Jessica's January Pick
Dracula 2000 (2000)
This month while we are revisiting the infamous vampire slayer of Sunnydale, it is also an opportunity to talk about one of my favourite paranormal monsters, the vampire. There have been so many movies, tv-series, books and video games that are either about or involve this seductive creature of the night, especially in the last two decades. Over the years, I have watched and read whatever I could get my hands on about vampires and I know there is so much more out there. I have built up a collection of some of my favourite movies and tv series such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu, Queen of the Damned, True Blood, The Hunger, Fright Night, and Near Dark to name a few.
Dracula 2000 was directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine, Drive Angry) with Wes Craven acting as executive producer. It was released by Dimension Films, a company that brought us such horror films such as Scream, The Faculty and Halloween H20. Dracula 2000 is the first in a series followed by Dracula II: Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. Unfortunately, the film was a commercial disappointment and these two were direct-to-video sequels. Like the other horror films of this time, it has a star-studded cast with Johnny Lee Miller, Christopher Plummer, Omar Epps, Jennifer Esposito, Nathan Fillon, Jeri Ryan, Danny Masterson, Vitamin C, and Gerard Butler. It is also accompanied by heavy rock and nu-metal soundtrack with artists such as Pantera, Disturbed, Powerman 5000, System of a Down, Linkin Park and more. This was a trademark of horror movies in the 2000s: a young, trendy cast of familiar faces and soundtracks filled with heavy popular music to make them memorable movies.
I say that Dracula 2000 is memorable for some because it is rarely talked about in the horror community. I will admit it is not the best Dracula story but it is a guilty pleasure of mine, especially with Gerard Butler as Dracula since he is goddamn gorgeous. The film doesn’t hold back in mixing together violence, blood and sex: all the elements that come with any vampire film but with a 2000s twist!
Dracula 2000 takes the classic tale of Dracula and adds a Christian element to it by making the backstory of Dracula linked to the betrayer of Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot. I remember when I first watched this more contemporary take on Dracula and his ‘true origins’, I thought it was interesting because they were using this religious background to explain Dracula’s aversion to Christianity, outside of just being the evil Prince of Darkness. However, the religious element gets heavy-handed by the end of the film and you definitely get the message that even Jesus can forgive the sins of Dracula. Outside of this, I enjoyed the idea of Van Helsing using Dracula’s blood to increase his life which ultimately leads him to have a daughter whose blood links her to Dracula thus allowing Dracula to have a daughter almost through natural means. I feel like this is something that could have been expanded upon more making Dracula 2000 more unique. I was definitely all about a film regarding Mary Van Helsing, the daughter of Van Helsing and his immortal enemy Dracula.
Ultimately now I enjoy the film for nostalgic and aesthetic reasons. It reminds me of my early days of reading and watching everything to do with vampires. Because of this film, I would then watch one of my other favourite films of the 2000s, Queen of the Damned (2002), the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s book of the same name. Once again you get another star-filled cast, the nu-metal soundtrack, and the blending of the monstrosity and sexuality of vampires. When you research vampire films of the 2000s, you can see a trend of sexy, good-looking vampires who continue the tale of tragic figures in horror lore such as Daybreakers, 30 days of Night, Thirst, Underworld, Blade II and III and The Forsaken.
If you are interested in watching a film that takes you back to the early 2000s and really emphasizes the sex appeal of being a vampire - I would recommend you check this one out.