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Watched last weekend because it was on and I was both curious and in need of some brain down-time.

Fundamentally, it's a zany kids' comedy, with the central premise being that monsters are more afraid of humans than we are of them (cf. Monsters, Inc., etc.). The reason in this case is that Dracula (their unofficial leader) lost his wife in a fire at the hands of an angry torch-bearing mob, and has never got over the trauma. Instead, he has built a hotel far away from humanity for his monstrous chums, and keeps his daughter there wrapped up in an over-protective bubble, so that she will never go near humans (they drink blood substitutes, of course) and he won't risk losing her. Only then a back-packing human wanders into the hotel by accident, and he and Dracula's daughter fall head-long into teenage love. Awkwardness, hurdles and hilarity ensue, until true love triumphs, everyone learns to get along, and Dracula realises that he needs to let his little girl take control of her own destiny.

So far, so predictable and not really worth watching. But nonetheless it is a mainstream popular reception of my beloved Gothic horror genre, and in that light I found plenty to keep me interested, particularly where the visual design was concerned. Basically, Hotel Transylvania's monsters are Universal monsters.


You can tell especially from Frankenstein's monster, who boasts the classic Boris Karloff high squared-off forehead design, but also from the white stripe in his bride's hair and the fact that there is an Invisible Man at all (represented, of course, by the floating glasses). There have been many Mummies, Frankensteins and Draculas, but few other film treatments of the Invisible Man besides Universal's. I'm not quite sure how the Mummy ended up looking (to my eyes) like the Oogie-Boogie Man from Nightmare Before Christmas, but I assume there is some sort of missing link of which I am unaware. Please comment if you know what it is!

The castle, though, is quite plausibly Hammeresque, and for me was the highlight of the entire film:


As for Dracula, he is almost equal measures Lugosi and Lee. He has inherited Lugosi's turned-up (rather than turned-down) cloak collar, black (not greying) hair and eastern-European (rather than RP British) accent. But he has Lee's black-from-head-to-toe clothing (no white bow-tie or six-pointed medallion), his height and his fluid movements, and most striking of all his moments of SUDDEN RAGE when provoked, complete with burning red eyes and snarling fangs.


If that's not Christopher Lee, I don't know what is. Certainly, it is lovely to see yet one more testimony to the iconic status of his Dracula.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:13 pm (UTC)
Aside from its heteronormative teenageness I enjoyed this film lots - and I especially loved Steve Buscemi as the Wolfman.

Maybe the Mummy character was modelled on the chap who played him - Celo Green :-)
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:24 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I was very clueless about who all the voice actors were, as I don't have a very good knowledge of American film stars - and I'm afraid in the case of CeeLo Green that extends to literally never having heard of him before you mentioned him! Googling, though, I can kind of see what you mean.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, and Google also tells me he is a Popular Music Performer more than an actor, which would go even further towards explaining why I have never heard of him!

*puts on the kettle for a nice mug of cocoa*
Jan. 25th, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
I watched this on a plane. I liked the werewolf family. (Movie criticism from Huskyteer aged 38¼, there.)
Jan. 25th, 2016 10:11 pm (UTC)
They were cool. I liked how their baby daughter was able to tell exactly which flight the teenage back-packer had gone to the airport to catch, just by sniffing his shirt.
Feb. 1st, 2016 12:55 am (UTC)
I found Hotel Transylvania enjoyable, but one of those films that just doesn't quite satisfy. I suspect in part because as you said it is very predictable. The sequel seemed much more its own film instead of the original's plot by numbers.
Feb. 1st, 2016 12:59 pm (UTC)
Well, that's worth knowing, as I wasn't going to bother with the sequel, on the grounds that they are usually weaker than the original. From what you say here, though, I might now - at least if it is on TV and I'm in the right mood, anyway.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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