Dracula 2000: An Alternative Background
An attempt to modernize the historical tale of Dracula as a horror film devised to appeal to teens is made in Dracula 2000 (in some countries known as Dracula 2001). Pop culture stars as well as what perhaps has been the youngest actor to ever portray the role of the Count in a major motion picture are included in the cast. Unlike other vampire movies, Dracula 2000 proposes a very different story for Dracula's origins.
A gang of thieves invading the Carfax Abbey antique shop in present-day London serves as the opening to Dracula 2000. Looking forward to the fortune they will soon acquire in the treasure of the innermost vault, they are instead surprised to come upon a sealed coffin. A number of the treasure hunters are killed in a grotesque manner by the vault's security system as they attempt to move the coffin. This leads those that remain to conclude that the treasure they were seeking is in fact the coffin. Later, unsurprisingly, it is revealed that the coffin contains the body of the evil Count Dracula dormant in suspended animation.
Dracula 2000's screenplay later reveals that Abraham Van Helsing is Dracula's nemesis who had trapped and subdued Dracula a hundred years earlier and has been searching for a way to destroy Dracula forever but in the meantime has been staying alive through regular injections of the evil vampire's blood which is filtered through the sucking of leeches. Carfax Abbey is owned and operated by Abraham Van Helsing and was also the name of Dracula's London residence in Bram Stoker's original novel.
In Dracula 2000, Dracula is released when one of the thieves manage to open the coffin as they are transporting it back to the USA. The plane crashes in the swamps of Louisiana when the count gorges himself on the blood of the gang including the pilot. Dracula survives and travels to New Orleans to seek out Mary, Van Helsing's estranged daughter, and her associate Lucy. In the interim, Van Helsing and his assistant, a man named Simon are en route to the United States in hopes of finding and recapturing Dracula.
Dracula 2000's explanation of how Dracula came to be is one of the most noteworthy things this movie brings to the legend. Dracula 2000 reveals that Dracula is in fact Judas Iscariot, who has been denied entrance in to both Heaven and Hell and is now condemned to traverse the world as a being who cannot die for betraying of Jesus. Judas received his payment from the authorities in pieces of silver his betrayal of Jesus Christ and so now silver, along with Christian iconography, now serve as sources of the vampire's more popular weaknesses. In the Bram Stoker novel, unlike Dracula 2000, no allusion is made to silver being a source of Dracula's weakness, however, it is present in a number of examples of vampire folklore of Europe. It is extremely interesting how this movie's screenplay is able to bring this alternative background to bear to one of modern civilization's most enduring myths.