Saturday, April 18, 2009

OFF THE RAG!!

If you're bored tonight and want to catch a flick with some great folks, head down to Happy Harbour Comics for a double bill of My Name Is Bruce and Repo! The Genetic Opera. Yeah, you can rent these and watch them at home, but these movies are meant to be seen with a rowdy crowd of geeks like me, so head down and check it out.

And they have, as Kevin from The Lobby so eloquently says, "sweet sweet alcohol".

Movies start at 7:00PM. All proceeds go to support the Pure Speculation Fair.

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OFF THE RAG!! - Dracula 2000

There are loads of unsuccessful horror movies littering the cinematic landscape. Most of these movies are unsuccessful because – simply put – they suck hind tit. However, every once in a while, there comes a movie that undeservedly gets ragged on by the horror community. I’m here to take the dirty rag off and reveal a previously unseen gem that deserves a second look. The bloody clot I plan on dislodging this week is, fittingly, a vampire movie – Dracula 2000!


Also fittingly, the film is directed by Patrick Lussier, the man at the helm of this year’s My Bloody Valentine 3D. I hadn’t been this excited about the release of a mainstream Hollywood horror movie since Grindhouse (and for a remake no less). MBV3D kicked serious ass with an arsenal of pick-axes, flying jawbones, and 3D boobies.

Anyways, back to Drac. I caught this film on it’s opening weekend (the last week before 2001 - nothing like leaving it to the last minute, Weinsteins) with a theatre maybe a third full. It’s a shame, because this reimagining of the Dracula legend was pretty damn ok.


The flick starts out in Victorian London, where Van Helsing (played by the ever-hammy Christopher “Starcrash” Plummer) had finally caught Dracula (Gerald “300 Abs” Butler) and imprisoned him in a silver, cross-laden coffin. Flash forward to 2000, where an antiques dealer and descendent of Van Helsing – also played by Plummer – tends to his shop, Carfax Abbey (actually the BCE Building in Toronto). It gets robbed by high tech thieves led by Omar Epps, Jennifer Espisito, and Hyde from the 70’s show, who make off with a familiar silver coffin. You don’t have to be a fucking Rhodes Scholar to guess what’s inside. Turns out old VH junior is actually VH senior, kept alive by shooting up leech-filtered vamp blood so he can stay alive and guard Draccy. The thieves fly stateside, with junkie Abe and his protégée (Johnny Lee Miller) in hot pursuit. Hyde fucks up (as Hyde is prone to do), Drac gets loose, and the plane crashes in New Orleans, where stud muffin Vlad quickly rounds up a posse of pussy and searches for Van Helsing’s daughter Mary. Hjinks ensue.

We got vamps in New Orleans, hot chicks, and Hyde… so what went wrong with this film? First off, it had that shitty “Wes Craven Presents” line before the title, you know, to make you think Wes Craven actually directed it when he didn’t. But by this time, people were kinda sick of Scream and all its clones, and Wes was off making dramas with Meryl Streep, so it’s kind of a moot point.

Problem #2: the Scream connection. Bad marketing made this seem like yet another of those shitty Kevin Williamson clones. Did you see the poster? The marketing guys musta busted out the ol’ “I Know What You Did” template in Photoshop.


What did the movie do right? First off, as much as Butler got flak for not being charismatic enough, he did a pretty decent job of playing the baddie. In particular, there’s a great scene where he’s marvelling at a Monster Magnet video on the big screen outside Virgin Records. Also, Drac’s satanic sluts, including Seven of 9 and one-hit-wonder Vitamin C, were hot, the New Orleans locale was well used, and there were lots of little nods to vampires past.


But by far, the best thing about Dracula 2000 was his origin story – such a brilliant stroke of genius and by far the best reimagining of a character I’ve seen in a long time. See, Drac ain’t just Vlad the Impaler… he’s (SPOILER NOTE!!)








…Judas Iscariot! The backstabbing bastard himself! By expanding his legend, the writers have crafted such a cool origin for the Prince of Darkness that you’ll slap yourself on the forehead and exclaim “why the fuck didn’t I think of that!” All of Drac’s little quirks, like the aversion to silver and crosses, all suddenly make sense.

Stylish with a little bit of brains thrown in, Dracula 2000 should have found a bigger audience than it did, especially with the shit that came out that year. Strangely, it was enough of a success to merit two craptastic straight-to-dvd sequels. Go figure.


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