That One Time they Made a Dracula Movie with a Nine-Day Shelf Life

Hey, do you remember that movie, Dracula 2000?

Of course you don’t!

Okay, here’s the plot.  Dracula is real and he’s been kept locked away by Van Helsing for over a hundred years in a vault under London.  Van Helsing, who has stayed alive so long by injecting himself with Dracula’s blood, believes he is the only one in the world who can keep the monster in confinement.

Well… he was wrong.  With the help of some really stupid jewel thieves who believe that Van Helsing is hiding valuables in his vault, Dracula escapes and goes to New Orleans to track down the daughter of Van Helsing – who has been passed Dracula’s blood by her father – and make her his.

As you can guess, Dracula 2000 is nothing special… which is probably why you can’t remember it. It was given no critics screening which is a pretty sure sign that it’s garbage and, most laughably, a movie titled Dracula 2000 was released on December 22nd, 2000… which was only nine days until New Years 2001. Meaning that this movie was released knowingly into theaters with the understanding that, in nine days, the title would already be dated.

Would it have been a chore to simply call the movie Dracula Reborn or Dracula Lives? Heck, they could have called it Dracula 2001… yes, it would be dated by today, but at least they would have gotten another year of shelf-life out of it!

Silly, silly, silly.

Surprisingly, Dracula 2000 is not the complete disaster you would think, given that the studio obviously didn’t care enough to give it a decent release date. For one thing, Dracula is played by Gerard Butler back when he was largely unknown… unfortunately, he doesn’t really fit the part very well and it makes for a weak Dracula.

Now, I will say that I am a sucker for classic movie monsters like Dracula, the Wolf-Man, and the Mummy even though Hollywoood has not been kind to them. To Dracula 2000’s credit, the movie does try its best to both bring Dracula back faithfully and do something new and surprising to the story by giving him a unique and, to my knowledge, original origin story.

You see, in this version of Dracula, Dracula is actually none other than Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus Christ. When he did this and tried to hang himself, he was cursed with vamparism. This is clever because it explains his aversion to crosses and why silver causes him pain… because of the 30 pieces of silver he received for betraying Christ.

I think that was terribly clever. Maybe even a little too clever for this movie… it deserved to be in a better one, really.

There is some self-awareness in this movie that is amusing, whether or not it was added in there on purpose. For example, Jeri Ryan who was appearing in Star Trek: Voyager as Seven of Nine plays a news reporter who openly complains at one point that the only reason she has a network job is because she has boobs. Given the way that she was inserted into Voyager as eye-candy to boost the ratings, there’s no way that was an accidental reference.

Danny Masterson of That 70’s Show is in this movie. A few years back, he played Renfield in a really bad vampire episode of Sliders. This, I’m sure, is not a self-aware reference because, a lot like Dracula 2000, no one remembers Sliders.

Nathon Fillion is also in this movie. I have nothing else to say about that. Nathan Fillion is awesome and elevates everything he’s in even if it’s just a cameo.

The story is scattered, but surprisingly solid, there’s silliness in the run-time mixed with genuine moments of inventiveness and enjoyability. Honestly, it’s kind of a shame that this movie has been all but forgotten as I can say without hesitation or irony, that I actually found it a fun and diverting movie.

Is it a Halloween classic? Goodness no, but it is a fun monster movie that puts a new spin on a classic character that doesn’t come off as stupid and desperate.

Simply put, it is a far sight fresher than its title made it out to be.

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