Beyond the Slimy Wall: Van Helsing
By Stephanie Star Smith
June 1, 2005
We here at BOP are an eclectic group, and our tastes in movies run from the serious cinephiles to the foreign-film aficionados to niche film lovers. Thus was born the idea for this weekly column, devoted to horror films of all shapes and sizes, but concentrating on those B- and C-grade films that mainstream reviewers disdain, but are the bread-and-butter of every spook movie lover's viewing. So come with me as we venture beyond the slimy wall, uncovering the treasures - and burying the time-wasting bombs - that await those who dare to love the scare.
You know, sometimes there's a lot to be said for lowered expectations.
I mean, you hear about a film, you see the trailer, you're thinking it sounds like a pretty cool movie, and then it's released, and you start hearing things. When it comes to horror films, word-of-mouth trumps reviews every time, cause most spook movie fans care bugger-all about what the critics have to say, but fellow fans...well, that carries a whole lot more weight. And then the more you hear, the more you think maybe you'll take a pass on seeing it in the theatres; you'll wait till it comes on one of the premium channels and then TiVo it for when you've got nothing else to watch, or maybe when you've decided to save what you're pretty sure are good pics for another time and want to clear some space. Or maybe you've got it on your list of films to rent you're your local video emporium, and the day comes when you can't find anything else you want to rent, but you want a movie evening anyway.
And then you watch the film, and lo and behold, not only is it not as bad as you'd heard, but it's actually pretty damned entertaining. And you wonder why people were so down on the flick, when it's nowhere near the worst thing you've ever seen in your life.
And then there's Van Helsing.
Van Helsing had such a cool concept, it was hard not to be excited before its release. Take the wise older man - Bram Stoker didn't really indicate an age, so Van Helsing could've been anywhere from his 40s to his 90s - who is conversant with all manner of occult things that others don't even believe in and follow his adventures in his younger days. Cause really, he had to learn about the undead somewhere, so why not make him all action-hero-y and have him tracking and eradicating the forces of darkness? Sort of like an all-purpose Slayer, if you will. Then pit him against three of the classic screen monsters - Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolf Man - and let them go to town with the usual good vs evil.
What a waste of a good idea the resulting film turned out to be.
Now I'll issue my standard spoiler warning, but if you're one of those folks who have Van Helsing still sitting on your TiVo or on your rental list, let me also advise that this flick will waste two-and-a-quarter hours of your life that you will never, ever get back. Van Helsing is not only not worth that kind of time investment, but will likely make you want to throw things at your TV, and that could just be all kinds of bad.
Yeah, I really hated it that much.
The film opens with what could have been a wicked great scene, had it not been screwed up in almost more ways than I can count. A recreation of Victor Frankenstein bringing his creature to life, with Dracula looking on and the villagers with pitchforks and torches on their way to storm Castle Frankenstein. And we're barely five minutes in and already we've got our first inexplicable bit of plot. Because if Frankenstein has only just revivified his monster, then what the hell are the villagers on about? No one traced the grave-robbing to Frankenstein until the Monster had terrified the village and accidentally drowned a little girl. And since the film runs two-and-a-quarter freakin' hours, you'd think they didn't need to truncate this so much. Then again, not many bombastic effects to have out of the slow build-up to the castle-storming - and make no mistake, this film is nothing if not about bombastic special effects - so I guess that whole thing about accurately recreating a piece of monster-movie history as a segue to your supposed blockbuster gets easier to throw out the window. Besides, with all the other, far more egregious missteps this film takes - some of which happen during this very scene - one can whiz on past this as only the opening salvo in waking up that pesky left brain.
So Monster comes to life, Dracula congratulates Victor, and then pretty much tells Victor he's taking the Monster and throwing the misguided doctor under the bus. Or, in this case, to the villagers. Understandably unhappy, Dr Frankenstein tries to kill Dracula...except he's somehow managed to live in Transylvania for Lord knows how many years yet can't recognize a vampire when he encounters one, so he runs Drac through with a sword. After which comes the obligatory "You can't kill me, I'm already dead" nonsense, and Victor is properly gobsmacked. Then the fighting begins in earnest, while the Monster tries to break free of his restraints - calling out "Father!" all the while, which I admit was a nice touch - Igor scampers around doing nothing so much as looking decidedly non-human, and Dracula spits out about 500 pages of dialogue. None of which, by the way, gives any explanation for the next boo-boo. Dracula ends up in the fireplace, which naturally starts turning ol' Vlad into so much ash. And then Dracula walks out of the flames, heals his skeleton-and-charred skin back into what passes for normalcy on a vampire (again, admittedly a cool sequence) and goes on chewing the scenery to the point where you begin to fear for the remainder of the production, he's eaten so much of the set.
And therein comes our first major problem. This movie was squarely aimed at the horror film fan base. So why in the name of Bram Stoker would you purposely use one of the methods to kill a vampire on Dracula and have him escape unscathed? So OK; maybe he's an über-vamp, but nowhere in the 1,700 pages of dialogue Dracula spouts in this ten-minute sequence does he say anything about that; he just yammers on about how wonderful it is that Frankenstein proved life could be created from death, blah, blah, bliddy-blah, eyes glaze over and brain zones out. It would have helped this film so very much if at some point, Dracula had mentioned he was an über-vamp; then, when the 19,000 attempts to off him that should have done him in failed, we could at least think, "Oh, he's an über-vamp; they're harder to kill", instead of sitting there yelling at the screen, "Why in hell isn't Dracula dead?". All we're left with is a lot of sound and...well, more sound, the majority of it from Drac, telling us absolutely nothing and managing to irritate the hell out of us at the same time because we're still fixated on why Dracula didn't stay a pile of ash, requiring some sort of resurrection rite be performed at some later point in the film.
Finally, after 5,000 years of Dracula talking non-stop, the Monster breaks free of his restraints, but sadly, he is too late; Daddy Victor is dead, and the Monster must now pick him up and go on a pointless journey to the windmill what will soon burn. Why? Because that's what happened at the end of Bride of Frankenstein. No matter that this little sojourn makes no sense in this film; it's a bombastic special effect, and Stephen Sommers is damned well not going to pass it up! Oh, and in the process, the Monster takes to keening so that the P&T Squad can easily spot him and follow him to the windmill. The windmill that is conveniently carpeted, almost literally, with partly-full absinth bottles, and which has even more bottles of partly-quaffed absinth scattered about various flat surfaces. Because apparently wood isn't flammable enough for Sommers; he has to add more fuel to the soon-to-be fire.
With Dracula - having finally shut up - watching, the villagers obediently set fire to the windmill, the Monster bemoans the death of his papa to the crowd, and the windmill collapses in a blaze of...well, fire, mostly, for there's no glory to be had here - and the Monster and Victor plunge into the depths of...something. Another instance where nothing is made clear because too much thought was put into the special effects and none into what a majority of films favor, the actual plot. And Dracula finally wanders away disconsolate, because of course the Monster has to be dead, what with all the flames and the falling. It's not like Vlad has any personal experience with, oh, I don't know, maybe the dead not staying dead?
By this time, the only thing that will keep your left brain from screaming at you repeatedly throughout the film is a lobotomy, and we've only just started. Both with the film, and all the things that are wrong with it.
So a helpful chyron tells us that it is now one year later, and we transition from black-and-white to color. We focus on a wanted poster, and even if you don't read French, you can quickly gather that the man pictured wearing a mask that covers all but his eyes and a big hat that covers the rest of his head has quite the price on same for murder. The poster also tells us the wanted man is Van Helsing - fortunately proper nouns don't generally need translation - and as a hand reaches out to rip the poster down, we don't need to wait and see that this man looks exactly like the drawing on the poster to know it's Van Helsing. Our eponymous hero looks at a very young, very dead woman with a cigar lying next to her, then gazes purposefully up at Notre Dame. The next thing we see is Van Helsing talking to a rather bad CGI rendering of Mr Hyde. Luckily for us, the movie flat-out tells us this is Hyde; with him being in Notre Dame's bell tower and not having all that great a posture, one wonders for a bit if maybe Van Helsing is after Quasimodo for some reason, although Quasimodo wasn't evil; he was just a hunchback. Van Helsing and Hyde - wonderfully voiced by Robbie Coltrane, who was smart enough to not show his face in this train wreck - banter back and forth a bit about how Van Helsing's going to take him in or kill him - Hyde's choice - and Hyde making it clear he's not going anywhere, but he is going to kill Van Helsing. Yeah, right; we're not quite 20 minutes into the film, so we know Hyde's chances of accomplishing this are slim and none, and slim just left town. So more yammering and some pretty cool fight scenes in which parts of Notre Dame are destroyed, until Van Helsing finally manages to knock Hyde off the roof of Notre Dame, sending him to his death on the pavement below. Hyde turns to Dr Jekyll as he falls, and it is the human who goes splat on the cobblestones. And candor forces me to point out that, while the CGI Hyde isn't very good at all, it's lightyears better than every other CGI being in the film. And yes, that is damning with faint praise; quite pointedly so.
The next scene leads us to wonder just how Van Helsing has remained alive so damned long. As the locals, apparently drawn out into the streets by the sound of the battle and the subsequent hurtling man, gather round the body, they naturally start to look around to see who could have done this heinous thing. But they won't find anyone, because Van Helsing is long gone by now, right? I mean, he's kept Jekyll's alter-ego from continuing his killing spree, and so a quick fade into the night would seem most prudent. Right? Right? Nope; our Hero apparently hasn't two brain cells to rub together, because there Van Helsing stands on the roof of Notre Dame, fully illuminated by the convenient full moon, staring down at the man who has just plummeted to his death and the crowd surrounding him. And he continues to stand there until someone looks up, sees him, and raises the alarm. Good thing he's not a member of a secret society that combats the evil supernatural forces in the world.
Cause the very next scene is Van Helsing trotting into the Vatican and entering a secret underground lair that looks like a medieval version of Q's lab. Van Helsing is being dressed down by his M clone about his methods and so on and so forth; sounds every bit like the angry Watcher he does, and then Father M gives Van Helsing his next assignment. Seems there's a family in Transylvania named Valerious whose patriarch vowed many moons ago to eradicate Dracula, and until one of the Valerious clan succeeded, his family could not enter the kingdom of Heaven. There are now only two scions amongst the living, and Father M wants Van Helsing to go and kill Dracula before the last scion dies and the family is forever barred from passing through the Pearly Gates. We then trot over to the medieval Q, here named Carl, who shows Van Helsing all sorts of nifty, anachronistic gadgets the better to kill vampires with. Carl is also painted as a walking encyclopedia about all things in general and the supernatural in particular, which buys Carl a ticket as Van Helsing's sidekick on the adventure. And off Carl and Van Helsing set to Transylvania, first by ship, and then by hiking over a goodly amount of what are probably the Carpathian Mountains, although no one bothers to tell us that. And we're recognizing a pattern here: The movie loves to tell us all about things we've no interest in, then forgets to tell us important stuff, like how Dracula's an über-vamp (OK, I admit what mountain range this is isn't that important, but I'd rather hear about that than one of Vlad's 724-page rants about how invincible he is and the world will bow down at his feet, blah, blah, bliddy-blah, you know the megalomaniacal villain drill).
Whilst Van Helsing the Vampire Slayer and Carl the Sidekick trek across the Carpathians, we switch to a forest in Transylvania - we'll soon learn there's a lot of them - and a man tied to a tree. It isn't long before we discover (A) the man is Velkan Valerious, one of the two remaining scions of that righteous Transylvanian clan; and (B) he's playing Judas goat for a werewolf. Which is somehow still a werewolf even though it's broad daylight. More left-brain shouting ensues. We then witness what has to be one of the most inept attempts to capture and kill an animal there has ever been. What with the pulley on the cage getting stuck; Velkan getting his hand caught in the rope pulling the cage up, thus taking him with it; the other members of the hunting party not having silver bullets, for some inexplicable reason; the werewolf bumping the cage sufficiently so Velkan drops the only gun with silver bullets; and the werewolf ultimately escaping, you'd think you were watching a Three Stooges short rather than an organized group of werewolf hunters trying to eradicate their prey. And why, pray tell, were they capturing the beast in the first place? Sorry, audience; the script won't give you that answer for another 20 minutes or so; you just get to sit there wondering what the hell these people, supposedly well-versed in the ways of monsters, were doing not giving everyone silver bullets and declaring open season on werewolves. As the werewolf escapes, he obligingly takes Velkan with him, the better to advance the plot. The two grapple until they go over a convenient nearby cliff and fall a very, very long way down into some river or another - I suck at geography and the film doesn't provide any answers - and sister Anna, also known as Romantic Interest, becomes the sole remaining Valerious scion.
After this almost-exciting scene, we see our dynamic duo arriving in...some village - again with the lack of providing pertinent information - where they are greeted by the locals with decidedly less than enthusiasm. They are, in fact, about to be killed when our Romantic Interest arrives to explain things to Van Helsing, and us. At least she gives us some useful info, such as why the villagers don't trust strangers. This nice little tête-à-tête is interrupted by a vampire attack. Which is the second-coolest sequence in the film, since it doesn't do anything to make our left brains explode; it's just a whole bunch of cool stuff happening in a logical (for monster films) manner.
Our vampires are Dracula's three brides, and they've chosen this moment to swoop in so they can cart Anna off to Castle Frankenstein. Yeah, I thought that was odd, too, and we don't learn till the last half-hour of the movie - which is a long, long, long way away - why Dracula's Castle isn't available. But like all the Bond villains you've ever seen, the brides need to yammer at Anna whenever they trap her, so that she has a chance to escape and/or be rescued. But that's a minor quibble; really, this sequence is one of the strongest in the film, and the flying effects and the brides' morphing is handled really, really well. As is the fake-out, even though you'd think the villagers wouldn't have been fooled. Still, it works, as does Carl the Sidekick shouting helpful hints to Van Helsing the Vampire Slayer, who has apparently never encountered vampires before. We end all the flying and cartoon physics with Van Helsing finally nailing one of Dracula's brides, and the other two take off to grieve for their...um, sister? Not sure what the terminology would be here, but off they go to Castle Frankenstein, and the grateful villagers...really aren't all that grateful. In fact, they're pissed, because now that Van Helsing has killed a vampire, Dracula and his brides will retaliate. Seems the villagers have worked out an accommodation of sorts with Vlad; he and his brides take one or two villages a month, and they don't try and hunt him down and kill him. And again this film makes with Ebert's Idiot Plotline; no one's explained yet that Drac is an über-vamp, so we not only wonder why no one's hunted him down and killed him, but why the villagers haven't taken the usual anti-vampire precautions. Hanging the crosses and the garlic and not inviting them in should have done the trick on all of them; then they could have killed the brides and Dracula would've been SOL with the feeding on the villagers. And this is just one more of the 573,000 things that don't make sense in this flick.
Back to the horribly inept plot, Anna prevents the villagers from killing Van Helsing and Carl again and then invites them to stay at her family's castle. She also promises Van Helsing a drink. We soon learn she's decided to kill Dracula, and she's going to make sure Van Helsing doesn't try and stop her. Or even do something intelligent like, you know, help her. She waits until he falls asleep, then she gets up to go...and sees wet footsteps in her main hallway. She cautiously follows the trail until she finds...Velkan, apparently having survived the fall into the Unknown River. He makes with the vague warnings about staying away from Dracula and continuing to think of him as dead, and Anna, of course, ignores him, until the full moon comes out from behind the clouds...and Velkan transforms into a werewolf.
Yeah, I know; my head exploded, too.
Actually, the film, for once, explains the dealio, but first, we have Fight Scene. Van Helsing, having heard Anna cry out when her brother transformed, sallies forth and tries to kill the werewolf, only to be stopped by Anna whilst Velkanwolf makes himself scarce. Van Helsing follows and tries to kill Velkanwolf but fails, and Anna then makes with the explanations as to the werewolf's identity. Oh, and the CGI werewolves in this film? Have got to be amongst the worst creatures I have ever seen. Someone needs to get it through these gee-whiz type directors' heads that sometimes the old ways are better. Case in point.
So next day, Van Helsing and Anna track Velkanwolf to Castle Frankenstein, aiming to get the cure and kill Dracula all in one fell swoop. As they go, Anna helpfully fills us in how werewolf curses work in this flick. Apparently, when a person is bitten by a werewolf, they aren't completely transformed until 24 hours after the first full moon after exposure (the movie even monkeys with its own mythology later, but we'll get to that in good time). If the cure is given to the afflicted within that 24-hour period, the curse is lifted. And until that 24 hours is up, the person morphs back and forth between being human and being a werewolf, depending on the moonlight. And though no one ever says it in the 650 hours of film, once that 24 hours has passed, the person apparently becomes a werewolf permanently, moon or no moon, sunlight notwithstanding. But since this is never really explained, we're stuck with another WTF moment
Sadly, Anna and Van Helsing don't succeed in their quest, and the movie drags on for another 96 hours. But at least we learn why Vlad was so taken with Victor Frankenstein's work. Seems Dracula and his brides have been getting busy over the last several hundred years, and there are scores and scores of little baby vampires just waiting to be born. They hang from the rafters in nasty-looking cocoons, which Van Helsing has to poke around in, the better to gross us and Anna out, and Van Helsing helpfully tells us that the undead mating would naturally create offspring that wasn't alive. Then we hop up to Frankenstein's old lab, where we see Dracula and Igor - and why Igor is apparently, based on his appearance, a demon of some sort in this film is never explained - firing up the Tesla coils and making ready to revivify...Velkanwolf, who's strapped to the table where Frankenstein's Monster was brought to life and isn't in particular need of revivification. Dracula then gives us another 915 pages of dialogue, but at least he explains what he's doing. Frankenstein's work gave him and his brides hope that their babies could be...well, born is about the best word for it, I guess, but in order to accomplish this, Dracula needed the Monster to provide the necessary energy boost. Still believing the Monster is dead, Vlad's going with Plan B: Velkanwolf acting as the conduit.
But first, Drac has to confront Van Helsing and chew some more scenery and reveal that he knows Van Helsing from...somewhere. The movie never tells us where or how, or even if Van Helsing is some kind of immortal; I honestly believe it just wants to annoy the hell out of us at this point, so it just throws out non sequiturs left and right. Meanwhile, Igor is continuing the experiment. Dracula inally tells us that the cross and stake to the heart don't work with him, and tells Van Helsing what is about to happen. As he yammers on, all the pods start opening and thousands of little baby vampires come flying out. Which would be a pretty cool shot, if it didn't lead directly to some more completely incomprehensible behavior, this time from the villagers.
Vlad instructs his brides to show their babies how to feed as Van Helsing and Anna run to help the townsfolk. Why does Dracula let them leave? Hey, the rest of the movie is illogical as hell, so why shouldn't Drac act as if he hasn't enough intelligence to survive three days as a vampire, much less several centuries. No matter; this is all moving the plot along, albeit it at a snail's pace, so we can at least be thankful for that. So Van Helsing and Anna go to help the villagers, and end up stumbling upon the cave where Frankenstein's Monster has been hiding. So much for the villagers, but again, plot moving, so we roll along with it.
As our Leading Man and his Romantic Interest are chatting up the Monster, the villagers are being terrorized by the brides and the babies. Not that I mind the terrorizing, because the villagers are about to demonstrate they're really too stupid to live. They hear this commotion, like the beating of thousands of wings, and run out into the streets to see what's up. I have no problem with this part; most folk would want to know what was winging its way towards their houses, and that goes double, I would think, in Transylvania. But once the villagers determine what's headed their way, they start acting as if every man jack of them has had a lobotomy. Instead of heading back into their houses, they go running pell-mell through the streets, screaming and carrying on as the baby vamps attack. They don't go back into their houses and bolt the doors and windows; they don't bring out the crosses and garlic; they don't even head for the church, which would have made some sense. Nope; they run around the streets, the better to be targets for the baby vamps. In all the confusion and carnage, Carl the Sidekick manages to save a young woman from being carried away by baby vamps, thus rewarding him with a nice bit for later. Which also sets up another plot point, but the movie isn't going to tell you its significance for about it for 20 years. Fortunately for the population of this part of Transylvania, the baby vamps all start exploding after a little while, and the brides go keening back to Drac for comfort.
Meanwhile, back at the Monster's Lair, Van Helsing and Anna have a nice chat with the Monster, learning that the Monster, naturally, distrusts humans (except, apparently, for his papa) and that he is in fact a danger to mankind, but not for the reason most would think. The Monster enlightens Leading Man and Romantic Interest as to Dracula's intentions, and suggests they kill him outright. Van Helsing, in his first show of empathy this entire flick, decides instead to send the Monster to Rome, where he'll be safe. Thus we see the Monster being bundled into a coach with Carl the Sidekick - nice and rested after his night of passion - and off the coach goes, with Van Helsing driving. Naturally, Dracula and the brides have learned of this somehow, and the brides come flying along to get the Monster, and possibly kill Van Helsing in the bargain. The coach-chase sequence is actually quite cool (made even more so by the fact that Hugh Jackman did his own stunts), and it ends with a spectacular leap by the horses across the missing portion of the bridge spanning the Unknown River, losing the coach in the process. The brides, bent on having Frankenstein's Monster to bring their babies to life, pursue the coach as it plummets toward the river, leaving Van Helsing alone for the moment. But lo and behold, the Monster is not inside. The brides have been faked out royal, and not a bit of illogic in sight!
Turns out that Frankenstein's Monster is in a second, identical coach, being driven by Anna. However, our heroes are not out of the woods - literally and figuratively - yet, mostly because this blasted film still has another 45 minutes or so to run. Werewolves, it seems, work for Dracula, and just as everyone is congratulating themselves in having outwitted Vlad, along comes Velkanwolf, who attacks Van Helsing and manages to distract him whilst the brides make off with Anna. In the course of the fight, Velkanwolf is killed, and Van Helsing is bitten. Which is great, because it means we're on the downhill side of this interminable film.
Van Helsing and Carl return to...some big city, I don't know. Budapest, maybe, and secret the Monster in another cave. As they wander the streets, wondering how they'll get Anna back, one of Vlad's brides appears - and this isn't as illogical as it might seem upon reading it, for it's decidedly overcast, so we're still holding true to Bram Stoker's novel - and tells Van Helsing he can find Anna at a costume ball that night, being hosted by, of course, Dracula. Van Helsing and Carl return to where they've hidden the Monster to let him know what's going down, and are ambushed, because the bride who spoke with them earlier was following them. Wow; no wonder they're surprised, cause no one would ever think of that. The bride forces Frankenstein's Monster onto a barge, where Dracula whisks him away. In the process of trying to save the Monster, Van Helsing learns from Carl that the Vatican wants the creature dead. Van Helsing has a minor meltdown about how he'll soon be a werewolf and how does the Vatican feel about that, and scene.
So Van Helsing goes to the ball - albeit secretly - to rescue Anna, thinking together they can figure out how to get the Monster back and defeat Dracula. After an opulent dance sequence which shows that pretty much all the guests are vampires, Van Helsing does some cool acrobatics and gets Anna out, and Carl throws in an invention he's been working on that produces radiance equivalent to sunlight into the ballroom.
Aaaand we have another problem.
Because even with the über-vamp explanation, which the movie never actually gives us, Dracula still should have snuffed it here. When Spike wore the Scrubbing Bubbles Pendant, it gave off the same sort of effect as Carl's invention does, and the Scrubbing Bubbles Pendant destroyed all the über-vamps. So why does Dracula survive? The only explanation at this point is there's still about 30 minutes left to this film. Yeah, it's the Never-Ending Picture, but at least we're getting closer to the blessed relief of the end credits.
So Van Helsing, Carl and Anna start trying to figure out how to kill Dracula and get the cure for Van Helsing when it finally dawns on all of them to wonder why Vlad has this werewolf cure. This leads Carl to recall the animated diorama he found after having his bit of fluff, and he brings it up so they all can read. Finally, they tell us all that in this film, for whatever reason, Dracula can only be killed by a werewolf, which leads to the obvious deduction that Drac has the cure so he can stop any werewolf who gets the idea to try and off him by curing the person. There's also an emblem at the bottom of the diorama that matches the signet ring that Van Helsing wears (yeah, they showed us that way back in the first reel, but it isn't mentioned again till it's needed, which is right now) and Van Helsing puts his ring in the depression and a mirror appears, a mirror that leads to what seems to be a parallel dimension, where we find Castle Dracula. It's also very, very cold in this dimension, though why that matters other than to explain why Dracula and his brides looked like they were being iced down when they disappeared after the village raid fiasco in the second reel is beyond me.
So our heroes cross over and make their plan: Van Helsing will get himself to Dracula's lab, ready for his transformation to Van Helsingwolf. Anna and Carl are to find Frankenstein's Monster and the cure, and meet up with Van Helsing before midnight tolls its last stroke. And even here, this close to the end, the film mucks it up. According to the earlier discussion regarding Velkanwolf, the newly-cursed werewolf has 24 hours from his first full moon to be cured, yet here we are with Van Helsing, facing his first full moon, admonishing his motley crew to arrive before the final stroke of midnight or else to kill him. According to the movie's own rules, he should be OK until the following night at midnight. Then again, why follow rules when you can set up an ostensibly suspenseful sequence. Like we believe for two seconds Van Helsing will become a werewolf permanently.
Carl and Anna disperse to complete their tasks whilst Van Helsing heads towards Dracula's lab. Where Dracula's already got Frankenstein's Monster strapped to the table, so it's a fairly small leap of logic to determine that the baby vamps are gonna come to life, meaning