders include adherents of many faiths such as mullahs, Buddhist monks, and Jewish rabbis.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: Dracula vs. Crucifix. It's a tie, really. He screams, it melts.
  • Find the Cure: It's rumored that Dracula possesses a cure of lycanthropy, and Anna intends to find it after Velkan is infected, until Velkan becoming a werewolf fully renders it pointless. After Van Helsing is infected with lycanthropy himself, Anna and Carl must find the cure in Dracula's castle and administer it to him before the curse can take him over permanently.
  • Fingore: Van Helsing tells Anna to cut off one of Igor's fingers if he should fail to comply. She clearly has slightly more esoteric targets in mind...
  • Foreshadowing: When Dracula is dancing with Anna, he stops in front of the mirror: as per the myths, he has no reflection...and neither do any of the other hundreds of party-goers in view of the mirror. Sure enough, every last one of them is a vampire too.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: A very steampunk incarnation is an ally of Van Helsing.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Just minutes into the movie, as Dracula talks with Dr. Frankenstein, there's a moment where the camera focuses on Dracula and lightning flashes. For just one or two frames, Dracula's true form is shown in detail almost two hours before the big reveal of what he really looks like at the climax.
  • Funny Background Event: If you're not distracted by Van Helsing scooping up Anna to rescue her from the all-vampire masked ball, you'll see Dracula throw the fire-eater clear across the room, miffed at the guy for (thanks to Carl) accidentally setting him on fire.
  • Fur Against Fang: Apparently the only thing in the known universe that can kill Dracula is a werewolf.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Friar Carl is assigned to Van Helsing as his go-to gadget maker and dispensery.
  • Ghost Butler: Averted - Van Helsing makes a point to knock every single door in Dracula's castle off its hinges to prevent this.
  • The Golden Rule: Subverted, it's another rule that Igor lives by.
    Dracula: Remember, Igor. Do unto others...
    Igor: ...Before they do unto me, master.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Van Helsing used this to escape Frankenstein's castle, as well as offensively to impale Mr. Hyde in the chest.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence:
    • The werewolf transformations.
    • It is inverted early on with Mr. Hyde transforming back to Dr. Jekyll in the opening.
  • Guns Akimbo: Van Helsing pulls both his pistols just as Hyde throws him across the belltower: firing them in unison at the monster.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted during Anna and Velkan Valerious' first fight in the film (against a werewolf); Anna uses a sword, while Velkan uses a revolver loaded with silver bullets. Also, Van Helsing himself has more of a penchant for ranged weapons (except when he's a werewolf) such as his buzz-saw chakrams that he can throw at a distance, his Batman-style grappling hook, his Automatic Crossbow, a blowgun, and traditional firearms.
  • 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.
  • Haunted Castle: Dracula's castle is this big time.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Van Helsing worries that this is what he's turning into. And then, he's bitten by a werewolf causing this to become a Literal Trope. Frankenstein's creation's words to him upon realizing this don't help.
  • Hereditary Curse: The Valerious family is bound by a curse that keeps them from entering into Heaven until Dracula is killed. This is the result of a vow taken by a distant ancestor.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Van Helsing is stated early on to be the most wanted man in Europe, due to his Destructive Saviour tendencies and the fact that many of the creatures he takes out revert to human upon death.
  • Holy Water: Van Helsing dips his automatic crossbow drum into the holy water at a church to make the bolts more effective when firing at vampires.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: What's wrong, Dr. Frankenstein — you actually thought that Dracula had altruistic intentions for your creations? 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.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Once Dracula realises that Van Helsing (a veteran Hunter of Monsters who wants him dead) is transforming into the only creature on earth that can kill him (a werewolf).
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Anna, the Romani princess, who runs around in sexy corsets despite being a fighter. Marishka was apparently of Romani origin too before she was turned.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: Inverted. After Anna stops Van Helsing from shooting her now werewolf brother Velkan, allowing him to escape, Van Helsing shouts, "He's not your brother anymore!" She asks if he knew before or after she stopped him — thinking he would not have shot if he didn't realize it — and he answers that he knew before she stopped him.
  • 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.
  • The Igor: Pretty much required here.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Dracula has absolutely no problem molesting Anna while the audience waits for Van Helsing to make his big damn entrance.
  • Immune to Jump Scares: Mr. Hyde tries to scare Van Helsing by welcoming him with a jump scare from the ceiling. Despite being a ruthless murderer, he praises his pursuer's tranquility and remarks with intrigue he'll be "hard to digest".
  • Incoming Ham: Dracula bursts onto the scene proclaiming SUCCESS!!!!!
  • Indecisive Parody: Okay, you are either an Affectionate Parody, a straight parody, or a Massive Multiplayer Crossover. Pick one.
  • It's Going Down: Unusually, the windmill is toast at the beginning.
  • It's What I Do: The entire reason Igor gives for why he likes torturing things. He even names the trope word for word.
  • Just Between You and Me: Aleera has a big mouth.
  • Kissing Cousins: Dracula offers Ana to become his new bride while he has her in his clutches. She's his descendant, 400 years removed. Of course, it's Dracula, so...
  • Knight in Sour Armor:
    • Van Helsing gives off this attitude early on, complaining about his negative public image and nearly walking out on the Cardinal out of disgust for the Knights of the Holy Order's unwillingness to go public and clear things up.
    • 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.
  • Large Ham:
    • Dracula is contractually required to be like this.
    • Frankenstein's monster is no slouch either.
    • Neither are the vampire brides.
    • Velkan hams it up the best he can in the few scenes where he's human.
  • Last of Her Kind: After Velkan is lost while hunting werewolves, Anna is the last of the Valerious. Verona even states this word-for-word. She eventually dies by the end of the film, too, rendering the family extinct.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: What Dracula wants.
    Dracula: What I want is life, Gabriel. The continuation of my kind. And perhaps, the return of my ring. *holds up missing ring finger*
    Van Helsing: *stares at the ring on his own finger for a second before shrugging*
  • Last-Second Villain Recovery: Early in the film, Van Helsing dukes it out with Mr Hyde at Notre Dame Cathedral and appears to achieve a victory by shooting his opponent through the chest with his Grappling-Hook Pistol. With Van Helsing down at street level and the target up on the roof, it looks as if Hyde is going to be dragged to his death, and he appears to be teetering dangerously on the edge of the tower as the monster hunter reels him in... only for Hyde to grab the cable and remark "my turn!" Suddenly, Van Helsing finds himself wrenched into the air as his opponent yanks the grappling hook across the rooftops, and the only thing that saves his life is the fact that Hyde fails to look where he's going over the course of this tug-of-war, tripping over the tower railing and plunging to his death.
  • Lecherous Licking: A Lesbian Vampire licks Anna's face with her very long tongue.
  • 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.
  • List of Transgressions: Van Helsing gives one to Mr. Hyde before their skirmish, though Hyde has been keeping track himself.
    Van Helsing: Dr. Jekyll, you are wanted by the Knights of the Holy Order-
    Mr. Hyde: It's Mr. Hyde, now!
    Van Helsing: -for the murder of twelve men, six women, four chil-
    Mr. Hyde: Four children, three dogs, and a rather nasty massacre of poultry!
  • Logo Joke: The Universal logo is black and white, and in a Match Cut becomes a torch.
  • Lover, Not a Fighter: Friar Carl, who justifies his Rescue Nookie with a random townswoman because he's not a monk and therefore not bound by any vows of celibacy.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted. Carl reveals that Dracula was actually the son of Anna's ancestor, only for Anna to remark that everyone knows that.
  • Made of Explodium: To be fair, the carriage was rigged to go boom.
  • Made of Iron: Van Helsing and Anna. Comes in handy when you're being thrown through buildings, but it makes little sense for Anna since she's by all standards a normal human while Van Helsing is implied to be a literal angel who has lost both his wings but seems to be as powerful as a human (or possibly superhuman).
  • Magic Countdown: That clock is striking twelve for at least three minutes...
  • Magic Pants: Standard issue on all werewolves. (In the DVD commentary they note that originally Hugh Jackman was naked but test audiences found it too distracting so they added CGI pants.)
  • Man on Fire:
    • This happens to Dracula three times.
    • The werewolf once, once to SIX dwergersnote , and once to Anna.
    • This trope was abused to the point where it started Necro Critic's famous Burning Man Count running gag.
  • Masquerade Ball: Dracula holds Anna captive at a very large and elaborate one.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, werewolves, Mr. Hyde, Van Helsing all appear in this film.
  • Missing Reflection: The mirrors lining the ballroom show Anna's reflection but not Dracula's or the other couple of hundred vampires in the room. Those paying close attention can see this Oh, Crap! moment coming.
  • Modular Franchise: This movie tried to ride on the success of Sommers' remake of The Mummy.
  • Monster Mash: Vampires vs. werewolf and hunter and Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Monumental Damage: The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral suffers quite a bit from Van Helsing's confrontation with Jekyll/Hyde. Most notably, the rose window gets smashed.
  • More Dakka:
    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.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Named by the Adaptation: The three brides have no names in Dracula. Here they are named Aleera, Verona, and Marishka.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Anna Valerious's standing is defined primarily by that of her father and brothers.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: An Angel Werewolf Vampire-Hunter in a Badass Longcoat whose sidekick is a Sexually Active Swearing Friar Who Designs Turn-of-the-Century Anti-Vampire Hand Grenades. Booyah.
  • No Indoor Voice: FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER!!!
  • 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.
  • Ocean Awe: Raised her whole life in the mountain-barricaded Transylvania, Anna longs to see the sea, saying that it must have been very beautiful. She never manages to see it while alive. However, Van Helsing decides to bury her near one.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Anna Valerious manages to look sexy and still fight in a tight corset.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Vampires are fond of this. Dracula does it while talking to Victor Frankenstein in the prologue—surprising Victor enough that he legitimately does a double-take back to where Dracula was before when he suddenly appears in front of him—and Aleera too while cornering Anna.
  • Oh, Crap!: Many examples, but the most standout one is at the end when Dracula realises that Werewolf Van Helsing isn't Obeying him as only a werewolf can kill Dracula.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Dracula and his brides can all turn into harpy-like humanoid bat creature. 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Anna notes to Van Helsing that Dracula's Brides attacked her village in daylight, which is something they've never done before. Because Dracula is desperate to finish off her family line before they can discover his weakness.
  • 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, the Australian Hugh Jackman's English accent has some American pronunciations seep through at times as well, and his native Australian surfaces at least once in the early "Q branch" scene when he pronounces Dracula's name in it.
  • 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 bat-like 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.
    • Might be considered a case of Shown Their Work, as old lore about werewolves states that they kept their fur on the inside of their skin.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Anna Valerious just can't keep up with Van Helsing and is constantly in over her head against vampires and werewolves.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Anna at the Masquerade Ball. Deleted scenes show Aleera gets one too.
  • Pivotal Wake-up: Dracula can enter and exit his costume on a hinge. He can effectively walk up wall like this, too.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Anna fails to inform Van Helsing of Dracula's immunity to various traditional anti-vampire weapons before they go into the castle, making the arsenal he's carrying useless.
  • Prehensile Tail: Dracula's babies have them.
  • Protagonist Title: Van Helsing is the name of the movie and the main character.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Dracula to Dr. Frankenstein:
    Dracula: Now that it is, as you yourself have said... A triumph. Of science. OVER GOD!!!!!...
  • Pull Yourself Down the Spear: In the distant prologue, Dr. Victor impales Dracula with a sword, but Dracula just pulls himself down the sword to get closer to Victor and bite him.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: The priest/bishop at the beginning states that if Dracula isn't vanquished by Anna Valerious, her whole family will stay in Purgatory forever.
  • Rain of Arrows: Van Helsing is capable of this with this Gatling crossbow.
  • Rasputinian Death: Dracula has been on the receiving end of one of these for over four centuries, Anna even references the namesake inadvertently when discussing how her family's tried and failed to end the vampire king over their family's long, convoluted history.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
  • Reluctant Monster: Frankenstein's monster just wants to be left alone and live.
  • 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...
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead: Played With in Dracula's case: his vampire brides are able to give birth, but the children are dead on arrival and need to be brought to life using electricity run through Frankenstein's Monster.
  • A Rotten Time to Revert: Late in the film, Van Helsing is bitten by a werewolf and eventually realizes that his new form might be the only thing that can kill Dracula - if he can do so before midnight of his first full moon, after which he'll be under Dracula's control. During the final battle, Van Helsing has the upper hand over the vampire's gigantic bat form... right up until a cloud covers the moon just as Van Helsing is about to land the final blow, causing him to revert to human form. Consequently, he's forced to make a hasty exit before Dracula can recover and spends the rest of the battle on the backfoot as his opponent advances on him.
  • Royal "We": The young Queen Victoria uses this in the animated prequel.
  • Rule of Cool: The plot seems to run entirely on it.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Van Helsing is this as a hunter. He notes several aspects of Frankenstein's Monster just from a set of footprints. He can even tell that he has copper teeth but that's because he saw the Monster hiding in the shadows right behind Anna.
  • Scenery Porn: Evil, foreboding CGI castles are pretty. Hell, the whole setting is pretty well shot. If nothing else, the filmmakers get the spooky feeling right.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Whatever Van Helsing is, he has no respect for any rules except his own.
    Van Helsing: The laws of men mean little to me.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Dracula was given wings by the devil to circumvent this.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: In the prologue, right after Dr. Frankenstein tries and fails to kill Dracula, the scene changes to Igor watching as a shadow of the vampire killing the scientist is shown.
  • Shirtless Scene: It's an action movie starring Hugh Jackman, 'nuff said.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Ballroom scene owns dibs to The Fearless Vampire Killers.
    • Anna paraphrases a line from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, giving a villain a reminder of the importance of not monologuing.
    • The film is basically Castlevania: The Movie. Van Helsing himself feels like a Captain Ersatz of various Belmonts (with some Cornell from Castlevania 64 as he transforms into a werewolf), the Valerious line of monster hunters could very well be named Belmont, there's a boss fight with a werewolf and a more challenging one with some female vampires, there are some platform sections with falling bridges and chain swinging, the castle design is similar, and as is already mentioned, Dracula has a bat-like second form. The tie-in video game also alludes to "An ancient clan of vampire hunters known as the Belmonts."
    • Van Helsing's outfit is reminiscent of Vampire Hunter D and Solomon Kane.
    • Mr. Hyde's depiction as an Hulk-sized brute is taken from the comic series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which got a movie version a year before this. In the original novel, Mr. Hyde was smaller than Dr. Jekyll (explained in the comic).
    • Near the end of the movie, Aleera's lower jaw splits open in a manner very reminiscent of the Reapers from Blade II.
  • Shovel Strike: Top Hat (the gravedigger) attempts to attack Van Helsing with his shovel as he has his back turned on him. Van Helsing catches the shovel, Top Hat gives a half-hearted apology and is then killed by a werewolf.
  • Sky Face: At the end, Anna's face appears in the sky, along with her brother's and hints of other people (presumably their ancestors, those "nine generations of the Valerious" the cardinal mentioned early in the film). This is a visual cue that the Valerious family souls have all been saved from Purgatory.
  • Stab the Scorpion: When Van Helsing arrives in the village and tries to tell Anna he has come to help her, she asks him to prove it. He responds by suddenly points his crossbow at her. As she ducks, he pulls the trigger and fires at the incoming vampire brides.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Anna is repeatedly grabbed by the Vampire brides by the arm, or held by Dracula effortlessly and doesn't try to fight back because they're far stronger than any human and resisting would be pointless.
  • Starter Villain: Mr. Hyde is the first monster Van Helsing faces onscreen, giving the viewers an idea of how he operates and the mishaps that tend to occur once he does defeat evil.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Mr. Hyde is a big, muscular brute compared to Dr. Jekyll.
  • Talk to the Fist: How Anna gets vampires to shut the hell up already.
    Anna: If you're going to kill someone, kill them — don't stand there talking about it!
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Constantly taunting your helpless enemies leaves them an opening to attack you. Just ask Aleera.
  • This Cannot Be!: Dracula says this as Van Helsing changes into a werewolf.
  • This Was His True Form: This is 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...
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Dracula's brides - Verona is the Wife (she appears as the leader and her actress confirms that she is the Queen Bride). Marishka is the Child - we don't see too much of her but she is very playful and not as bright as the other two. Aleera is the Seductress - she has the most Les Yay with Anna.
  • Tin Man: Dracula is a villainous version of this.
  • Together in Death: After burning Anna's body Van Helsing sees a vision of her spirit joining her father and brother in Heaven now that the curse on the family is broken.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • 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!
    • Aleera constantly keeps showing off her power and playing with Anna rather then killing her outright. By the time she finally decides to, Carl throws Anna a stake who wastes no time in driving it into her heart while citing how dumb Aleera was for wasting her opportunities.
    Anna: If you're going to kill someone, kill them! Don't stand there talking about it.
    • Likewise, Aleera's sister Marishka wastes her time toying with Van Helsing, giving him enough time to dip his crossbow into some conveniently placed holy water and take her out.
    • Van Helsing has transformed into a werewolf, and is literally in the midst of crushing Dracula's neck when a cloud passes in front of the moon, undoing the werewolf transformation and rendering Van Helsing unable to harm Dracula. Does Dracula sieze this opportunity to kill the only being capable of killing him, or even simply fly away and escape? No: instead he stands around monologuing until the cloud has drifted past, resulting in Van Helsing transforming again and tearing Dracula's throat out in a single bite.
  • 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.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In the case of the movie poster. The movie takes great pains to only hint at what Dracula looks like in his One-Winged Angel form until the end fight, but it is right there, in the top right corner of the poster.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: Prior to the climax, Dracula's infrequent transformations into a giant bat-creature are seen only in shadow, with the creature itself only being glimpsed as a silhouette or from a distance. It's not until the final battle that he goes full-blown One-Winged Angel in full view of the camera.
  • Transformation Sequence: Several; the vampires shapeshift from human to bat-creature forms, while other humans become werewolves.
  • Truer to the Text: The character of Frankenstein's Monster is surprisingly close to the original novel rather than the Universal or Hammer Horror versions; he's highly intelligent, eloquent and spiritual.
    • Dr. Frankenstein has his orginal name of Victor instead of Henry.
  • Überwald: The film's setting, and a cold one at that.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Dr. Victor Frankenstein is this to Dracula.
  • Vampire Dance: The dance hall where Drac is holding a fancy dress party is lined with mirrors, making it obvious to Anna that she's basically the only one there with a pulse.
  • Vampire Hunter: Well, Van Helsing, who else?
  • Vampire Monarch: All the vampires and werewolves answer to Dracula, who presumably was the first vampire. Van Helsing manages to subvert this, however.
  • 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.
  • Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle: Van Helsing is in the process of becoming a werewolf when Dracula kidnaps his love interest and tries to seduce her.
  • 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.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: The vampire brides manage to fly down faster than a horse carriage falling down a chasm.
  • Vein-o-Vision: As Aleera has Anna at her mercy, we briefly see her from Aleera's point of view, which shows her as a walking bunch of veins.
  • Viking Funeral: Anna's pyre.
  • Visual Pun: A woman, alone at night, needs some sort of defense to protect herself. What does she grab? Mace. Well, a mace, but you get the idea.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the climax, there's Dracula asking Van Helsing "Did I mention that it was you who murdered me?" Making Helsing the one responsible for partially kickstarting the curse which the Valerious family has been fighting for generations.
    • Subverted with:
      Carl: Dracula was actually the son of your ancestor, the son of Valerious the Elder.
      Anna: Everybody knows that.
  • Wham Shot: At the masked ball, Dracula dances with Anna amidst a huge crowd of Budapest party-goers. He lowers her into a dip in front of a full-length mirror, which reveals that Dracula casts no reflection... and aside from Anna, neither does anyone else. The audience's Oh, Crap! is mirrored by Anna in-universe.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Van Helsing must be cured by the last strike of midnight — fortunately, in Transylvania the clocks can take ten minutes to strike midnight. Maybe that has something to do with the moon. A particularly noteworthy example, as Dracula can only be killed after the first stroke of midnight.
  • Where's My Gun?: Prince Velcan loses his pistol early in his attempt to kill the werewolf Dracula unleashed off screen to hunt him and his sister down. When his trap is sprung, and the villagers start shooting the captured werewolf, he begins to scream at them to find his gun. Justified as his gun is loaded with Silver Bullets, and is therefore, the only thing that can kill a werewolf. He eventually does find it, and manages to kill the werewolf in question, however he gets knocked off a cliff for his efforts, and later becomes one.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Dracula is mopey early on about having eternal life.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Aleera keeps playing with Anna in the climax. Anna calls her out on her stupidity... after she stakes her, of course.
  • The Worf Effect: Anna by Aleera, repeatedly throughout the movie. She gets even.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Discussed when Victor Frankenstein discovers the extent of Dracula's evil, then played straight soon after when Dracula rips out his throat.
    Victor: Dear God! I would kill myself before helping with such an endeavor!
    Dracula: Feel free. I don't actually need you anymore, Victor.