Dracula 3000 (2004) Movie Review

There are bad movies, and then there is “‘Dracula 3000”, a science fiction/horror/unintentional comedy (or is it?) set in the year 3000, where people are flying around in spaceships, but wheelchairs still look like they were stolen from someone’s yard sale circa 1990. Also, spaceships look amazingly like docked ocean cargo ships, and the futuristic backgrounds are so cheap and of unseemly quality that the director feels it is necessary to shoot 90% of the film in tight close-up of his actors’ faces.

In “Dracula 3000”, Casper Van Dien (many years removed from his glory days as an A-list actor in “Starship Troopers”) plays the captain of a salvage ship that stumbles across a derelict spaceship that went missing 50 years ago. The captain of the lost ship, Udo Kier (credited as a “special appearance”, which is movie parlance for “he owes someone a really big favor”), was helpful enough to leave video messages chronicling what happened to his crew after they picked up a passenger name Dracula from the planet Transylvania.

If naming solar systems and planets after names from the Bram Stoker novel is the movie’s idea of being clever, than this might just be the smartest movie in the world. Some of the characters also have familiar names, from Van Dien’s Captain Van Helsing to Mina the intern (who is in her late ’30s, and sporting an Eastern European accent that hides most of her lines). The rest of the cast consists of former “Baywatch” lifeguard Erika Eleniak, rapper Coolio (“China Strike Force”), a wheelchair bound professor (because, you know, in the future people thinks it’s a good idea to haul a guy in a wheelchair around with them), and giant of a man Tiny Lister. If you’ve read Stoker’s novel, you’ll probably catch other inside jokes scattered about the movie, not that you’ll ever mistaken them for anything other than a name-dropping gimmick.

Once on the rusted over ocean liner — er, lost spaceship — the crew discovers coffins that look indiscriminately scattered about in one corner. This is after their ship mysteriously takes off by itself, leaving them stranded on the ocean — I mean, lost spaceship. It’s up to the wheelchair bound Professor (Grant Swanby), who besides being paralyzed from the leg down, is also apparently short sighted, if his glasses is any indication. And did I mention that in the year 3000 the weapons of choice are still Uzis and machine guns? But wait, these machine guns are equipped with a huge flashlight on top. See? That means they’re high-tech! No, really.

Another really funny tidbit is that everyone is wearing fancy radio headgears, but no one in the film ever uses them. You have to wonder if the director stumbled across the props and just couldn’t figure out how to add dialogue to the script that has the characters using their radio headgear. Then again, trying to make sense of the omnipresent, but never used, headgear is a minor nit pick, as the rest of the movie makes as much sense as the filmmakers trying to pass a derelict ocean cargo vessel and what looks like one of those nondescript warehouses full of metal stairs for a space ship in the year 2950. It’s a tad disheartening to know that spaceships 900 years from now are still not yet rust proof.

And although it’s the year 3000, Coolio’s character is still a stoner, and apparently stoners haven’t invented any better way to get high other than using a bong in the intervening 900 years since Jay and Silent Bob made their mark in cinema. Man, these guys are such slackers! Also, “soul brothers” Coolio and Tiny Lister still use slang as if it was 1999. Without belaboring the point too much, this is one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve seen in a long while. The script by writer/director Darrell Roodt doesn’t even try to make sense. It may be 900 years later, religion may be dead, and people don’t remember who or what “God” is, but I’ll be damn if they don’t still talk in Ebonics.

Needless to say, taking “Dracula 3000” seriously is just asking for trouble. The film is lacking in any semblance of credibility, and its low-budget nature is so obviously a deficiency, that you have to wonder what was the point in setting the movie in the year 3000 in the first place, other than to try to tie the movie into the “Dracula 2000” franchise. Almost 99% of the movie takes place inside the ocean liner-cum-space ship, with its rusted walls, steam pipes, clanging metal grates, and little switches that the filmmakers didn’t even bother to try to disguise.

Since the rest of “Dracula 3000” is not worth talking about, here are some humorous observations about the movie:

Casper Van Dien is one insanely handsome man. Even this diehard card carrying member of the heterosexual club can respect that this guy was born with all the right genes. Of the whole cast, Van Dien seems to be taking his craft the most seriously, which makes him stand out — not because he’s particularly good, but because everyone seems to be “in” on the joke except for Van Dien. Meanwhile, Erika Eleniak has let herself go since her days guarding fake beaches on “Baywatch”. The tight clothes still fit, but she has almost no athleticism to speak off. Watching Eleniak hold a gun makes you wince with embarrassment for her; watching her fire it makes you want to put the poor girl out of her misery.

For a good laugh, “Dracula 3000” is the right movie to go to, because it’s chock full of unintentional gut-busting humor. Listen to “Vice Captain” Aurora (Eleniak) talk about this thing called a “vampire” as the rest of the crew looks on dumbfounded, when Lister busts out with a, “That’s some white people sh*t”. Really, this actually happens in the movie. It really is as crazy, silly, nonsensical, and outrageously foolish as it all sounds.

Darrell Roodt (director) / Darrell Roodt (screenplay)
CAST: Coolio …. 187
Erika Eleniak …. Aurora
Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld …. Mina
Udo Kier ….
Langley Kirkwood …. Dracula
Tom ‘Tiny’ Lister Jr.
Grant Swanby …. Professor
Casper Van Dien …. Van Helsing

Buy Dracula 3000 on DVD