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Film / Van Helsinki

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"Eat stake, motherfucker!"

"Shoot First. Shoot again later."

Van Helsinki is an amateur horedy (comedy/horror) film created, written, directed and partially filmed by Matthew Edwards. An odd blend of semi-surrealism and plain student-film styles, Van Helsinki tells the story of the eponymous character, Van Helsinki, a hard-bitten ex-cop who is hunting his arch-nemesis, the Vampire named Geoff Vampire. Along for the ride are Fay Løren, a beautiful girl with a mysterious past, and Svetlana, Man, Jim and Woman, civilians caught up in the madness. Backed up by his ex-collegues Inspector Someone-Who-Is-Not-David-Bowie and Professor Ford, Van uses all his skill and craziness to deal with Geoff.

Van Helsinki was screened in Penrith Cinema on Friday 13th September 2013, and will be available on DVD sometime during 2014...perhaps.

Also see the Van Helsinki character sheet, the IMDb listing and the official website.

Van Helsinki provides examples of:

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Van just can't ask Professor Ford to go anywhere with him. In the original draft (and a deleted scene) this is subverted when, after Geoff is dead, Ford asks to go for a drink with Van, and he accepts.
  • Affably Evil: Geoff, in spadefuls.
  • Alien Among Us: And he wants to get back to Stevenage.
  • Anti-Hero: Van Helsinki is probably Unscrupulous.
  • Arch-Enemy: Geoff to Van and Fay.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Everybody, but especially the Inspector, who both stares down the end of his gun barrel and gestures to himself while holding the gun. Justified by Van Helsinki, as he's not exactly sane to start with.
  • A-Team Firing: Man and Jim can't hit Fay, even when she is about a metre away from them with no cover.
  • Atonement Detective: Van can be seen this way. Even more if you read some of the backstory in the script about the Loren Case.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted by Van Helsinki. While we never see him reload, he doesn't ever use more bullets than his magazine would hold, and he even runs dry when shooting at Geoff. Played straight by everyone else, especially Man and Jim.
  • Camp Gay: Geoff, at times, especially when he calls Van "darling" in one scene. Noticed by those involved in the film, as two separately christened the character "The Campire".
  • Cartridges in Flight: Van and Fay's duel. Made even more bizarre when you realize the cartridges were the same size and model, yet the two guns which fired them were completely different.
  • The City Narrows: Where Van seems to live, looking at the feel of his room.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Van brings eight guns and presumably at least two stakes with him. And this is before he realizes it's Geoff.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Van Helsinki, on the floor during the final battle. Somewhat made less heroic because Geoff is stamping on his face with a slipper at the time.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The fight between Van and Geoff seems to start this way, but it is ultimately averted when Van has his Heroic Second Wind and kills Geoff.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Van Helsinki had his when Geoff won the cuddly duck at the fete.
  • Da Chief: Inspector Someone-Who-is-Not-David-Bowie, especially in the original script.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Fay Loren. Possibly Van Helsinki as well.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Fay and Woman. Averted with Svetlana. She fights Woman and Fay, but also most of the male cast too.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Van Helsinki to Geoff.He kills the Vampire because he believes that Geoff cheated at a fete to win a cuddly duck.
  • Fanservice: Fay, arguably. Certainly for the cast. Also possibly Svetlana at times.
  • Femme Fatale: Played with. Ford says Fay might be "a mysterious girl who may be help, or merely just another femme fatale". In reality, she is nothing like a femme fatale, and not all that much help either.
  • Finishing Move: Van does one on Geoff, and arguably on Fay, with his headshot.
  • Finishing Stomp: Geoff tries it on Van. It doesn't go so well.
  • Firing One-Handed: Done by Van and Fay. Justifed by Man and Jim, as they have likely never handled guns before.
  • First-Name Basis: Everybody else calls him "Van Helsinki". Professor Ford gets to call him "Van".
  • Freudian Excuse: Fay's parents were killed by Geoff and Van when she was a child.
  • Gangsta Style: Van Helsinki, when he shoots at Geoff while lying on his back after Geoff has knocked him over.
  • Good is Not Nice: Both Van and Fay commit morally dubious acts, and both, especially Van, seem anti-social and messed up.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Geoff's motives for his scheming are never fully explored, Van Helsinki is at best a vicious Anti-Hero. The only truly "good" characters are probably Man, Woman and Jim.
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Van and Fay, though only Fay actually fires either while dual wielding.
  • Haunted House: Semi-averted, it is an ordinary house which happens to be prone to weird happenings.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Van Helsinki in the fight against Geoff Vampire.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Van is implied to be one of these following the "shitstorm" of the Loren Case.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Van Helsinki, probably.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Geoff to Fay. "Bangarang motherfucker" indeed.
  • Hidden Depths: Svetlana. Shapes up to be the beautiful, fragile damsel in distress in the basement. Then she gets hold of the swords...
  • Hunter of Monsters: Van Helsinki, seemingly for supernatural crimes.
  • I Call It "Vera": Man's baseball bat, called "Franco", and Van's shotgun "Norty Nigel". The cast and crew also named every one of the weapons they used, but their names are never shown on screen.
  • Idiot Ball: A lot of characters. Especially Geoff, whose entire plan falls apart solely because he left the pantry door where he had Svetlana imprisoned unlocked.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Geoff has shades of this, he calls Fay "my little passion fruit", to Van Helsinki's bewilderment.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Justifed by Man and Jim, as neither have ever probably fired a gun before. When they try to gun down Fay at the top of the stairs, they fire about 10-20 shots, but not only do they not hit Fay, they do not damage anything around her either.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The gunfight between Van and Fay sees them knock each other's bullets out of the air. Fay also manages to fire both her guns away from her and scores a hit despite not looking.
  • Insistent Terminology: Van calling Ford "Professor Ford" despite her denying being a professor at all. It's about the most romantic he gets.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Jim and Man during the gunfight with Fay. Averted with Fay, as Van shoots her twice, then carefully aims another shot at her head to make sure.
  • It's Personal: For Fay. She had her parents killed by Geoff. Also for Van. Do not take the duck he wanted.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Geoff does this to Van, a lot. Van returns the favour with a stake.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Van and Fay before they raid the house.
  • Made of Iron: Van and Geoff both count, as do all of the mind-controlled "zombies".
  • Magic Countdown: Geoff's timer to send him to Stevenage.
  • Mexican Standoff: Van and Fay, during their first meeting.
  • Mind-Control Device: Geoff's machine, as well as being some sort of teleporter.
  • More Dakka: Van Helsinki thrives on this trope. Man and Jim also fulfil it when they gain AK-47's in a futile attempt to kill Fay.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Loren Case, for Van Helsinki.
  • Mysterious Past: Van Helsinki ,for those who haven't read some of the early script drafts.
  • Nominal Hero: Van is either this or an Unscrupulous Hero, depending on character interpretation.
  • No Name Given:
    • The Creepy Man, whom the script just calls "Creepy Man".
    • Mr. Loren and the Operators in the original script drafts.
    • Also "Professor Ford", who has no first name revealed. One of the fanfictions claims it's Jenny.
  • Occult Detective: Van, all over. He even says that 'I wouldn't be here if it were something so simple'.
  • Once is Not Enough: Van shoots Fay twice, then once again in the head to make sure.
  • Only Sane Woman: Arguably Professor Ford.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're actually aliens from Stevenage with a weakness to stakes but none to daylight.
  • Overly Long Name: Inspector Someone-Who-Is-Not-David-Bowie.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Van Helsinki stores his M1911 in the back of his trousers while he sleeps.
  • Pillow Pistol: Not exactly under the pillow, but tucked in the back of Van's trousers.
  • Phallic Weapon: Man's baseball bat, "Franco", even moreso when he caresses it and croons its name. Van Helsinki's shotgun "Norty Nigel" may also count, especially when he shoves it in Jim's face with the line "Say hello to Norty Nigel".
  • Police Are Useless: Arguable. Ford and the Inspector spend most of their time waiting for Van and eating biscuits, and the cops sent in before him came out "ranting and raving about demons and the like". On the other hand, they were dealing with a Vampire-alien.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Eat stake, MOTHER! FUCKER!
  • Quickdraw: Van Helsinki and Fay, especially during the duel.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Man and Jim, who happily spray M9 fire everywhere.
  • Reference Overdosed: The film itself.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Van and Fay both carry and use revolvers.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Van Helsinki and Fay have this against Geoff.
  • Sanity Slippage: Van Helsinki, especially in the last 15 minutes or so to the extent that he kills Fay for virtually no reason and goes from monosyllabic and tight-lipped to a screaming maniac.
  • Say My Name: "Geoff..."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have a Nuke!: Or, in this case, a shotgun called Norty Nigel.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Van or Fay, depending on which one you think was aiming at what.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Norty Nigel, Van Helsinki's shotgun.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Van and Fay;s duel contains aspects of this.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Fay, who carries a Magnum revolver and an M4A1.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Fay, after "killing" Woman.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Not in-universe ( it's the pronunciation there) but due to accents and keyboards, Fay is called "Loren" more than "Løren".
  • Storming the Castle: Fay and Van Helsinki in their house raid.
  • Supervillain Lair: Geoff's secret control room.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: A version of this: Van and Fay walk twenty 'metric paces' but then turn and have a faceoff instead of drawing immediately.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Van, when he shoots Fay three times.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Van, so much, to the extent that he throws away his revolver to answer the phone (though he seems to come back for it offscreen later). Justifed when he puts his shotgun down in the house, as he seems to be out of bullets, and it would only weigh him down.
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: Van. Smokes? Check. Stubble? Check. Trenchoat? Check.
  • Trenchcoat Warfare: Van, when you realize he's packing eight different guns over the course of the film.
  • Trigger-Happy: Van Helsinki, so much. When he pumps most of a revolver cylinder into a tumbleweed, you know he's this trope.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Van apparently had to do this after the Loren Case.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: Van, he just seems to shove weapons in his various pockets.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: The sympathetic character interpretation of Van, compared to him as a Nominal Hero.
  • Vampire Hunter: Fay Loren. Averted, oddly enough, by Van Helsinki, despite the name and clothes, he is only an ex-policeman specialising in mysterious issues.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The scene where Jim reaches out for Man only to be shot by Fay at point blank range is poignant.
  • Walking Armoury: Van Helsinki, so very much.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Van Helsinki, who apparently specialises in these matters.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted. Van tries to shoot Geoff several times, but he teleports the first time and in any case, 'bullets do bugger all.
  • Wooden Stake: Van and Fay carry these. Van uses his on Geoff, to fatal effect.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Done by Van to Fay, rather abruptly.
  • You Killed My Father: Fay Loren, to the extent that two or three times she actually says this trope word for word.