Van Helsing Fought Dr. Moreau in a Comic Book Sequel to the Movie


In addition to being a showcase for Hugh Jackman’s great hair, Van Helsing was also an attempt to revive and reinvent the Universal Classic Monsters. In the 2004 film (now streaming on Peacock!), the titular vampire-hunter faces off with Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and even Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was meant to be the start of a franchise and, presumably, Van Helsing would’ve fought other iconic monsters and ghouls in subsequent films. Alas, there was no sequel — but Van Helsing did fight another early horror icon in a single-issue comic book released shortly after the film premiered. 

If you track down Van Helsing: From Beneath the Rue Morgue, you’ll get to see Van Helsing fight Doctor Moreau (and, maybe, in a way, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, too). 

Van Helsing was supposed to be a franchise-starter, an action-adventure-horror blend in the style of The Mummy, which was a huge hit. So confident was Universal that the movie would spawn sequels that they paid extra to keep the Transylvania sets standing after filming was complete on the assumption that they’d come back and use them for the follow-up films. However, despite being a fun romp, Van Helsing got negative reviews, and despite grossing $300 million — a bit shy of double its budget — there was no clamoring for a sequel. At least, not on the big screen. 

A Decade Before the Dark Universe, Van Helsing Was a Wild Remix of Universal’s Monster Worlds
Why the NFL Owes a Debt of Gratitude to Stephen Sommers’ Wild Monster Mash Movie
The Universal Classic Monster Movies Are Essential Streaming for Any Horror Fan

That Time Van Helsing Fought Doctor Moreau in the Comics

Van Helsing: From Beneath the Rue Morgue, a one-shot comic from Dark Horse Comics, isn’t exactly a sequel. Instead, the action actually takes place during the events of the film. The movie begins with Van Helsing defeating Mr. Hyde, and that’s where the comic picks up. Upon escaping from the authorities who have fingered him for the murder of Dr. Jeykll, Van Helsing finds himself in Paris’ sewers, where he’s attacked by an invisible creature. 

Eventually, while trying to escape the creature, Van Helsing gets trapped in an underground laboratory full of half-human, half-beast creatures — the work of one Dr. Moreau, from H.G. Wells’ story, The Island of Doctor Moreau. (Although not technically one of the official Universal Classic Monsters, Dr. Moreau fits right in thematically. The story is in the public domain, and while the famous 1933 adaptation, Island of Lost Souls, was a Paramount production, it was very much a contemporary of Dracula, Frankenstein, and their ilk.)

Van Helsing realizes that the invisible thing that’s been hunting him has been injected with a serum of invisibility, teeing up a nice little Easter egg where Van Helsing recalls an “Englishman” turning invisible in West Sussex — aka the plot of The Invisible Man, another Wells story and a 1933 Universal Monster picture. When Van Helsing tries to arrest Dr. Moreau for his role in creating these abominations, which have been killing people, the mad doctor sets them loose on him. Van Helsing manages to revert the creature’s invisibility, revealing it to be a semi-aquatic humanoid that could be viewed as a Gil-Man stand-in, bringing 1954’s The Creature From the Black Lagoon into Van Helsing’s world.

The story climaxes when the spirit of a medium, whom Van Helsing had met earlier before she was killed by the invisible creature, reveals that the monster is in fact her husband who had been transformed by Moreau’s experiments. Knowing that the creature was once human and is suffering, Van Helsing opts not to take it back to the Vatican with him and lets it go before moving on to his next adventure — the rest of the events of the film.

Doctor Moreau, meanwhile, escapes and decides that he can’t continue his research. He’s last seen sailing off with some of his monsters and musing that he should “move to an island perhaps. Somewhere drastic, like… the South Seas,” thereby teeing up the events of the Island of Doctor Moreau.

Sadly, Van Helsing: From Beneath the Rue Morgue is long out of print and it’s difficult to get one’s hands on a copy. But, if you’re really enjoying streaming the movie on Peacock and want more of Van Helsing’s adventures, it’s worth trying to track down for one more monster mash.

Catch Van Helsing, now streaming on Peacock! 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *