Director Rudy De Luca amassed a career working with and writing for Mel Brooks, so it’s likely intentional that “Transylvania 6-5000” feels like an attempted companion piece to “Young Frankenstein.” It seems to aspire to do so more times than the viewer would like. “Transylvania 6-5000” feels like a pseudo or spiritual sequel to “Young Frankenstein” which is a good element in some instances and works to its detriment in other instances.
Tabloid reporters Jack Harrison and Gil Turner are sent to Transylvania with two choices: find the Frankenstein monster or find new jobs. But before the jumpy journalists can dig up their big story, they must first face the horrors of an extremely clumsy butler, a nymphomaniac vampiress and a semi-mad doctor, as well as assorted mummies, werewolves and more Transylvanian oddballs. “Transylvania 6-5000” is not a great horror comedy. In fact it’s not a particularly top fiver in the annals of horror comedy movies ever made.
However, director Rudy De Luca seems to know exactly what he’s trying to create within his film, however misguided it may be. He eagerly attempts to conjure the old Hope and Crosby road films while also channeling “Young Frankenstein” time and time again. The problem is the movie lacks an inherent focus, never quite sure if it wants to embrace the whole horror angle or completely take the air out of it. Even though we know that Transylvania is filled with monsters and whatnot, the script meanders to where we’re never quite sure if there’s really much ado about nothing. To its credit though, the cast compensate for the list of shortcomings in the film.
While Begley and Goldblum don’t have a lick of chemistry and fail to elicit laughter, there’s at least Michael Richards. Richards in one of his earliest roles plays a bellhop with aspirations for Hollywood. Richards is on his A game here and manages to grab pretty much all of the bigger laughs with his pratfalls and brand of double takes. Geena Davis is also very good in a brief but memorable role as a sexy vampire countess. It’s also hard to forget about the appearances from Carol Kane, Joseph Bologna, and Norman Fell. There are so many other better horror comedies out there, but “Transylvania 6-5000” is a solid novelty if you’re in the mood for some horror comedy antics that won’t make you laugh but will keep your attention enough.