10/20/08

The Halloween Top 13: Number 12: Transylvania 6-5000


Welcome everyone to Number 12 on the countdown. Tonight's feature is one I've been watching basically since it came out on home video. Although I watch it for Halloween; it's one I pop in a couple of times a year, especially if I'm sick. It ranks up there with other perennial sick day favorites like The Princess Bride and From Russia, With Love. So on with tonight's show. It's a tale set in one of those legendary horror places, and to get there all you have to do is call....

Transylvania 6-5000 (1985) starring Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr., Joseph Bologna, Carol Kane, Geena Davis, John Byner, Jeffery Jones, Micheal Richards and Theresa Ganzel. Directed by Rudy DeLuca.

Synopsis
Two reporters for "The Sensation", a Weekly World News type tabloid, are dispatched to Transylvania to investigate a siting of The Frankenstein Monster. When they arrive Gil (Begley), the editors buffoonish son, and Jack (Goldblum) soon find themselves the laughing stocks of the town as they inquire about the monster. They check in to a hotel located in a nearby castle run by mayor/hotel owner Lepescu (Jones). Their are greeted by the bellhop, Fejas (Richards), who is an aspiring physical comedian (but seems more like Borat's slower cousin). They also meet Lupi and Radu (Kane and Byner), the hotels hunchbacked maid and butler.

As Gil digs deeper into the mysteries surrounding the town and Jack woos the lovely tourist Elizabeth(Ganzel), they soon become involved with a crackpot fortuneteller who warns them of Lawrence Malbot, the wolfman. Then Gil has a brush with a scantily clad vampire named Odette (Davis). The reporters soon suspect that local scientist Dr. Malavacqua is involved in the sitings of the creatures. When Gil gets attacked by the Wolfman and dragged off to the Doctor's lab, it's up to Jack and Elizabeth to save him and learn of the Doctor's true motives.

Film Facts
--The Film was entirely financed by The Dow Chemical company in order to spend assets trapped in Yugoslavia.

--The film was infamously given only a three word review by Entertainment Tonight critic Leonard Maltin "Transylvania 6-5000....sucks" Personally I think he was projecting.

--Theresa Ganzel, in addition to work in many films and television shows, would go on to provide many of the voices the the MMORPG Everquest II.

--Ed Begley Jr. was a cameraman on the cult classic Equinox that featured a bevy of stop motion monsters.

--Transylvania 6-5000 is a parody of the Glenn Miller song "Pennsylvania 6-5000." There is also a Bugs Bunny cartoon that shares the same title as the film. The cartoon was heavily censored by ABC. (I'm going to include the cartoon below directly after the trailer.)

Why Do I Love It?
Well, a couple of reasons, and I'm not talking about Geena Davis' outfit (but that don't hurt). I'm a big fan of mindless zany comedy, and while 6-5000 doesn't always hit on every gag, it does more often than not. Michael Richards, who of course played Kramer in one of my least favorite shows Seinfeld, apparently improvised most of his lines, and he showed a lot of the craziness that would make his turn in UHF so memorable. The pairing of Begley and Goldblum really works for me. They had an Abbott and Costello-like give and take that made me wish they had been paired up again. The twist on the true nature of the monsters I've always liked , and I find the ending to be so screwball that it serves as an excellent payoff. However the thing that most endears me to this film is Carol Kane. In the role of Lupi, she is simultaneously hilarious and sweet, and personally I have always found Miss Kane rather sexy and especially so in this film. You also get terrific parts from Jeffery Jones (later of Beetlejuice) and Jospeh Bologna is genius as the mad scientist who is only mad in his lab. Overall for it's faults, the weak story, the lack of atmosphere, and the rather pedestrian movie making, it still to this day contains lots of laughs, and Halloween is a time for fun and laughter. Smiles and fun only help to intensify the scares and chills of other more intense fare; after all what is Trick without a Treat!
Bug Rating



Todays list comes to us from Fred the Wolf from Fred [The Wolf] Full Moon Reviews. I always enjoy reading Fred's blog, and if you haven't seen it go back and treat yourself to his retrospective of all the Night of the Living Dead remakes. Here's what Fred's List Looks like.

My 5 Halloween flicks:
1. Halloween
2. Halloween II
3. The Exorcist
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
5. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Thanks for the list Fred. That's another list of great films for the season, and it made me want to see the Elvira flick again. Join us back here tomorrow folks for Number 11. Who knows what kind of madness awaits as the days keep counting down.

5 comments:

  1. Oh, this brings backs memories. Jack-in-the-Box was running a promotion where if you bought a meal deal (burger, fries, medium drink) you got a free ticket to see Transylvania 6-5000 for that night (and that night only). At the time I had no idea what the title was referencing. Now I’ve danced to the damn thing so many times—but every once in a while when I hear it play I think back to that Jack-in-the-Box deal and Transylvania 6-5000

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  2. Wow, I thought I was alone in enjoying this flick. For a long time I would watch this one every Halloween--I have to see it again now. Thanx for the reminder!

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  3. Glad you liked the review fellas, and what a great deal, Ryan, a meal and a great flick!

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  4. I've actually never heard of this film. Wow, sounds like a fun one to watch. I'm gonna hunt this one down and check it out. Thanks for the review!

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