Thursday, 29 March 2012



For some reason this rubbishy SF/horror quickie had slipped past me in the stampede of a thousand other rubbishy SF/horror quickies. It's only because it was included in an article about space-set horror movies on the Den Of Geek site that I realised I'd overlooked it, and added it to my rentals queue immediately, overlooking their advice that it was "extremely bad". After all, I love spaceship movies and space station movies; whether they're big studio movies like Alien and Event Horizon or B-movies like Galaxy Of Terror or Inseminoid (and when is someone going to give Titan Find a proper release?). And while I can take or leave vampires, which I feel are tediously overused screen monsters that haven't been scary for decades, I have to confess it's hard to resist a South African co-production about vampires on a spaceship which has Coolio and Udo Kier in the cast. What's the worst that can happen? How bad can it be? Answer: pretty damned bad. More than pretty bad, actually; excruciatingly terrible. Dull, nonsensical, cheap, idiotic, irritating, stupid and pointless.

Dracula 3000: Infinite Darkness (though only Dracula 3000 on the DVD box) takes names and references from Bram Stoker and lobs them into the script like it has some sort of a clue what it's talking about. It's the year 3000 and an independent salvage team led by Captain Van Helsing (!) docks with a ship named the Demeter that's supposedly been missing for the last fifty years. Inside they find no crew, but a cargo bay full of coffins filled with sand, and Dracula himself, under the name Count Orlock - voyaging from the planet Transylvania (in the Carpathia system), heading for Earth but picking off the salvagers one by one. Fortunately one of the salvagers is an undercover cyborg....

This is a movie that supposes that they'll still play pool with wooden cues in a thousand years' time, as well as watching VHS videos on a 4:3 screen, to judge from the props in the recreation room where the bulk of the so-called action takes place. It assumes in a thousand years' time black guys will still be calling each other "homie", and it assumes that young men's sole ambitions will still be to have as much sex as possible and get as stoned as possible. Apparently drugs are legal in the year 3000 but the crucifix is banned, which suggests the Conservatives have been out of office for a while. Even though mankind can invent cyborgs absolutely indistinguishable from rotten actors, we are still apparently stuck with wheelchairs and spectacles. One of the women (Erika Eleniak) embodies her second-in-command status by wearing a skimpy vest; mysteriously, Captain Caspar Van Dien doesn't do the sensible thing and shoot the two bickering and insubordinate dunces played by Tiny Lister and Coolio. Udo Kier only appears on the Demeter's video log in scenes that must have taken anything up to half an hour to shoot.

The whole thing feels like something Fred Olen Ray would have thrown together over a wet weekend back in the late 80s for a quick paycheck; in places it also feels weirdly like a long episode of Red Dwarf except with swearing and absolutely no jokes, right down to the vampirised Coolio who looks to be wearing the Cat's spare teeth. And the film boasts the most astoundingly stupid ending of all time: worse than "it was all a dream" or "he was dead all along", suggesting the makers needed to wrap everything up by five o'clock despite having the last 30 pages of gibbering cretinacy still to shoot. Auteur Darrell James Roodt did a couple of watchable action movies back in the 90s: To The Death and Dangerous Ground, the latter pairing Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley, and a fairly dull but competent safari horror called Prey; this isn't anywhere near watchable or competent. It's more than "extremely bad" as Den Of Geek claimed; it's absolutely insulting. Infinite Darkness? Infinite Bilge, more like.


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