Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)

When two tabloid reporters from The Sensation — Jack Harrison (Jeff Goldblum) and Gil Turner (Ed Begley, Jr.) — are sent by Gil’s dad (Norman Fell) to get the story of a lifetime in Transylvania. It seems that the old man has a videotape of Frankenstein’s monster chasing two men and he wants to tell his readers that the beast actually is real. Soon, the two men are in the midst of scenic — and strange — Transylvania.

This movie contains perhaps the richest cast of my 80’s comedy favorites possible. There’s John Byner from TV’s Bizarre and Carol Kane as a married couple of servants who get into all manner of mischief. A pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards is so great as Fejos, another servant who owns every scene that he’s in. Plus, you get Donald Gibb (Orge from Revenge of the Nerds) as a wolfman, Joe Bologna as the mad scientist Dr. Malavaqua, Jeffrey Jones as the mayor and Geena Davis as the vampire Odette.

Strangely enough, this entire film was financed by Dow Chemical Company. It turns out that Yugoslavia, where the film was shot, had prevented the company from taking back money that it had made there. To free their frozen funds, Dow used them to finance the production inside the country and then make a profit.

Writer and director Rudy De Luca has worked mainly with Mel Brooks (Life Stinks, Screw Loose, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, High Anxiety and Silent Movie), but this is the only film that he ever directed.

It’s a better movie when it doesn’t explain away the monsters and just lets things get crazy. But there are plenty of laughs along the way, so just enjoy it while it lasts.


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