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Eight college students traveling to Florida for Spring Break stumble into a remote town in Georgia where they are set upon by the residents who are out to avenge their deaths by Union troops over 100 years earlier during the Civil War.
Moronic American student Rusty arranges a student exchange program for his closest friends and him to study in Romania for six months and meet his Internet girlfriend Draguta. He travels with potheads Pete and Wang, Pete's girlfriend Lia and her twin sister Danni, the naive and romantic Newmar and his dippy girlfriend Lynne, the nerd Brady and his sexually confused roommate Mike, and crook Cliff. His friends actually intend to party. While traveling by train to Razvan they learn that five hundred years ago the vampire Radu lost his beloved Stephania, whose spirit was trapped in a music box. Ever since, Radu has kept Stephania's body while seeking the music box to bring her back. One of Radu's minions has recently retrieved the music box but, mortally wounded by the vampire slayer Teodora Van Sloan, drops the object in a gypsy's basket. Newmar unwittingly buys the music box and gives it to Lynne, who opens it and is possessed by Stephania. When all arrive at the university, they are ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When you're shooting for stupidly outrageous, it's really, really easy to slip off the tracks and end up as outrageously stupid. That's what happened to the parody Stan Helsing, for example. And that was a movie that featured at least a few actors that you'd heard of before and a character who was supposed to be a descendant of Dracula's Abraham Van Helsing. Transylmania features nobody you've ever heard of before, and one of its characters is a descendant of vampire hunter Victor Van Sloan, equally unknown to history prior to today.
Nonetheless, Transylmania works on its own terms. It follows 10 American college students, every one of them a flaming stereotype, as they arrive for a semester abroad in Romania, specifically Transylvania (where the movie was actually shot), explicitly at Razvan University, whose campus is in historic Castle Razvan, which 500 years ago was the home of famed vampire Count Radu. Rumor has it that the count is immortal, a hypothesis quickly confirmed as we find him roaming the corridors. Rusty, the student who opens the film as our narrator, is a dead ringer for the count, made more so when (by sheer coincidence) he dresses up for the freshman welcome ball in exactly the same outfit that Radu habitually wears.
Also among the American students are a couple of stoner lads who discover their blue jeans are a local gold mine; twin sisters, Lia the goody-goody and Danni the try-anything good- time gal; Newmar, the inept football player; Lynne, the nymphomaniac airhead cheerleader who has the hots for him; and Cliff, the oaf who figures the way to impress women is by claiming to be a vampire hunter. He uses this line on Prof. Teodora Van Sloan (the aforementioned descendant of Victor), and she takes him with the same deadly seriousness with which she approaches vampire hunting in general. With lips, vocal tone, and swordplay, she evokes Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro.* (In the only college class we actually see on screen, she demos self-defense techniques involving decapitation and a stake thru the heart. In response to a question she says "Vampires? Don't be silly. Now let's talk about what to do if someone jumps at you from out of a coffin." The rest of the movie is much like this.)
The mcguffin is a music box containing the soul of Radu's true love, the sorceress Stephanie, entrapped there by Victor. It was lost half a millennium ago but has recently been rediscovered. It falls into Lynne's hands. Every time she opens it, she's possessed by Stephanie; then, when it's closed, she reverts, wondering what happened.
There's much more. Dean Floca, the dwarf with a dungeon. His dotter Draguta, totally babeulicious chatting with Rusty via videocam but sporting a hideous hunchback in real life. Better than the Kama Sutra, the Codex Eroticon, which "can blow a chick's mind". The machine that keeps disembodied heads alive. The tall, gawky student who once kissed another guy while drunk and can't live it down. The horses with the odd reaction to the word "Razvan". Much of this is throwaway stuff, but a lot of it actually advances the plot.
Really, the story is way more complex that you'd ever expect for something played as broadly as this and it's played VERY broadly but it all hangs together. Not a millisecond of it can be taken even remotely seriously, of course, but the audience is all in on the joke, and the writers (Patrick Casey and Joshua "Worm" Miller) and directors (David and Scott Hillenbrand) make it work.
Objectively, this is a terrible movie. But subjectively, I got a real bang out of it. Of course, I happen to be partial to breasts the size of canteloupes, of which there's an abundance, and that helped. And I kept laffing out loud because I kept thinking "Wow, are they really trying to be THAT outrageous? Yeah, I guess they are."
So I give it a 5. This is higher than where I've pegged Fantastic Mr. Fox (3) and 2012 (4) and a coin-flip with that other vampire movie in town. Does that mean that I'd rather see Transylmania than those others? Yes. Yes, I would. Heaven help me, yes, I would. YMMV. No guarantees.
*I don't recall that Catherine ever went in for the tight-black-leather look, but from now on I'm not going to be able to get that image out of my head.
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