It was meant to launch a mega-franchise. To create a new action star. A horror/action/adventure hybrid where heroic Van Helsing would kick the ass of supernatural foes for many movies to come. The entire rogues gallery of Universal movie monsters came out to play, including the rather challenging choice of Richard Roxburgh as Dracula. So what happened to Van Helsing?
Well, it wasn’t very good. It was part of that seemingly endless production line of big budget movies that were a big statement when announced but then instantly forgettable seconds after the credits rolled. Not crafted with love, with special effects that all looked the same. The usual suspects of directors – Stephen Sommers, Rob Cohen, Simon West etc. – seemingly churned out one of these a year throughout the whole of the first half of that decade.
They came as heralds of new franchises screaming to be born. They died without a trace after terrible reviews and middling box-office. Between these and the licensed Marvel efforts of the same time (Elektra, Fantastic Four, The Punisher) it was a dark time at the theater.
Still, at least Hollywood never stops flogging a dead horse, eh? So it is with tedious inevitability that Universal are spinning up a Van Helsing reboot. Peter Cushing’s famous incarnation of the character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel was played by Hugh Jackman in the ill-fated movie.
This time around there is no word on casting, but we do know that Overlord director Julius Avery is in the chair. James Wan and Michael Clear will produce via Atomic Monster. Eric Pearson wrote the script and Avery is now polishing.
What direction this will take, and how similar or different it will be to botht he previous movie or the similarly themed TV show, remains to be seen.