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Van Helsing is a 2004 Americanmarker action/horror film about vigilante vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing, written, produced, and directed by Stephen Sommers. The film stars Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. The film opened on May 7, 2004.

Based on a version of the character of Abraham Van Helsing from Irish author Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, the film also incorporates characters from other works such as the film The Wolf Man into the narrative, and draws particularly on literary classics of the gothic horror canon such as Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.


In Transylvania, 1887, Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Samuel West) brings to life the Frankenstein's monster (Shuler Hensley) with the aid of his deformed assistant Igor ( Kevin J. O'Connor), and financing from Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Dracula reveals he helped Frankenstein so he could use the Monster to bring his undead children to life. He kills Frankenstein when the latter refuses to help him. The Monster escapes to a windmill which is burnt down by a pursuing mob. The mob flees as Dracula and his brides arrive, mourning the loss of the Monster.

One year later, legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) hunts Mr. Hyde (Robbie Coltrane) in Parismarker. Their confrontation results in Hyde's death whilst fighting atop Notre Damemarker. Van Helsing returns to the Vaticanmarker where he reports to the Knights of the Holy Order, who protect the world from evil. Van Helsing lost his memory and was taken in by the Vatican monks. Van Helsing's duty is to defeat evil creatures and bring them to the Order, but he has little success, usually being forced to kill them. The leader, Cardinal Jinette (Alun Armstrong), sends him to Transylvania to kill Dracula and prevent the last of the Valerious family from falling into purgatory; the family swore to kill Dracula nine generations ago and is unable to enter Heaven until they succeed. Jinette gives Van Helsing a torn piece of paper, with a Latin inscription that reads 'Deum ac ianuamimbeat aperiri' ('in the name of God, open this door'). It has an insignia that matches Van Helsing's ring. Van Helsing is joined by Carl (David Wenham), a technologically-savvy friar who provides Van Helsing with several anti-vampire weapons, such as a gas-powered crossbow.

Arriving in Transylvania, the two meet Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), the last remaining Valerious family member, her brother Velkan (Will Kemp) having seemingly died whilst fighting a werewolf. They save her from Dracula's brides, Verona (Silvia Colloca), Aleera (Elena Anaya) and Marishka (Josie Maran), and Van Helsing kills Marishka. Anna takes the two back to her castle where Dracula once lived, and encounters Velkan, now a werewolf himself, and soon to be under Dracula's control. After Velkan flees, Van Helsing and Anna track him to Frankenstein's castle, finding Dracula attempting to give life to his children using Velkan as a substitute for the Monster. Anna frees Velkan but he becomes a werewolf again. Dracula confronts Van Helsing, recognizing him. While escaping, Van Helsing and Anna fall into a cave where they find Frankenstein's Monster alive. Van Helsing decides to take him to Romemarker so he can be protected. The brides and Velkan pursue the heroes who are in a carriage, but they use a decoy carriage full of explosives to kill Verona. Velkan is killed by Van Helsing, but has already bitten him; when the next full moon occurs, Van Helsing will become a werewolf. Anna is captured by Aleera and taken to Budapest.

In Budapest, Van Helsing hides the Monster before he and Carl head off to save Anna. They rescue her but the Monster is captured. They return to Frankenstein's castle only to find all the equipment removed. At Anna's castle, Carl explains that Dracula was the son of Anna's ancestor. Dracula was murdered, but made a Faustian Bargain and was reborn. Carl explains that although Anna's ancestor made the vow, he couldn't kill his own son. Instead, he banished Dracula to an icy fortress from which he should not have been able to return, but the Devil gave him wings (the power to shapeshift). Anna's ancestor left clues in the castle, so that future generations would be able to kill Dracula. Carl also found a picture of a werewolf and vampire fighting, but is unable to explain it. Van Helsing finds a portal to Dracula's castle disguised as a wall map, completed using the paper that Van Helsing brought from Rome. They enter the portal, emerging on a cliff near Castle Dracula.

The trio encounter Igor and take him hostage. They also see the Monster being lifted to the laboratory, but are unable to free him. The Monster tells them that Dracula has a werewolf cure before he is lifted out of reach. Carl realizes the moving picture in Anna's castle showed that only a werewolf could kill Dracula. Dracula uses werewolves to do his bidding, but needs a cure in case they have the willpower to turn against him. Making his way to the laboratory, Van Helsing frees the Monster, then becomes a werewolf and is attacked by Dracula as a winged demonic bat. Anna and Carl retrieve the cure but are attacked by Aleera and Igor. Igor is knocked off a bridge to his demise. Aleera chases down Anna, but before she can bite her, Carl tosses a silver stake to Anna, who kills Aleera with it. Dracula reveals that Van Helsing is really Gabriel, the Left Hand of God - as well as the one who originally murdered him. He offers to restore Van Helsing's memories, but Van Helsing replies that some things are best forgotten and bites into Dracula's throat, killing him and his offspring.

The werewolf Van Helsing kills Anna just as she injects him with the cure. Anna is cremated, and as her body burns, Van Helsing sees her and her family in Heaven, at peace thanks to Dracula's death. The Monster departs on a raft into the ocean, having been allowed a chance at life by Van Helsing and Carl.


Other media

The DVD was released on October 19, 2004. A DVD of Van Helsing is a free gift with the 2nd delivery of the magazine Beasts and Beings. On July 8, 2008, the film was re-released on a 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD set.

Sommers expanded the story of Van Helsing in two direct spin-offs. The animated prequel titled Van Helsing: The London Assignment takes place before the main events of the film, focusing on Van Helsing's mission to try to stop Jack the Ripper, who turns out to actually be Mr. Hyde, from terrorizing London. There was also a one-issue comic book titled Van Helsing: From Beneath the Rue Morgue, that follows Van Helsing on a self-contained adventure that occurs during the events of the film, just after the death of Jekyll/Hyde in Paris but before Van Helsing returned to Rome. In the adventure, Van Helsing deals with Doctor Moreau and his hybrid mutants.

A spin-off television series, titled Transylvania, was planned, using the film's village sets, but due to poor US box-office, critical panning and a considerable budget for each episode, the series' status is currently unknown. The series was to be set in the same period as the film, and was reportedly to focus on the story of a Texas cowboy who becomes sheriff in a Transylvanian village, where he must keep the peace between two warring families with some "monstrous genes". Sommers wrote the plot and supervised six episode scripts.

Vivendi Universal Games also published a Van Helsing video game for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Game Boy Advance. The game follows a similar plot to the movie, has gameplay similar to Devil May Cry and the PS2 and Xbox versions feature the voice talent of many of the actors including Hugh Jackman and Richard Roxburgh. Lavastorm Entertainment produced a mobile game that followed the plot of the movie, but was poorly received.

The movie's original score was composed by Alan Silvestri and released on May 4, 2004, by Decca Records. It was met with critical acclaim by both reviewers and fans.


The film opened at Number 1 in May 2004. Domestically, the film grossed $120,177,084. Worldwide, the film grossed $300,257,475. This amount was almost double the films budget. Despite this, critical reception was generally negative, and was classed by the website Rotten Tomatoes as "Rotten," with 22% of reviews counted as "Fresh." However, it did pick up a generally positive, three-star review from Roger Ebert ("Great trash it isn't. Good trash it is, though...").


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