Delivering all the laughs and frights that inevitably accompany a film with the word “mania” in the title, Transylmania is a predictably rotten horror-comedy that somewhat unpredictably doesn’t take the spoof route followed by so many other rotten horror-comedies of late. Instead, it’s half tediously unfunny college sex romp—featuring characters who originally yukked it up in the low-rent, straight-to-DVD National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze franchise—and half vampire-movie cash-grab. Transylmania is so inept that it even fails as an adolescent breast-delivery device—teen boys either will have to sneak into theaters or desperately count the weeks until the “unrated directors’ edition” finally arrives at its proper home in the darkest, most disreputable corner of the local video store.
But really, Transylmania isn’t worth the wait. A poor man’s Steve Zahn, Oren Skoog—whose name is the funniest thing in the whole film—stars as a loveable imbecile who heads up a contingent of college-sex-movie stereotypes. They’re all studying abroad at a Romanian college housed inside a castle once inhabited by a vampire (also played by Skoog) and his sorceress lover. The kids just want to party, but the centuries-old bloodsuckers threaten to get in the way of the sexcapades, as does the school’s pint-sized dean (played by a poor man’s Verne Troyer, David Steinberg), who’s hoping to snatch a body from one of the fetching American co-eds and transplant his humpbacked daughter’s head onto it.
Who wants a painfully obvious Octomom joke right about now? Transylmania is such a colossal comedic misfire that it makes the execrable Scary Movie films look like masterworks of Preston Sturges-esque genius by comparison. The business of competently executing a joke seems utterly beyond the grasp of directors David and Scott Hillenbrand and writers Patrick Casey and Worm Miller, who instead rely on gags so hoary and broad, they’d make Mel Brooks cringe. But no matter how many farting horses, vomit buckets, and penis-catching laptops they toss out, Transylmania slowly drains viewers’ blood and makes them wish for a stake through the heart.