TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (1989) Reviews and overview

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‘You’ll laugh all the way to the blood bank!’

Transylvania Twist is a 1989 American comedy horror film directed by Jim Wynorski (CobraGator; The Wasp Woman; Chopping Mall; et al) from a screenplay co-written with R.J. Robertson (The Haunting of Morella; Not of This Earth; Forbidden World).

In 2013, director Jim Wynorski said this film “comes closest to my personality and was the film I had the most fun making. It was the show I never wanted to end.”


Dexter Ward (Steve Altman) discovers that his apparently dead uncle (Jay Robinson) is not actually dead. Dexter is then sent to find and bring back The Book of Ulthar, a book of great power capable of unleashing terrible evil in the wrong hands.

Dexter’s search leads him to aspiring singing star Marissa Orlock (Teri Copley), who is about to be informed of the death of her father Marinas (Howard Morris), and her inheritance of Castle Orlock in Transylvania. Dexter goes with her to the castle.

Victor Van Helsing (Ace Mask), a professional vampire hunter, accompanies Marissa and Dexter to the castle as the executor of her father’s estate. Unfortunately, Count Byron Orlock (Robert Vaughn), and his three adopted-daughters – who are also vampires – are already at the castle…


“It’s a decent spoof with spooky sets and something that’s appropriate to watch with a younger crowd, or those wanting to see the scenes involving the big horror franchises or see Angus Scrimm’s amusing cameo. It has its share of quality scenes, but as a movie falls a tad short of one that you should add to your collection, unless you’re a hardcore spoof fan.” Oh, the Horror!

“The horror-movie spoof Transylvania Twist isn’t an entirely successful cinematic endeavor, but at least half its gags manage to score, and, coupled with the fact that it doesn’t stoop to bottom-basement toilet humor, this is enough to warrant a slight recommendation.” eFilmCritic

“A witless series of verbal and visual puns, non sequiturs and movie-fan in-jokes…” John Stanley, Creature Features

Choice dialogue:

Yellow cab driver in Transylvania: “Hey, in New York you got your junkies. Here, you got your zombies. What’s the difference? They all look like Keith Richards anyway.”

Dexter Ward: “I was gonna be a lawyer but I couldn’t stand the sight of blood.”

Marissa (possessed): “Your mother sews socks in Hell!”

Von Helsing: “Don’t ask me young fellow. Vampires, I know. But this Lovecraft stuff is out of my league.”

Cast and characters:

  • Robert Vaughn: Lord Byron Orlock
  • Teri Copley: Marissa Orlock
  • Steve Altman: Dexter Ward
  • Ace Mask: Victor Von Helsing
  • Angus Scrimm: Stefen (The Tall Man in Phantasm movies)
  • Steve Franken: Hans Hoff
  • Vinette Cecelia: Laverne
  • Monique Gabrielle: Patty aka Patricia (Evil Toons)
  • Howard Morris: Marinas Orlock
  • Jay Robinson: Uncle Ephram
  • Lenny Juliano: Maxie Fields
  • Joe Lerer: Hans Downe
  • Clement von Franckenstein: Hans Hoff
  • R.J. Robertson: Hans Phull
  • Arthur Roberts: Hans N. Fritz
  • Toni Naples: Maxine
  • Frazer Smith: Slick Lambert
  • Becky LeBeau: Rita
  • Stu Nahan: Sports Announcer
  • Jack Behr: Direttore
  • Kelli Maroney: Hannah
  • Michael Chieffo: Ed Norton Look-Alike
  • Jon Locke: Mr. Sweeney
  • Magda Harout: Peasant Woman
  • Deanna Lund: Insegnante
  • Brinke Stevens: Betty Lou
  • Harriet Harris: Granny
  • Michael Vlastas: James Vasvolakas
  • Art Hern: Willoughby
  • Dean Jones: Pinhead (as Dean C. Jones)
  • Boris Karloff [in footage from The Terror, 1963]

Film Facts:

The movie title comes from a line in the 1962 song Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett