The film Van Helsing follows many conventions of the Gothic Genre, by portraying the concept that man is usurping the role of God. This theme explores the distinctions between life and death and considers the creation of life a natural process rather than a scientific experiment. Following the traditional conventions of Gothic literature, this film presents Frankenstein’s monster as a supernatural being created through scientific experimentation. Within the film there are intertextual references to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, allowing audiences to form preconceptions that dictate their natural attitudes to the scientific creation of life.The role of God is usurped in the film as Doctor Frankenstein creates a supernatural being from body parts of deceased villagers, and induces life in this being by running electrical currents through its body. The supernatural is conveyed using film techniques such extreme close-ups of Frankenstein’s monster in order to emphasise the distinct monstrous appearance of the figure by emphasising the manual and unnatural construction of its vivid stitching scars and incorporation of machinery into its body. These close-ups of the monster are contrasted with the next scene depicting a close-up of Dr.
Frankenstein. This contrast emphasises the differences between the natural and unnatural appearance of the two figures. From these distinct differences audiences identify that this monster does not physically conform to human standards. However the physical construction and creator of life does not necessarily dictate the inner qualities and humanity that a being possesses. Audiences expect that this figure who is “an unnatural abomination,” as it is not created by God, would be inhumane and uncompassionate.However this assumption proves to be inaccurate.
Frankenstein’s monster may be a supernatural being, and its creation might have been the product of usurping the role of God, however the monster itself is completely human and innocent. These concepts alter the general assumptions we have of the monstrous, supernatural being, but enrich gothic conventions by coining a new character that physically resembles the antagonist but actually embodies the moral and virtuous heroic figure.