Lionsgate // 2004 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // January 28th, 2005
In space, there is no daylight.
De Niro and Pacino in Heat. Newman and Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Van Dien and Coolio in Dracula 3000. One of these things is not like the other...one of these things just doesn't belong.
A deep space salvage ship discovers a derelict freighter inhabited by a vampire. Much running around ensues.
Dracula 3000 is a shining example of complete filmmaking ineptitude. You can look all you want and you won't find even the slightest hint of intelligence on any level.
I think this is supposed to be a horror film, but, other than the fact that it somehow got made, there's nothing scary about it. There's no gore, and hardly any blood. There's no sex or nudity, which leads me to wonder why Erika Eleniak was cast. What audience did the people responsible for this piece of crap have in mind? Is there an audience for something like this? It's not even bad in a good sort of way; it's not the kind of movie you can mock while you're watching it, so there's absolutely no fun to be had. All you can do is warn people to steer clear of it, and that's exactly what I intend to do.
Take a look at the cast. Would you believe Casper Van Dien (The Omega Code) as the captain of a starship? Come on. (I've always believed Paul Verhoeven's casting of Van Dien in Starship Troopers was actually a joke.) What about Erika Eleniak (Under Siege) as Van Dien's android co-captain? Well, if your captain's a complete moron, I guess a bubble-headed bleach-blonde could act as his second-in-command (Eleniak's black tank-top and leather pants turn in nice performances, though). Or how about bad rapper/bad actor Coolio (Tapped Out) as...well, I'm not exactly sure what his character is supposed to be (all he does is get stoned), but he purportedly has an IQ of 187, which I don't buy. Here's all you need to know about Coolio's performance: Imagine Chris Tucker as Gollum. You also get Tiny Lister (Friday) as Humvee, the ship's resident muscleman; Lister simply walks around wearing his trademark scowl and complaining about the fact that he and Coolio are the only black members of the crew. Alexandra Kamp (Half Past Dead) is the ship's navigator, meaning she has nothing to do during the second half of the film, which, given her acting abilities, is a good thing. Grant Swanby (Tarzan and the Lost City) is the Professor, the ship's wheelchair-bound engineer, which means he gets to sit around and sweat a lot once the vampire gets loose. Udo Kier (Suspiria) is the captain of the derelict freighter, and he only appears as part of a videotaped captain's log (lucky him). Rounding out this stellar cast is Langley Kirkwood (Red Water) as the vampire. Kirkwood seems to have drawn inspiration (and I use that term loosely) from Frank Langella's performance in the 1979 version of Dracula as well as George Hamilton's work in Love at First Bite. Needless to say, I don't exactly see a bright future ahead of him.
What about the writing? The script is full of awful dialogue, lapses in logic, and there's no ending (more on that later). Get this: Van Dien's character is named Abraham Van Helsing. Clever, huh? Kamp's character is named Mina. Can you guess what happens to her? The derelict freighter carrying the vampire is the Demeter. Wait, it gets better. Before its sudden disappearance, the Demeter had been returning from the planet Transylvania in the Carpathia solar system. Pretty big clues at to what its cargo might be, huh? Thing is, nobody in Van Dien's crew knows what a vampire is. Why? Because otherwise the movie would be over in twenty minutes (I should be so lucky). It's mentioned early on that the Earth's government has abolished all forms of Christianity, which is why almost no one knows what a crucifix is, but how could nobody know what a vampire is? You're telling me that five hundred years from now people will know what a Humvee is, but nobody will know anything about vampires? (To make things even more illogical, Eleniak's character makes a reference to The Bionic Woman. Nice to know the classics will live on.) How does Van Dien's character not know about his ancestry? You'd think something like that would have come up at some point in his life. What, nobody at the family reunions wanted to talk about it? Why are most of the coffins in the Demeter's cargo hold filled with sand? Does the vampire need to transport some native soil to his new home? Well, if that's the case, then think about the kind of places you're likely to find sand. Would it make sense for a vampire to live in such a place? Also, what's the vampire been feeding on all these years? The Demeter has apparently been missing for fifty years, so it seems unlikely he could have been feeding on the crew for that length of time. Oh, yeah, one more thing, Van Dien and Eleniak eventually figure out what's going on, and they go into the ship's cargo hold in an attempt to kill the vampire (using pool cues, in case you were wondering). They don't know which coffin is the vampire's, so they start breaking all of them open. Is it just me, or in a case like this would you look for the one coffin that isn't nailed shut?
Okay, so how about the direction? Director Darrell James Roodt (who also helmed the Patrick Swayze classic Fatherhood) shoots three-fourths of the film in two-shots and close-ups, probably in an attempt to cover up the shoddy nature of the sets (doesn't work). Roodt also thinks he can create tension by placing his camera in the middle of an empty corridor and shaking it. Oooh, there's nothing more menacing than an unstable, empty frame. Who's funding this guy? Well, judging from the credits, the financiers for this crap are some of the same people who finance all that shot in South Africa crap shown on SciFi. (This proves it -- the only good thing to come out of South Africa in the past thirty years is Charlize Theron.) Remember what I said earlier about the ending, or rather the lack thereof? Okay, so all the good guys are dead except for Eleniak and Lister. The ship is set on a course for a twin-sun system, in hopes that all that sunlight will seep in and kill the vampire. Thing is, it's a twelve-hour trip, and Lister and Eleniak are trying to find a way to kill some time. Eleniak tells Lister that she was originally programmed to be a pleasure 'bot. Lister, who has spent much of the movie making lewd comments to her, smiles, picks her up, and takes her off to hump her. The ship blows up as soon as Lister moves out of the frame. That right, it just blows up (in a rather cheesy-looking canned-gasoline explosion, I might add). Thanks, Darrell. Jeez, talk about contempt for your audience.
Alright, so how's the audio/video presentation? Well, it's crappy, too; the
overall look is on par with a videotaped television broadcast. The transfer is
incredibly grainy and murky, with some of the worst black levels I've ever
The audio is supposed to be a stereo mix, but it's really tinny sounding two-channel mono. The dialogue is very poorly recorded, with the actors all sounding like they're trapped inside a well. There are no extras.
It sucks. Dracula 3000 makes Leprechaun 4: In Space look like Alien.
It's so guilty not even a California jury could exonerate it. Feel free to laugh at me for having volunteered to watch it. Court is adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
* Bottom 100 Discs: #37
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R