Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Transylmania' should have had a stake through its heart

Transylmania (2009)
Starring: Oren Skoog, Jennifer Lyons, Tony Denman, Patrick Cavanaugh, Paul H. Kim, Musetta Vander, Natalie Garza, Nicole Garza, David Steinberg, James DeBello and Irena A. Hoffman
Directors: David Hillenbrand and Scott Hillenbrand
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

A group of American college students travel to a remote Transylvanian university for a semester of studying and partying abroad. Will the partying or the vampires kill them first?

I need to learn the lesson that the smart choice is to go home if I arrive at the theater too late to see the movie I had planned on. But, as I was stood at the box office, I noticed "Transylmania" was about to start. And, seeing that I love old monster movies and this was part college stoner comedy and part spoof of the classic monster-in-the-creepy-castle films, I thought it might be fun. "How bad can it be?" I asked myself.

Well, it was pretty bad. The humor is more stupidly offensive than funny, the acting universally weak--especially when it comes to the comedic timing of the cast, which is surprising given the long resumes of everyone appearing in the film--and the story features numerous characters that do nothing except serve the purpose of a single joke and otherwise just clutter up the film and story.

It's too bad, becuase in the hands of competent writers who understood how to streamline a story (not to mention write funny jokes) and with some better actors, this could have been a really funny movie with roots in classic films from Universal and Full Moon. The vampire/college student look-alike and the midget mad scientist had all sorts of potential, potential that we can see shining through at the film's best moments, but which remains tragicaly unspent or even wasted.

I really wish this film had been better and that it had done well at the box office. I applaud the filmmakers for writing a spoof that actually has an original story instead of just a cobbled together string of lame references to recent movies and current news events and pop culture. Maybe (God willing!) this film is a sign that story will be returning to the spoof film... or maybe the failure of this film will mean the genre will go dormant for a while because the business people and creatives STILL won't get the message that quality is what sells a movie.