I Am Van Helsing

catalogue essay for the exhibition ESCAPE OPTION, Westspace, Melbourne, 2004

Van Helsing will be in theatres May 7th. Like, I can't wait. I love movies that are so ubiquitous that I don't even need to know what 'theatre' it's actually playing in. I could walk into a 7-11 and it'll probably be playing. Hey - here's a banner on a website telling me again. I can squint hard and still see its evocative Gothic logo. Wow - there's a fucking 10 metre billboard outside. I feel so dwarfed by its rockin' cockin' size. Van Helsing is everywhere so much it just makes me want to see any movie. I don't care, just shove it in me, ram it up me, blow it all over me. "Van Helsing is me." I'm my own ad line for my own movie. I gaze into its tacky airbrushed artwork done by hacks who probably think Lord of The Rings is a statement on the 'awesome' special effects that cinema now gives us. I stand underneath the majesty of the Van Helsing billboard, quivering at the art of computers. My imagination is so excited by the gnarly winged beast in the background. I better ring mum and tell her I'm OK in case she's worried by such frightening realism in this revolutionary era of digital cinema. The lettering looks like it's made of fucking metal. How did they achieve such realism? And there's a hairy Hugh Jackman and some actress who I don't know - the standard 'Hollywood girlfriend' deal. I'll wait til next week's New Idea to find out about her enriched life. I'm so in love with movies these days and the high production values they bring to me and the pathetic life I lead. As I wither away, doing nothing but menial tasks on OS-X, I'm saved from throwing myself into the Yarra because Hollywood is heeding my call for something 'edgy', 'kick-arse', 'in-your-face'. I demand such things, and as I look into the mirror, I can securely say "yes - you are important". Because Van Helsing is me; I am Van Helsing. I look at Hugh's leather pants, and thrill to the notion of wearing leather pants. My impotency can dance large in such attire. I don them and prance upon my Ikea furniture as I play the soundtrack loud - classic expensive symphonic stuff of which I know nothing but nonetheless demand. I know 'quality' when I hear it, so don't presume I'm a moron. I've read Joseph Campbell. I don't do escapism. I demand my movies to have substance and follow the hero's journey. Because I am a hero. Bend over and let me lick you, Hollywood. Hugh, come a bit closer. And you - chick with the Benny Hill bustier - go get us a designer beer. Because on May 7th, we are Van Helsing.

Text © Philip Brophy. Images © Universal Pictures.