Van Helsing (2004)

Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers

Cast: Hugh Jackman (Gabriel Van Helsing), Kate Beckinsale (Anna Valerious), Richard Roxburgh (Count Dracula), David Wenham (Carl), Shuler Hensle (Frankenstein’s Monster), Elena Anaya (Aleera), Will Kemp (Velkan Valerious), Kevin J. O’Connor (Igor), Alun Armstrong (Cardinal Jinette), Silivia Colloca (Verona), Josie Maran (Marishka)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
Released: May 7, 2004 (USA)
Running time: 131 minutes
MPAA: PG-13 — nonstop creature action violence and frightening images, sensuality

Van Helsing is in the world to rid all evil, even if not everyone agrees with him. The Vatican send the monster hunter and his ally, Carl to Transylvania. They have been sent to this land to stop the powerful Count Dracula. Whilst, here they join forces with a Gypsy Princess called Anna Valerious, who is determined to end an ancient curse on her family, by destroying the vampire. They just don’t know how!

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» Trivia

• Despite popular online rumors stating this was originally planned as a direct sequel to Dracula with Anthony Hopkins reprising his role, this is not the case. Stephen Sommers thought up the concept for the film while vacationing after he had completed The Mummy Returns.

• Hugh Jackman had hair extensions added for filming.

• During filming, Hugh Jackman accidentally broke an extra’s hand.

• The second-to-last scene of X2 (Cyclops, Wolverine, and Professor X discussing Jean Grey) was filmed while Hugh Jackman had a day off from this movie.

• Shuler Hensley, playing Frankenstein’s Monster, also stood in as a body double for the CG Mr. Hyde for fight scenes between him and Van Helsing. Shuler wore a cardboard cutout with Mr. Hyde’s face on top of his head so Hugh Jackman could have a point of reference when looking at his face.

• While preparing for the ballroom scene, Stephen Sommers had Richard Roxburgh, Kate Beckinsale, and Elena Anaya practice dancing for hours every day so their performance would be flawless.

• Director Stephen Sommers claimed in an interview he changed the main character’s name from Abraham Van Helsing to Gabriel Van Helsing, as he did not think he could have a lead character named Abraham. The Irishman who wrote Dracula, Bram Stoker, named the character after himself – Bram being a shortening of Abraham.

• Cans delivering the film to theaters were labeled “The Vatican Detective”.

• Dr. Frankenstein’s lab was equipped with antique medical equipment purchased on eBay.

• Dracula’s diminutive henchmen, the Dwerger, are actually dwarfs from Germanic folklore.

• The place where Van Helsing and Anna fight Dracula’s three wives is the same place where they filmed Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man. The place is call the Court of Miracles and this place is also found at the studio tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.

• David Wenham’s character Carl is named after Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal Studios during the time that Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man were made.

• This is the first movie, other than the Lord of the Rings films, to use the MASSIVE software program developed for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

• Stephen Sommers wanted Kate Beckinsale for the role of Anna, but feared it was too similar in tone to the vampire/werewolf film Underworld which she was shooting at the time, and he didn’t ask her. Eventually her agent got Sommers to send the script and Beckinsale immediately signed on.

• The DVD sales was $65 million in the first week in North American, more than half the revenue from theater runs.

Though there is no actual title card, the title can be seen on a wanted poster as soon as the film turns to color.

• Kate Beckinsale was the last to be cast.

• A spin-off TV series was pitched to NBC. To have been called “Transylvania,” it was to have featured a wild-west sheriff taken to Europe to battle monsters, with occasional guest appearances by Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing. The series idea was stillborn, partly because makeup, effects, and location shooting in Romania would have been too expensive, and partly because the film’s opening weekend box office was far below expectations (which also doomed a proposed sequel to the film).

• The film was storyboarded and pre-visualized with the intent of shooting the film in the anamorphic 2.35:1 format, like Stephen Sommers’ previous films. The aspect ratio was changed to 1.85:1 in order to better accommodate Dracula’s vertically-oriented castle without having to extend the sets.

• Stephen Sommers deliberately chose to avoid the style of transformations from other werewolf films, where the character would usually grow hair as part of the change. Instead the decision was made to have the character rip his skin off to reveal the werewolf form underneath, going with the idea that the beast “comes from within”.

• At some point in pre-production, a cameo appearance by the Gil-Man from Creature from the Black Lagoon was slated to appear in the underground cave where Van Helsing and Anna discover Frankenstein’s Monster. However, this idea was dropped before filming began. (Stephen Sommers was once rumored to be attached to a remake of “Creature…”)

• Was intended to kick off a series of “Van Helsing” adventure movies; however, reviews were bad and the box office returns were far below expectations, so all plans for a sequel were dropped within days of the film opening.

• Kate Beckinsale has stated in interviews that she hated the corset she had to wear for the majority of the film and remarked that, when filming wrapped, she wanted “to burn it all”.

• According to Elena Anaya, on her first day she was told that somebody would give her a cue to say her lines. That somebody turned out to be none other than Hugh Jackman at 5:30 in the morning.

• Josie Maran, Silvia Colloca and Elena Anaya did all their own stunts for the flying scenes.

• According to Shuler Hensley, he sang to the kids on set in between takes to entertain them.

• One of the last shots in which Van Helsing transforms back into a human from a werewolf was originally to be a nude scene (for Hugh Jackman), however Stephen Sommers felt that it would have been too distracting to the viewer and disrupt the emotion of Anna’s death from the scene. The nude shot is still used in the film, however a CGI loin cloth was animated to cover Jackman’s rear.

• The last scene shot for actor Will Kemp was actually his death scene. It was filmed in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. In the scene he is to lay against a rock. What the crew did not know was that there were a lot of spiders in the area and when Kemp’s scene was finally completed, he went home with many spider bites on his back and arms.

» Quotes

Frankenstein’s Monster: Let me go!
Carl: Where are you going to go? I don’t know if you’ve looked in the mirror lately, but you kind of stick out in a crowd.

Anna Valerious: He’s the first one to kill a vampire in over a hundred years. I’d say that’s earned him a drink.

Aleera: Anna, my love. It is your blood that shall keep me beautiful. What do you think of that?
[laughs triumphantly, then screams as Anna catches a silver stake and impales her through the chest]
Anna Valerious: I think if you’re going to kill somebody, kill them! Don’t stand around talking about it!

Van Helsing: Now, Carl, whatever you do, don’t stare at him.
[he opens the coach door, revealing the Frankenstein Monster shackled into the seat, struggling and snarling]
Carl: I’m staring at him. [quickly turns away] Is that a man?
Van Helsing: Actually, it’s seven men. Parts of them, anyway.

Anna Valerious: For me this is all personal. It’s all about family and honor. Why do you do it? What do you hope to get out of it?
Van Helsing: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe some self-realization.
Anna Valerious: And what have you got out of it so far?
Van Helsing: Nightmares.

[after Van Helsing’s first, failed attempt to kill Dracula]
Anna Valerious: A silver stake? A crucifix? What, did you think we haven’t tried everything before? We’ve shot him, stabbed him, clubbed him, sprayed him with holy water, staked him through the heart, and still he lives! Do you understand? No-one knows how to kill Dracula!
Van Helsing: Well, I could have used that information a little earlier.

[Carl hands Van Helsing his latest invention, an automatic crossbow]
Carl: A work of certifiable genius.
Van Helsing: If you don’t say so yourself.
Carl: Well, I did say so myself.

Anna Valerious: We Transylvanians always look on the brighter side of death.
Van Helsing: There’s a brighter side of death?
Anna Valerious: Of course. It’s just harder to see.

Anna Valerious: Oh, my God! The Frankenstein Monster!
Frankenstein’s Monster: Monster! Who’s the monster here? I have done nothing wrong, yet you and your kind still wish me dead!

[Van Helsing and Carl break into a mausoleum to hide the unconscious Monster]
Carl: I’m sure this is some kind of sin.
Van Helsing: Don’t worry, God will forgive us.

Carl: Now, you won’t turn into a werewolf until your first full moon. That’s two days from now. So we have 48 hours to find a solution. But you’ll still be able to fight Dracula’s hold over you until the final stroke of midnight.
Van Helsing: Sounds like I have nothing to worry about.
Carl: Oh, my God, you should be terrified!
Van Helsing: Thank you.
Carl: Sorry.

Frankenstein’s Monster: You’ve been bitten. Bitten by a werewolf. Now you will become that which you have hunted so passionately.
Van Helsing: I am sorry…
Frankenstein’s Monster: May others be as passionate in the hunting of you.

Aleera: Did I scare you?
Carl: No.
Aleera: Then maybe I need to try… a little harder.

[Van Helsing appears to free the Monster]
Frankenstein’s Monster: What are you doing? You must find the cure!
Van Helsing: My friends are doing it for me.
Frankenstein’s Monster: Friends…
Van Helsing: Yes. You want one?

Van Helsing: Bless me father for I have…
Cardinal Jinette: Sinned! Yes, I know. You’re very good at it. You shattered the Rose Window.
Van Helsing: Well, not to split hairs, but it was Mr. Hyde who did the shattering.
Cardinal Jinette: Thirteenth century. Over six hundred years old! I wish you a week in hell for that.
Van Helsing: It would be a nice reprieve.
Cardinal Jinette: Don’t get me wrong. Your results are unquestionable, but your methods attract far too much attention. Wanted posters. We are not pleased.
Van Helsing: Do you think I like being the most wanted man in Europe? Why don’t you and the order do something about it?
Cardinal Jinette: Because we do not exist.
Van Helsing: Well then neither do I.
Cardinal Jinette: When we found you crawling up the steps of this church, half dead, it was clear to all of us that you had been sent to do God’s work.
Van Helsing: Why can’t He do it Himself?

Frankenstein’s Monster: [hanging from a rope] Help! Help me!
Carl: But you’re supposed to die!
Frankenstein’s Monster: I want to live!
Carl: …All right.

Anna Valerious: Some say you’re a murderer, Mr. Van Helsing. Others say you’re a holy man. Which is it?
Van Helsing: It’s a bit of both, I think.

[Dracula sees Igor poking the werewolf with a cattle prod]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Igor!
Igor: Yes, Master?
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Why do you torment that thing so?
Igor: It’s what I do.

Van Helsing: That’s why you’re coming with me.
Carl: The hell be damned that I am.
Van Helsing: You cursed. Not very well, mind you, but you’re a monk. You shouldn’t curse at all.
Carl: Actually, I’m still just a friar. I can curse all I want, dammit.

Van Helsing: You’re a genius!
Carl: A genius with access to unstable chemicals!

Anna Valerious: What do you want?
Frankenstein’s Monster: To exist.

Van Helsing: My life… my job… my curse… is to vanquish evil.

Carl: [after saving the woman from the vampire children] They’ve all died.
Barmaid: Oh, thank you! You saved me. [kisses him on the cheek] How can I repay you?
[Carl leans in and whispers something in her ear]
Barmaid: But you can’t do that! You are a monk!
Carl: Actually, I’m a just a friar.

Carl: Are you always this popular?
Van Helsing: Pretty much.

Van Helsing: There’s something down here, it’s carnivorous. Whatever it is it appears to be… human. I’d say it’s a size 17, about 360 pounds, 8 and a half to 9 feet tall and he has a bad gimp in his right leg and, ah, 3 copper teeth.
Anna Valerious: How do you know he has copper teeth?
Van Helsing: ‘Cause he’s standing right behind you. Move!

Carl: You’ve never gone after vampires before, have you?
Van Helsing: Vampires, gargoyles, warlocks, they’re all the same – best when cooked well.

Van Helsing: The Cardinal has ordered you to keep me alive. For as long as possible.
Carl: But I’m not a field man! Van Helsing, I don’t want to go to Transylvania!

Mr. Hyde: You’re a big one. You’ll be hard to digest.
Van Helsing: I’d hate to be such a nuisance.

Mr. Hyde: So, you’re the great Van Helsing.
Van Helsing: And you’re a deranged psychopath.
Mr. Hyde: We all have our little problems.

Van Helsing: Now, my superiors would like for me to take you alive, so that they might extricate your better half.
Mr. Hyde: [laughing] I’ll bet they bloody would.
Van Helsing: Personally, I’d rather just kill you and call it a day. But let’s make it your decision, shall we?
Mr. Hyde: [pretends to think] Hmm, do let’s.
[attacks him]

Van Helsing: [to a captive Igor] If they even suspect you of misleading them…
[he demonstrates a wicked-looked set of pliers in front of Igor’s face, then hands them to Anna]
Van Helsing: Clip off one of his fingers.
Anna Valerious: I’ll clip off something.

Anna Valerious: [while looking at the cure for the werewolf curse] Go ahead, grab it.
Carl: Why don’t you go ahead and grab it? If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never to stick your hand into a viscous material.

Van Helsing: Carl, I need you to do something
Carl: I’m not gonna like this, am I?

Aleera: I want first bite!

Van Helsing: To have memories of those you have loved and lost is perhaps harder than to have no memories at all.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: You can’t kill me, Victor.
[Dracula pushes himself onto the sword Dr. Frankenstein is wielding]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: I’m already dead.

Frankenstein’s Monster: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. I will have my vengeance!

Carl: So you can remember everything about your life from the last seven years, but nothing before that?
Van Helsing: Not now, Carl.
Carl: There must be something?
Van Helsing: [dead serious] I remember fighting the Romans at Masada.
Carl: That was in 73 A.D.
Van Helsing: You asked.

Marishka: Too bad, so sad.

[approaching the entrance to Castle Dracula]
Carl: Do we have a plan? I mean, it doesn’t have to be Wellington’s at Waterloo, but some kind of plan would be nice.
Van Helsing: We’re going to go in there and stop Dracula.
Anna Valerious: And kill anyone who gets in our way.
Carl: [quickly turns around] Well, you let me know how that goes…

Anna Valerious: You! Turn around. Let me see your faces.
Van Helsing: Why?
Anna Valerious: Because we don’t trust strangers.
Top Hat: Strangers don’t last long here.

Villager: He killed a vampire!
Carl: Isn’t that a good thing?
Top Hat: The Vampires only take what they need to survive. Maybe two or three a month… but now they will kill for revenge!

Dr. Victor Frankenstein: I could never allow him to be used for such evil.
Count Vladislaus Dracula: I could. In fact, my brides are insisting on it.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: There, there, my lovelies. Do not worry, I shall find another bride.
Verona: What?
Verona: Have you no heart?
Count Vladislaus Dracula: No! I have no heart, I feel no love. Nor fear, nor joy, nor sorrow. I am hollow… and I will live forever.
Aleera: Oh, my lord…
Verona: It is not so bad.
[Dracula’s mood changes on a dime, and he begins to laugh]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: I’m at war with the world! And every living soul in it! But soon… the final battle will begin.
Aleera: Do we mean so little to you?

Count Vladislaus Dracula: A pity your moment of triumph is being spoiled over a little thing like grave robbery.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: How does it feel to be a puppet on my string?

Verona: Marishka! Kill the stranger!
Marishka: Love to!

Marishka: Why can’t we just let the Werewolf kill her?
Verona: Never trust a man to do a woman’s job.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: I can tell the character of a man by the sound of his heartbeat.
[claps his hand in a rhythm of a heartbeat]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Usually when I approach…
[claps faster]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: I can almost dance to the beat.
[claps slower]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Strange that yours is so steady.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: I send you on a simple errand, to find out who our new friend is, and you have to stop for a little visit with your sister.
Velkan: Leave her out of this, Count! She doesn’t know your secret, and I am soon to take it to my grave.
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Don’t wish for death so quickly. I intend for you to be quite useful.
Velkan: I would rather die than help you.
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Oh, don’t be boring, everybody who says that dies.

Count Vladislaus Dracula: Don’t we make a lovely couple?
[Anna looks at the mirror. Dracula is not in the reflection]
Count Vladislaus Dracula: I’m looking for a new bride, Anna, someone strong and beautiful. All it takes is one bite from me.
Anna Valerious: [Dracula hugs her tighter] You have no heartbeat.
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Perhaps it just needs to be rekindled.

Carl: What are we doing here? Why is it so important to kill this Dracula anyway?
Van Helsing: Because he’s the son of the devil.
Carl: I mean besides that.
Van Helsing: Because if we kill him, anything bitten by him or created will also die.
Carl: I mean besides that.

Aleera: Don’t play coy with me, Princess, you’re just like all the other pretty little ancestors in your family. Saying you want to destroy my master, but I know what lurks in your lusting heart.
Anna Valerious: I hope you have a heart, Aleera, because someday I’m going to drive a stake through it.

Anna Valerious: What are these things?
Van Helsing: I think they’re Dracula’s children.
Anna Valerious: His children?
Van Helsing: A man, with three gorgeous women, for four hundred years?

Count Vladislaus Dracula: Give me LIFE!

Count Vladislaus Dracula: You’re too late, my friend! My children live!
Van Helsing: Then the only way to kill them is to kill you.
Count Vladislaus Dracula: Correct.
Van Helsing: So be it.

Monk: What in the name of Allah is wrong with you?
Carl: [to Van Helsing] The air around here is thick with envy…

Van Helsing: Absinthe. Strong stuff.
[Anna takes a defiant swig and gives the bottle back to Van Helsing]
Anna Valerious: Don’t let it touch your tongue… it’ll knock straight on your aaaaaa…
[she gets cut off as the ground falls through]

Van Helsing: I have to pull the bolts off… this is going to hurt!
Frankenstein’s Monster: I am accustomed to pain…
Van Helsing: It lets you know you’re alive!

Verona: I can feel fresh blood rushing through her veins!

Carl: How many commandments can we break in one day?

Frankenstein’s Monster: Curse all you undead! You are nothing but dead bones and damned souls… you shall burn in the fires of hell!

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