Wes Craven presents Dracula 2000
Reviewed by Andy Bowers
Rating: 7.5 Beans
recall when I was twelve, plunking myself down in front of the folks old black and white Sears television late one night for a midnight screening of the original Dracula starring Nosferatu stalwart Bela Lugosi. Even though I had the volume on "mime", as to not awaken my slumbering parental units, I think I made it about 30 minutes in before having to toss a balled up sock across the room as to hit the power button because I was too scared to evict my Star Wars comforter (Chewie will protect me!). Remotes back then weighed roughly about 40 pounds and had to be carried around by the family pet like a dog-sled, so that was not an option.
I guess my point is that a movie like Dracula, made back in the 1930's and it's silent predecessor Nosferatu, can be solely blamed for the ungodly onslaught of corny, crappy, shit-written, legend be damned clones that have been beset upon like a plague of apocalyptic blood thirsty locust over the last seven decades.
Over dramatizing am I?. Let's do the un-dead math shall we? Can you give me five vampire movies that are worth their weight in plasma? Go ahead - give it a try - without consulting your blessed internet or crusty Video Hound. Yeah, that's what I thought.
Even harder is trying to find a modern Vampire film to deem a classic.
Coppola's Dracula was essentially a special effects laden remake, so don't attempt to justify that film.
And no, tongue and cheek vamp flicks are not acceptable (Fright Night, Lost Boys) as are spoofs (Grace Jones in the lesbo-Lestat "Vamp") and erotic B-grade selections where Drac would rather use his stake on some half dressed nympho (Alysso Milano in "Embrace of the Vampire)
I'm talking full throttle, shrivel your testicles in terror, fang-fest.
I'll give kudos to director Kathryn Bigelow's (Point Break) "Near Dark", a dark, cross country red-neck vampire tale, that introduced us to Bill Paxton and almost made Lance Henrickson (tv's now defunct Millennium) a house hold name, at least amongst the Goth set.
Blade? It was a club-mix, staked up action vampire thriller. I'll take that under consideration. But Snipes ain't no Blacula my friends.
"From Dusk til Dawn" was more UFC with cross-bows. A visceral excursion into how over-budget the squib and mock-blood team could go before one of the Weinstein's at Miramax pulled the plug. It's gory good, not scary great.
Interview with a Vampire? OK. We're getting warmer. Good cast, great adaptation from Rice's novel. But was it scary? I thought it was more of a soap opera with bite. Pretty vampires just want to love. Boo f***king hoo Lestat, you prissy little bitch - go get smacked around by Kirsten Dunst again.
Oh then we had a string of green lighted garlic in the form of gems like "John Carpenter's Vampires". The recent WB meet vamps - " the Forsaken". Not to mention direct to video crud like From Dusk til Dawn 2 & 3 (way to kill a franchise dumb-asses).
So here we are in 2001 and nothing has changed. Sadly, Wes Craven attached his name to Dracula 2000, because he financed it. Not because the king of Elm Street had anything else to do with it but sign the checks for has been stars like Omar Epps or sub-par television wash outs (Spin City's - Jennifer Esposito). That and pay the caterer. So whatever box-office this MTV infused blood suck-a-polooza earned was no doubt due to the horror moniker that adorned it. Dracula, entombed in a high security dungeon, is let loose when a group of modern day techo-nerd pirates scoop his modernized casket and fly it off to the United States. Of course he escapes and does what any generic Vamp would do after years of solitude. Kill plenty of losers who get in his way and to quote Mr. Garrison off South Park - "Screw hot chicks." Jeri Ryan (space-alicious Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager) shows some cleavage, Epps gets decapitated and screen legend Christopher Lee (who gets no billing at all) sleep-walks though a film that doesn't even come close to a bad episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes, even that sad "Cheese" one).
A neat twist added at the end can't save Dracula 2000, it feels more like an afterthought, than a well planned angle on the legend that is Dracula. As for a modern vampire classic in our day and age?
Needless to say, I'm still waiting.
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