Dracula is an unforgettable horror icon, but nearly as iconic as the count himself is the family destined to defeat him. No, Castlevania fans, this does not refer to the Belmonts. Rather, Van Helsing takes the top spot. This professor proves a guiding figure in Bram Stoker’s original novel, and his intel is essential for defeating the vampire.


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When writers bring Dracula into different settings, they often fashion new members in Van Helsing’s bloodline. In every case, it falls to them to stop the resurrected count. Thus, the vampire and his hunter are always intertwined. On the upside, this has led to several memorable members of the Van Helsing family, each a worthy opponent to the legendary villain.

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6/6 Matthew Van Helsing – Dracula 2000

Despite this flick’s silly schlock, one has to admire the preparedness of the resident vampire slayer. Matthew Van Helsing keeps Dracula’s coffin in his residence at all times. True, the count may lay dormant, but why take the chance? This ensures no one accidentally disturbs the vampire and brings his wrath on the world. However, that only scratches the surface of the hero’s devotion.

Matthew is actually Abraham Van Helsing, the one who vanquished Dracula in the 1800s. He’s since used vampiric injections to prolong his life, tainting himself with his enemy’s essence to preserve the greater good. He’s therefore doomed to walk the Earth forever to protect its people from an unseen menace. That demonstrates a watchful nobility that is nearly impossible to top.

5/6 Vanessa Van Helsing

In this comic-turned-TV show, Vanessa is a vampire hybrid whose special blood can turn the blood-suckers back into humans. That could create an intriguing twist on her familial status quo of simply slaying the monsters. Sadly, this heroine is adopted, so she’s unaware of her Van Helsing heritage. Nevertheless, she answers the call to heroism. She does so partly to save the world, but mostly to protect her daughter.

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That’s what distinguishes Vanessa from other Van Helsings. Writers have never explored maternal instinct with this family. Surprisingly, it’s inherently compelling here, grounding the post-apocalyptic setting, ridiculous B-movie aspects, and hokey TV melodrama. More importantly, it makes for some truly heart-wrenching pathos when her vampire tendencies conflict with her kindly nature. That tragic irony permeates Vanessa’s entire character as a uniquely engaging member of the Van Helsing line.

4/6 Robert Van Helsing – Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat

With Bruce Campbell starring in this cult comedy, audiences might assume Robert Van Helsing is just a knockoff Ash from Evil Dead. He’s definitely got the clownish swagger, serving as the butt of several jokes. The colorful characters regularly point out how out-of-place he is in the desert town of Purgatory. Unlike Ash, though, Robert doesn’t counter this with one-liners or machismo.

He works tirelessly to maintain his dignity. Clearly knowledgeable about the occult, he remains professional as he employs that knowledge to seek out Dracula. That’s not easy given the gallows humor surrounding him. Regardless, Robert takes pride in his work and keeps the big picture in mind. Such a farcical contrast might have desecrated the Van Helsing name, but the movie ably walks that tonal tightrope.

3/6 Lorrimer Van Helsing – Dracula A.D. 1972 & The Satanic Rites Of Dracula

Moving its Dracula series to the modern day was among Hammer Film’s worst mistakes, as it butchered many gothic horror aspects which had previously defined the movies. Thankfully, Van Helsing doesn’t suffer from this. After a hiatus, Peter Cushing returns to the role in a more understated turn. Lorrimer is an unassuming academic who’s forced to live up to the standards of his ancestor–a novel departure from the confident expert that fans know. Said departure is exacerbated when his enemy targets the youths of the hippie generation. It means he’s even more out-of-his-element and easier to root for.

That’s especially the case given that his granddaughter is one of that generation. In yet another departure from the loner Van Helsing, Lorrimer has a warm relationship with a family member, one who’s slowly drifting away. This gives him a more personal stake in the tale. Thus, he credibly steps up as the protagonist rather than the supporting player he typically is. Considering all the terrible missteps of these films, it’s incredible that none of Van Helsing’s changes are for the worse.

2/6 Integra Hellsing – Hellsing

As one might expect, Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing is the head of the Hellsing Organization. This secret government body dedicates itself to slaying any vampires or other supernatural threats in the world. How ironic that her best asset is Dracula, sealed away by her ancestor and awoken by her in a time of need. That said, there’s never any question of who’s the boss.

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Integra keeps her composure amid the horrors of both her enemies and allies. It’s not always easy, especially with Alucard encouraging her more bloodthirsty tendencies. However, this makes their power dynamic endlessly engrossing, as it truly tests how Integra stacks up against her forebears. Who would be a better judge than someone who fought them personally?

1/6 Abraham Van Helsing – Various

The original vampire slayer in the Dracula novel and all its adaptations, Abraham put the Van Helsing family on the map. He’s instrumental in vanquishing Dracula, and that initial victory is why he remains so revered. Not only is it a tremendous accomplishment in itself, but he navigates uncharted territory to do it.

Van Helsing starts as an academic who’s never killed a monster. He surmises Dracula’s presence and how to stop him by piecing together clues and recognizing the significance of what others deem unimportant. In the process, he makes audiences believe in these otherworldly concepts through his passion and expertise. It’s that awareness that Dracula hoped to avoid. That’s why the count considers Van Helsing a worthy opponent and why audiences do the same.

MORE: Best Dracula Movies, Ranked

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