''Van Helsing'''s Frankenstein's Monster: how cool is he?
CLASSIC MONSTER Boris Karloff, ''Frankenstein'' (1931)
A strong and clumsy illiterate with a flat head, neck bolts, and orthopedic shoes (above left). This creation of Dr. Frankenstein's grave-robbing expeditions has a severe phobia of fire and a penchant for anger-fueled rages.
''VAN HELSING'' MONSTER Shuler Hensley
Similar in physical appearance to his classic predecessor, with the addition of a tracheotomy hole (for enunciating complete sentences), a swiveling upper body, and a glowing green heart (above right). Fire's nothing for this guy; it's the heart that gives him all the trouble -- he's burdened with too much conscience and too many feelings.
BONE UP Karloff's haunting, pitiable monster is our favorite of the original monsters, but he was even better when he struck sparks with Elsa Lanchester in 1935's ''The Bride of Frankenstein,'' maybe the best of all the classic monster movies. Christopher Lee made a surprisingly savage creature in 1957's ''The Curse of Frankenstein,'' which launched the celebrated Hammer Films cycle of British horror movies. And don't forget Peter Boyle's tap-dancing monster in Mel Brooks' hilarious, affectionate parody ''Young Frankenstein'' (1974).