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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Van Helsing (2004)

This movie is Not Good. But it is a Good Time.


I'm a huge fan of Stephen Sommers. The Mummy is one of my all time favorite movies because it delivers on fun and action in a way I hadn't seen before and have rarely seen since. Van Helsing is nowhere near as successful but it's really hard to argue with it.


I forgot how much I love the black and white intro and the beautiful transition into full color. A+ work. The story does an equally good job of melding multiple Universal Monsters into the same moment.


Richard Roxburgh is an actor who understands the assignment, though I think he's underappreciated for it. He takes Dracula, as Ben said, to eleven and then leaves it there. It seems like he's having a blast the whole time which makes it even better. He plays Dracula with a bumpit and that's terrific.

Another stand out for me is the Alan Silvestri score. There was a period of time when I lived my life set to the track "Transylvanian Horses" and I think I need to reincorporate it into my every day life.


I dressed as Princess Anna for Gen Con when I was 19 or 20 and I could stand to reincorporate aspects of that costume into my every day life again.


I find I don't have a lot to say about this one. It was a romp, it still is! Not much to dissect but lots to enjoy. It might also be because my brain is mush because of work right now but goodness me, this is the perfect movie for mushy brain times. If you've never seen it and you can enjoy the stupid things, give it a try. Or revisit it!


Charcoal and colored pencil.


Takeaways:

-I intended to do this in full color with colored pencils but I started to rough it in with white charcoal and just kept going. I used a black colored pencil to correct some errant smudges. I would, true to form, enjoy working in this medium again. I think I have oodles to learn.

-This is from maybe the quietest moment in the film when Van Helsing is creeping through the town and it's snowing and it is So Dark. I kind of wish I would have felt more confident leaving it with less detail but it felt like it needed more. Maybe I'll revisit it.

-Working in this sort of indirect light/b&w style makes me miss the days I could enjoy Frank Miller's work without being disappointed by his... Frank Miller-ness. Alas. Perhaps I should revisit Tim Sale. He's done some b&w pieces that absolutely sing. And he uses the really clean lines I love.

-I've been having MASSIVE anxiety this last week. Lots due for various jobs. It was manifesting physically, even after I turned stuff in. But I sat down to work on this and all those symptoms went away. I lost myself in this and finished it in an afternoon/evening. The power of art!


Speaking of which, the day I'm posting this, 4/15, is World Art Day! Go make some art if you're reading this. Or look at some. Or whatever. Get your art on.


See you next week for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! (The 90s classic with incredible full body costumes. Cowabunga!)



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