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Oct 192016

As much as I enjoyed the first film, I couldn’t wait to see its sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 and believe me it was well worth it.

Much has changed at Hotel Transylvania. Now that humans and monsters live in peace and harmony, Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) approves of human guests and his daughter Mavis (voice of Selena Gomez) is married to Johnny (voice of Andy Samberg). Could things get any better?

Yes they can. Mavis and Johnny have a son named Dennis (voice of Asher Blinkoff), who is half human, half vampire, (a.k.a. a dhampir) and just adorable. Dracula is very close with Dennis. In fact, he even disguised himself as a nurse to see his grandson. That’s just not something you would ever expect Count Dracula to do.

Johnny’s family is introduced in this sequel. His father Mike (voice of Nick Offerman) is always so serious as he tolerates everyone around him. Johnny’s mother Linda (voice of Megan Mullally) tries to be kind but always ends up putting her foot in her mouth, making things become awkward.

Dracula has high hopes for Dennis to show his vampire side, but it hasn’t surfaced yet. Secondly, Dennis’s favorite monster is Kakie (voice of Chris Kattan) a TV monster that’s friendly like Elmo and bit corny.

After seeing how the numerous wolf pups can move around like a wild tornado, Mavis believes that the hotel is not a good place to raise Dennis and considers moving to Johnny’s hometown in California. While the two of them are gone, Dracula sees this as an opportunity to inspire Dennis. So Dracula and his friends Frankenstein (voice of Kevin James), Wayne the Wolfman (voice of Steve Buscemi), Griffin the invisible man (voice of David Spade), and Murray the mummy (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) take Dennis on a road trip to their old haunts. Even Blobby the blob monster comes along for laughs.

Once Mavis finds out, she is so determined to get back to the hotel, she actually carries Johnny and their luggage herself while flying back to Transylvania as a bat. I never thought Mavis was that strong. I guess it goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of a concerned vampire mother.

Here’s a cool addition. The hotel has an organ player, who is none other than the Phantom of the Opera (voice of Jon Lovitz). It’s neat how he was thrown in so randomly. That got me thinking. There’s no mention of what became of Quasimodo after how he was left in the first movie.

It isn’t until much later when we see Dracula’s father Vlad (voice of Mel Brooks). Although Vlad dislikes humans even more than Dracula used to, the real threat is Vlad’s servant bat monster Bela (voice of Rob Riggle) and his bat crew, since they’re always up front about it.

I really like this movie and find it even funnier than the first one. I also saw online that there is a third installment in the works. I have no doubt that it will only get better from here.

Sep 232015

In honor of Mel Brooks voicing the role of Count Dracula’s father in the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 2, I thought I would blog about one of his earlier horror comedies, Young Frankenstein. This take on the classic horror novel is about Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), the grandson of the original mad scientist, resuming his grandfather’s experiment in reanimating the dead.

At first Dr. Frankenstein is against the idea and prefers that his name be pronounced “Fronkensteen”. I remember when I saw this movie years ago, I didn’t understand why that was. Now I see that it’s because the doctor wanted nothing to do with his family’s heritage.

Of course, fate would have it that Dr. Frankenstein inherited his great grandfather’s castle in Transylvania. Upon arrival the doctor meets Igor (Marty Feldman), who pronounces his name “Eye-gore”. Unlike other versions of Igor, this one doesn’t talk with a creepy slur and is a total goofball. His antics leave me laughing.

Dr. Frankenstein also has a lab assistant named Inga (Teri Garr). She has her funny moments too, like when the two of them find a secret passage in a bookcase. It’s hilarious when they struggle with the sensitive candle trigger while shouting, “Put the candle back!”

Inga eventually becomes Dr. Frankenstein’s love interest even though he’s already engaged to Elizabeth (Madeline Khan) a tightly wound socialite. Although Elizabeth is devoted to him, she keeps resisting his advances as though she’s taking full control of the relationship. It certainly makes you think.

An interesting running gag involves the housekeeper Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman). Whenever anyone says her name the horses get scared. Though the reason for that is not explained, it arouses suspicion.

Eventually, Dr. Frankenstein finds his grandfather’s journal and becomes so fascinated he decides to do the experiment to reanimate a corpse of a large criminal (Peter Boyle) that was just executed. Though it’s a success, the new monster has a huge fear of fire. What I don’t understand is why no one caught on to that.

Part of that might have also had to do with the brain Igor picked out. A classic highlight includes when he mentions that the brain was from someone named Abbey Normal, even though it was really labeled “Abnormal”.

Another classic item is when Dr. Frankenstein and the monster perform Puttin’ on the Ritz. This movie was when I heard that song for the very first time, believe it or not.

Though I must point out that Young Frankenstein is a bit darker than some of the other Mel Brooks classics like Spaceballs, High Anxiety, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving it and that this is one of few films that Mel Brooks directed that he isn’t actually in. However, it’s certainly a good one just the same.

Aug 272013

Lately, Mel Brooks has brought back some of his great classic films for the modern day. For instance, The Producers and Young Frankenstein became Broadway plays and the 2000-year-old man character was featured in children’s books. Now I’d like to focus on Spaceballs the Animated Series (2008-2009), which is based on the classic movie.

The series follows the events of the original film. Intergalactic heroes Lone Starr and his sidekick Barf the Mawg protect the universe from the evil Spaceballs led by President Skroob and Dark Helmet with the power of the Schwartz. It’s amazing that Dark Helmet is much smaller than he was in the movie, but is still a tough adversary with his dark Schwartz power.

I met Rino Romano, the voice of Lone Starr, at Anime Festival Orlando 2013. He told me that he had a lot of fun doing this role.

Each adventure represents a spoof on different types of pop culture from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The characters even get into costume to support the parody. It’s like they’re spoofs within a spoof. Since the original Spaceballs movie was made in 1987, this show has a lot more pop culture to work with now, especially with all of those hilarious fast paced gags.

What I also find interesting is that some of the original actors reprise their roles on the original movie. Daphne Zuniga returns as Princess Vespa, Joan Rivers voices Dot Matrix, and of course Mel Brooks is as funny as ever as both President Skroob and Schwartz Master Yogurt.

That’s right. Yogurt continues to provide guidance to Lone Starr when needed. To add to Yogurt’s background, it’s revealed that he has a wife, Yenta, who often nags him, especially when it comes to his health. How Yogurt puts up with it is anybody’s guess.

Other revelations on this series include Dark Helmet’s past and that Spaceball City is on a planet called Moron, which certainly lives up to its name.

This is a very well made series that’s both funny and adventurous. It certainly brings a new perspective to the franchise, doesn’t it?

Oct 202010

For my 200th post, I’d like to talk about my most favorite Dracula movie. Mel Brooks teams up with Leslie Neilsen, who plays the lead in this spoof on the story of Dracula called Dracula – Dead and Loving It. It starts when a London solicitor named Thomas Renfield (Peter MacNichol) heads to the Count’s castle. Then he becomes Dracula’s crazy slave, who eats all the insects. “Lives! Lives!” While Renfield sleeps, two sexy vampire women enter the room and try to make out with him. I don’t know how they can turn their floating skill on and off, but it works.

There are plenty of doctor gags in this film also. Dr. Seward (Harvey Korman) thinks that enemas are the best cure for all of his patients and as Professor Van Helsing (Mel Brooks) gives an autopsy lecture to a group of medical students, he hopes that they all pass out, which was hilarious.

When Dracula turns into a bat, his face is still the same, but with giant bat ears. Once he finally gets into the bedroom and bites the lovely Lucy Westenra (Lysette Anthony), it’s like he’s drinking a soft drink. Soon Lucy becomes a sexy vampire. When she’s slayed, we learn an important lesson; If a vampire just ate before you slay it, make sure you wear a poncho and put plenty of newspapers down.

After that, Dracula goes after Dr. Seward’s daughter, Mina (Amy Yasbeck, who played Maid Marian on Robin Hood: Men in Tights). “No hickeys.” As they dance in front of a mirror, it looks like Mina is flying. It’s amazing.

This was another great Mel Brooks classic movie. It’s strange that it was the last major spoof film he made, at least that I know of.

Sep 222010

Mel Brooks has done it again. Cary Elwes plays the lead in this classic spoof of Robin Hood called Robin Hood – Men in Tights. I can tell that this film was based on several other movie versions. Back in high school, I did a whole Robin Hood unit in English class by watching three other movie versions, one right after the other, and comparing them.

One scene I found hilarious was when Robin and Little John (Eric Allan Kramer) fight with staffs over that tiny bridge, which is a classic one on one battle. The staffs kept breaking, but that doesn’t stop them. Then Little John falls in the “river”. Another exciting scene was when Robin and his comrades fight off all of those guards at Prince John’s (Richard Lewis) party, including all of those knights that surround the Great Hall. Dominos!

No Robin Hood story would be complete without the archery contest as a way to trap our hero. There’s a lot of audience approval as Robin is revealed with the wave and the chop.

The Sheriff’s (Roger Rees) first name is actually revealed in this version when he tries to marry Maid Marian (Amy Yasbeck). No wonder he’s only known as “Sheriff”.

This is definitely one of my most favorite spoof films. Mel Brooks has really outdone himself with his comedy and song writing for this classic.