Found-Again Friday: Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)

It’s been a while since I rewatched a Jeff Goldblum movie for this site—well, he’s in The Sentinel for about a minute, like everyone else—and this was one of the first I ever saw.  It was 1986, and I was attempting to gear up for The Fly by watching everything the guy had ever done, including Death Wish and that disco movie.

Can you blame me?

Why Found-Again? That said, I’ve been putting this one off. I’ve seen a lot of Found-Again films at this point, and only a few have really disappointed me. I thought Transylvania 6-5000  was goofy fun when I was 12… but will a comedy broader than the ocean, and sporting an aesthetic best described as Monty Hall meets The Munsters meets Benny Hill meets Love Boat, really stand up to grown-up scrutiny?

The Premise: Instead of making things up like a normal tabloid, the paper Jack and Gil* (Goldblum and Ed Begley, Jr.) work for sends them to Transylvania after a tourist video seems to show the Frankenstein monster. They arrive to find a town bent on increasing tourism and showcasing its normalcy despite being populated by (among others) a goofy bellhop, a sort of Igor family, a shy but horny vampire, a werewolf, a mad scientist, and, yes, the F-Monster himself. Jack, who has an amazingly low tolerance for bullshit for a hero in a comedy, just wants to give up and romance a beautiful blonde; Gil, who makes up in go-getter spirit what he lacks in brains, stays on the case. And that’s how they stumble onto the real secret of the Transylvanian monsters.

It’s also how this happens. Ordinarily I wouldn’t include a groin-grab screenshot, but when I talk to other people who’ve seen the movie, this is invariably the thing they remember.

Like a lot of these goofy movies from the ’70s and ’80s, this has a pretty good cast; if you ever watch it, remember that only a few years later, Geena Davis took home the Oscar. John Byner and Carol Kane steal every scene they’re in, and Jeffrey Jones does well as, essentially, the Principal Rooney of a small town in the Carpathians. It also has a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards, if you’re into that. As for the plot, you know me–any mystery in a storm.

The Verdict: I don’t think I’d go so far as to recommend it for a movie night, but being trapped in a room with T-6-5000 could certainly be worse. And  I won’t lie: the “heartwarming” denouement, especially Lupi and Radu, at the end of this movie gets me every time, as stupid as that is. Transylvania 6-5000 is still best enjoyed by 12-year-olds, but what I’ve lost in tolerance for its obvious gags is made up for by… well, by a lot of the other movies I’ve watched for this site. It’s an Abbott and Costello flick for a new(er) age, made with obvious affection for the old monster movies that inspired it.

That said, it was a pretty long 94 minutes, and you can see why.



*Oh, hell. Is that a pun?


Next time: The Quest For Monday becomes The Quest For Voodoo! And for next Friday, by default, we have Dracula AD 1972.

J. A.

It reads. It writes. It watches. It researches. It overdoes many of those things!

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