Transylvania 6-5000

  • Written and Directed by Rudy De Luca
  • November 8, 1985 (US)

Two tabloid reporters travel to Transylvania to discover the truth behind some Frankenstein sightings.

Not to be confused with the Looney Tunes short of the same name, Transylvania 6-5000 (title references the archaic system of telephone exchange names where the first two characters of a telephone number were expressed as letters with “Transylvania 6-5000” standing for “TR 6-5000” which becomes 876-5000) is certainly a movie and it certainly has a talented and interesting cast but how did this become a cult classic?

It’s written like a movie from the ‘50s with a dash of sensibilities from the ‘80s. From the dialogue to everything it’s just a lot of dumb with ‘80s sex and cultural material. It is almost like an old comedy writer wrote this and decided to spice things up. Rudy De Luca is known largely for his work with the legendary Mel Brooks and that explains the vibe but without Brooks’ ability to make the juvenile genuinely entertaining it suffers.

The best joke in Transylvania 6-5000 comes in the beginning when we get introduced to our two main characters: supermarket tabloid writers Jack Harrison (Jeff Goldblum) and Gil Turner (Ed Begley Jr.). Jack has dreams of working for a better, more reputable paper and Gil just sucks up to his father who owns the paper they work for. In the scene I am referencing Gil says to his father “You can’t fire me, I’m your son” to which Gil’s father Mac (the legendary Norman Fell) responds “Prove it!” It’s not side splitting funny but it is stupid enough to be entertaining. Then the jokes take a downturn and nothing really ever jumps out again.

The cast also includes Joseph Bologna, Geena Davis, Michael Richards, Carol Kane, Teresa Ganzel, John Byner, and Jeffrey Jones. As a character, the only other individual that stands out in their supporting part beyond Norman Fell as Mac is Michael Richards as Frejos. While he is best known as Kramer from Seinfeld, he did other stuff before that. He plays a wonderfully weird and entertaining character in this but it is not enough to save this.

The theme song “Transylvania 6-5000” is quite catchy. I give them that. Even as I write this, I’m still humming it and truth be told it’s stuck in my head ever since I first heard it back when this movie originally came out. Not every day, but if I thought of the movie I thought of the song and that’s some very solid marketing right there.

This is something people watch and say they like to appear like they have discerning taste when they really don’t. They’re just following their particular group and not really thinking for themselves. It is an interesting curiosity, but not a good and interesting curiosity. If anything, it’s a curiosity as to why anybody remembers this film to this day.

Just skip Transylvania 6-5000. It’s 90 minutes of my life that I can’t get back. Don’t be like me.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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