Abraham Van Helsing
I’m back from the dead, my beloved blood suckers.
And today I bring you some information about Van Helsing… There are a lot of vampire legends in the world, and also a lot of people who hunt those vampires.
Dracula got his own hunter, maybe so famous as he is, Professor Abraham Van Helsing is, probably, the most famous vampire hunter in the whole world.
Created by Bram Stoker, Van Helsing is a Dutch doctor with a wide range of interests and accomplishments, partly attested by the string of letters that follows his name: “M.D., D.Ph., D.Litt., etc.”
In the novel, Van Helsing is called in by his former student, Dr. John Seward, to assist with the mysterious illness of Lucy Westenra. Van Helsing’s friendship with Seward is based in part upon an unknown prior event in which Van Helsing suffered a grievous wound and Seward saved his life by sucking out the gangrene. It is Van Helsing who first realizes that Lucy is the victim of a vampire and he guides Dr. Seward and his friends in their efforts to save Lucy. Van Helsing also appears in the Dracula 2000 Movie and in the The Tomb of Dracula Marvel Comics series, which was based on the characters of Bram Stoker’s novel, but the chronology slightly differs from Bram Stoker’s.
Abraham Van Helsing opened the doors to the creators, and, based on his existence, the other movie directors, writes, artists and producers created thousand of new vampire hunters.
It looks like any famous vampire in the world has his own hunter, except Edward Cullen. Even Lestat has the Talamasca (nor really hunters) to annoy him.
Based on Dracula, Nosferatu is another classic vampire. His hunter is named Professor Bulwer and appears only in a few scenes.
The Hammer movies had created a lot of versions to Van Helsing, sometimes with the same name. One of them is J. Van Helsing, as seen in The Brides of Dracula. In the series of Hammer Dracula films set in the 1970s, the character of Van Helsing is named Lawrence Van Helsing and is seen in the prologue (set in 1872) of Dracula AD 1972. These movies had Dracula being resurrected in the 1970s only to meet Lawrence’s grandson, Lorrimar Van Helsing, a “different” vampire hunter.
In 2004 Van Helsing became a movie. Hugh Jackman played Gabriel Van Helsing, the eponymous hero of Van Helsing, loosely based on Bram Stoker’s character. The name was changed from “Abraham” to “Gabriel” for two reasons: because the writer/director/producer, Stephen Sommers, did not feel that “Abraham” was an appropriate name for an action hero, and because Universal wanted copyright privileges to the character. The name change is accounted for in the story of the film, in which it is implied that Gabriel Van Helsing is actually the Archangel Gabriel in human form. Gabriel hunts monsters for the Catholic Church, and in the movie is sent to Transylvania to kill Count Dracula. When he arrives, Dracula tells Gabriel that they have already met and have quite a history together.
Normally, the hunters are associated with the church, but this is a Bram Stoker’s stigma.
Abraham Van Helsing has also made a cameo appearance in the Japanese manga Hellsing. The first time he appeared in one of Alucard´s dreams, Van Helsing made many allusions to Dracula when referring to Alucard e.g. “So what are you going to do now, No Life King?”. At the end of this dream, Alucard seems to cry blood. The second time Van Helsing appeared as a silhouette after Alucard transforms into the “Count”, this last one is the most direct reference to the novel in the manga, since this time besides Van Helsing, Alucard mentions Quincey Morris, Arthur Holmwood and Dr. Seward, although, mysteriously, not Jonathan Harker. He appeared for a third time in a flashback showing Alucard’s previous deaths. In the manga series, Alucard’s Master is called Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, and she owns an organization with her own name, Hellsing.
- The comic book series, The Tomb of Dracula featured Rachel van Helsing, granddaughter of Abraham, as a major member of the principal hunters. Minor characters were Abraham’s wife Elizabeth and his brother Boris.
- In the manga and anime, Hellsing, modern day descendant Integra Hellsing leads a British government strike force against supernatural menaces. The story also includes her father Arthur and uncle Richard.
- The DC comic Night Force features Abraham’s granddaughter Vanessa Van Helsing.
- Sword of Dracula is a comic book with Veronica “Ronnie” Van Helsing.
- Helsing (not to be confused with Hellsing) is a Caliber Comics title about a Samantha Helsing and a John Van Helsing.
- The Vampirella comic books feature father-son vampire hunters Conrad and Adam van Helsing.
- Dracula 3000 features Captain Abraham Van Helsing (played by Casper Van Dien), a descendent of the original Van Helsing and the captain of a spacefaring salvage ship. A twist is that this Van Helsing is killed unceremoniously by Dracula mid-film.
- Hammer Films’ Dracula series features a whole dynasty of Van Helsings: “J.” (equivalent to Abraham); Lawrence, older than J., relationship unspecified; J.’s son Leyland, Lawrence’s grandson Lorrimar, and Lorrimar’s granddaughter Jessica. Peter Cushing played J. in Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960). Lawrence in a brief opening segment of Dracula AD 1972 (1972), and Lorrimar in Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974); Robin Stewart played Leyland in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires; and Jessica was played first by Stephanie Beacham in Dracula AD 1972, then by Joanna Lumley in The Satanic Rites of Dracula.
- In the Disney movie Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire, Malachi Van Helsing is hunting the vampire Dimitri, who is preying on the mother of the main characters.
- In the comedy movie Love at First Bite, Dracula falls in love, and Jeffrey Rosenberg, grandson of Fritz Van Helsing tries to kill him.
- 2004 direct to video film The Adventures of Young Van Helsing depicts Abraham Van Helsing’s great grand son Michael saving the world from Simon Magus.
- The 2006 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Curse features a character named Jacob Van Helsing, who is inferred to be a descendant of the original Van Helsing, although this is never actually stated outright.
- 2004 film Van Helsing starring Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing.
- 2005 film Way of the Vampire starring Rhett Glies as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing.
- 2009 film Stan Helsing is a satire comedic film revolving around the descendant of Abraham Van Helsing.
- A humorous British TV series, Young Dracula, featured Mr. Eric Van Helsing — presumably the descendant of his more famous predecessor, though with none of his competence — trying to exterminate Count Dracula and his children, who had been chased out of Transylvania by an angry mob and were now living in rural Wales. Eric lives in a travel trailer with his son Jonathan. There are also references made to previous Van Helsing vampire slayers, such as Manly, Porphyria, Abraham III and Norris.
- The 2009 ITV series Demons follows a modern-day teenage descendant of Van Helsing.
- In Tales of the Slayer story “House of the Vampire”, part of an unofficial series of short stories based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Peter Van Helsing (cousin to Abraham) is a Watcher (an advisor and trainer of vampire Slayers.) Within the Buffy canon, Dracula is a real vampire but a charlatan and Van Helsing is unmentioned.
- The TV series Angel (TV series), a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) following the exploits of Buffy Summers’s vampire paramour Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) prominently features a 18th century human vampire-hunting antagonist, based on Van Helsing and named Daniel Holtz who relentlessly tracks Angel across Europe in order to avenge the death of his wife and children.
Books and Stories
- The short story Abraham’s Boys by Joe Hill is about the retired Abraham Van Helsing and his two sons, and how he passes along his knowledge to them. The story is included in the anthology The many faces of Van Helsing.
- The short story “Immortal Hunters” by Suz deMello features John Van Helsing as a reluctant vampire.
- According to The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook, Abraham was not the first Van Helsing to encounter vampires. The book is supposedly written by Raphael Van Helsing in the eighteenth century. It has also been prequeled by The Demon Hunter’s Handbook by Abelard Van Helsing (sixteenth century) and The Dragon Hunter’s Handbook by Adelia Vin Helsin (fourteenth century). The supposed writers refer to each other (in the cases where it makes sense) and other Van Helsings.
- Similar to the above mentioned handbooks is Vampyre: The Terrifying Lost Journal which is written by Mary-Jane Knight but credited to dr Cornelius Van Helsing. The book implies that Cornelius is the brother of Abraham.
- Young Dracula by Michael Lawrence mentions a farmer named Dweeb van Helsing.
- Faith – The Van Helsing Chronicles is a German series of audiobooks by Simeon Hrissonmallis. The main character is Faith van Helsing, daughter of Adam and Melissa van Helsing. Other van Helsings mentioned include Michael, John and Samuel.