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15 user 5 critic

Transylvania Twist (1989)

PG | | Comedy, Fantasy | October 1989 (USA)
The nephew of a librarian must go collect a 200 year old book, "The Book of Ulthar." that should have never been checked out by the Evil Count Orlock cause one of the spells in it could ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Marissa Orlock
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...
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Stefen
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Hans Hupp
Vinette Cecelia ...
Laverne
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Patty (Patricia)
...
Marinas Orlock
Jay Robinson ...
Uncle Ephram
Lenny Juliano ...
Maxie Fields
Joe Lerer ...
Hans Downe
...
Hans Hoff
R.J. Robertson ...
Hans Phull
...
Hans N. Fritz
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Storyline

The nephew of a librarian must go collect a 200 year old book, "The Book of Ulthar." that should have never been checked out by the Evil Count Orlock cause one of the spells in it could bring about the end of the world. During his trip to the castle, he meets Marissa, a gorgeous rock star and heir to the castle's fortune. There they must confront the only other heir to the fortune and the book, Uncle Byron; and Uncle Byron and his 3 adopted nieces all have very, very, very broad smiles. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll laugh all the way to the blood bank!

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

PG
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Release Date:

October 1989 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Wynorski replaced Charles B. Griffith as director. See more »

Quotes

Victor Von Helsing: And it is a commonly held misconception that the undead can transform themselves into bats. Pure nonsense. True, they can change into frogs, flounders, aardvarks, pelicans, baboons and warthogs but never bats.
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Crazy Credits

With a special appearance by the late Boris Karloff See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Just Give Me Action
Written and composed by Chuck Cirino
Performed by Stephanie Stevens
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User Reviews

 
hit or miss, but the hits are worthwhile
31 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

This is a horror comedy, and those are very tricky to pull off. How many absolutely great movies can you think of that combine those two genres? Two off the top of my head are Young Frankenstein and Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein. But there are also the Scary Movie movies (the first two aren't at all, the rest... less said the better), Dracula Dead & Loving It (which, by the way, there's a gag involving a staking of a vampire in this that, I had to wonder, later inspired Brooks who went for a bloodier and possibly funnier scene in an otherwise lame spoof), Repossessed, um... maybe Student Bodies is alright(?) Point is, it's not the genre that people flock to necessarily and find the gold-mine all the time. Which brings us to Transylvania Twist, a Roger Corman produced movie via Concorde (and horror fans can *tell*, I'll get to that in a moment), and it's not all that bad! Faint praise, perhaps, but there are some parts in this where you can tell the filmmakers are trying and it's not all for not.

It's not that it's all gravy; it's one of those comedies where the actors are (mostly) playing it straight, and that's the way to go about it if you have to ala the classic example of Airplane! The exception to this is Steve Altman as (Lovecraft inspired name) Dexter, who is being goofy as all hell (I thought of him like he was a lessor stand-up comic from that boom of the 80's, Carson and Elvis imitations and all), and that would be fine if he were a little more talented. Sadly he isn't, but that's not the only issue: some of the lines that the actors are given are terrible, mostly with puns but other times it's just lame gags and references that are dated. If it's not American Express card riffs, it's an Exorcist reference that already felt tired by then.

But, I must stress, there are high points here, and it's not just with the cast - Vaughan, Scrim and Ace Mask (yes, that's his name, don't wear it out) are all wonderful here and get what they need to do to make these characters work so that there's comedy to play off of from the other characters - but with the style. It's not totally consistent throughout, which is a shame, but I enjoyed in the early part as the director and his camera man and editor tried to do some interesting things, like a commercial spoof involving a morturary service, or the music video Teri Copley is doing that has a hundred commercials in one minute of time, or the Honeymooners parody that is shot *in* black and white (and includes and Ed Norton!), or a simple gag like the camera following in a scene with Dexter at the library and the cameraman gets distracted.

In other words, there are enough times where the writing clicks and the actors click and the director clicks that the self-knowing stuff actually works. I wish that it did work more, or that certain gags had a touch more cleverness to them - to give another idea of what I mean, because Scrim is in this there's a part where his character holds the glass ball from Phantasm, and it's used for a baseball bit - but there's enough winks and nods to keep most open-minded horror fans happy. The strangest (and funniest) thing of all is how Corman, whether it was his idea or Wynorski and company I don't know, spoofs himself in a way; there's constant cut-aways to stock footage from The Terror (or maybe one of the Poe movies, or both), and then, lo and behold, Boris Karloff makes an appearance(!) Yes, there is actually a scene where Steve Altman walks into a room and interacts with stock footage of Karloff from The Terror; I have to think Corman knew how silly this would be and went for it. It's admirable and, most importantly, it's funny, and unexpected.

To put it another way, "Arkham Library" is a joke here. Do with that information what you will.


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