What I expected from Transylmania was a barrage of tired teen sex comedy gags shoehorned into a vampire movie spoof, and while Transylmania certainly delivered all of the exposed silicon breasts, pot smoking, and gross-out gags I anticipated, there's something downright quaint about the film -- a retro quality that I wasn't expecting. It's more of an old-fashioned hassle-in-the-castle farce, stuffed to the gills with dusty comedy relics like a character under a hypnotic spell that causes her to change personality at inopportune times or an ever-so-wacky case of mistaken identity featuring a college doofus who ends up being a dead-ringer for a vampiric overlord. This is dinosaur stuff. A rubber chicken and a squirting flower would've really capped things off.
Oren Skoog plays Rusty, pretty much the least believable college student I've ever seen in a movie, opening the film with a lengthy cast introduction montage, in case you happened to miss National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 1 and 2. By the way, surprise! Transylmania is a sequel, and not just a sequel, but like High School Musical 3 before it, the first theatrical sequel (and a Part 3) to a direct-to-video franchise. All of your favorite characters from Dorm Daze are back including Asian Stoner, Caucasian Stoner, Good Twin, Bad Twin, Desperate Nerd, Oversexed Bimbo, Alpha Male Dumb-Ass, Bi-Curious Guy, and Premature Ejaculator. It's a sprawling cast for a movie like this, but, by the film's end, I was thankful for the seemingly dozens of characters running around because it meant more time away from the hugely unnapealing Oren Skoog and his Peter Tork hair-do.
Seems Rusty talked his college buds into studying abroad in Romania in a spooky old castle that just happens to be the original home of Count Radu, also played Skroog. Centuries ago, Radu had a torrid love affair with a sorceress, but the tryst ended when her soul was trapped in an enchanted music box by the vampire hunter Van Sloan. The music box is picked up in the present day by Premature Ejaculator (aka Newmar, played by Tony Denman) as a gift for Oversexed Bimbo (Lynne, played by Jennifer Lyons, who looks so much like a J. Scott Campbell cartoon come to life that it's scary). Lynne's use of the music box transforms her into the evil sorceress (and back to innocent airhead when the box is closed), and awakens Radu and his vampire brides from their slumber. Soon, Rusty, mistaken for Radu, is being hunted by Van Sloane's descendant (Musetta Vander), and Lynne is switching personalities on a dime and getting herself into all kinds of incriminating situations with both Radu and Rusty, while her impotent boyfriend huffs around like a priss.
Yes, it's all so zany, in a way that feels as creaking and ancient as Radu's castle, but I get the feeling that's sort of the point. Never any more comically ambitious than an episode of Three's Company, Transylmania dodges the bullet of being looked upon as completely unwatchable garbage by being "wocka-wocka" dopey and not as interested in inert pop culture parody as it is in broad farce. I used to watch crap like this all the time when I was a kid -- zero-grade sex comedies with forgettable casts and asinine plots, that littered the landscape of late-night cable for many years. There's no doubt in my mind that Transylmania will find a home there, where an audience of twelve year-old boys staying up past their bedtimes can laugh themselves silly at gags like the one where James DeBello (Cliff the Alpha Male Dumb-Ass) shoots himself in the thigh with a crossbow, causing a three foot-high geyser of blood when he removes the arrow (which isn't to say that Transylmania is a kid's movie, but a deliberately immature one).
It's almost as if directors David and Scott Hillenbrand were influenced by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark or Transylvania 6-5000, but felt like what those movies were missing were more bare boobies. They really weren't, and Transylmania's patina of sleaze simply isn't enough to set it apart. While it's more Mel Brooks (on an off day) than Friedberg and Seltzer, and, surprisingly, more respectful to vampire lore than Twilight, the film's brand of cornball hijinks just isn't particularly funny, no matter how many wisecracks are made about Eastern Europeans' love of American blue jeans (and there are a lot of those). Yeah, it could've been worse, but I say that on a good trip to the dentist. It doesn't mean I enjoyed it.