Transylvania Twist

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Transylvania Twist
Transylvania Twist,DVD.png
DVD cover
Directed by Jim Wynorski
Produced by Roger Corman
Alida Camp
Written by R. J. Robertson
Jim Wynorski
Starring Steve Altman
Teri Copley
Ace Mask
Howard Morris
Jay Robinson
Angus Scrimm
Robert Vaughn
Music by Chuck Cirino
Cinematography Zoran Hochstätter
Edited by Nina Gilberti
Distributed by Concorde Pictures
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Transylvania Twist is a 1989 comedy film that parodies horror movies. Originally released by Concord Production Inc., this film is distributed on home video by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In the film Angus Scrimm reprises his role of the "Tall Man" from the Phantasm movies, as a parody.[1] The humor of the film is most often said to be in the style of Airplane!,[2][3] and Mel Brooks[1][4] comedies. It occasionally breaks the Fourth wall rule with characters looking at the camera, and one even saying "I'm in the wrong movie." The film's main theme has been released on a variety of albums, it and the entire soundtrack was released on CD and as a direct download in the year 2010, twenty-one years after the movies initial release.

Plot summary[edit]

The film opens with two short sequences before the main story line begins, first a prologue, and then a mock television advertisement. In the prologue, a seemingly helpless young woman is pursued by Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Freddy Krueger; she is then chased into a cave and reappears a few seconds later with an item from each of the three. She then faces the camera and laughs (showing her fangs) and says, "Amateurs!" The advertisement sequence is for a "mortuary, crematory, cemetery" called "Death City" where a salesman tries selling viewers "new and used coffins", with the help of his assistant Lovely Rita.

Dexter Ward (Steve Altman)[5] enters a 'Death City' location, and is greeted by two morticians, one of which is noted science fiction anthologist Forrest J. Ackerman in a cameo appearance, who is holding a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland.[1] Dexter is there for the funeral of his uncle, who is suffering from a 'medical condition' and not actually dead. After helping his uncle out of the coffin and back to a library, Dexter is then sent by his uncle Ephram (Jay Robinson) to find and bring back The Book of Ulthar, a book of great power capable of unleashing terrible evil in the wrong hands; librarian Ephram had mistakenly let someone check it out. Dexter's search leads him to aspiring singing star Marissa Orlock (Teri Copley), who is about to be informed of the death of her father Marinas (Howard Morris), and her inheritance of Castle Orlock in Transylvania. Dexter goes with her to the castle.

Victor Van Helsing (Ace Mask),[6] a professional vampire hunter, accompanies Marissa and Dexter to the castle as the executor of her father's estate. Count Byron Orlock (Robert Vaughn), and his three adopted-daughters who are also vampires are already at the castle. One of them is named Patricia (Monique Gabrielle) the seemingly helpless girl in the prologue. When 'viewing the will' they find out that Marissa has been left the castle and the money, while Orlock was left luggage. As a toss-up gift, they are left to find the book somewhere within the castle. Orlock is determined to find the book so that he can create an age of evil; assisting him is the butler Stephan (Angus Scrimm).

The book is finally found by Dexter but Byron steals it from him and uses it to summon an enormous monster called The Evil One (which was originally seen in It Conquered the World),[7] but Dexter and Marissa (who is possessed by her ancestor of the same name) stops him, while Dexter is freed and destroys the book. The possessed Marissa blasts Byron with a lightning bolt, but as he burns to death he declares that he'll be back in the sequel.

Marinas, who was suffering from a cataleptic seizure and was not dead, tells Marissa that she must stay in the castle to ensure that the monster never returns; Helsing, who is now a vampire, also stays. Dexter arranges for Marissa to make her latest music video in the castle, with the help of her vampire cousins and Helsing.

The film ends with the local villagers, who throughout the movie have been trying to find the castle so they can destroy it, finally give up and go home.


Inspirations, parodies, and puns[edit]

Mark Thomas McGee worked on an early draft of the script for about a week. He was fired at the request for Roger Corman who told Wynorski that he was difficult to work with.[8]

Most of the movie consists of silly moments of comedy and parody; e.g., when Pinhead steps out of an acupuncturist's office and says, "I don't care what anyone says — this hurts!" At one point, Dexter looks into a room and meets Boris Karloff (in a clip from the movie The Terror); in another, Dexter and Marissa step into a room that's apparently in 3-D, but because neither of them is wearing 3-D glasses, all they see is jumbled red and green. As a parody of 3-D films.

Many of the films characters are parodies of other sources, including; Dexter Ward from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Byron Orlock from Targets, Van Helsing from Dracula, and the mock advertisement scene's Lovely Rita. Television shows are also referenced such as The Honeymooners, The Late Show, Meet the Press, The Twilight Zone, and Wheel of Fortune. While others are puns or such as "Vampires of the Caribbean", "Elvis has left the body", and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" being spoken as part of the spell to summon the Evil One. The film also uses such classics as a Pie in the face for the Ayatollah, and Dexter finding a Skeleton in the closet.

Films being parodied are:

The movie title comes from a line in the 1962 song "Monster Mash."

Home video[edit]

This movie has been released on VHS videocassette on September 22, 1993 and on DVD on March 27, 2001,[9] both of which are currently out of print. The DVD separates the story into twenty-four scene chapters with the following titles;


The film received mixed reviews, from positive reviews such as "what might be the best of the late-80′s wave of Naked Gun inspired horror spoofs."[10] To the more negative reviews that state "Moronic comedy about vampires, teenage vampire hunters and half-naked babes."[11] One of its most positive reviews comes from Variety stating that; "Mixed into the cosmic stew are many delightful reflexive bits," and that it "is an occasionally hilarious horror spoof notable for the range of its comical targets."[12]

  • 2 and half stars out of 4. - TV Guide.[1]
  • 2 and a half stars. out of 5- Video Movie Guide 2002[13]
  • 2 stars out of 4. - Creature Features: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Guide.[14]
  • 2 out of 4. - Cinefantastique review by J. P. Harris[3]
  • 1 and a half Bones out of 4. - VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever[11]
  • 1 and a half stars out of 5. - All[4]
  • 1 star out of 5. - AMC (TV channel)[15]


After the movies original release its theme was released as part of the album "Vampire Circus (The Essential Vampire Theme Collection)" by Silva Screen Records in 1993.[16] On the 1997 album "Vampire Themes" by Cleopatra Records, the band 'Ex Voto' remixes and reinterprets the main theme. The entire soundtrack was then officially released on June 7, 2010, when it was paired with the soundtrack to Not of This Earth (1988 film) also composed by Chuck Cirino. It is currently sold in Compact Disk, and Direct download formats from various music sites.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d TV Guide, Movie Reviews. ""Transylvania Twist" Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ Weldon, Michael (1996). The Psychotronic Video Guide. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 582. ISBN 0-312-13149-6. 
  3. ^ a b Harris, J. P. (2002). Time Capsule: Reviews of Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films and TV Shows. IUniverse. p. 244. ISBN 0-595-21336-7. 
  4. ^ a b "'Transylvania Twist,' Overview". 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ Steve Altman's actor listing on
  6. ^ Ace Mask's actor listing on
  7. ^ Palmer, Randy (2009). Paul Blaisdell, Monster Maker: A Biography of the B Movie Makeup and Special Effects Artist. McFarland. p. 246. ISBN 0-7864-4099-6. 
  8. ^ Katzman, Nicholson and Corman: Shaping Hollywood's Future by Mark Thomas McGee, Bear Manor Media (2015) p 248
  9. ^ Listings release dates of "Transylvania Twist" on
  10. ^ a b Schweiger, Daniel (21 June 1010). "June Soundtrack Picks". Film Music Magazine. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "'Transylvania Twist,' Movie reviews & Ratings". 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  12. ^ Elley, Derek (Edited by) (2000). Variety Movie Guide 2000. The Berkley Publishing Group. p. 891. ISBN 0-399-52582-3. 
  13. ^ Mick Martin, Marsha Porter (2001). Video Movie Guide 2002. Ballantine Books. p. 1150. ISBN 0-345-42096-9. 
  14. ^ Stanley, John (2000). Creature Features: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Movie Guide. Berkley Boulevard Books. p. 537. ISBN 0-425-17517-0. 
  15. ^ "Synopsis of Transylvania Twist". Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  16. ^ Ebay Catalogue. "Original Soundtracks - Vampire Circus (The Essential Vampire Theme Collection) (CD 1993)". Retrieved October 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]