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Film / Transylvania 6-5000

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Transylvania 6-5000 is a 1985 American/Yugoslav horror comedy film. Written and directed by Rudy De Luca, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr., Joseph Bologna, and Geena Davis. Notable other cast include Michael Richards, Carol Kane, Teresa Ganzel, John Byner, and Jeffrey Jones.

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. Can these two bumbling heroes unravel this monstrous mystery or are they in for some very scary surprises?

Not to be confused with the Bugs Bunny short.

Tropes 6-5000:

  • Acting Unnatural: Gil is trying to climb over the wall of the sanatorium when two old women walk past. He hooks his elbows on the top of the wall and leans back like he is casually leaning against the wall and smiles and nods at them as they pass: despite the fact his feet are dangling 3 ft. above the ground.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: Odette turns not to be a vampire, but a nymphomaniac who's pretending to be a vampire for attention because she thinks she is ugly.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Town officials frantically attempt to get rid of the local monsters so they can boost revenues from festivals and expand the tourist trade. Unusual in that the "monsters", none of which are genuine, only become a problem because the local busybodies are trying to chase them off.
  • Banana Peel: Fejos carries banana peels in his pockets and throws them on the ground and then attempts to slip on them in an effort to prove his comedic talents to Gil. However, he keeps falling over before he even reaches the peels.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: In the home movie that opens the film, a tourist is leaning against the door of the old chapel when the Frankenstein Monster's arms smash through the door and grab him.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: When Jack is attacked by the Wolfman, Gil jumps on the Wolfman's back in attempt to pull him off. The Wolfman then runs off with Gil still clinging to his back.
  • Bookcase Passage: Odette enters the library and sneaks up on Gil via secret passage from the Mad Scientist Laboratory under the castle that is concealed behind a bookcase.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Mayor Lepescu keeps mangling American idioms, saying things like "until the cows go home" and "having to beat them off with a rake".
  • Da Editor: Mac Turner, editor of the tabloid Jack and Gil work for, who sends them to Transylvania and tells them to come back with a story headlined "FRANKENSTEIN LIVES!" or don't bother coming back at all.
  • Destination Defenestration: When the Frankenstein Monster stops suddenly, Radu gets flung off the monster's back and through the window in the stable door.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Gil is nearly struck by a falling chandelier in the old chapel.
  • Fortune Teller: Madame Morovia, the gypsy fortune teller who keeps delivering Jack and Gil totally unhelpful messages about subjects they're not interested in before falling asleep.
  • Global Ignorance: While in America, Gil asks where Transylvania is, and Mac Turner points vaguely off in a random direction and says "I dunno, it’s over there someplace", as Jack looks on in disbelief.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Elizabeth knocks out the jailer by smashing a bottle over his head. Later she does the same thing to the cop trying arrest Jack in the town square, and threatens the other police with the broken bottle.
  • Hand Gagging: A little girl who finds a Frankenstein-like monster in the forest opens her mouth as if ready to scream, but the monster's hand suddenly covers it.
  • House Amnesia: Jack and Gil have an argument in Jack's hotel room. Jack announces that he is going out to keep an appointment and tells Gil to get some sleep. Gil lies down on the bed to do so, and as Jack is going through the door he realises what is going on and adds "And get out of my room!".
  • I Ate WHAT?!: While Lupi is preparing lunch, Radu picks up a glass of what he thinks is grapefruit juice and drinks a mouthful. His face starts puckering up as Lupi tells him that was the lemon juice she was squeezing for the tea.
  • The Igor: Radu, Lepescu's hunched-over manservant who addresses everyone as "master". He also acts as a traditional Igor for Dr. Malavaqua whenever Dr. Malavaqua's Science-Related Memetic Disorder kicks in.
  • Improv: Much of the scene between John Byner and Carol Kane preparing the lunch was improvised. The script's only direction was 'cut fruit and serve'.
  • Kill It with Fire: Mayor Lepescu and Inspector Percek attempt to incite the Torches and Pitchforks mob into burning the Frankenstein Monster at the stake.
  • Lurid Tales of Doom: Jack and Gil write for one of these publications. The former notably wants to write real journalism but as he complains to his editor in the opening scene any attempts of his to do so are inevitably twisted into this trope. The plot gets going when they are sent to Transylvania to investigate claims of a sighting of the Frankenstein Monster.
  • Madame Fortune: Madame Morovia, the gypsy fortune teller who keeps delivering Jack and Gil totally unhelpful messages about subjects they're not interested in before falling asleep.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Odette hugs Gil, pulling his face into her Navel-Deep Neckline, and continues to talk to him, despite his not being able to reply except in incomprehensible mumbles.
  • Monster Mash: Two tabloid reporters travel to modern-day Transylvania to uncover the truth behind Frankenstein sightings. Along the way, they encounter other horror film staples — a mummy, a werewolf, a vampire — each with a twist.
  • Musical Theme Naming: The servants Radu and Lupi are named after pianist Radu Lupu.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Odette wears a leotard (seemingly based on Vampirella's) with a plunging neckline that dips to her navel.
  • Pain to the Ass: While attempting to grab a rope in the stables, Lupi accidentally stabs the Frankenstein Monster in the butt with a pitchfork.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Fejos plays one of his insane practical jokes on Gil by hiding behind a portrait and peering out through the portraits eyes. He winds up getting his neck stuck between the picture frame and the wall.
  • Pun-Based Title: The film's title is a pun based on the Glenn Miller song "Pennsylvania 6-5000". A 1963 Bugs Bunny animated short used the same title.
  • Science-Related Memetic Disorder: Dr. Malavaqua is a normal scientist as long as he's outside his laboratory. On entering it, however, he proceeds to muss up his hair and go into full-blown Mad Scientist mode.
  • Sham Supernatural: Odette turns out to be a once-ugly woman who began dressing like a vampire to get attention, and continued to do so even after plastic surgery made her gorgeous.
  • Sleepyhead: Madame Morovia, the gypsy fortune teller. Every time she finishes one of her predictions, she immediately falls asleep, with her head falling forward and smashing through her table without waking her up.
  • Spinning Paper: The movie ends with a series of spinning covers of the tabloid Jack and Gil work for showing what happens to the characters after the events of the film. (Or possibly just what the tabloid made up about them.)
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: After the Wolfman delivers Gil to Dr. Malavaqua, Malavaqua straps him to the operating table in his Mad Scientist Laboratory.
  • Title Drop: "Transylvania 6-5000" is how Fejos answers the telephone. For added Pun, the phone plays the 3x8 note sequence from "Pennsylvania 6-5000" before he picks it up.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: When the Frankenstein Monster invades the wine festival, Mayor Lepescu yells for torches and the townsfolk are able to immediately produce them.
  • Travel Montage: A montage of planes, trains and buses shows Jack and Gil's journey from the US to Transylvania.
  • Überwald: Transylvania, despite Mayor Lepescu's attempts attempts to paint the place as a tourist wonderland.