WTFW: Dracula 3000 (2004)

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WTFW: Dracula 3000 (2004)

Dracula 3000, also titled Dracula 3000: Infinite Darkness, is a horror movie released in 2004 that brings Bram Stoker's fictional vampire Count Dracula into outer space in the distant 31st century.  Despite its name, it is not a sequel to Dracula 2000, and has no connection to that movie.  The movie can generally be referred to as a Z-movie1 in that it had a relatively low budget, and a direct-to-video release.

 

Dracula 3000 (2004)


  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Darrell Roodt
  • Produced:
    • John P. Adams 
    • James Atherton 
    • Jan Fantl 
    • Frank Hübner 
    • Brad Krevoy 
    • David Lancaster 
    • Julia Verdin 
    • Jörg Westerkamp 
    • David Wicht
  • Written:
    • Ivan Milborrow 
    • Darrell Roodt
  • Starring: Casper Van Dien, Erika Eleniak, Coolio, Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld, Grant Swanby, Langley Kirkwood, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Udo Kier
  • Music: Michael Hoenig
  • Cinematography: Giulio Biccari
  • Editing:
    • Avril Beukes 
    • Ronelle Loots
  • Studio:
    • Film Afrika Worldwide 
    • ApolloProMedia GmbH 
    • Co. 1. Filmproduktion KG 
    • Fiction Film & Television Limited
  • Distributed:
    • Belga Home Vidéo 
    • DeA Planeta Home Entertainment  
    • Dutch FilmWorks 
    • Eagle Entertainment  
    • Fiction Film & Television Limited  
    • Koch Media
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  
    • Pyramid Home Video  
    • RTL Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 9 August 2004 (USA)
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Country:
    • Germany
    • South Africa
  • Language: English

In the year 3000, the space salvage ship Mother III happens upon the derelict transport Demeter.  Captain Van Helsing and his crew board the abandoned ship.

They explore the bridge and find the corpse of the Demeter's captain, tied to a chair and clutching a crucifix. Despite the misgivings of crew, intern Mina Murry and vice-captain Aurora, Van Helsing claims salvage rights and decides to tow the ship back to Earth.  As the crew prepares to return, Mother III suddenly uncouples from the Demeter, leaving them stranded aboard the derelict ship with no means of communication.

Later, cargo specialist 187 and deckhand Humvee discover a cargo bay full of coffins.  187 speculates that the coffins could contain smuggled goods and cracks one open only to find sand.  Humvee heads back to the bridge while 187 stays to open the other coffins; he is soon attacked.  The crew rushes to 187's aid only to find he is now a vampire.  Under orders from his 'master', a mysterious figure, 187 attacks the crew, with Mina becoming his first victim.

Aurora, fleeing 187, runs into the "master", a vampire named Count Orlock.  Aurora makes her way to the recreation room where she reports her encounter with Orlock and reveals his intentions to return to Earth.  Upon questioning, she is unable to explain how she escaped Orlock unharmed.

Thinking Aurora could be lying, the Captain leaves her tied up and guarded by Humvee.  Soon, 187 gains entrance to the rec room and attacks Humvee, who manages to stake 187 in the heart with a wooden pool cue.  Aurora, still tied up, confesses that she is in fact an undercover android cop investigating salvage activities.  Van Helsing and Humvee feel betrayed but nonetheless untie her.

Searching the ship's database, the Captain and Professor, who uses a wheelchair, discover that the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing was one of the Captain Van Helsing's ancestors.  The Professor believes that Orlock will seek revenge against the Captain.  The Captain learns from the ship's computer how vampires can be stopped and decides to steer the Demeter on a course towards a binary star system.

The Captain and Aurora are soon confronted by Orlock.  While Aurora rallies reinforcements, the Captain fights Orlock alone, finally being overcome.  Aurora and Humvee return, only to be attacked by Orlock.  Aurora stakes him with another cue stick and wounds him but Mina (now a vampire herself) attacks, permitting Orlock to escape. Mina is dispatched by Humvee.

The Professor, despairing of his chances of survival, finds Orlock who promises to free him from his disability in return for aiding Orlock's return to Earth.  When Aurora and Humvee return to the bridge, they find the Professor hiding, bite marks on his neck.  Aurora stabs him with a cross, revealing that he was a vampire.  A furious Orlock tries to enter the bridge but Humvee and Aurora manage to close the door on him.

As the Demeter draws closer towards one of the binary stars, Humvee and Aurora confess to each other that neither knows how to pilot the ship.  They take comfort in the fact that Orlock's plans to return to Earth have been foiled.  Aurora also reveals that from an earlier undercover assignment she is programmed for sexual pleasure.

The movie ends with a video segment from the Demeter's Captain Varna, who announces his intention to sacrifice himself and his ship; soon enough, the Demeter explodes in space.


Critical reaction to Dracula 3000 has been nearly universally negative.  Andrew Stine of Something Awful said, "Whether it's out of some facsimile of genuine interest (rare) or because I just want to see how completely stupid things can possibly get within ninety minutes, I have so far been able to keep myself from lapsing into a waking coma by latching upon some facet of the movie which is not utterly, interminably boring.  That is, until Dracula 3000."  Mitchell Hattaway of DVD Verdict said, "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. ... It sucks. Dracula 3000 makes Leprechaun 4: In Space look like Alien."

The Horror That Is Dracula 3000

 

Notes:

1.  The term Z movie (or grade-Z movie) arose in the mid-1960s as an informal description of certain unequivocally non-A films.  It was soon adopted to characterize low-budget pictures with quality standards well below those of most B movies and even so-called C movies.  While B movies may have mediocre scripts and actors who are relatively unknown or past their prime, they are for the most part competently lit, shot, and edited.

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