Dracula 3000 (2004)
"In space there is no daylight."
A salvage ship on a routine mission in space discovers a transport vessel that had been reported missing one hundred years earlier. When the salvage crew boards the vessel, they discover fifty long black coffins and find out that the captain locked himself in his cabin when his crew started acting weird. Opening one of the coffins, one of the salvage crew accidentally cuts his hand, unwittingly unleashing an ancient curse - that of Count Dracula.
Some of the most famous horror franchises have sent their antagonists into space in one form or another, usually when the creative teams have failed to come up with any new material for them. Pinhead did it in Hellraiser: Bloodline. The Leprechaun did it in Leprechaun 4: In Space. Jason Vorhees has done it in Jason X. So it was a little odd to see one of the oldest horror creations going to finally take the leap into the blackness of outer space. Welcome to the stars, Count Dracula.
If there was one literary creation that has never needed new material, it is Dracula. How many times over the years has the tale of the Count been told on film? Too many to remember but it is a winning story that has never really needed altering. So why the hell send him into space and why turn him into some weak xenomorph-style killer? That's all Dracula 3000 is - just another generic "monster on the loose in a confined setting" sci-fi horror where one of the most famous literary characters in the entire world is now little more than a one-note alien. Having him lurking around a spaceship (in full 19th century outfit I might add, despite the fact that this vampire comes from an alien planet) chasing after dudes with guns isn't what Bram Stoker had in mind when he dreamt up this fiend.
The worst thing is that the script doesn't even call him Count Dracula - they call him Count Orlock - which makes the title completely redundant. With a shoe-string budget, evident by the woeful special effects and crummy-looking sets the cast stumble around on, Dracula 3000 attempts to crow bar in as many references to Stoker's novel as possible - having the ship called The Demeter, originating Orlock from a planet called Transylvania rather than Earth, and even having the captain of the ship being called Van Helsing, conveniently meaning he's a descendant of the Van Helsing line (though if Dracula/Orlock/whoever he is is meant to be an alien, how did the previous generations of Van Helsing's come across the vampires?). The writers appear to have gone to so much trouble to say to the audience "hey look at us, we know the story because we named our characters after people in the book" then it begs the question as to why go to so much effort in making it so different to the book in the first place?
There's nothing to Dracula 3000 which you won't have seen in countless Roger Corman Alien knock-offs: expendable crew getting stuck with dangerous alien on their way back to Earth. Only here, there's hardly any blood. There's nothing scary. There's no nudity. There's no special effects budget (as in evidence by the explosion at the end). To say this is the year 3000, the equipment and clothing that they are using looks remarkably old. 'Dracula' is on-screen for a total of about two minutes (kind of defeats the object of calling it Dracula 3000 doesn't it?), opting to leave the rest of the vampire antics to a hyperactive Coolio pretending to be a vampiric minion and trying to convert the crew. The script is also full of horrible quotes which, again, probably gave the writers a sense of achievement but for an audience, they'll be groaning at the likes of "I want to ejaculate on your bazongas."
If the idea of Count Dracula turning people into vampires on a spaceship isn't enough to make you cringe, just check a load of the cast. Casper Van Dien - his last cinematic release was Sleepy Hollow way back in 1999. Since then he's been churning out countless TV movies like Python and Skeleton Man. Erika Eleniak - one of the hottest females on the planet when she was in her 90s Baywatch days but now looks like some skanky LA hooker with a breast job. Coolio - a former rapper who thinks he can act and has ‘starred’ in such genre greats as Red Water and Pterodactyl. Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, former wrestler and regular go-to for low budget films to find a tall, imposing black man. The only person who comes out with any shred of decency is Udo Kier who doesn't actually appear in the film with anyone else: his scenes have simply been taped in a room and played back whenever someone accesses the computer to find out what happened to the crew. It's a Z-list cast for a Z-list movie.
I could keep going on and on but the film is one of the biggest wastes of time and effort (if there even was any in the first place) that I'm going to watch. And to top it all off, the film has the worst ending ever. I turned my head for a brief moment and then turned back to see the credits rolling. I had to rewind to make sure the film hadn't skipped a chapter but it hadn't!
Dracula 3000 will ruin your life if you watch it. Do not watch under any circumstances. Please for the love of all that is horror, do not watch this film! I guess it does have one badge of honour of being 2004's worst story involving Van Helsing, an almost impossible feat to achieve given that the competition was Hugh Jackman's big budget flop Van Helsing.
Director(s): Darrell Roodt
Writer(s): Ivan Milborrow, Darrell Roodt
Actor(s): Casper Van Dien, Erika Eleniak, Alexandra Kamp, Coolio, Grant Swanby, Langley Kirkwood, Tom 'Tiny' Lister Jr., Udo Kier
Duration: 87 mins