VAN HELSING – Season 3 Episode 2 – SPOILERS
In pursuit of his totem, Elder Susan (Hilary Jardine) leads Vanessa, Scarlett, and Axel to an abandoned psychiatric hospital, but even after devouring the local who guided them there, The Elder says that someone is clouding her mind and she cannot pinpoint the location of the artifact. The others go exploring without her, and discover a different sort of vampire living in the derelict facility. These vampires have phosphorescent blood and eyes, and some of them have the power to remotely exert physical pressure on the brain of their attacker, and they can only be killed by a blow (or bullet) to the head. Eight of the nine vampires are killed, but Scarlett bites one of them and turns him human.
The newly re-humanized fellow is Dr. Karloff (Brent Stait), who apparently once ran the asylum before he became a vampire. (The most famous Karloff – Boris – is best known for his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster, but the naming of this character is likely an homage to the 1946 film BEDLAM, in which he played the head of that institution.)
In a flashback to 1906 (the fifth VAN HELSING flashback to a year ending in six), Lillian Van Helsing (Julie Lynn Mortensen) is checked into Renfield House (the very same asylum that Vanessa and the gang are investigating) by her husband Edward Hawkins. (There was a Hawkins in Stoker’s novel. He was Jonathan Harker’s employer, and he left Harker and his wife a lot of money when he died.) Lillian is also looking for something, but she finds something she did not expect, a creature with unusual powers (listed in the credits as a “psychic vampire”), so she must have been looking for something else. The creature kills her quickly.
By 1906, then, the Van Helsing family had not only moved to North America, but also traveled across the continent to the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Karloff is quite insane (he might have been mentally disturbed before becoming a vampire), and subjects Axel to electroshock therapy. Axel manages to kill him, but not before discovering where Lillian is entombed. Vanessa defeats the psychic vamp guarding Lillian’s tomb, and, when her coffin is opened, it turns out that her body has not decomposed at all. Lillian does not wake up, but the possibility of that happening does not seem unreasonable. Vanessa takes a sword, as well as Elder Susan’s totem (which is a bracelet of some sort) from Lillian’s vault.
Elder Susan warns Vanessa about the sword buried with Lillian. “Move away from it, Vanessa,” she says. “Close the lid and return it to its resting place, I beg you. Do not touch it. Do not go near it. It must have had contact with an elder. See the stains? Blood. She must have fought the B’ah at some time in her short life.” (The Elder’s concern seems quite genuine, and one wonders if she fears for her own safety.) Elder Susan takes Vanessa’s head in her hands, and transports her mind into the past, to a place overlooking a harbour full of sailing ships (the home of The B’ah?).
What was Lillian actually looking for at Renfield House, and why was her body preserved? Will Dr. Karloff’s “therapy” have a lasting effect on Axel? Since Vanessa was bitten by The Elder, she craves blood. How long will it be before she needs to feed?
One wonders, is The Elder making others think she looks like Susan, or has he actually taken on Susan’s physical form? (If Dracula could shape shift, why not The Elder?) What would happen if Vanessa and Scarlett were to bite Elder Susan simultaneously (perhaps when the creature was in a weakened state), making him/her human again. Would he remain in Susan’s form or revert to his own?
Brent Stait (Dr. Karloff) is Father Day in RABBIT, a film by Jesse James Miller that stars Derek Hamilton as Michael Kelly, a family man living in the city who receives a letter calling him back to his home town to find his missing brother. Ignoring warnings from the small town’s store owner Claire (Gabrielle Rose), Michael confronts his family’s nemesis (Bill Croft), and re-unites with his ex-lover (Johanna Marlowe). He continues to unearth clues of where his brother might be, as well as some dark secrets that he thought he had left behind. Derek Owen reviewing the movie for GigCity, said: “The film’s plot line runs on a long and slow burn that’s metered out like an IV drip over the course of 90 minutes, slowly and methodically removing each successive obscuring layer until we no longer see through a glass darkly…In the end, every element is woven together seamlessly.” IMDB has a trailer. RABBIT premiered at the 2018 Edmonton International Film Festival.
C. Ernst Harth (Renfield House guard) has an as yet unspecified role in ELSEWHERE, the story of Bruno (played by Aden Young), a man who is very emotionally attached to the seaside cottage that he and his late wife built together. When his in-laws evict him from it, Bruno vows to get it back at any price, and devises a risky plan in which he poses as a handyman for the cottage’s new tenant (Parker Posey). Among others in the cast are Marc Bendavid and Beau Bridges. ELSEWHERE was filmed near Victoria, B.C. and is slated for a 2018 release. It is director Hernán Jiménez’ English-language debut.
Melissa M. Montgomery (Severe Nurse) will be a witch in episode ten of CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, a series based on the Archie comic “Sabrina: the Teenage Witch”. The show re-imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), using elements of horror and the occult as well as witchcraft. It is a dark coming-of-age story that finds Sabrina Spellman struggling to reconcile her half-witch/half-mortal duality, while at the same time battling the evil forces that threaten the daylight world of humans. Sabrina’s mother disappeared after her first birthday, so she is in the care of her Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis). Filmed in Vancouver, the ten-episode first season will be available to stream on Netflix on 26 October. A trailer is available on YouTube.