Dissecting Kate Beckinsale!


Kate f*ckin' Beckinsale. Goddamn! Very few finer, if any. It's the sexy British accent, isn't it fellas? I said Goddamnnnnn! But enough of the drooly reverie, we're here to not only salute Ms. Beckinsale's qualified acting chops - as most arresting screen beauties of her ilk tend to get unfairly overlooked in that department - but to also celebrate Kate's lifelong allegiance to the cinematic macabre. No joke. Over the past two-decades, Beckinsale has appeared in everything from UNCOVERED, HAUNTED, UNDERWORLD, VAN HELSING, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION, VACANCY, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, WHITEOUT, UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING, TOTAL RECALL, etc. Not only that, Kate has STONEHEARST ASYLUM due in theaters October 24th, and is currently filming a haunted house thriller called THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM. Oh and if you haven't heard, the leather-clad-vamp Selene will be returning for fifth UNDERWORLD flick sometime soon. You pumped? Yeah well you will be once we get loose and Dissect the lovely Ms. Kate Beckinsale as only we can do!



I suppose it boils down to one's definition of best, but it'd be hard to argue against the UNDERWORLD franchise being Kate's defining moment thus far. At least in the genre world. Now perhaps it's not her highest quality work compared to some of the gritty dramas she's done before and after, but really, what's been more impactful for career up to now? Not only did the hardened vampiric role of Selene bloom into an mega-popular international hit, a franchise moneymaking machine and absolute star-maker, I do believe she met and fell in love with her current husband, UNDERWORLD director Len Wiseman, while making the film. Don't mean to wax sentimental, but what's more important than that? Just one of many reasons why UNDERWORLD has had profound resonance and deserves to be called Kate's best. Now on to the pictures...

The first UNDERWORLD is actually pretty damn solid. Still is! Coming off the Gothic universe of semi-mortal half-vamps and sentient ghouls put forth in BLADE, UNDERWORLD's meticulous mix of the two mythologies - vampires and werewolves - carried the torch in a fresh and impressive manner. And of course, what made it so damn killer was Beckinsale as the ass-kicking Selene...dominating the screen with her physical presence as forcefully and commandingly as she did her advancing enemies. Bitch is Badass! And by physical, let's be clear, we don't just mean the beauteous appearance, that's a given, we're talking about the grueling demands of the action and stunt work. Sure she probably had a double for all the really hectic shite, but look close, Beckinsale's vigorous commitment to the physical aspect of the role are pretty remarkable. She does a lot of it herself. And ought to be commended for it!


Granted, like most horror sequels in a long running franchise, each passing film tends to taste like a watered down backwash of its predecessor. No potency. Such a case can certainly be made for UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS and UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING. However, this through no fault of Kate's, who didn't even appear in the third entry. That said, I actually think UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION is also a pretty damn good horror yarn. And you know why? Because it picks up directly where the original left off. It felt far more like an organic continuation of an unfinished story rather than a half-baked sequel only cooked up to cull more dough. But enough of the culinary metaphors, for the uninitiated, go plummet yourself headlong into the first two UNDERWORLD pictures. Established fans, re-watch that shite. October is here!



I think most can agree that, as far as major genre missteps go, KB may want to backtrack an erase WHITEOUT from the ol' resume. Whiteout the WHITEOUT, if you will (apologies). I'm sure there's another candidate or two we could have lambasted, but here's why WHITEOUT wins the worst. The timing! Coming off two daring and complex roles in SNOW ANGELS and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH just a year before, not to mention already establishing herself as a formidable box-office action star with the UNDERWORLD franchise, one would have to think Kate had her pick of the litter as far as leading roles go. Yet she chose to headline WHITEOUT, take star billing, agreed to appear solely on the poster...go all in with what essentially amounts to a beautifully shot, but coldly incoherent jumble of a movie. Dopey, derivative, un-endearing. Physically demanding, yes, to shoot in such harsh Manitoba conditions, I'll give her that, but as far as her character and performance go, definitely not Kate's strongest. I think even she'd agree. Come on Kate, you're better than that!



I hate to sound superficial or even reductive, but come on, this woman's world-class beauty has to be her international calling card. She's simply better looking than 99% of the Earth's population. Fact. It's inarguable. Now, much like a few of her contemporaries (Scarlett, Charlize immediately leap to mind), such radiance has a tendency to outshine the fact that Kate is a tremendous actor as well. Girl's got some serious chops!


Look no further than the wide and varied 20 year filmography. Our girl has essayed every genre under the sun - from stuffy Shakespearean high-brow to seedy and sordid low-budget fare - from mega-studio-tentpoles (PEARL HARBOR, UNDERWORLD) to gritty independent dramas (BROKEDOWN PALACE, SNOW ANGELS, etc.). And before she made her film debut as a sexy screen siren, Kate made her bones in very serious dramatic stage work in stuff like Chekhov's The Seagull" and other various Shakespearean productions (including the '93 film MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING). Also, it might be worth noting that Kate isn't simply an A-list looker, but is an Oxford alum who can speak French, German and Russian. I know, shite isn't fair!



Look what we found friends! We've UNCOVERED a pair of dustily HAUNTED 20-year old jewels in Beckinsale's busty bosom. Lucky us!

After making her feature debut in Ken Branagh's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING in 1993, Kate followed suit with a couple of somewhat forgotten thought-provoking thrillers. The first was the 1994 Euro-thriller UNCOVERED, directed by Jim McBride (BREATHLESS, THE BIG EASY). As a demure fresh-faced 20 year old, Kate shined as the gorgeous first-billed object of desire...doing so in a pretty cool story actually. If you've not seen it, UNCOVERED features Kate as an art curator who restores old paintings. When she's assigned to refurbish a piece depicting a man and two women playing chess, she discovers a hidden script-text posing the mysterious query: "Who Killed The Knight?" Then one of Julia's close friends gets brutally murdered.

As the film progresses, Julia links the killing of her friend with the clues offered in the painting. And when she recruits the help of a chess expert to recreate the game shown in the painting, a new person dies every-time a chess piece is altered. Pretty cool premise, notably for Kate's raw vulnerability and nubile nascence. She's absolutely adorable here - dainty and porcelain-skinned - yet has an intellectual edge to her that she uses to solve the case. So not only was Kate's natural ability UNCOVERED, so to was the skill of her character in the flick. Seriously, do wise and check out UNCOVERED if you've not already!


But that's not the only scarce stone we found in Kate's assorted jewelry box. Oh no. You see, immediately following UNCOVERED, Beckinsale took to the romantic-horror flick HAUNTED, co-starring Aidan Quinn. The flick was adapted from the James Herbert novel and directed by longtime English vet Lewis Gilbert (ALFIE, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE). The first point of notice here is the sophisticated classiness to the horror elements of the film, realized so by a whole host of British supporting actors, none more decorated than the Oscar winning sir John Gielgud. This instantly elevates the entire production, as does the lavish look of the sumptuous sets and stately interiors. As for the story, Quinn plays a psychology professor and author known for debunking supernatural phenomena. But when he's summoned to a gaudy English estate to investigate a batty old lady claiming to see and hear things, shite gets awfully chilly.

That is, until he heats the flame with Beckinsale's character...a daffy little coquette who lives on the wild side. Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous, Beckinsale's family dynamic is quite a bizarre, semi-incestuous one. She and brothers skinny dip together, she poses nude for one of them to recreate in paint. Odd shit is definitely afoot! Look, if you dig a hair-raising high-brow haunted house yarn, a la THE INNOCENTS or THE OTHERS, then most certainly run out and get HAUNTED. It's old-fashioned horror storytelling, devoid of much gadgetry and gimmicky VFX, it stands tall on the shoulders of its script and actors. And for Beckinsale completists, what better way to support her work than by celebrating a hidden horror gem she made almost 20 years ago. Respect!


As per usual, Kate has a multitude of projects in the works...many of which have a out-and-out genre tinge. The one soonest to hit theaters is the oft-delayed, star-studded Brad Anderson flick STONEHEARST ASYLUM (aka ELIZA GRAVES). Not sure about you guys, but I love Brad Anderson as a director (save for VANISHING ON 7TH STREET), and with British greats Michael Cain and Ben Kingsley supporting the lovely Ms. Beckinsale, here's one asylum sure to be worthy of self-admission. Peep the rundown:

A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues -- though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.

Even stronger reinforcements come in the form of UK character vets David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Sturgess, Jason Flemyng and Sinead Cusack. Even at PG-13, STONEHEARST ASYLUM seems more than worthy of checking out beginning October 24th. Will you be there?

Regardless, here's another destination for you to consider. Currently filming for a September 25, 2015 release is THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM, a haunted-house chiller from director DJ Caruso (DISTURBIA, I AM NUMBER FOUR). Beckinsale takes top billing in the flick - about a family moves into a haunted house out in the country - set to star alongside Lucas Till, Gerald McRaney, Mel Raido, Ella Jones, Jennifer Leigh Mann and Duncan Joiner.

In addition to STONEHEARST ASYLUM and THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM, news just broke a few weeks that Beckinsale has agreed to return to her breadwinning UNDERWORLD franchise and reprise her role of Selene for a 4th time. F*ck it, let's help them get a jump on the inevitable subtitle. I'll start. How about UNDERWORLD V: THE ACCURSED? No? Anyone?



No brainer, Kate Beckinsale's a f*ckin' force to be reckoned with! But for us, as equally impressive as her one-in-a-billion looks, is her dedicated 20 year career in the genre realm. That's not all she has to offer, don't get it twisted, she's one hell of a dramatic actor to boot (SNOW ANGELS, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, THE AVIATOR and many others), but as lifelong horror film fans, we'll always remember growing up watching her come of age in flicks like UNCOVERED, HAUNTED, UNDERWORLD, VAN HELSING, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION, VACANCY, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, WHITEOUT, UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING, TOTAL RECALL and the like. And if you're like us, be sure to support Kate Beckinsale in the upcoming Brad Anderson flick STONEHEARST ASYLUM later this month. How apt, you make us crazy Kate!

Extra Tidbit: Of the three mentioned, which upcoming KB flick are you looking forward to most?



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