a/perture Cinema, Bozidar Smiljanic, Carol Kane, Donald Gibb, DVD.com, Ed Begley Jr., Frankenstein, Geena Davis, IMDb, Jeff Goldblum, Jeffrey Jones, John Byner, Joseph Bologna, Michael Richards, Netflix, Norman Fell, Rotten Tomatoes, The Less Desirables, Transylvania 6-5000
a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), starring Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley, Jr., Joseph Bologna and a slew of other stars from the ’80s.
Per IMDb: “Two reporters travel to a strange castle in Transylvania to investigate the apparent reappearance of Frankenstein, and encounter such kooky creatures as the sensitive Wolfman, the horny Vampiress Odette, as well as a whole cast of other weirdos.”
I want to say first that I was asked to review this by listener JCrow. She sent me a message responding to my call for requests. She said it was one of her favorites as a teenager. Actually, she wasn’t a teenager when this came out. I know how old she is and I was almost 15 (12 days before my 15th birthday); she’s much younger than me. Love ya anyways, Jen!
Jack Harrison (Goldblum) and Gil Turner (Begley) are writers for The Sensation, which is a tabloid in the vein of the National Enquirer or The Sun, that’s run by Turner’s father, Mac (Norman Fell). Jack isn’t a fan of tabloid journalism, he’s more serious. He’s using The Sensation as a bridge to bigger, more legitimate or serious magazines. Gil is a butt-kisser, always trying to win his father’s approval.
Old man Turner receives what they perceive to be a legitimate attack on two men in a homemade video by Frankenstein’s monster (continuously referred to as “Frankenstein”). Mac wants a story so he sends the two to Transylvania to get a story. They’re met by the mayor of Transylvania, Lepescu (Jeffrey Jones). Gil, in his idiotic “wisdom,” asks someone at the hotel about “Frankenstein” and they laugh them out of the room. They go to a castle-like hotel that’s owned by the mayor. They’re met by the idiotic butler, Fejos (Michael Richards) and then meet Radu, the manservant played by John Byner, who has to endure his overzealous and lovesick wife, Lupi (Carol Kane), and her sexual hunger, and Radu calls everyone “Master.”
Gil visits the chapel in which this Frankenstein attack was supposed to have happened and was threatened by Inspector Percek (Bozidar Smiljanic). They receive a note from some gypsy saying they need to meet with her. She tells them to continue their journey. Gil and Jack learn of a Sicilian doctor, Victorio Malavacqua (Bologna), who has lost his license to practice medicine, but that means nothing, apparently as they find Malavacqua has been providing care in a sanitorium. After Gil fails to get in to see him, both he and Jack are picked up by the Inspector and told to stay clear of looking for “Frankenstein.”
Throughout the film, Jack gets close to an American tourist named Elizabeth (Teresa Ganzel). Her daughter goes missing and Jack and Gil help looking for her. At this point, they encounter a few familiar horror film creatures. These include an oversensitive wolfman (Donald Gibb) and a nymphomaniac vampire named Odette (Geena Davis), among other twisted versions of what we’re used to. “Frankenstein” is the one that took Elizabeth’s daughter and they end up playing poker before Radu and Lupi capture him. Turns out that Doc Malavacqua created all the “monsters” to try and make up for his family’s name being tarnished and he’s legitimately trying to create normal lives for those seen as outcasts or freaks by the townspeople. But, do they take them in, or do they shun them even more? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
This was a very, moronic film, but in a mostly comedic way. During the whole thing I kept thinking that neither Frankenstein, Wolfman nor Mummy were set in Transylvania. Goldblum and Begley, Jr. were a decent comedy pair but the funniest parts were really between Byner and Kane’s Radu and Lupi. Their interactions were the definite highlight of the film. Richards was pretty funny, too, but that got old pretty quick.
The director Rudy De Luca stated, on the commentary, that this is tallest cast he had ever worked with, with Goldblum, Begley, Jones, Davis, Gibb, and Richards all standing over six feet tall. Rotten Tomatoes has this rated as 20% Rotten with an audience score of 42%. Not good. IMDb has it rated at 4.9 stars out of 10. That’s almost 50 percent, so I guess that’s better than RT’s scores. The all-star cast (albeit mostly B-list stars) should have had better performances than this, really. You wonder how people (read: production, financial backers, studios, etc.) can pump money into something so blatantly bad, am I right?
As I said before, it’s a ridiculously stupid movie and not very good at that. That’s evident with the reviews and ratings. It’s only available on Netflix‘s DVD.com and that’s how I watched it. If you want something that is indicative of silly ’80s film fare, with no real redeeming qualities but need something to pass some time with a chuckle here and there, then this is your film. I’m even going to say that I “liked” it, but not enough to give it more than 2.75 stars. Have you seen it? Do you agree or disagree? What would you like to see or hear me review? Let me know.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Ooh, bazonkers! I never counted on bazonkers. I’m so content!” – Formerly Ugly Hattie (The Mummy)