Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.

A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.

Why did it end?

Why did it end?

This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.

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My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.

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Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like

No thank youhowaboutno

She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…

Uhhhhhhh

Uhhhhhhh

But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.

Where

Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.

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I HATED IT!

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I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)

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Synopsis:

The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.

But something terrible lurks inside.

But something terrible lurks inside.

When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.

The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: "Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!" Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done!
[giggles sinisterly]

He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.

Dracula

Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing. [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula] Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country. Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy. Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived. Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life. Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night. Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart. Count Dracula: Come here. [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing] Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing. [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him] Count Dracula: More wolfbane? Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count. Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.

And run fast

Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.

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Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.

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I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.

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She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.

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So What Was Good?

There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.

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Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.

Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.

Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.

The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.

I like it!

I like it!

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So What Was Bad?

Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.

1) Too Many Stars

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Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.

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2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.

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Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on, DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.

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3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring

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Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!

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4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire

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In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.

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5) Dracula is Judas

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Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.

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Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.

I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.

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So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.

And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response:

You as in the film

You as in the film

So there you go, not just me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

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For more Dracula, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more on Judas Iscariot, go to The Arrest

For more modern remakes, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For more sucky remakes, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For more Gerald Butler, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

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I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

 I am Dracula…I bid you welcome

So Dracula is one of the best horror films ever made. I know you all were wondering when he would be popping up. This version with Bela Lugosi is my favorite; as I feel the other version either have subpar acting, a distortion of the story, or just fall flat in their presentation.

Bela Lugosi was never intended for the part of Dracula. Originally Lon Chaney was going to play him, but he died the year before. As much as I love Lon Chaney, I can’t see Dracula as anyone but Bela Lugosi.

I have to say that this film probably has the most remakes of all time. There’s House of Dracula, Dracula (1958), The Return of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Count Dracula, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Count Dracula’s Great Love, Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Dracula (1979), Love at First Bite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension, Dracula III: Legacy, Dracula’s Curse, Dracula 3000, The Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula (2006), Dracula 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Scooby-Doo & the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf . Not to mention all sequels or films that Drac has a part in; this guy sure gets around.

Of course even with all of these, Lugosi’s version still stands the test of time. It is the one we quote, the one that we mimic Lugosi’s voice from, and the one that we copy the cape movements from; pretending that we too are a vampire.

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It’s funny that in this film Dracula doesn’t display fangs or show vampire bite marks on the neck.

So the film starts out with Renfield, a lawyer, going to Dracula’s castle. All the villagers warn him that there are vampires there, but Renfield doesn’t listen.

“Innkeeper: Castle Dracula?
Renfield: Yes. That’s where I’m going.
Innkeeper: To the castle?
Renfield: Yes.
Innkeeper: No. You musn’t go there. We people of the mountains believe in the castle there are vampires. Dracula and his wives – they take the form of wolves and bats. They leave their coffins at night and they feed on the blood of the living.”

When Renfield enters the castle he is greeted by Dracula and those famous lines! My favorite.

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“Count Dracula: I am Dracula.
Renfield: Oh, it’s really good to see you. I don’t know what happened to the driver and my luggage and… Well, and with all this, I thought I was in the wrong place.
Count Dracula: I bid you welcome. [Dracula goes up the stairs. Renfield starts to follow him. Suddenly, Dracula hears wolves howling] Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
[Dracula goes up the steps and waits for Renfield, who, without difficulty, cuts open a hole in a huge spider’s web using his walking stick]
Count Dracula: The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield.
Renfield: Why, er… yes.”

Renfield doesn’t make it out alive as Dracula ends up attacking him and turning him into a vampire. Renfield becomes crazed as the slave of Dracula. The two travel to England, and when the ship docks only Renfield is left on the boat. Everyone else is dead with the blood sucked out of them. Renfield is a looney, so he is taking to Dr. Seward’s sanitorium.

Martin: Aren’t you ashamed now? Aren’t you? Spiders now, is it? Flies ain’t good enough!
Renfield: Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies?
Martin: You do, you loony!
Renfield: Not when I can get nice fat spiders!
Martin: All right, have it your own way

Later Dracula runs into Dr. Seward, his daughter Mina, Mina’s fiancé John Harker, and family friend Lucy Weston. Lucy becomes enamored of Dracula. Later that night Dracula visits her in her sleep and drinks out all her blood.

Blood!

The next day Lucy is dead as no transfusion is able to save her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Renfield is acting crazier, and crazier and Professor Van Helsing starts speaking to him to try and help him work through his problems. He believes there is a vampire involved in this.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly] “

Renfield doesn’t like it when Van Helsing shows him wolfsbane; something he declares is able to stop vampires.

Later that evening Dracula attacks Mina; he doesn’t fully drain all her blood, but chooses to do it a little at a time.

Van Helsing also notices that Count Dracula doesn’t have a reflection and concludes he must be a vampire.

Van Helsing puts a wreath of wolfsbane around her neck and tells her nurse not to remove it. He also gives Harker a cross and tells him to hold onto it; that it will protect him from harm of the vampires and not to give it away.

Immediately Harker tries to give it to Mina and it doesn’t work.

DID YOU JUST NOT HEAR THE MAN? HE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! YOU KEEP IT!

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I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In The Mummy, he just has to give the girl the charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Wolf Man, he gives the girl the charm to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead he manifests into being a werewolf and almost kills her. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!!

Van Helsing confronts Dracula and tells him to leave Mina alone. Dracula tells him that it is too late, he has given Mina some of his blood and he belongs to her. Van Helsing tells Dracula that he will hunt down his coffin and drive a stake through his heart no matter what.

“Count Dracula: Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula]
Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country.
Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.
Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived.
Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina’s soul if not her life.
Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night.
Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart.
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing]
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Van Helsing takes three hypnotised steps towards Dracula but soon steps back, resisting Dracula’s hypnotic power over him]
Count Dracula: Your will is strong, Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]
Count Dracula: More wolfsbane?
Van Helsing: More effective than wolfsbane, Count.
Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]”

Harker still hasn’t realized what is happening to Mina. He takes her out in the night, where she attacks him. He is saved by Van Helsing who puts Mina in her room with wolfsbane. He tells the nurse to make sure that she does not remove it.

He and Harker leave to look for the coffin. They know it must be in the area as Dracula would never travel too far from it.

While they are gone, Dracula hypnotizes the nurse and has her remove the wolfsbane.

Dracula takes off with Mina, bringing her to his lair.

 Harker and Van Helsing see him and follow him; Harker wanting to save Mina while Van Helsing wants to destroy Dracula. Renfield manages to escape from his cell and follows them as well. Dracula kills Renfield; thinking that he lead everyone to his lair. Eventually Dracula is forced to return to his coffin as the sun is rising. When he does Van Helsing drives a stake through his heart and Harker goes to get Mina.

This film is truly amazing and I think you should check it out. It has influenced countless generations and really became the face and substance of who Dracula is.

This was one of Bela Lugosi’s favorite films and when he died he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.

So that’s today’s  fearsome tale. More on the way.

Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!

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For more on Dracula, go to A Monster Race

For more on vampires, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gyn Teacher

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more films based on books, go to The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending

For more on Lon Chaney, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Camp Blood