Transylvania 6-5000 – USA, 1985 – reviews

Transylvania 6-5000 is a 1985 American comedy horror feature film about two reporters who are assigned to prove the existence of the Frankenstein monster.

Written and directed by Rudy De Luca (Dracula: Dead and Loving It; Caveman; High Anxiety), the movie stars Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park; The Fly), Ed Begley Jr., Joseph Bologna and Geena Davis (Beetlejuice; The Fly). Notable other cast members include Michael Richards, Carol Kane (When a Stranger Calls), Teresa Ganzel, John Byner, and Jeffrey Jones. It was produced by Thomas H. Brodek and Mace Neufeld (The Funhouse; The Omen franchise).

The film’s title is a pun on ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’, a song made famous by Glenn Miller.

Plot:

Two sceptical reporters are sent to Transylvania to find the Frankenstein monster – or be fired.

They are laughed at there but something suspicious is going on – maybe there are monsters, vampires, mummies and werewolves…

Reviews:

“Like the Brothers Zucker before, the writers opted to throw every joke they had at the wall, hoping for something to stick. Sadly, nothing does, and the ammunition being slung bears out why rather quickly: tiresome running gags are constantly introduced, yet they never pan out…” Allusions of Grandeur

” …a lovely little slapstick type of film with several funny characters performing set pieces with a paper-thin linking story, but that doesn’t matter this film is great, hunt it down you won’t regret it. Oh and Geena Davis in the best vampire outfit ever!!!” The Curiosity of a Social Misfit

Entertainment Tonight critic Leonard Maltin infamously gave a notable one-word review of the film. His review began with him swaying along with the Glenn Miller recording; at the point in the song where the words “Pennsylvania 6-5000” are uttered, Maltin spoke the title of the film, followed by the word “stinks.”

“There’s lots of sight gags and quick zingers and the Scooby-Doo reveal at the end is quite funny. It’s 80s comedy like I remember with a dose of Universal monster thrown in. Geena Davis as the sexy vampire helps a lot here too!” The Film Reel

“By 1985 you would think that something sharper and smarter could have been created but that’s not the case (I even enjoyed Transylmania and Stan Helsing more than this movie). A revelatory finale proves to be surprisingly sweet and gently amusing but it’s also lacking in anything that actually makes up for the rest of the film being so disappointing and stale.” For It Is Man’s Number

“The cast appears to have made every scene up on the spot in a series of inane gibberings, hysterical pantomimes and slapstick eye-rollings. The gag writing is unbelievably lame. The production values just look cheap.” Moria

“Overall, Transylvania 6-5000 fell short of the definitive monster-mash title that would be claimed by 1987’s The Monster Squad, but the film opts to appeal to the humorously dry movie-goer who appreciates absurdity, parody and a good chuckle without expecting the tenth National Lampoon film.” VHS Mate

Cast and characters:

  • Jeff Goldblum … Jack Harrison
  • Joseph Bologna … Doctor Malavaqua
  • Ed Begley Jr. … Gil Turner
  • Carol Kane … Lupi
  • Jeffrey Jones … Lepescu
  • John Byner … Radu
  • Geena Davis … Odette
  • Michael Richards … Fejos
  • Donald Gibb … Wolfman
  • Norman Fell … Mac Turner
  • Teresa Ganzel … Elizabeth Ellison
  • Rudy De Luca … Lawrence Malbot
  • Inge Appelt … Madame Morovia (as Inge Apelt)
  • Bozidar Smiljanic … Inspector Percek
  • Petar Buntic … Hunyadi

Filming locations:

  • Samobor and Zagreb, Croatia
  • Mokrice Castle, Catez ob Savi, Slovenia

Technical details:

  • 93 minutes
  • Audio: Mono
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Release:

Transylvania 6-5000 was released theatrically in the United States by New World Pictures on November 8, 1985. It grossed $7,196,872 at the North American box office against a reported $3 million budget.

The film was released on DVD in the United States by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2004. At the time of writing, it is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Related:

Transylvania 6-5000 – animated short, 1963 – overview

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