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Western Animation / Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Even monsters need to take a summer vacation.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (known as Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation internationally) is the second sequel to Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania. It is the third directing credit of the franchise for Genndy Tartakovsky and the first with him as writer, having replaced Robert Smigel from the first two films. The film is preceded immediately by the short Puppy!, which played in theaters in front of The Emoji Movie note .

It's been more than a century since the death of Dracula's wife, Martha. Feeling very lonely, Drac decides to get back into the dating game, but has a hard time. Seeing him getting overworked and stressed, his daughter Mavis decides to give him a vacation by taking him and his family and friends on a cruise for monsters aboard the cruise ship Legacy. The trip goes poorly for Drac until he meets the ship's captain, an attractive woman named Ericka. Experiencing a "Zing", Drac falls instantly in love with her, and it seems that she feels the same way. Unbeknownst to him, Ericka is actually the great-granddaughter of Drac's greatest enemy, Abraham Van Helsing, and she is trying to kill him. With an insidious trap in store, it might be down to Mavis to save him before it's too late.

The film was released on Friday, July 13th, 2018. You can watch the teaser here and the official trailer here.

The film was followed by Monster Pets, a short aired on YouTube, and the finale movie Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Dracula starts this for Ericka, once she figures out he's interested but before she understands what a Zing is.
    • Winnie for Dennis in a more subdued way. Dennis treats her like a best friend and partner in crime while she is, very vocally, head over heels for him.
  • Action Girl: Ericka, who can be very agile and almost ninja-like at times, though we don't see her doing much actual combat.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: While it doesn't lack the manic energy and Rapid-Fire Comedy of the first two films, this is the first Transylvania movie to have extended sequences without dialogue or loud music, namely the Dracula family scuba diving and Mavis following Ericka down the secret passage. It's probably safe to assume that these were Genndy Tartakovsky's ideas.
  • Adaptational Badass: Dracula, even above the level the other two films had him at. The Hellsings hunted him for hundreds of years and nothing worked, to the point Abraham van Hellsing decided only an ultimate weapon that mind controls a kraken would be enough to actually do him in. His rapid-fire shapeshifting and ability to ignore gravity are major bonuses in battle.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Due to most of the series' monsters being more heroic than their original counterparts, Abraham Van Helsing, in the context of this series' universe, is an obsessive, monster-killing bigot. He grows out of this mindset by the end of the film, after Ericka changes sides.
  • Almost Kiss: Dracula and Ericka come close to sharing a kiss on their date at the cantina, but are interrupted by Mavis.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ericka admits during the climax that she "zinged" with Drac. This is enough to snap Drac out of unconsciousness.
  • Annoying Arrows: When Dracula is helping Ericka through a field of booby traps, he gets pierced by multiple spears, arrows, snakes and a big axe, all without missing a beat.
  • Arc Words: "Legacy". It's the name of the cruiseship, and Van Helsing stresses the Van Helsing legacy to destroy all monsters. In the final act of the movie, Ericka claims that its time to start a new legacy upon her Heel–Face Turn, one that includes humans and monsters.
  • Arch-Enemy: Dracula is considered such for the entire Van Helsing bloodline, having encountered multiple generations of Van Helsings and evaded their attempts on his life in an almost Bugs Bunny-esque degree of competence, Abraham being one of his most persistent pursuers. This presumably ends with Ericka.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Abraham tells Ericka that as he grew older, his body started to fail him. First his liver, spleen and kidneys, and then his hair fell out.
  • Art Evolution: The film has slightly more detail than both of the previous entries, but also has a far more "2D" flair, with the characters having a lot more stretchiness in their movements and expressions.
  • Artifact Title: Being set on a cruise ship leaves a very tenuous connection to either hotels or Transylvania, though Drac lampshades the setting is functionally quite similar.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: Ericka assuming Drac is speaking Transylvanian during his Gibberish of Love. Transylvania is not a country but a region within Romania, where the official language is Romanian, although a large part of the population speaks Hungarian, Ukrainian, or German. Granted, it's supposed to be a joke.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: One of the background monsters is a multi-tailed vixen.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: The fish-man who takes Wayne and Wanda's pups.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: The Gremlins on the Air Gremlin plane, who do everything in their power to make their passengers' flights as unpleasant as possible. Justified, given their real mythological history of being plane-wreckers.
  • Beach Episode: Emphasized in the marketing, though the majority of the sequences take place on the boat.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ericka, who pretends to be a friendly captain charmed by Drac, only to reveal later that she's actually a monster hunter — and on top of all that, she's also the great-granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing. She grows out of this once she begins to legitimately fall for Drac.
  • Body Horror: Plenty throughout the film. Since monsters can take a lot of damage without dropping, the studio saw no reason not to play up the Amusing Injuries as much as possible. One prominent case is the fly-man whose eye gets popped out of his head on the plane.
  • Call-Back: We find out that "arm cousins", an excuse used to justify Johnny's apparent relation to Frank, are actually a real thing — an actual arm cousin of Frank is set up with Drac at the beginning.
  • The Captain: Ericka commands the cruise ship Legacy.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: The gremlin pilot and co-pilot are seen calmly drinking tea and discussing their weekend plans while their plane is literally falling out of the sky.
  • Compressed Vice: Frank suddenly develops a serious gambling addiction for this film, to the point of losing his hands and replacing them with lobster claws.
  • Continuity Nod: In the beginning, we see the zombie composers again, after their absence from the second film.
  • Covers Always Lie: Neither Ericka nor Abraham appear on any of the posters or the DVD/Blu-Ray covers, with the posters making it look like the vacation itself is the sole source of conflict.
  • Cyborg: In order to keep himself alive, Abraham Van Helsing replaced his body piece by piece with clumsy Steampunk tech to the point were the only remaining parts of his are his head, arms and a few internal organs.
  • Dance of Romance: Drac protecting Ericka from the traps in the Atlantis ruins turns into this.
  • Death Trap Tango: Dracula manages to protect Ericka from a series of death-traps leading up to the Instrument of Destruction in Atlantean ruins, the two of them devolving into a dance. While Dracula's reflexes manages to keep Ericka out of harms way, Dracula takes the brunt of said traps, but he's too love-struck by her to actually notice.
  • Denser and Wackier: Downplayed. While the other films are fairly cartoonish and screwball, Summer Vacation is much zanier and full of slapstick than the others to the point where many compare it to a Looney Tunes cartoon. Special mentions go to the Road Runner vs. Coyote relationship Dracula had with Abraham Van Helsing, the Failure Montage where Ericka tries and fails to kill Dracula without him even noticing, the Amusing Injuries Drac sustains in the temple and the Aside Glance he gives before shrugging and joining in on "The Macarena" during the climax (It Makes Sense in Context)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At the end, the way Drac and Ericka giddily try sneaking away from the crowd makes it seem very much like they're planning to have sex. Turns out, Drac just wanted some privacy to propose to her.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Mavis gets the idea to book the cruise for the vacation after being unable to click away from a television commercial for it. Given that it's unlikely Ericka and Abraham would have wanted to leave their plot to chance, it seems very possible they deliberately engineered it this way.
  • Easily Forgiven: Abraham Van Helsing earns the monsters' forgiveness by giving them a full refund.
  • Everyone Can See It: Drac's friends can easily tell that Drac is in love with Ericka.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Tinkles growls at Abraham Van Helsing even when he's hidden behind a door. After the latter's Heel–Face Turn, Tinkles starts liking him.
  • Exact Words: Abraham forces Ericka to promise she will not try to kill Dracula until they get to Atlantis; she obliges. Once he's out of her sight, Ericka tells herself she will not try to kill Dracula; she will kill Dracula.
  • Failure Montage: Ericka tries going to great lengths to destroy Drac herself on the cruise, but all her attempts are inadvertently thwarted by Blobby.
  • Fantastic Racism: Runs in the family, apparently, from Abraham Van Helsing down to his great-granddaughter Ericka. Although both move past that and befriend the monsters in the end.
  • Foreshadowing: Ericka being a Van Helsing is hinted at during her introduction before it's confirmed, such as when she acts hesitant to touch or get close to some of the monsters, and when she compliments Drac by saying "I'd kill for that skin."
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Drac proposes to Ericka at the end of the movie, despite them having only known each other for a few days, at best. Even assuming there was a time skip at some point, they couldn't have known each other for more than a few months, which is how long cruises generally last.
  • Freaky Electronic Music: Inside the Instrument of Destruction is sheet music, that, when played, mind controls the Kraken into destroying everything. In attempt to have the Kraken kill all monsters, Abraham Van Helsing plays an EDM rendition of this song. He comes very close to succeeding.
  • The Gambling Addict: Eunice won't let Frank gamble because he (literally) lost an arm and a leg last time and it wasn't easy to find replacements. He goes behind her back and gambles anyway. As a result, he now uses crab claws as replacement hands.
  • Gas-Cylinder Rocket: Sends an unfortunate fish-man jetting into the sky when he attempts to place a scuba tank on one of the prickly newlyweds' backs.
  • Gasshole: Drac suffers a bout of flatulence after eating guacamole laced with garlic. It later happens to Mavis as well.
  • Gibberish of Love: Drac often devolves into this around Ericka. She slips into it too when Drac proposes to her at the end of the movie.
  • Griping About Gremlins: The airliner that transports the hotel residents to the Legacy is entirely crewed by small green gremlins. By the time it begins its approach to the embarkation-point in the Bermuda Triangle, the plane has been almost completely disassembled by its own crew's incompetence and/or compulsion to break stuff.
  • Growling Gut: Happens to Drac and Mavis after eating guacamole laced with garlic.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Abraham believes that monsters are abominations that should be stamped out, yet by this point it would be a stretch for him to qualify as human given his mechanical upgrades.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: Happens to Drac when he sees Ericka for the first time.
  • Held Gaze: Drac and Ericka share one on their date. This is when Ericka begins to legitimately fall for Drac and starts questioning her goal of killing him.
  • The Heavy: Ericka is this for the still alive Abraham Van Helsing.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ericka, over the course of the film. Abraham Van Helsing as well.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Ericka becomes reluctant to kill Dracula once she begins to fall in love with him for real.
  • Hourglass Plot: In the first movie, Dracula didn't want Mavis to date a human, because he was afraid of losing her. This time, their roles are reversed.
  • Human Pincushion: Drac gets hit with dozens of darts and arrows, venomous snakes, even an axe to the head, while protecting Ericka from a booby-traps-riddled temple in Atlantis.
  • Human Popsicle: It turns out that Abraham Van Helsing himself used this method to survive to the present day.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: When Drac confesses that he Zinged with Ericka. When he explains that a Zing is like "true love", Ericka freaks out and rejects his feelings.
  • Instrument of Murder: The Doomsday Device Abraham uses to destroy all of the monsters just so happens to be a sheet of music that, when played, compiles the Kraken to destroy all monsters within sight. Extra points for when Abraham refers to it by name as the "instrument of destruction."
  • Irony: Abraham Van Helsing, the enemy to all monsters, is defeated by Johnny, a human, and his good vibes music. In addition, due to the steampunk automation parts keeping him alive, he's far closer to the monsters he despises than being still human.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Drac is having trouble and asks his Siri for a "date," she responds "The date is Friday July 13th," the release date of the movie.
  • Light Is Not Good: Ericka always wears white clothes, but is one of the main villains and is out to kill Drac. Subverted after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Lightning Gun: Abraham Van Helsing is introduced carrying a plasma globe-topped Ray Gun capable of shooting lightning.
  • Literal Metaphor: The last time Frank gambled, he literally lost an arm and a leg. This time, he only loses his hands.
  • Love at First Sight: When Drac first sees Ericka, he falls fast and he falls hard. He's shocked, because he thought a Zing could only happen once in your life.
  • MacGuffin: The real reason behind the cruise is because Abraham believes it to be impossible to kill Drac without the artifact that sunk Atlantis.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: In order to defeat Van Helsing, Johnny plays "La Macarena".
  • Meaningful Name: The Legacy, as Ericka sees herself as carrying on the legacy of her great-grandfather Abraham Van Helsing.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: When Abraham Van Helsing uses his music to control the Kraken, its eyes burn bright red.
  • Mind-Control Music: The weapon that sunk Atlantis is a piece of sheet music, which Abraham Van Helsing uses to control the Kraken into going on a murderous rampage.
  • Monster/Slayer Romance: Drac falls in love with Ericka who is a Van Helsing.
  • Moonburn: On the beach, Eunice asks her husband if he could rub moon-screen on her back to keep her from getting burned.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: To counter Van Helsing's evil music, Johnny and Drac play upbeat songs to snap the Kraken out of his control. They first try "Good Vibrations" and it works, but Van Helsing plays the music louder and regains control; next they try "Dont Worry, Be Happy", with the same result. Finally, they succeed with, of all things "La Macarena".
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows Drac and his friends' reactions when Blobby is about to puke and when Blobby's puke becomes a mini-Blobby. In the movie, they're not present to witness mini-Blobby's birth.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: There's a very slight example at the end of the movie: Winnie makes a very forward romantic advance, getting close to Dennis's face and asking him to look her in the eyes, hoping to start a "zing" between the two of them. Dennis gets nervous, and finally decides he's too young for a relationship right now, so he leaves without looking Winnie in the eyes, with Winnie chasing him.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: When the Kraken is first introduced, he places his tentacles on the deck of the ship as he ominously rises from the ocean... only to break into song, extolling the virtues of Atlantis. He's only malicious when controlled through Mind-Control Music, which is Abraham's plan.
  • Not This One, That One: This is done to the audience - after everyone leaves Hotel Transylvania for the vacation, we are shown a sleek aircraft labeled "Modern Airlines" in the sky, but then pan to a bright green aircraft labeled "Gremlin Airlines" which is literally falling apart around the passengers as they fly.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Mavis catches Ericka with Dracula just as she's trying to pull an axe embedded on his head, making it seem to Mavis like she was trying to kill her father.
  • Odd Name Out: Wayne and Wanda’s second daughter is named Sunny, which breaks the pattern of the werewolf family all having ‘W’ names.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the beginning of the film, when Griffin tells Dracula that he can find love with a phone app, he panics and deflects that he is too busy, ending the conversation with "blah blah blah". When Frank calls attention to it, Drac is quick to deny it. Granted, he didn't say it with the inflection or intent the bad impression is meant to imply, but it still applies.
  • Out of Focus: Wayne and Wanda are completely out of the second half of the movie due to being tranquilized.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Upon noticing a "no pets allowed" sign, Dennis and Winnie disguise Tinkles as "Bob" using a massive trenchcoat and relatively tiny hat. Played 100% straight - nobody recognizes "Bob" until the end when he ditches both. Justified, as in this universe monsters can have all sorts of appearances, so it wouldn't be too far fetched to assume that there could be a large dog monster on board. Though that does raise the question of where "Monster" ends and "pet" begins.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ericka apparently never knew her parents, as they died when she was very young.
  • Parental Bonus: Frank's arm cousin could count since she's a leggy redhead clad in a cocktail dress (possibly even a reference to Jessica Rabbit) with a gigantic butt. She just so happens to be a composite of body parts with one comically muscular arm.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Mavis and Johnny talk about it when they see Drac with Ericka. Johnny claims he still feels uneasy when his parents kiss.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Dracula with Ericka or so he thinks, much to Mavis' chagrin.
  • Plane Awful Flight: The main cast board Gremlin Air, where the crew is made up of gremlins that are dismantling the very plane they are supposed to fly.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Great-grandfather in Ericka's case.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • The flashback to 1897 features not only Dracula but all of the main monsters. Dracula, Frank and Murray are undead, so them being around back then is not so surprising, but there is no explanation for Wayne or Griffin being that old.
    • Abraham Van Helsing has kept himself alive for over a century by gradually replacing his body with Steampunk machinery; his head and hands are evidently the only thing left.
  • Recycled with a Gimmick: An In-Universe example; Drac (at least initially) hates the idea of going on a cruise, telling Murray (and the others) that it's "...a hotel on the water."
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Abraham Van Helsing uses his music to control the Kraken, its eyes burn bright red.
  • Retcon: In the first movie, Dracula specifies that garlic makes his throat swell up. Here, it gives him gas instead.
  • Ridiculously Alive Undead: Ericka hears that Dracula the vampire is allergic to garlic, so she tricks him into eating garlic-laced guacamole to kill him. All this does is make him break wind. Later, the same thing happens to his daughter Mavis.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Ericka wants to kill Drac but Mavis' reasons to believe it are her reluctance to accept her father having a new love and a misunderstanding that makes Mavis believe Ericka had just hit him with an axe.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: It pretty much establishes Abraham and Dracula, Dracula evading and thwarting all of Abraham's attempts on his life to an almost absurd degree. Subverted with Drac vs. Ericka as he had absolutely no idea that they were trying to kill him and just happened to waltz around the traps incidentally.
  • Save the Villain: Drac saves Abraham Van Helsing's life. Drac had previously saved Ericka's but that doesn't count because he didn't realize that she was technically a villain at the time.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: On a cruise to the tropics instead of taking place in or at the titular hotel. Lampshaded by Dracula, who points out that a cruise and a hotel are more or less the same concept.
  • Serial Escalation: The first two films are relatively self-contained to the Hotel. This film ups things to a cruise ship, with more exotic locations such as the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Shout-Out: The cruise ship in the film, the Legacy, bears a very strong resemblance to the Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic — the Legacy just has five funnels instead of four, and is rather cartoonishly shorter and fatter than the real-life ocean liners. Fortunately, however, the film takes place in the tropics, so icebergs are not a hazard.
  • Shown Their Work: The train conductor at the beginning of the movie uses the correct Hungarian pronunciation for "Budapest".
  • Silence is Golden: The scuba diving scene is mostly dialogue-free, with the only two total lines coming from Stan and Ericka.
  • Silly Walk: The Dracula family in their scuba-gear.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Played for Laughs in the scene where Ericka is routinely trying to kill Drac in various ways, all while he's (and Blobby, who thwarts her plans) blissfully dancing around the ship to the tune of "24K Magic".
    • The whole climax of the film, where the Kraken starts going on a rampage to the sound of a simplistic rave beat that happens to brainwash and control it. As such, Drac and Johnny have to drown said beat with even more dissonant upbeat songs to break the Kraken free.
  • Super-Toughness: When Dracula helps Ericka retrieve "her family heirloom", he uses his Super-Reflexes, Super-Speed and Super-Strength to move her out of the way of booby-traps. By the end of it, he has dozens of darts and arrows imbedded in his body, six poisonous snakes clinging to his arms, is burned, gets crushed by a giant spiked ball and gets an axe in his head. Not only does he not react to any of it, but he seems too love-struck to even notice. Whether or not this is because of his vampire physiology or for the sake of comedy is vague, as none of it leaves a scratch on him.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Mavis somewhat overhears Drac using his smartphone to try to find a date, but doesn't really catch the gist of it. When she finds him, though, she does realize that he's hiding something from her and comes to the conclusion that he's stressed and needs a break. Drac happily seizes upon this excuse, saying that it's exactly the case.
  • Taking the Bullet: Drac takes several kinds of ammo for Ericka in the Atlantis ruins.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Abraham's Fantastic Racism does not seem to be based around a particular ideology or motivation other than exterminating monsters being the Van Helsing Family Business.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Mavis tries explaining to Dennis that dogs were not allowed to just run wild at the wedding, Winnie gives an offended gasp and shocked expression before Mavis quickly redacts her statement and says that pets were not allowed.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Wayne and Wanda, the beleaguered parents of the Werewolf kids, upon finding themselves in a daycare on the Cruise, finds out that the crew will willingly take their kids for the day. They decide that's good enough, because they finally get a break from having to take care of his massive litter. He and Wanda also spend the rest of the film in a closet, which they don't seem to have minded very much, to the point of planning another vacation.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: After stumbling upon Ericka and Abraham Van Helsing discussing their plan, Wayne and Wanda are immediately tranquilized and locked in a janitor's closet. They stay there for almost the rest of the movie.
  • Unknown Rival: Abraham Van Helsing considers himself and Dracula mortal enemies and views him as a scourge that needs to be exterminated. Dracula barely recalls who he is and initially assumes he's just a rival hotelier. Granted, this is implied to be because he assumed Van Helsing is dead: once Van Helsing gives his name, Drac becomes appropriately serious.
  • Vacation Episode
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime: The Trope Namer's family.
  • Virtual Assistant Blunder: Drac hears that he can get a date over the internet and attempts to ask his smart phone to set him up on a date, but the phone keeps misunderstanding his instructions.
    Dracula: I'm looking for a date.
    Phone: The date is Friday, July 13th.
    Dracula: No no no. I want to meet someone.
    Phone: Understood, you want to eat dim sum!
    Dracula: Are you kidding me right now?
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Because the Kraken is controlled through music, Dracula and Johnny were able to usurp control with music that sends good vibes, the "Macarena" of all things being what thwarts Van Helsing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The dance-party DJ is the last we see of any of the Atlanteans, despite them otherwise serving as the staff of the cruise's last destination.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Ericka thinks garlic kills vampires like in most tales. It doesn't. It just gives them gas.


"Hey macarena!"

The fact that the climax can be summed up as a DJ-battle where the day is saved by everyone doing the macarena is so stupid, yet it's so hilarious that most people don't mind. What cements it is the dopey face Tinkles makes when he does it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / NarmCharm

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