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Mark G sends in his take on 1st 10minutes of VAN HELSING + WIMBLEDON, THUNDERBIRDS and CREEP with Franka Potente!

Hey folks, Harry here with a report from Munich Film Week, where the studios show off their wares for foreign distributors and some press. Sounds like the first 10 minutes of VAN HELSING are exactly as written in the script I've read. Fun stuff, but I'm still concerned about how the tone of that film develops with the introduction of the Kevin J O'Connor's character, which as written was a complete annoyance. Really looking forward to the British horror film, CREEP. That sounds aces!

Hi there Harry & company,

last year I sent in a report about Showest 2003 in Las Vegas, which you posted to my surprise. This year, I can tell you a little bit about the Muenchner Filmwoche (Munich Film Week) which takes place every January, where almost all of the German distributors show their product reels to the exhibitors who are in attendance from all over Germany and Austria.

As usual, never mind my English. 95 % of the stuff we saw, was not new, so I just want to tell you about the stuff, which is probably news to you.  

First of all, at the UIP event, we were watching the first ten minutes of Van Helsing, which, according to the UIP chief Paul Steinschulte, was a world premiere. Stephen Sommers did some introductory remarks on tape.


The movie starts with the famous Universal logo, which, while turning black and white, turns into a fireball of a torch, which belongs to the mob outside a castle. Inside, Dr. Frankenstein awakens the monster while the mob tries to break in to kill it. After the successful awakening we can see Count Dracula who - as we find out - financed the whole endeavour, apparently because his three brides wanted him to (?!?). Since he doesn't need the Doctor anymore, he kills him (his jaws/teeth reminded me a bit of Fright Night). In the meantime the monster gets rid of the straps on the table and flees with the body of his "father" to the nearby windmill. The mob follows him and puts the windmill on fire. The mob panics as the count and his three brides fly towards the windmill. Apparently they arrive too late, as the windmill collapses.

Cut to Paris at night (now in color), where Van Helsing removes a Wanted Poster (I think it was him on it) and walks into Notre Dame where a very tall (think Hulk) Mr. Hyde is expecting him. After a long fight, including a huge church bell and the loss of one of Mr. Hydes arms (as soon as it is cut off, it turns into the arm of Dr. Jekyll), Hyde falls to his death from the top of one of the towers of Notre Dame. The people in front of the church scream murderer to Van Helsing as the body lying on the floor now belongs to a mere mortal (Dr. Jekyll, of course).


That's what we saw. Not all of the fx were finished, especially the church bell. Even though Summers tries very hard to get the look of the old Universal Horror movies right, I just wish he would have gone all the way and filmed the opening scene in b/w instead of just showing it in b/w (parts of the opening scenes can be seen in color in the trailer). Unfortunately, after the opening ten minutes I was not hungry for more. Of course, I will watch the movie in May when it comes out, but I'm not dying to see it.  

At the same trade show, Jonathan Frakes was in attendance and introduced us to about ten minutes of Thunderbirds. There's not much to tell you about it, since it was more like a 10 minute trailer with no full scene. But it looks like Kids Fun á la Spy Kids. I'm old enough to remember repeats of the puppet series during the seventies, but also probably too old to go see this movie today.  

Also at the UIP event we were treated to a couple of minutes of Wimbledon, Richard Loncraines Rocky on a tennis court meets Let's fall in love with Kirsten Dunst (always a good idea). Since I am a sucker for romantic movies, I am going to see this one, especially because of the quality Working Title pictures usually guarantee.  

At the X-Film trade show (the company responsible for some fine movies like Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) and Good Bye Lenin!) we saw two minutes of Franka's (Potente) new (British) movie Creep, which will be released around Halloween. Franka falls asleep in a subway station. When she wakes up, everything is closed. Basically, from now on we just see her running around, screaming and hiding in no particular order. Too early to tell how this one is going. It looks a bit like a mixture of 28 Days Later underground and Mute Witness (two movies I liked).  

The last time you called my report excruiciatingly brief, I hope this time it's not. For all your German readers, here's the LINK to my German language report.

Bye, Mark G.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 18, 2004, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Mr Hyde/Franky

    by Kungfumanchu

    Hopefully I'm wrong, but the cgi clips of Hyde & Frankenstein in the trailer give me unpleasant flashbacks to the piece o' shit that was L.O.G.

  • Jan. 18, 2004, 9:42 p.m. CST

    van helsing will kick ass

    by someguy2525

    even tho some of the CGI is a little overdone (the wolfman) this looks to hold my attention as a good movie. plua hugh jackman kicked ass in the x men movies

  • Jan. 18, 2004, 9:47 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    VAN HELSING sounds like a rental at best. Mr. Hyde and Dracula and Frankenstein and the Wolfman? Come on now! Shades of LOG!

  • Jan. 18, 2004, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Van Helsing is worrying me a little these days

    by Goneburger

    After seeing the trailer and this guy's reports that it didn't really drag him in, i'm starting to worry about how good van helsing will be. Hoping that they pull it off, but that last sequence of the trailer did absolutely nothing for me (the well part) and 3 villains? (as well as dr jekyll, who only lasts the first ten minutes?) I think what i was wanting to see was a movie devoted to Van Helsing taking out Dracula, not a montage of monsters from around Transylvania. I loved the mummy, hated the mummy returns, but still really want to love Van Helsing, so prove me wrong. Please.

  • Jan. 18, 2004, 10:14 p.m. CST

    LXG Redux

    by Veraxus

    Sounds just like I'd feared... the semi-official sequel to League of Impotent Gentlemen. No more cinematic vomit for me, thanks.

  • Jan. 18, 2004, 11:40 p.m. CST

    mute witness

    by speed

    i really enjoyed that flick. it was fun and scary and i went in knowing nothing at all about it.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Fright Night

    by Anomaly

    Now there's a great flick.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Van Helsing will be amazing

    by AlwaysThere

    Count on it.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:22 a.m. CST


    by Renata

    The only thing missing is ABBOT AND COSTELLO. Yak.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:32 a.m. CST

    It's a good thing Abbot and Costello aren't in this-

    by Stan the Bat

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:33 a.m. CST

    -otherwise there'd be nobody left to fight in the sequel.

    by Stan the Bat

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:39 a.m. CST

    I'd buy that!

    by Veraxus

    Abbot & Costello meet Van Helsing? Hey, I'd pay to see that. This... I wouldn't wipe my ass with the film it was shot on.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:39 a.m. CST

    No, seriously,

    by Stan the Bat

    who'd they leave? The Creature from the Black Lagoon? The Abominable Dr. Phibes? The Hound of the Baskervilles? Heat Miser? Who's Hugh gonna fight in the second movie?

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 12:47 a.m. CST


    by BillEmic

    Hm, sounds like VH will be more than a letdown to anyone that is eagerly anticipating it. Considering Sommers' track record (Gunmen, Deep Rising, The Mummy franchise), I'm definitely being cautious. But if this movie fails to even excite during the action sequences, this'll be really dismal. I mean, c'mon: Hugh Jackman versus Mr. Hydge?! That should be an adrenaline rush.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 1:19 a.m. CST

    I find Franka Potente extremely hot.

    by Cash Bailey

    I don

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Cash I totally agree about Franka

    by BlackBeltJones

    She definitely has a natural beauty to her. And it pisses me off that she is not brought in for more mainstream movie pictures in the US. She is a great actress and a looker also. The Belt Has Spoken!

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Missing monsters?

    by Holly_Wight

    The following classic monsters may be missing from "Van Helsing": Gill Man (Creature from the Black Lagoon), The Bride (of Frankenstein), The Phantom (of the Opera), The Mummy (pick one), The Invisible Man, The Fly, The Hunchback (of Notre Dame). Also, I would like to see the following bad new monster cliches forever banished, because I suspect they are the result of overzealous CGI animators: Vampires turning into a FLOCK of bats, HUGE Mr. Hyde, Invisible Man eats or drinks something, Adam's (Frankenstein's Monster) skeleton visible when struck by lightning, Vampires crawling on walls or ceilings, long-ass werewolf transformations, long-ass Jeckyl/Hyde transformations, and all female vampires have big tits and look like Baywatch cast members.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 1:50 a.m. CST

    LOL! Heat Miser!

    by Holly_Wight

    "My name is Heat Miser, I'm Mr. Sun... I'm Mr. green Christmas, I'm Mr. One-Hundred-And-One. Friends call me Heat Miser, whatever I touch, starts to melt in my-" THWACK! ARGH!

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 1:57 a.m. CST

    Van Hesling is 2004's UNDERWORLD/LXG.

    by KAWS

    Someone in a black getup, chasing around or/and killing creatures, with a Batman/Blade booomerang weapon motif. I hate you Hollywood. Expect a HUGE flop at the box office, and everybody wondering what went wrong. I'll tell you...the CONCEPT for starters.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 2 a.m. CST


    by KAWS

    I meant Helsing...either way it's gonna bomb.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Guilty pleasures...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...I love all Sommers' movies. I know, I know... they're shite, but I can't help it. Something about the gleefully applied overdose of cheese always brings a smile to my face. Van Helsing looks to be just as much fun in the same way. On another note, Fright Night is terrific. "Oh, you're so cool, Brewster!"

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Speaking of FRIGHT NIGHT...

    by Cash Bailey

    Did everyone here know that Stephen Geoffreys (aka: 'Evil Ed') is now a low-rent gay porn star? It's true, they had pictures in Empire magazine.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Jesus, Cash...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...that's quite shocking. I thought he looked pretty bad in Moon 44, but little did I suspect his career was in such a nosedive. "mmmmm-MM! His dinner is in the OVEN!"

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 5:37 a.m. CST

    CREEP = RAW MEAT remake

    by godoffireinhell

    Cannibals in the subway tunnels ... Could be cool but the best part about the original was Donald Pleasence's performance as the detective.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Holly Wight

    by Ribbons

    No more eating and drinking coolness from The Invisible Man? Like, in the history of movies? I don't know, I'd have to leave that one off the list.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Some of you cats are FUNNY.

    by Devil'sOwn

    Seriously, shouldn't you be writing for like, Wayne Brady or something, instead of wasting your talents on such trivialities as Van Helsing? Now, if all the pompous zitpricks are done, I would like to say Sommers' The Mummy was an enjoyable, purely entertaining movie, Hugh Jackman is an engaging screen hero, and I have practically been waiting for this movie since Sir Tony Hopkins' take on Vampire-Hunter-as-gunslinger in Bram Stoker's Dracula, so snobby naysayers be damned!! It wouldn't matter if this movie was a runaway success with nearly universal praise- you belligerent butt-plugs would find a way to bitch about it. That's all you do.

  • Jan. 19, 2004, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Ummm....and being like "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" i

    by Ribbons

    Wow, this movie's going to suck because it spotlights a who's who of monster baddies from Victorian/Romantic English literature......kind of like that other piece of crap, "'LXG!'" So you KNOW this is gonna suck! Last time I checked, folks, that crappy movie also shares a basic conceit with one of the better "Team of Superheroes" comic series to hit the shelves in the last 4 years. You're trying way too hard. All of your comparisons of this movie to 'Underworld' and 'Blade' are superficial at best, superficial conjecture at worst. The trailer didn't do anything for you in terms of action? Perhaps you may have been looking for more in a scene than it made any claim to be, but fine. Okay. This movie's gonna flop because it has vampire hunters and famous literary characters in it? First of all, and I know this is pretty wild, but I have absolutely no interest in hearing that any of you "told [me] so" come May 10. Who the fuck cares about whether or not a movie's going to implode at the box office anyway? I do understand that some of you highlight its similarities in style to a couple of well-known flops because you're getting sick of Hollywood presenting you with movies you never asked for, but that brings me to point Number 2: You know fuck-all about the quality of this movie. Yeah, it has lone vampire hunters a la the Blade series and 'Underworld.' It also has werewolves and vampires and priests (oh my!!!) in the vein of a lot of portentous crap that's flooded the market of late. Does that necessarily make it bad? For all you know, the way they handle Van Helsing is more complex/satisfying/interesting than Beckinsale's own interpretation of the "archetype." A couple of things are for sure: I know he's not a vampire who needs some sort of wacky garlic serum to keep his "thirst" in check, he doesn't wear sunglasses, his partner in crime is significantly more nubile than Kris Kristofferson, and he won't powerbomb any of Dracula's henchmen, so expect this to take a different journey than 'Blade' or 'Blade II.' Perhaps you're still not convinced. Perhaps you've been set against this movie and everything it stands for from the get-go, so much so that you're even beginning to resent Hugh Jackman, who's done nothing in particular to you, for being in a star vehicle. "These movies," you sagely explain, "they're never any good." Well guess what? If all of this invective has been spilled outward just because you know instictively that "these movies" are a complete waste of time, you shouldn't be wasting your (and our) time writing about them, being beneath you as they are. Then again, maybe that's the point. In any case, I have to side with Devil's Own: give this movie a chance. Sure, it won't reinvent the wheel, but it's got a couple of things going for it, and chances are (if you walk in with a reasonable set of expectations) you'll leave the theater more satisfied than you would have been had you stayed at home. Stay calm, voice opinions that you're actually qualified to formulate, and it'll all be rainbows and skittles. As for those of you who do feel a movie like this is beneath the time you're willing to give it as a viewer, well, either do something more constructive with your valuable time or shut the fuck up. Because frankly, to dust off an old chestnut, I have no interest in hearing that you told us so. Here's hoping that I didn't offend anyone's basketcase sensibilities too much with this post. I promise you, I won't step on your glasses and give you a wedgie. ;-)

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 12:01 a.m. CST


    by Judge Doom

    Hats of to you mate. These buggers don't like fun movies anymore, just crap like Lost in Translations or something.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 12:34 a.m. CST

    ummm...being like LXG has been a bad thing since EVER

    by Kungfumanchu

    Ribbons,I can agree with most all of your post 'cept for the subject line. LXG was a pile for many reasons,but to me mainly because it forgot to do something the best big dumb action films do - have fun. Sommers films may not win awards but at least they have a sense of fun, some halfway decent dialogue(for what they are)& fast pacing, kinda like an old serial. LXG had none of those things & cheesy effects to boot.I'm all about some cheese if you can give me something to go with it,but combine it with a wooden script & lackluster direction & it's fatal. As a horror buff,I'm rooting for Van Helsing to kick my ass, but it's hard not to flashback to LXG when the Hyde in the trailer & LXG's version look so similar. Here's to hoping the two films are nothing alike & Van Helsing's great fun.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 2:07 a.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I was referencing in the beginning of my post was the one from the comics. 'LXG' did have problems, but the concept isn't what made it suck; Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's work is testament to that. So all I was saying is that all this talk about how 'Van Helsing' is destined for failure because it has some sort of All-Star Team-Up thing going on is premature. The material that the movie they're using as proof was derived from a very good comic series. So yes, being compared to 'LXG' is a bad thing, but only in execution. Yeah, I didn't make that point very clear, sorry. You get the drift though.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 4:26 a.m. CST

    I never thought I'd see the day...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...when there would arise a grassroots rebellion against the maladjusted, malodorous multitudes of basement besserwissers in the AICN TBs. It almost brings a tear to my eye. What's even better is the response said rebellion has provoked -- either stunned silence from the usual jackasses as they (hopefully) contemplate their embarrassing personas, and -- even funnier -- the occasional loudmouth who lacks any type of self-control or self-confidence and reveals him/herself as the very contemptible "pringles-sitter" DevilsOwn shone a light upon in an earlier post. Oh, happy day.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 4:34 a.m. CST

    While on the subject...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...of "who stole what from who", the first time I saw Vampire Hunter D I immediately thought "futuristic Solomon Kane with vampires". My point is, with all the cross-pollenation going on within popular culture, it becomes utterly futile to start pointing out borrowed elements or "thefts" since most geeks and fans are already aware of them. It has the opposite effect of making you seem clever or edgy. In fact, it makes you look like a humorless, obvious twat. I'll say it again: NOBODY is impressed, mmmm'kay?

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 7:32 a.m. CST


    by Kungfumanchu

    Yeah,I caught that on a second read thru & agree 100%.LXG had great source material & fouled it up by scrapping & changing huge chunks of it(Tom Sawyer,WTF?),not because it had a team of literary characters. To me,Van Helsing would seem to be more akin to multiple monster flicks like House of Dracula & House of Frankenstein.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 1:24 p.m. CST

    I just LOVE it when they do stuff with the Universal globe.

    by RobinP

    My favorite is still the long, looooong zoom from space to the suburb in The 'Burbs. ILM deserved an Oscar for that one alone.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 5:43 p.m. CST

    League o' Reasonably Bright Fellas.

    by Devil'sOwn

    Ribbons, as always, perfect job of elaborating. It infuriates this imp that people abitrarily dismiss this movie because it bears some superficial resemblances to other movies they didn't like. It perturbs me that people are so willing to trash this flick before it gets out of the gate because, let me see if I got this staight, it has the "misfortune" of being released after these other movies. I try to be fair, but doesn't this sound like a lazy man's game? Like something the worst kind of critics do? If you could at least try to give some logical, rational reasons why this particular work is going to suck like a tornado, I wouldn't say a word! I don't think we are privy to any special information. Anybody who cared to bother knew this movie was coming out nearly a year ago, and it never advertised itself as anything other than what it is: a genre action picture, certainly not the next... well, what the fuck do you people like anyway? Look kids, until my friends and I film our concept of wimpy neb besieged by vampires (Damn! Now somebody's gonna steal it), this is kinda what you have to expect.*** Yes, KungFuManchu (great name, btw), LXG was a letdown for me on many levels. Even after telling myself repeatedly it wasn't gonna be like the magnificent series it was based on, I still had trouble accepting assed-out performances, a meandering plotline, and Flash Gordon-esque special effects (WTF, indeed). As you said, cheese CAN be sold. But it has to be packaged with styyylle.*** DocPazuzu, you made an outstanding point. I can only hope some process it. Hope springs eternal. And your thoughts upon first viewing Vampire Hunter D reflect mine: Hey, this a post-apocalyptic Solomon Kane/ Man With No Name with vampires! Since then, I'm sure you have had to endure numerous oh-so-witty references to this cult-classic. Some genius has a couple psynapses fire whenever a movie with similar themes comes along, and we are subjected half-assed observations about how x-movie looks like Bram Stoker's Dracula meets Highlander, or some other gloriously imaginative tripe.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 10:55 p.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    Also looking forward to 'Wimbledon.' I don't know anything about it except for the fact that it has a good cast, and I keep picturing that breakdown scene in 'The Royal Tenenbaums' whenever I hear mention of it. I doubt it'll be like that movie at all, but I'm keen on seeing it anyway.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 10:57 p.m. CST

    Devil's Own

    by Ribbons

    Thanks for the compliments. Nice to see you active on the talkback circuit once more.

  • Jan. 20, 2004, 11:43 p.m. CST

    I perused the quicktime...and it looks bad...

    by Yossarian

    but in that good sorta way, but it doesn't matter. The best monster ensemble film was definately Monster Squad. "I just kicked the Wolfman in the nads!" When I was eight, this was the height of comedy.