Movie Information

The Story: Horny college students spend a semester at a vampire-infested castle in Transylvania. The Lowdown: It's a movie that could make you appreciate the subtle charms of Old Dogs.
Genre: Attempted Horror Spoof
Director: David and Scott Hillenbrand
Starring: Patrick Cavanaugh, James DeBello, Tony Denman, Oren Skoog and assorted others you've never heard of
Rated: R

In 1974 Mel Brooks made a picture called Young Frankenstein. In it there is a running gag that involves the idea that anytime someone says the name of Cloris Leachman’s character—Frau Blucher—it sends horses into a panic of neighing. Well, here we are 35 years later, and the gag resurfaces for modern sensibilities in the stupefyingly, mind-numbingly, cosmically God-awful crime against humanity known as Transylmania. In Transylmania, however, anytime someone mentions the name of the castle where the action takes place, the horses react with a noisy burst of flatulence. (I will pause here for readers to pick themselves up off the floor in the wake of the rib-tickling convulsions that this concept may have generated.) This, my friends, is progress. It may also be the cleverest thing in the picture. That should tell you much about the movie.

Transylmania is in reality Dorm Daze 3. The quick title change was due to the fact that the Twilight movies have made vampires boffo at the box office. The poor boobs responsible for this atrocity have assumed that they can ride the sanguinary cape tails of that franchise. Never mind that the vampires in Transylmania have no relation to the sparkly emo bloodsuckers of the Twilight movies—or that the head vampire’s trio of brides look like backup singers for Beyoncé fresh from an ill-advised shopping spree at Hot Topic—they’re vampires, dammit, and that should be enough. Considering how poorly the movie has done at the box office (opening at number 21 with a $272 per theater weekend average), one may rightly conclude that it wasn’t. The original plan to send this rubbish straight to video—as had been done with its two predecessors—would have been prudent.

What we have here is a standard horror spoof that’s largely devoid of even the remotest sign of intelligence. There’s something of a plot involving a vampire (Oren Skoog), who just happens to be a dead ringer for the college student (Oren Skoog again) who cons his classmates into spending a semester at a college in Transylvania. Said vampire is after a music box that contains the soul of his sorceress girlfriend, who he wants to bring back to life. Mistaken identities abound, as do lots of lame gags involving assorted straight-to-DVD jackassery. There’s a midget mad scientist, who for some inexplicable reason is also the dean of the school, a fair amount of T&A, some tepid bloodletting, a smattering of crummy special effects and an almost touchingly quaint belief that we should already know who most of the characters are from their previous adventures in Dorm Daze and Dorm Daze 2. That’s probably true for somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 people worldwide. It would take someone more dedicated than I to seek out the first two films to bring myself fully up to speed.

The jokes range from the tasteless to the tasteless, which wouldn’t matter if any of the tastelessness was actually funny. It isn’t. I slogged through this thing with two friends (a testament to true friendship): Mr. Souther and one other. That made us a larger audience than most of the shows with actual paying customers. At the end, I inquired whether my belief that there had not been one laugh in the entire movie was true. I was assured that my belief was well founded. However, there is a bright side to this that will be of immense value to those readers who occasionally assure me that they never agree with my reviews. For those of you who have made this sweeping statement, this movie is for you. Have at it. Rated R for crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use, language and some violence.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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4 thoughts on “Transylmania

  1. Ken Hanke

    In an unusual move, both theaters that booked this crapfest — the Carmike and the Carolina — are dropping it come Friday. Usually, someone will keep a movie at least two weeks, but not this time. Considering that neither theater broke $200 for the entire opening weekend, I can’t blame them.

  2. Ken Hanke

    What was worse, this one or MISS MARCH?

    I’d put them on roughly equal footing, though Horsedick Dot MPEG got a laugh or two out of me in Miss March, so this is marginally worse.

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