måndag 5 juli 2021

Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing

I have always been fascinated about the history of Vlad The Impaler, known as one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history, and a national hero of Romania. Some of you might know some of the stories that have been told about Vlad, how brutal he was, and that he impaled humans. He was called a sadist and a gruesome murderer. No matter how we look at Vlad today, he is still a very important part of Romanian history. Hopefully in the future, i would love to visit one of the locations, where Vlad ruled his kingdom. I had a co-worker who actually travelled to the castle where Vlad used to live, and it looked so cool from his Facebook pictures. This is definetely one of the trips i have to do, at some point. In the year of 1897, Bram Stoker´s novel Dracula was published, that would become one of the most beloved horror novels of all time. I actually did buy this novel about 21 years ago, and i did read it. Most of you know that it tells the story of Count Dracula, the iconic horror character, that some people still believe is inspired by Vlad The Impaler. Even if author Bram Stoker have said that he did not know much at all about Vlad, as he wrote the book Dracula, he was definetely inspired by Romanian folklores about vampires. Either way, Dracula will always be one of the true classic horror novels in history. The book have inspired a lot of horror films for many years, and one of the best film adaptations ( if you ask me ), is of course the 1992 film version of Bram Stoker´s Dracula from director Francis Ford Coppola. Not only is this one of the most beautiful horror films i have ever seen, but there are so many details to appreciate about this film. The brutality, the costume design, the strong character development, the brilliant cinematography, this is a must see on DVD and Blu Ray. I have been reading online since earlier this year that a film adaptation of Van Helsing would be released in the UK, based on the character Van Helsing, a low budget independent film. Since i am a big fan of vampire films, i just had to pick up a UK DVD copy. Is this a surprisingly good film, or is Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing a big mess, that should have been cancelled from the beginning?

Arthur Holmwood ( Tom Hendryck ) is worried about his fiancée Lucy Westenra ( Charlie Bond ), who have fallen victim to a mysterious illness. Arthur contact Dr John Seward ( Joe Street ), for help. Seward contact his mentor, Professor Van Helsing ( Mark Topping ) to find out what´s wrong with Lucy. Van Helsing quickly confirm that Lucy have been cursed by a vampire, and the only cure is a fresh supply of human blood.

I already knew before i picked up this DVD that there would be a limited budget to this film, and i can accept that if you have good characters, and a story that feels interesting, since this film is based on the story of Van Helsing, the vampire slayer. Let´s start with the positive details about this film. The location of the English countryside fits well with the story, and the old house as well. So it definetely helps the film with the time period, when this film is supposed to take place. The lead actor Mark Topping, who plays the legendary character Van Helsing, is actually the best part of this film. He feels natural in this role, and i actually think he is a good choice for this character. And now we need to discuss some of the problems that i have with this film. Most of the actors don´t do a very good job with their characters. They feel uninspired, and not really interested in portraying their characters in a way, that match well with the story. It´s like they are just there just to finish their job, and go home for a nice cup of tea and watch another episode of Emmerdale. The vampire scenes are not scary, or feel effective. And it is such a shame, considering that they could have made this film interesting with the beautiful location, and the vampire influences. So we have to be thankful for actor Mark Topping, because without his performance as Van Helsing, this film would have falled flat to the ground. I would like to see Mark return as Van Helsing in another film, since i do think he did a good job with the character, Director Stewe Lawson is a well known independent film director, and i have seen one of his films called Hellriser. I will say that Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing is slightly better than Hellrising, but that does not mean that this is still a good film. Considering that he had an oppurtunity to make this film with a legendary character as Van Helsing, there are a lot of details he could have fixed during production. If you are a fan of Bram Stoker´s classic book, only see this film if you love vampires and have nothing else to watch. Otherwise skip this film and see legendary director Francis Ford Coppola´s classic 1992 film instead.

Rating: DD

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