One of the toughest challenges with any long-running property is keeping up with the changing times. For Dracula, that need to modernize the myth resulted in the film Dracula 2000, or rather Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000. When a film needs to slap the producer’s name at the beginning of the title to impress potential moviegoers, that’s a big, bloody red flag. It also leads us to number five in my countdown for the Six Worst Draculas. I doubt this pick will be as controversial as yesterday’s.
#5 Gerard Butler from Dracula 2000
I’ll admit that I was foolishly optimistic about this film when it was released, but it didn’t take long to realize the movie is a dud. Instead of modernizing the vampire myth, all Dracula 2000 really does is go overboard with the sex appeal. On the surface, casting Gerard Butler sounds like a brilliant choice for the role. The king vampire deserves to be a badass-looking dude with sex appeal, and the film doesn’t flinch from turning Dracula into some serious eye candy. Unfortunately, most of Butler’s performance involves delivering melodramatic dialogue, swoon-worthy stares, and baring his chest whenever possible.
Sure, the film delivers an interesting twist on Dracula’s identity, ditching the idea of Vlad the Impaler for **SPOILER! (Not really, it came out 16 years ago, so just keep reading)** Judas Iscariot. Unfortunately, by the time the twist arrives, we’ve been hit with a massive dose of cliche. There’s also an absurd amount of coincidence. The suggestion of the film is that the events in the novel Dracula actually happened, so having Abraham Van Helsing’s daughter Mary (oh, look, her name starts with an M and is four letters long, just like Mina) best friends with a girl named Lucy Westerman (oh, you mean like Lucy Westernra) borders on eye-roll-worthy. Dracula also makes sure to have his three “vampire brides” played by Jennifer Esposito, Jeri Ryan, and Vitamin C (seriously, that was the name she used at the time, because she was a pop singer).
Perhaps the most entertaining reason to watch this film these days is for the cast of now familiar faces. At the time, Gerard Butler wasn’t a household name. The cast also includes Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary), Omar Epps (House), and Nathan Fillion (Castle). Amazingly, the film itself managed to result in two direct-to-video sequels with different actors as Dracula who could each easily be added to this list, but I won’t do it. Frankly, it would just be too easy, almost like cheating.
Tomorrow’s worst Dracula features an actor who’s already shown up in my Fangs God it’s Friday feature. Feel free to search through those entries to see if you can guess which Dracula it will be.