Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Oren Skoog as Radu, Transylmania (2009)

Your Daily Dracula – Oren Skoog as Radu, Transylmania (2009)

Laugh-lite and basic, but at least Transylmania is focused on what it’s sending up rather than scattershot like the later Scary Movie sequels or 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Essentially, it’s Transylvania 6-5000 for the Eurotrip generation.  A step up from Stan Helsing,  but not that high a step.

A bunch of stereotyped students – stoners, nerd, sexual inadequates, hotties, bi-curious guy, etc, some of whom have appeared in the filmmakers’ two National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze films – go to Transylvania for a semester and what you expect to happen does.  Rusty (Oren Skoog) is a lookalike for vampire king Radu, who is out to reunite with his evil love, whose soul is in a music box and latches on to an innocent body (Jennifer Lyons) when the music is playing.  Rusty has an internet relationship with Draguta (Irena Hoffman), who turns out to be a hunchback whose dwarf mad scientist father Dean Floca (David Steinberg) plans on giving her a new body which means Thing That Wouldn’t Die living severed head action for body donor Lia (Natalie Garza) whose twin (Nicole Garza) is moving on her boyfriend (Patrick Cavanaugh).  Blowhard Cliff (James DeBello) impresses chicks by pretending to be a vampire slayer, but has to work harder when teamed up with real monster-fighter Teodora Van Sloan (Musetta Vander).

There are a few jabs at Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Van Helsing and Buffy … and someone knows enough to call a character Edward Van Sloan.  It has the usual, not-great gross-out stuff – do writers Patrick Casey and Worm Miller and directors David and Scott Hillenbrand realise the triple reference in a scene where someone has a condom of drugs forced up their back passage as a Gary Glitter track plays?  That Frau Blucher gag is redone, only to make it more hilarious a horse farts every time someone mentions Castle Razvan.  A near-ingenious routine is muffed as Rusty and Radu do the Harpo-Groucho mirror gag from Duck Soup before Radu remembers he has no reflection – there’s an idea here, but the filmmakers and Skoog have no idea how to make it funny.  And there’s crass, nasty stuff about female bodies that sours even the runabout silliness – with pole-dancing, bare-breasted babes (and a trio of vampire brides) to drool over and ughs of disgust at deformity (by comparison, the treatment of he hunchback girl in House of Dracula is tasteful and sensitive) and stitched-up Frankenbabe bodies (there’s a trace element of Henenlotter).

It traipses around good Romanian locations, quite possibly those seen the SubSpecies series, and has reasonable look, but it’s very thin on jokes and doesn’t even stretch to a decent guest star.  A rap version of’Monster Mash’ is under the end credits.  In the making-of, Cavanaugh channels his thicko character by asking ‘has there ever ever ever been a comedy horror film?’ in that smug way that makes you wonder why he ever bothered going into showbusiness.


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