Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing has entered pre-production in Prague, with principle photography on the monster thriller set to start in the Czech capital in January.

Universal's latest creature feature, following Sommers directed blockbusters The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, is the first large US production to land in Prague since flooding of historic proportions swept through the city in August, causing millions in damage. Fox's ongoing shoot of Sean Connery starring The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was disrupted when floodwaters destroyed one set on the banks of the Vltava River.

Vampire feature Van Helsing will take advantage of Prague's "castles-and-landscapes" architecture this winter, with a combination of studio and outdoor shoots, says David Minkowki of Prague's Stillking Films, the firm handling production services work for Universal.

In addition to outdoor locations, producers have chosen to shoot Van Helsing in both of Prague's major film studios, Barrandov Studios and Prague Studios, says Minkowki. About half the six-month shoot will take place in Los Angeles, he added.

Van Helsing stars Hugh Jackman and resurrects several renowned ghouls from the Universal stable of creatures, including Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolf Man, along with Bram Stoker's original vampire-hunter, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing.