I’m just going to come right out with it:
I think a Van Helsing film series is a brilliant concept.
That said, I don’t have faith in anyone getting it right after that unruly mess of a Hugh Jackman movie in 2004. I think the concept is fantastic, though. You have a main character- a monster hunter (!!!)- that can, essentially, navigate his way throughout an entire shared, cinematic universe. And the universe he lives in is inhabited by legendary monsters like Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, and The Mummy! And one of the things that made those monsters legendary was the mystique surrounding them, and the way they could be used sparingly to create maximum tension and anticipation. Therefore, the idea of making the star of those movies a single, human protagonist means you don’t have to over-expose your famous beasts!
Everybody wins, right? Van Helsing can be a gold mine, riiiight?!?
Well, Universal hopes to get it right this time around. They’ve hired screenwriters Eric Heisserer (LIGHTS OUT) and Jon Spaihts (DOCTOR STRANGE) to bring a new VAN HELSING to the big screen. This time, he’d be part of a new shared universe of horror films from Universal- the studio responsible not only for the golden age of movie monsters, but that can also pretty much take credit for the “Cinematic Universe” concept that everyone is so wild about these days.
While constructing this new version of the Van Helsing character, who’s been around since 1897, Heisserer apparently went a new way with it. He told HitFix that we’re going to get a much more lone wolf, tough, world-weary take on the character. One that can be compared to another iconic Hollywood badass. “I can only say that early on, our inspiration for his behavior and his mannerisms was allin MAD MAX,” he revealed.
This would stand in stark contract to classic depictions of Van Helsing, which portrayed him in an almost a Sherlock Holmes-ian way.
As for Universal’s ambitious plans, which include new takes on many of the aforementioned monsters, the creative process has been compared to something akin to a TV series “writers room.” Heisserer added to this idea by describing it this way:
“Itâ€™s early days right now. I can say that the decision that a lot of us made was to go and just write the best movie we could in our own corner and make sure it’s good on its own…and didn’t necessarily need to link arm-in arm-with anybody else. And to be tonally different from the other films. One may be a little bit more comedic, action-adventure-y, one can be very much a traditional horror piece. That kind of thing. And then we’ll see what happens as the projects evolve and we all get a chance to convene and talk, and make sure the movies feel like they’re all in the same world.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out. For now, how do you feel about a Mad Max-like Van Helsing?