Transylmania -- Film Review

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For those of you who have been desperately awaiting the latest comic opus from David and Scott Hillenbrand, the creators of "National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze" and its sequel "National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2: College @ Sea," well, the suspense is over. The director-producer brothers have brought you "Transylmania," the latest in what will no doubt be -- thanks to the onslaught of vampires that have been lately populating movie and television screens -- an endless onslaught of bloodsucker spoofs.

Hopefully, some of them will be better than this one and "Stan Helsing," which recently made a brief pit stop in theaters before being shipped off to video stores.

Written by the team of Patrick Casey and Worm Miller (who, the production notes inform us, began their collaboration in the 1980s in juvenile detention hall -- who says our education system is failing?), the lame comedy revolves around a group of college students spending a semester abroad at a university housed in an ancient castle in the dark heart of Translyvania.

Led by a three-foot-tall dean (David J. Steinberg) and staffed with a faculty of menacing figures, including a bevy of topless vampiresses, the school's horrific curriculum well reflects its atmosphere.

The students -- including a pair of stoners constantly looking to "avoid stress"; a pair of sisters, one uptight and the other a slut; a nebbish looking forward to meeting his beautiful Romanian Internet girlfriend, who turns out to be a humpback; and a would-be vampire slayer -- find themselves caught up in a battle with the undead after they accidentally release a vampire king who has been imprisoned for centuries.

The lame gags, ineptly staged, don't produce anything in the way of genuine laughs, though there is the occasional funny line. (Two randy students, attempting to follow the guidelines of an ancient sex manual, complain that it's like "reading Ikea instructions.")

The movie does offer evocative visuals thanks to the use of atmospheric locations in, where else, Romania.

Filmgoers interested in this sort of thing would be well advised to skip "Translymania" and instead wait for the "Twilight" spoofs that inevitably will be coming our way.

Opened: Friday, Dec. 4 (Full Circle Releasing)
Production: Hill & Brand Entertainment
Cast: James DeBello, Musetta Vander, Toby Denman, Jennifer Lyons, Oren Skoog, David J. Steinberg, Irena A. Hoffman, Paul H. Kim, Natalie and Nicole Garza, Patrick Cavanaugh
Directors-screenwriters: David and Scott Hillenbrand
Screenplay: Patrick Casey, Joshua "Worm" Miller
Director of photography: Viorel Sergovici
Production designer: Jack Cloud
Editor: Dave O'Brien
Costume designer: Ioana Corciova
Rated R, 95 minutes
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