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Transylvania Twist
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by Jack Sommersby

"Harmless Fun"
3 stars

Well, it's definitely superior to such lame stuff like "Saturday the 14th" and "Transylvania 6-5000."

The horror-movie spoof Transylvania Twist isn’t an entirely successful cinematic endeavor, but at least half its gags manage to score, and, coupled with the fact that it doesn’t stoop to bottom-basement toilet humor, this is enough to warrant a slight recommendation. Before the opening credits we’re afforded the sight of an adult, foxy, well-bosomed Little Red Riding Hood being chased by slasher-flick titans Jason, Leatherface, and Jason, only for her to smack them to smithereens once she’s cornered, with her dismissively blowing the matter off with, “Amateurs.” Then we see a commercial for a funeral home located in the illustrious Death City, whose owner informs us, “Where we put the fun back in funerals, and I’ll stand on my head to bury your dead.” As you’ve probably surmised already, the movie is anything but subtle and will do anything to get a laugh. What there is resembling a plot involves the goofy Dexter Ward (Steve Altman) whose uncle has been the head of a library that contains the largest selection of books on witchcraft and the black arts in the country; and in the late ’60s a longtime friend of his borrowed a one-of-a-kind volume that when translated can open up a doorway to another dimension. So the uncle sends Dexter to Los Angeles to locate the man’s daughter, Marissa Orlock (Teri Copley), who works as a singer, and upon his arrival she receives a telegram that her father has died and his body is to be picked up in (naturally) Transylvania. Dexter and Marissa make their way over there and wind up staying at a castle where they encounter a bumbling Victor Von Helsing (Ace Mask) and none other than the vampire Lord Byron Orlock (Robert Vaughn), Marissa’s other uncle who makes excuses for the blood dripping from his fangs as the result of too much ketchup on his hamburger. From here we’re bombarded with an uncouth array of hodgepodge targeting every genre element imaginable ranging from an acupuncture store in town where Hellraiser’s Pinhead walks out of claiming it was a painful experience, to a geyser of blood spurting from a body Von Helsing has punctured with a wooden stake, to Dexter commenting “I’m along for the comedy relief,” to which Marissa quips “That’s a matter of opinion.” (There’s also a semi-witty bit where, as Von Helsing starts relating a past story and we segue into it, Dexter says, “Either the projectionist is falling asleep or Van Helsing’s having a flashback.”) It helps that both Altman and Copley are good-natured sports who throw themselves into the proceedings with aplomb, though it is disappointing that Copley isn’t allowed to be as sinfully sultry as she’s clearly prepared to be (the calculation for a PG rating is a detriment); and though Mask pulls off a few neat moments, the casting of Vaughn, who’s played villains numerous times before, is a considerable calculation in that he possesses not so much as an iota of genuine comic timing, and his strained effort sticks out like a clown suit at a funeral. It also would’ve helped if a director of some visual invention had been hired, like, say, Blake Edwards, yet the duty fell to Jim Wynorski who demonstrated with Chopping Mall and Return of Swamp Thing that he isn’t the most astute technician with the most fertile film sense. Still, Transylvania Twist ambles along amiably enough, and there’s almost always something to enjoyably respond to. It’s may be nothing more than a harmless time killer, but at least it succeeds in putting a smile on your face more often than not.

One of those movies that's best viewed after a couple of cans short of a six-pack.

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originally posted: 05/11/15 22:58:51
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User Comments

5/21/04 Lancetheromance Great Movie!!! 5 stars
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  02-Sep-1990 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Jim Wynorski

Written by
  R.J. Robertson

  Robert Vaughn
  Teri Copley
  Steve Altman
  Ace Mask
  Angus Scrimm
  Steve Franken

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