Transylvania 6-5000 (PG)
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This came out in 1985, when I was ten years old. I first saw it on TV... possibly in the late 80s, but more likely the early 90s. So it's a little bit nostalgic to me, now that I've watched it in 2019, on DVD. It's something I remember liking when I first watched it, and I liked it again, this time. I guess it got mostly pretty negative reviews, which I can kind of understand, because the whole thing is really silly. (Like, I can't even bring myself to list it under "comedy horror," because there isn't anything in it that genuinely resembles horror, even if it is a spoof of horror B-movies.) But the thing I don't understand is how some people manage to vastly differentiate levels of quality in different comedies that basically run on silliness. For example, I don't get how someone could hate this movie and love Young Frankenstein. Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe the latter movie is better than this one, but I don't believe it's that much better. Honestly, this movie reminds me a lot of that one. Not just because they're both spoofs of Frankenstein, but just the very nature of the humor feels very much the same to me, in both movies.
Anyway... it begins with a video of a guy talking to a friend, who is filming old buildings in Transylvania. The first guy suddenly gets attacked by a creature that breaks off the door of an abandoned chapel in Transylvania, which the guy was standing against. We don't really get a good look at the creature, but as the two guys run away, at least one of them can be heard saying "It's Frankenstein!" We then see that this video is being watched by a few people in the editor's office of an American tabloid. The editor (Norman Fell) tells two reporters that he's sending them to Transylvania to investigate this story. One of them is the editor's son, Gil Turner (Ed Begley, Jr.), who is eager to please his father, and takes the assignment seriously throughout the movie. The other, Jack Harrison (Jeff Goldblum), really doesn't want to take the assignment, because it's so preposterous. But his boss doesn't give him a choice.
Soon after Jack and Gil get to Transylvania, they meet another American tourist, a woman named Elizabeth, whom Jack is immediately attracted to. So he spends most of the movie trying to get something going with her, while leaving the investigating of the Frankenstein story mostly to Gil. Oh, and Elizabeth is divorced, and has a young daughter named Laura. Meanwhile, Jack and Gil are staying at a theme hotel, which won't be officially opening for a month, so they're the only guests. (It's a castle that I guess once belonged to a mad scientist, or something, so it probably wasn't too hard to put the whole Transylvanian theme together.) It's run by the town's mayor, Lepescu, which strikes me as strange, because he makes a big deal of wanting the outside world to take a more modern view of Transylvania, and stop associating it with old stories about monsters. So I'm not sure why he'd want to run a hotel that reinforces those stereotypes, but whatever. Anyway, the hotel has a few employees, including a butler named Fejos (Michael Richards), who is constantly making bad jokes, many of them involving props, and always annoys the guests. But I guess that's sort of part of his job. There's also a servant named Radu (who I guess is supposed to be a hunchback, but I don't think that would have ever occurred to me, if characters didn't mention it). He's married to a woman named Lupi (Carol Kane), who's dressed like a maid, but I could never even tell if she was actually an employee of the hotel, or just hung around to be close to her husband. (Radu is constantly annoyed by how clingy she is, and thinks her efforts to make his job easier actually make it harder. But I liked her, anyway.)
Well... Gil learns about a doctor named Malavaqua, who had lost his medical license and was committed to an asylum, by Lepescu and police inspector Percek. And Gil is sure there's something suspicious going on, involving the doctor. And... I don't want to say too much more about the plot. But I do have to mention that we eventually see several "monsters," not just the Frankenstein type that Gil and Jack were sent to investigate. I won't list them all (because most of them aren't greatly important to the plot, and also aren't played by actors who are familiar to me). But I'll mention a vampire named Odette (Geena Davis), who tries to seduce Gil. (TBH, probably the thing I remember most about watching the movie as a teenager was how hot she was in that costume.)
Anyway... I also liked the ending of the movie, which explains a lot of things in an unexpected way. I mean, I guess you could call it a twist ending... even if the truth was given away earlier in the film, in a general sense. But specific details were left to be revealed at the climax. Even if there's nothing really surprising about any of it, I still thought it was a good way to make sense of all the absurdity throughout the movie. (Or most of it, anyway... there's still one thing that I don't think makes sense, involving Dr. Malavaqua himself... but it doesn't bother me, because I found it amusing.) Yeah... there's just a lot of stuff I found amusing throughout the movie, even if most of it was kind of dumb. Because it was dumb in pretty much the same way that's called clever when Mel Brooks does it in his movies. (Feel free to lower your opinion of me, if you want.) I think it's a fun movie, so... that's all that matters.