Today’s flick is the atrocious futuristic Dracula tale, “Dracula 3000.”
“Dracula 3000” was co-written and directed by Darrell Roodt, who also worked on films such as “Dangerous Ground” and “Cry, The Beloved Country.” The other credited writer is Ivan Milborrow, who has primarily worked as a sound worker on films like “From Dusk Till Dawn 3” and “Spud.”
The cinematographer on “Dracula 3000” was Giulio Biccari, who primarily works in television, such as the BBC show “Luther” and the documentary series “America: The Story of US.”
One of the editors for “Dracula 3000” was Avril Beukes, who has worked on a number of foreign productions such as “Prey,” “Yesterday,” and “Red Dust.” The other was Ronelle Loots, who cut the South African film “Faith Like Potatoes.”
The musical score for “Dracula 3000” was written by Michael Hoenig, who also provided music for “Class of 1999” and the 1988 remake of “The Blob.”
The prosthetic work for “Dracula 3000” was provided by a team including Dennis Beechey (“Shark Attack 2”), Rob Carlisle (“Dredd,” “Lord of War”), and Clinton Smith (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “World War Z”). The visual effects for “Dracula 3000” were done by Cassiano Prado, whose only other effects credit is another film I have covered previously, “Slipstream (2005).”
The special effects team for “Dracula 3000” included Roly Jansen, a stunt coordinator who worked on “Space Mutiny” and “The Mangler,” Kevin Carter (“Legion,” “Dead Snow”), Tyrell Kemlo (“Troy,” “Blood Diamond”), and Cordell McQueen (“Machine Gun Preacher”).
The producers for “Dracula 3000” included Jan Fantl (“Baby Geniuses 2,” “Feardotcom”), James Atherton (“The Proposition”), Frank Hubner (“Boat Trip,” “The Karate Dog,” “A Sound of Thunder”), Brad Krevoy (“Beverly Hills Ninja,” “Kingpin”), David Lancaster (“Drive,” “Nightcrawler,” “Whiplash”), and Jorg Westercamp (“Starship Troopers 3”).
The cast of “Dracula 3000” is led by Casper Van Dien (“The Omega Code,” “Starship Troopers”) who plays a future incarnation of the vampire hunter Van Helsing. The rest of the cast is filled out by Tiny Lister (“No Holds Barred”), Coolio (“Daredevil,” “Pterodactyl”), Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld (“2001: A Space Travesty”), Erika Eleniak (“Bordello of Blood,” “Under Siege”), Udo Kier (“Shadow of the Vampire,” “Blade”), and Langley Kirkwood (“Dredd,” “Generation Kill”) as Orlock / Dracula.
The story of “Dracula 3000” takes place in the distant future, specifically on a spaceship traveling in a sparsely populated area with a skeleton crew. The ship surprisingly runs across an adrift, abandoned shipping vessel, and stops to investigate. Unfortunately, the incompetent crew manages to release a sleeping vampire who was dormant in the abandoned ship, leading to a number of blood-sucking incidences.
“Dracula 3000” released the same year as “Van Helsing,” a big-budget Hollywood movie partially inspired by the classic tale of Dracula. It is fair to say that this at least partially inspired the production of this low-budget, clearly rushed product.
Speaking of influences, “Dracula 3000” also came a few years after the larger film “Dracula 2000,” which also modernized the legendary vampire story. It is hard to argue that the title wasn’t given with the intention of fooling people into believing it was a sequel.
Interestingly, “Dracula 3000” marks the third Dracula movie I have covered on the blog, after “Die Hard Dracula” and “Dracula A.D. 1972,” which also attempted to modernize the tale for 1970s audiences. Of course, Dracula also appeared in “Van Helsing” and is vaguely mentioned in “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” but neither of those movie quite qualify as ‘Dracula movies’ if you ask me.
The starship used in “Dracula 3000” was apparently dug up after being initially used on a failed CBS sci-fi television series called “Space Rangers” from the early 1990s.
The reception to “Dracula 3000” could be best be summarized as ‘astoundingly poor,’ racking up a hefty 2.0 rating on IMDb, along with a 16% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
It is hard to decide where to start when it comes to flaws with “Dracula 3000.” The acting is of course awful, which is compounded by some truly embarrassingly lazy dialogue. Coolio is particularly heinous on both fronts, as he is both a bad actor and was expected to provide comic relief by providing one-liners and commentary, which are all excruciating. The best actor of the bunch is probably Udo Kier, who appears to have literally phoned in his performance through a webcam, and never appears on screen with other characters. Van Dien and Lister actually seem half-competent standing next to the rest of the cast, which is saying a lot given their acting careers.
Speaking of failed humor, there is a lot of sexual creepiness written into a number of the characters in “Dracula 3000,” which seems to be played up for laughs. Not only is it not funny, but it is baffling to the point of being utterly surreal, and it is a little surprising that no one called it out over the course of the production. The one strong woman in the whole film (who is still pretty awful) turns out to literally be a sex robot, and is last seen getting slapped on the ass by a character who had been creepily taunting her throughout the film. It doesn’t make sense for the characters, reverts any development, borks the context, and it is just damn lazy to boot.
Speaking of which, that ass-slap takes place during a post-credit sequence that follow one of the most abrupt endings I have ever seen in a film. It literally just comes out of nowhere, like they wrote themselves into a wall or ran out of money, and couldn’t find a way to actually finish the movie. Basically, instead of having a final conflict with the vampire, the two survivors decide to veer into the sun. They then decide to have sex, and the scene cuts to a cheap explosion which prompts the credits. The first time I saw the movie, it was running in a late spot on the Sci-Fi Channel. I recall having my jaw drop at the abruptness and laziness of the ending, and it is one of the bad movie experiences that has most stuck with me over the years.
As far as other issues with the film go, there is a half-assed attempt to tie the story into the same universe as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” by explicitly stating the the common names pulled over from the novel weren’t coincidental, and that the crew are descendents of characters. That would make sense, if there were any way for Dracula to have planned the course of the ancient ship, and had known about a bunch of descendents of his enemies that hadn’t been born yet and what their flight paths would be. With a little thought, it all kind of falls apart.
“Dracula 3000,” unsurprisingly, features awful looking effects work. The prop that stuck out most to me was an obviously plastic skeleton, which I assume was supposed to look frightening.
Another little detail mentioned in the dialogue that bothered me is the revelation that the ship came from a planet of vampires. How is that supposed to work, exactly? Unless it is a penal colony, why would vampires have any incentive to band together on their own planet, when their survival is dependent on feeding on non-vampires. They would obviously eventually starve due to a scarcity of food. Also, this brings up a point I’ve never quite understood. Is ‘vampire’ a species, or a condition? I always assumed it was ‘vampirism,’ and that it could theoretically effect any sort of living being. It isn’t stated as such, but if there are other sentient races in the world of “Dracula 3000,” couldn’t they also have vampires? In that case, it makes even less sense for them to band together, as they appear to need blood from their origin species to sustain themselves. Honestly, none of it makes all that much sense.
My guess is that the marketing plan for “Dracula 3000” was banking on three things: 1) people confusing it with “Van Helsing,” 2) people confusing it with “Dracula 2000” (or a sequel), and 3) people being lured in by bad ass cover art, which was the same tactic used for “Zombie Nation.” Because, honestly, the cover art is undoubtedly the coolest thing about this stinker of a movie.
Overall, “Dracula 3000” is a dull little train wreck. If you can handle sci-fi original movies and flicks from “The Asylum,” that is basically what you are getting here, just don’t expect much in the way of excitement. The acting and effects are awful, and the ending will leave you shocked in the worst possible way.