Hello, fellow horror aficionados! Welcome to the third installment of Horror Sequels That Break the Rules. You can read the last two entries here and here. This is a very special edition that focuses on the most egregious rule-breaking you could ever make when it comes to horror sequels. This time we are talking about horror movies that happen in space. There are some great horror franchises that take place in space: Aliens being the best example. There is one cardinal rule about horror movies in space and it’s this: Unless your movie monster comes from space, it has no business being in space. Meaning, you could take a movie like Critters and put it in space. It works. That’s because the Crites come from outer space. However, when you take a terrestrial movie monster and throw him into the void all sorts of things go wrong.
Case in point….
Exhibit A: Leprechaun 4
We’ve gone over that in my last edition, so I think we can skip the explanations. However, is it any surprise that a franchise that spawned two movies about the Leprechaun in the ghettos would also make a movie where they send the Leprechaun into space? No, nobody is surprised.
The Rule Breaker:
Where do I even begin with this one? In this film, the Leprechaun tries to marry a space princess in order to rule an entire planet. Space marines blow him up and when one of the marines pees on the Leprechaun’s corpse, he rebirths himself inside the guy’s junk. There are cyborgs, giant mutant scorpion/tarantula hybrids, insane geneticists, and this all happens in outer space.
I can suspend my disbelief in a leprechaun running around terrorizing people. Sure I can accept that in a contemporary setting, even in an urban environment — no matter how silly that gets. But space? You expect me to accept Leprechauns in space? You know exactly what you’re getting into when you see the explosive decompression of the space marines good and plenty’s, and none of it is going to be any good. Still, credit where credit is due, at least this movie is so insane it’s entertaining.
Exhibit B: Hellraiser Bloodline
We also talked about this last time. You know, puzzle box from hell, guy with a nail fetish. Eternal pain and suffering with a little pleasure mixed in on the side? Thanks for following along.
The Rule Breaker:
Hellraiser: Bloodline was doing the put-your-monster-into-space thing before it was cool. As such, it’s probably the most serious one of the bunch.
It is actually panned quite a bit because part of it takes place in space, but to be honest with you, it’s not that bad of a film. Its only flaws stem from interference from the studio. Otherwise, it’s a solid sequel that looks into the origins of the Lament Configuration. The addition of part of the movie taking place in space, in the distant future, is actually reflective of the nature of the evil in question. Unlike Leprechaun, it seems plausible that, in a world where demons are real and can cross over into our world, that said evil being in space at one point is actually plausible.
It was billed as the “final” Hellraiser movie in a time where film studios were killing off their iconic villains, but being set in the future left it open for more sequels. You know, those aforementioned horrible ones I mentioned in my first article.
Exhibit C: Dracula 3000
Ah-ha! I tricked you! This movie is sometimes mistaken for Wes Craven’s Dracula films. See, in the year 2000, Wes Craven helped produce the film Dracula 2000 which told the story of Dracula, but in the year 2000! Wow, what a stretch of the imagination! See kids, there comes a time when horror writers get lazy and instead of coming up with new ideas they just take an old horror story that is in the public domain and reframe it in a contemporary setting.
The one film that becomes a punch press for this lack of creativity is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It seems that when all else fails, someone will just borrow the plot, theme, or characters from that story and barf up some contrived film loosely based on it. Seriously, if you grab five vampire movies at random, there will be at least one that will rip off elements of Dracula. The most common affront to this literary masterpiece is having characters that share the last name of a character from Dracula. Five gets you ten that any character named Harker or Van Helsing will probably be identified as an ancestor of the classic characters. Seriously, if you write a vampire movie and include any plot elements that tie you into Bram Stoker’s novel, you are a hack.
The Rule Breaker:
In 2004, Lion’s Gate films released Dracula 3000, probably trying to cash in on the various sequels to Dracula 2000 (of which there are two). This movie basically takes Dracula and puts it into space. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why don’t Dracula movies star famous rappers from the 90s?” then ask no more, because this movie stars Coolio.
An interesting note about this film is that the villain doesn’t actually call himself Dracula, instead, he is named Orlock, which some may recognize is the name of the vampire in Nosferatu. Fun fact about that: The reason why the 1922 film changed the name of Dracula to Orlock was because of a rights issue. So, credit where credit is due, at least Dracula 3000 is aware of how much of a blatant rip-off it is.
So here’s my biggest problem with this movie: Dracula’s weakness is sunlight, right? Then why would he even go into space? The sun is basically a star, and space is full of an infinite number of stars. You could easily end your little space vampire drama by warping your ship next to the nearest star and luring the vampire to the closest window.
Exhibit D: Jason X
You know it. Also, have you noticed that there are a lot of repeat offenders on this list?
The Rule Breaker:
While the world waited for the long awaited release of Freddy vs. Jason, New Line Cinema gave us Jason X as a placeholder. Jason X if you haven’t guessed already is the Friday the 13th movie they put in space. They give Jason the Buck Rogers treatment. Put in suspended animation, Jason is revived in the distant future by a science class mining a now-dead planet Earth for artifacts.
The movie consists of Jason being revived and chopping up the supporting cast of every sci-fi TV show that was filmed in Canada in the late 90s. Other than a knock-out performance by Dov Tiefenbach (one of Canada’s national treasures) there is a nod to the tree-bashing scene from Friday the 13th Part 7. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to like about this movie.
It was written by Todd Farmer, the same guy who gave us that dismal My Bloody Valentine remake. He’s tried to do installments of Halloween and Hellraiser. Thankfully, none have come to fruition.
Exhibit E: Muppets From Space
I rest my case on this one.
Well, I think my work here is done. If you don’t mind me, folks, after all, this I have a date with the merciful void of space.