Dracula 3000 is a 2004, low budget, direct-to-video movie based off Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. It was distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment, Directed by Darrell Roodt, and co-written by Darrell Roodt and Ivan Milborrow.
This movie took the idea of Bram Stoker's Dracula and combined it with an outer space horror story very similar to Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien. Of the eight characters in the movie, only Dracula, Van Helsing, Mina, and Holmwood are from the original novel, and none of them maintain any of their original relationships.
The movie opens to a video log of Captain Varna (Udo Kier) of the cargo ship Demeter. He holds a crucifix and is speaking of an impending doom as an A.I. in the background is counting down to self destruct. Before the count reaches zero, Captain Varna cries out and the video feed flashes off. It is then fifty years later, and Captain Abraham Van Helsing (Casper Van Dien) of Mother III, a deep space salvage ship, begins to speak of heading to a derelict ship that has been lost for many years. He and his crew of six dock at the Demeter in hopes of taking it back to Earth where they will salvage it for credits.
His crew consists of Vice Captain Aurora Ash (Erika Eleniak), burnout drug addict 187 (Coolio), Arthur "the Professor" Holmwood (Grant Swanby), muscle-man Humvee (Tommy "Tiny" Lister), and navigations intern Mina Murry (Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld).
It is found out that the ship had made birth from the planet Transylvania in the Carpathian System, and that it was meant to transport a load of coffins to Earth. When Van Helsing's ship, Mother III, is mysteriously seperates from the Demeter, leaving them stranded on an unknown ship. In trying to find out more about the ship they are stranded on, 187 cuts himself openning one of the coffins and awakens Count Dracula, also known as Orlock (Langley Kirkwood) in this adaptation. Orlock systematically turns all but Humvee and Aurora into vampires. The Demeter is en route to a nearby sun when a video log of Captain Varna bleeps on to explain that he has a duty to Earth to make sure that the ship does not make it back. After this video clicks off, the Demeter blows up and the credits role.
Although this adaptation of Dracula is more loosely based than others, there are still several themes from the original novel that find their way into the movie.
One of the crucial elements of Bram Stoker's Dracula was Dracula's ability to cut off an individual's ability to navigate and openly communicate with the rest of the world. In Dracula's castle, Dracula had an eye on all communications going in and out, and he was able to limit the mobility of those that set foot into his home. One of the first crucial moments of Dracula 3000 is when the crew inexplicably looses their ship. This traps them and puts them at the Count's mercy. It is also made aware that the Demeter's transmissions are hacked and cannot receive or send any sort of communication to the surrounding systems or other vessels. One of the few character traits that finds its way from the original novel is Mina's role as navigator. In the novel, Mina is the "modern" woman who has train times memorized and forms of modern communication under her belt. Dracula 3000 sees her as the navigation intern, although she is noted by Van Helsing as being an inadequate one at best.
From the beginning of the movie, both Aurora and Mina are made out to worry more than the men. Mina is the first to enter the Demeter and is the first one scared by shadows of Count Dracula. When the crew is deciding what to do with the ship, Mina seems to assume that they all might die if they don't get off it as soon as possible, even though there has yet to be any reason to assume anything is truly wrong. Aurora is the stronger of the two women, mostly because it is found out that she is an android, therefore making her undesirable to any vampire. She continues to admit to being scared of the Count, despite not being able to be harmed by him. Even though she fits the slayer archetype more than she does the cowering woman like Mina, she is still presented as much less brave and willing than the men.
As Dracula continues to be adapted over time, the theme of sexuality seems to be continually expanded upon. While it was something that was touched on in the novel, sometimes explicitly, like when Harker is seduced by the Wives of Dracula, it is never a vulgar thing that is out and out talked about. In Dracula 3000, the women are repeatedly harassed by the men of the crew. They become objects of desire, much like Dracula's victims were to him in the original novel. This harassment and desire, however, is much more vulgar. Once 187 is turned into a vampire, he eggs Aurora on in a fight by describing how he has thought of her often at night in dreams and when he is alone pleasuring himself. Aurora attempts to use her sexuality to persuade Humvee to let her go when she is suspected of being under Dracula's thrall. At the end of the movie, before the ship goes up in a gigantic explosion, Aurora explains to Humvee that she used to be a pleasure bot, and she offers herself up to him so that he might feel better in the last hours of his life. In hearing this, Humvee seems to forget that there is such thing as death, and slings her over his arms to "get it started." These treatments of women as objects of beauty and sexual conquest mirror the original desires of Dracula and his lust for blood.
There is little to do with class in Dracula 3000, something that had a huge part in the original novel. The only times that there is reference to money is when the ship is estimated as worth a whopping 15 million credits, and when, at the end, Aurora tells Humvee she used to be a pleasure bot. Humvee's first reaction to this, before she tells him to take advantage of her past profession, is to begin crying because he never had enough credits to partake in what pleasure bots had to offer. Other than these two moments, class is never made out to be distinguishable. What is made into a very obvious divider between the people of this story is race. There are two black males on the crew of Mother III, and they are both made out to be the "other" repeatedly. Humvee is a large man with one fake eye that is always idiotically looking the other way. He talks in incomplete sentences and never uses correct grammatical statements. 187 is a sly figure that used to be a genius before taking to smoking anything that he could get his hands on. The very reason he cuts his hands on the coffin and raises Dracula from his rest is because he is looking for illegal substances that might have been smuggled. Also, he is the first to be turned, which is fitting to one of the oldest horror movie cliches. At the very beginning of the movie, Humvee exclaims that vampires are a white person thing. At another point in the movie, when Humvee is guarding a locked room, a turned 187 comes up behind the door and persuades Humvee to open it by reassuring him how he is a "brotha" and can be trusted, unlike those white people.
Dracula 3000 never made much headway commercially, being a direct-to-movie film. It is generally considered to be a terrible movie, however, with a user rating of 1.9 out of 10 on IMBd.com. Rotten Tomatoes doesn't even have a rating on it, which goes to show its inability to gain any sort of attention from critics and viewers alike. As of November 2014, it is available on Netflix instant stream with a rating of one star out of five.