Van Helsing : Movie Review

Van Helsing (2004) - Movie posterIn the 1930s, monster movies were the staples of Universal Pictures' line-up, a cash cow as the industry metamorphosed from silent films to talkies. Although the monsters came in all sizes and flavors, none could match the appeal of the "Big Three": Dracula, Frankenstein (a misnomer properly, it should be "Frankenstein's creation"), and The Wolf Man. By the early '40s, however, the monsters were getting long in the tooth and losing their appeal. Karloff had traded in the boots and make-up for mad scientist roles. Lugosi had hung up his cape. And Chaney had begun multi-tasking. In 1943, in an attempt to revive interest, Universal introduced the first of three cross-over films, in which more than one of the Big Three appeared. That was Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (the two principals are obvious). A modest success, it was followed by House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, both of which featured all three. The "golden era" of Univeral monster movies officially ended in 1948, when Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man met Abbott and Costello. This final movie has not aged well, and represents little more than a painfully embarrassing footnote to a series of films that grew increasingly more campy with each new sequel.

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Author : James Berardinelli