Van Helsing has long been a name heavily associated with the various other monsters and monster-themed stories, especially those in the ownership of Universal, that have been the biggest staples of them all. Van Helsing blended all of the elements of the classic Universal Horror Monster movies into one action-packed movie with Hugh Jackman as an infamous monster hunter. While the movie featured all of the famous characters and homage to those characters, as well as the essence of the classic movies, the Van Helsing film, didn’t hit expectations, but it’s a favorite to some. Below, we’ve detailed the Van Helsing film series, the inspiration for the film, the other classic factors behind the film, such as the Universal monsters, and more.
Legend of Van Helsing
While fictional, the legend of Van Helsing comes from the era of novels by authors like Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker and holds a high place in the specific era of monster-related fiction films. The creation of Van Helsing came with direct inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, in which Abraham Van Helsing was a vampire hunter. The significant difference was the change to an overall monster hunter that dealt with various monster-related tasks from The Holy Order of The Vatican. The origins of Van Helsing, however, come from the Dracula novel as an enemy specific to the centuries-old Dracula and vampires. While the novel Dracula and its character have been the most popular, Van Helsing was his clear enemy or nemesis, so for the Van Helsing film to be created wasn’t so far-fetched. However, the inclusion of the additional monsters was a bit strange until compared to the overall epic nature of a Van Helsing film compared to a Dracula film, especially with Universal and their rights over the Universal Monster Movies.
Van Helsing Film
As stated above, the Van Helsing film featured Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. It was action-packed, as many of the other roles the actor has been noted for, such as the various films in the X-Men franchise that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was featured in and will continue to portray the role in the newly confirmed Deadpool 3, the entry for both characters into the MCU. Like the Dracula novel, Van Helsing featured the titular battle against Dracula, but with the additional details mentioned above with the other Universal Monster Movies characters and more added compared to the Dracula novel. Additional Universal Monster Movie characters that appeared, and other additional characters, included Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, various vampires, Dr. Jakyll, Mr. Hyde, Igor, and Dracula’s Brides. As Van Helsing was released in the era when fantasy films like the Underworld franchise, which also featured Kate Beckinsale, the Blade franchise, and even the Resident Evil films when it came to similar evil-fighting action and monster-amplifying effects. Overall, the Van Helsing film featured the Dracula novel from the perspective of the monster hunter himself, Van Helsing, with a unique combination of other familiar characters, along with the soon-to-be action-familiar Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.
Reboot, Spinoffs, and Other Adaptations
Outside of the Universal Van Helsing film, other adaptations have been created as well, including additional work related to the film and its story from the director of Van Helsing, Stephen Sommers, in the form of an animated prequel Van Helsing: The London Assignment that also featured Hugh Jackman in the titular role, that lead to the events of the live-action film. The second Van Helsing adaptation connected to the film was released as a Dark Horse Comics one-shot that featured Van Helsing in events during the film’s timeline, between the death of Mr. Hyde and the core events of the film that followed. While the two abovementioned adaptations were closely related to the movie, there have also been endless other adaptations of the infamous Dracula and Van Helsing characters. Most recently, SyFy had a television series based on a graphic novel from Zenescope Entertainment that ended in 2021 after a 5 season run on the network through the pandemic. However, long before any other comic book adaptation, there was a Japanese manga series, Hellsing, inspired by the classic story of Dracula and Van Helsing. It was one of the first comic book adaptations of the story, published between 1997 and 2008, and featured a grander, larger scale of the enemies of the famed monster hunter. However, the original Van Helsing film has been getting wind of a reboot in recent years, but with the on-and-off cast and behind-the-scenes people attached to the project, the future has been uncertain since Tom Cruise left the project.