Movie Review – Dracula 3000 (2004)

When I first heard of this movie I thought, no… please no… Yet, being the glutton for vampiric punishment that I am, I decided that I would have to get the movie anyway (bless e-bay and the kind soul who put it on a ‘buy it now’ for just £2). As things started I thought to myself, well maybe I was a little harsh, but that feeling lasted only a couple of minutes and I realised that my first instincts were right.

The film starts and we see Captain Varna (Udo Kier) recording a video log on his starship Demeter. He holds a cross and is waiting for the self destruct to go and… nothing happens, it is stopped. As the film progress we see more of these logs, and they are, by far, the best part of the movie.

Jump forward 50 years and the salvage ship Mother, with her misfit crew, find the ship in the distant Carpathian system– but it is not drifting it is limping slowly towards earth.

We are introduced to the crew, Captain Abraham Van Helsing (Casper Van Dien), second in command Aurora Ash (Erika Eleniak). The muscle of the crew is Humvee (Tom ‘Tiny’ Lister Jr.), the brains is the wheelchair bound Arthur “The Professor” Holmewood (Grant Swanby). We also meet stoned crew member 187 (Coolio) and navigator, and ‘I’ve got a bad feeling’ girl, Mina Murray (Alexandra Kamp).

They investigate the ship and, whilst they are onboard, something causes Mother to un-tether from the Demeter and they can’t get their ship back. It is up to the Professor to get the Demeter up and running. while he does the crew discover the remains of Captain Varna, a desiccated husk, his arms tied to the chair (why? I mean in Dracula the Captain ties himself to the wheel of the ship – that made sense – but in a spaceship, which incidentally is out of his control… why?) and clutching a cross in his hand. Most of the crew do not recognize it as a holy symbol – it seems that such things fell out of flavor 200 years earlier.

Meanwhile 187 is trying to find drugs and, on finding coffins, deciding they must have drugs inside. Breaking open one he finds nothing but ‘sand’ but he’s cut his hand (imagine that) and blood drops onto the ‘sand’.

The rest of the crew hear a scream. Rushing to the cargo hold they find 187 in shock, his leg broken badly, and then he passes out. 187 is taken to the rec room and his leg is reset. As his body is evaluated they discover puncture wounds at the neck, 187 turns and attacks.

In the confusion Aurora comes face to face with ‘Dracula’ (Langley Kirkwood). Now I’ve put Dracula in inverted commas for a reason. The film is called Dracula 3000, the character – we discover later – is named Orlock. A computer search for vampires later indicates that Orlock is just a pseudonym for Dracula… so to recap Dracula is listed in the film as Orlock but is actually Dracula. Indeed, when we see the computer search for vampire lore we also discover that Dracula was indeed defeated by Van Helsing as per the novel (though obviously he survived or was later resurrected) and it is fairly clear that Captain Van Helsing is distantly related to the original Van Helsing. Be that as it may, you’d think Orlock/Dracula would have updated his clothing in the 30th century and forgone the frilly shirts and high collars. Unfortunately Kirkwood is no Christopher Lee and makes a rather foppish, unthreatening Dracula.

Getting back to the story. Aurora returns, none the worse for her encounter with Orlock/Dracula. She claims he didn’t bite her. Now it is clear that the director wanted to build up some tension here, was she bitten, wasn’t she… The crew are rightly suspicious but I was thinking, hmm… now I’ve seen the Alien films… got it she’s an android . Note to the director, if you are going to ‘homage’ other films don’t expect to build any tension because we already know what’s coming.

Anyhoo… to cut the story short, the crew point the ship towards a binary star system in order to kill Orlock/Dracula with sunlight (though I didn’t see any portholes!). Crew gets picked off, and subsequently staked until only Humvee and Aurora are left. They have locked themselves away from Orlock/Dracula – taking his arm off in the process – but can’t steer the ship so its going to blow up when it gets too close to the stars, the only solution; before she was an undercover security robot she had been a pleasure bot – so off they go for rumpy pumpy.

Bang (the ship and not the unseen pleasure robot scenes).

This film is so clichéd it is untrue. It has not only decimated the Dracula story but it happily rips off films such as Alien for fun. That said I couldn’t help but chortle when Casper Van Dien, with some relish, utters the Picard line “Make it so.” The clichés don’t end there, Humvee’s obsession with pointing out he is black (“All that bloodsuckin’, that’s some white people sh*t.” he points out when they discover there is a vampire aboard), 187 the ridiculous stoner played by a rapper, Aurora the busty, feisty hero turned pleasure bot… it is all too, too much. The acting rarely gets above the rank amateur, though Van Dien puts effort in and Udo Kier is great, though has very little on screen time.

It is a shame because the idea might have worked if done properly, especially with the nod towards the original story being part of the films mythology. It’s even more of a shame because the world needs more good sci-fi horror crossovers (and the list is severely limited). 2 out of 10, and I’m probably being overly generous.

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