DirectorRudy De Luca
Release Date(s)1985 (February 11, 2020)
Studio(s)New World Pictures (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C
One of the goofier horror comedies of the 1980s, Transylvania 6-5000 managed to sway a cult following over time after making a tiny profit at the box office. It had an atypical afterlife on cable and home video, being far more successful in both formats. Its director, Rudy De Luca (actor, writer, and frequent Mel Brooks collaborator), didn’t helm any films afterwards, choosing to write and produce instead. As such, the film definitely reveals itself to be an amateur effort, yet it’s competently made, funny, and charming, not to mention loaded with a cast of familiar faces, a couple of which would go on to bigger things in Hollywood in the years to come.
Tabloid reporters Jack (Jeff Goldblum) and Gil (Ed Begley, Jr.) are sent to Transylvania to follow up on alleged “Frankenstein” sightings by their boss Mac (Norman Fell), who’s eager publicize. Upon their arrival they meet a beautiful young woman on vacation (Teresa Ganzel), the town’s mayor and hotel owner (Jeffrey Jones), and the hotel’s oddball butler (Michael Richards). Behind closed doors is a seemingly mad doctor (Joseph Bologna) doing experiments with the help of the hotel’s hired help, a hunched-over husband and wife duo (John Byner and Carol Kane). Emerging from the lab are “Frankenstein” (Petar Buntic), a sex-crazed vampiress (Geena Davis), and a Wolfman (Donald Gibb). Initially made fun of by the locals while avoiding the local inspector (Bozidar Smiljanic), Jack and Gil manage to reveal the town’s hidden agenda, despite being constantly distracted by beautiful women, weirdo townsfolk, and a sleepy fortune teller.
Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings Transylvania 6-5000 to Region A Blu-ray for the first time touting a “4K restoration,” likely from an interpositive. It’s not a particularly crisp presentation as the deficiencies of the film’s low budget are apparent in its visuals (competently lensed though they may be), but it’s a natural and clean presentation. A mild softness is apparent throughout, with the level of fine detail increasing over the old Anchor Bay DVD. Colors are serviceable, but they’re a bit drab without any real life to them. Black levels are decent, contrast is good, and the image is stable with nothing more than speckling leftover.
The audio is provided in English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English subtitles. It’s a tad better realized in comparison to the visuals. Decent fidelity can be found within the sound effects, crowd chatter, and ambient Transylvanian countryside activity. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible, while the score and music selection have mild depth. The track is also free of any obvious damage such as hiss, crackle, or distortion. It’s clean and well-rendered.
The following extras are also included, all in SD:
- Audio Commentary by Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman
- TV Spots (3 in all – 1:35)
- Trailer #1 (1:27)
- Trailer #2 (1:00)
- Like Stinks Trailer (2:01)
- My Boyfriend’s Back Trailer (1:10)
- Haunted Honeymoon Trailer (2:19)
- The Monster Trailer (1:37)
The vintage audio commentary with Rudy De Luca and visual consultant Steve Haberman, which first appeared on the aforementioned Anchor Bay DVD, is a fun chat as the two men reminisce about the ins and outs of the production. De Luca mentions that Tom Hanks and Paul Reiser were considered for roles in the film but were unknowns and therefore unsuitable to the producers. They also mention that the film was shot in thirty days and that actors were encouraged to ad lib, particularly Michael Richards. The rest of the extras consist of three TV spots and two trailers for the film, as well as trailers for other Kino Lorber releases. Not carried over from the Anchor Bay DVD release is a behind-the-scenes still gallery and a storyboard gallery.
Transylvania 6-5000 is one of those silly horror comedies that’s totally endearing. It attempts a mild bit of plot with fun reveals, even if they don’t totally make sense. But the cast is great and the puns, the pratfalls, and the parody are spot on. The film also finally makes its long overdue appearance on Blu-ray with a fine transfer and an enjoyable audio commentary to boot.
- Tim Salmons