Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Frankenstein: Koontz's Van Gossing

Van Helsing (2004)

Ten years after Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 2004 was the Year of the Monster. There are seven items from that year in this list (three movies and four comics) and I've got no recollection what the catalyst was.

Van Helsing should have been an awesome movie. It's got Hugh Jackman being all Hugh Jackmany, Kate Beckinsale kicking ass, and the Unholy Trinity of Movie Monsters all in the same film. But never underestimate the power of a lame story (Van Helsing is really an angel!) or director Stephen Sommers' willingness to use cheap CGI in inappropriate ways.

Its version of the Monster is a simple, raging brute, but actor Shuler Hensley went on to play a much more fun version of the character in the Broadway adaptation of Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein.

Frankenstein (2004)

I've mentioned some other, reportedly faithful adaptations this month, but Hallmark's version is the most faithful I've actually seen for myself. It's an excellent adaptation with only two flaws: William Hurt (Professor Waldman) doing a German accent and Luke Goss' Monster isn't hideous enough. He's very faithful to Shelley's description, but (cool scowl notwithstanding) the makeup department didn't create a believable reason for the other characters to be frightened by him. As I wrote when I first saw it, "he looked and sounded like a nice young man with a skin condition."

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein (2004)

When Dean Koontz helped create and then disassociated himself from USA's Frankenstein (with Martin Scorsese as an executive producer), I assumed it must be pretty terrible. Surprisingly, I liked it quite a bit.

Like Hallmark's version, the Monster's too pretty, but the concept is cool. Doctor Frankenstein - or rather, Shelley's inspiration for creating the character - is continuing his quest to create the perfect human and discarding any flawed creations along the way. When one of those creations goes on a killing spree, detectives Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg investigate, as does the mad doctor's original Creature (Vincent Perez).

When Koontz left the project, he teamed up instead with various writers to create a book series more in line with his vision (there's also a comics adaptation of that series). I still need to read those, because I'm curious to see what he thinks the flaws are in the filmed version and how he fixes them.


Alexandre Augusto Ferreira said...

AMAZING blog!!!!!!!!

Michael May said...

Aww, thanks!

Mike D. said...

I read the KOONTZ series...Amazing writing...once you get started you read until you're exhausted. That's the thing about Ol' Dean...he has a way with words that just sucks you in and chews you up slowly....
Would make an excellent Mini series.

Michael May said...

I've got another friend who loved them too, so I'm eager to get into them.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the creature is not overtly monster looking serves a purpose. Shelly wrote the create as essentially human looking for a reason. The creature is not a monster because of how it looks, it is a monster due to its actions and the choices it makes.


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