The Horror Honeys: Hotel Transylvania: Even Monsters Need A Vacation

Hotel Transylvania: Even Monsters Need A Vacation

A Head Honey Review by Kat

Hotel Transylvania (2012)


The story [edited for truth and my amusement]: Dracula, operates a high-end resort just for monsters located far away from the human world for their own protection. But Drac goes into overprotective mode when a human boy (actually, he's twenty-one, so technically a "man" but since Adam Sandler is technically the oldest 14 yr old alive, he's a boy.) accidentally discovers the resort and develops a crush on the count's (one hundred and) eighteen year old daughter, Mavis - is it because she's the only humanoid in the hotel and he's twenty-one and would probably throw his dick in anything that looked at him twice? Probably. But hey, details. Plus, she's an eighteen year old virgin who's never met anyone vaguely interesting that isn't a monster manchild friend of her father, all of whom seem to have a gross penchant for auto-tuned vocals...

Before anyone leaps on my by saying "This is a children's movie! You can't judge it like this!" let me be clear, I know it's a kid's movie. Which is most of why this entire thing annoys the shit out of me. If you can't look critically at the things that are problematic about what is being force fed to our children, then you're part of the problem. Actually, anything that perpetuates Adam Sandler and his mouth breathing frat boy schtick is the problem, so there's a double barrel full of bullshit buckshot for you.
Bleh bleh bleh

Starring Sandler and his usual group of backslapping chuckleheaded sidekicks, on the surface, Hotel Transylvania is a really really FUN idea for a movie. REALLY fun. And I'm being completely serious. Dracula is (rightfully) afraid of humans, and so, since someone elected Dracula to be the overdressed protective ambassador of the entirety of monster-dom, he has built a fabulous hotel for monsters of all kinds to escape the terror of humans. Sidestory, Dracula is raising his own little Daddy's girl, Mavis. Thankfully, Mavis is adorable, and despite being raised by Sandler, their interactions are really well done and have a Honey Approved macabre twist. However, the line between "overprotective Dad" and "controlling douchebag" is a fine one, and Dracula is a controlling douchebag who is unwilling to let his little girl grow up and find her own way in the world. With little digs at the unsocialized home-school crowd, Mavis, on the eve (or is it the dawn) of her 118th birthday is desperate to fly away from her childhood home and experience the rest of the world, but Daddy Drac will never let that happen because the world is far too dangerous for his precious baby bat. *sigh*

Did I mention that the vampires don't drink human blood in this movie? Right, it's too fatty. So, wormcakes are a thing, as is scream cheese. Details are for suckers. 

So, on the dawn (or eve, whatever) of Mavis' 118th birthday, her father has planned the most childish party imaginable, because hey... when your daughter turns 18 it's totally weird, totes better for everyone if she just stays a child forever. As befits a grand party, the entire monster world turns out to stay at the hotel, and this is the part I actually enjoy. The hotel itself is an amazing idea, and there are a good amount of laughs for kids and adults contained in the hotel scenes. When Dracula's frat boy buddies and their harridan wives show up (Thanks for that cameo, Fran Drescher), hilarity ensues because it's obvious that the only part of the film that Sandler took seriously was the times when the dudes could hang out, play childish pranks on each other, and avoid the women in their lives. Good times, amirite.
Nothing worse than being blamed for a FrankenFart
In the midst of all of the toilet humor and the misery of being married to a monster jokes (and Drac's cringe-worthy one-liners) Johnny shows up. Johnny is a 21-year-old backpacking dumbass. If you live in a tourist town, you've met a Johnny, or you have a friend who brought a Johnny to a party and you wanted to punch him in his blissed out face because he wouldn't stop talking about that amazing time he had with his sherpa in Tibet. He made me think of Hansel from Zoolander, both in mental capacity and logical goal setting capability. While I approve on a small level of Johnny's "experience the world" mantra, he's definitely not anything any parent in their right mind would approve of their child dating, so I'm with Drac on this one. However, Drac is also pissed because Johnny has essentially proven that without a brain and being distracted as fuck, anyone can break through his crazy overprotective maze of terror to get to the hotel.

His superpower is being a raging dumbass. 
Here's where shit starts to get problematic. In his infinite wisdom, Drac disguises Johnny as a monster, and a hilarious comedy of errors ensues. Now, when I say hilarious, I actually mean not hilarious at all. I mean brain squinchinly annoying and full of stupid. Eighteen year old Mavis, of course, falls instantly in love with this brand new arrival to the hotel, because she's never seen anyone her own age ever in the hotel that she could ever be interested in. So, there's that. For her 118th birthday, Mavis also receives a gift from her deceased mother. Something that had been put aside for her since she was born and could only be opened when she turned 118. What's in this gift, you might ask? WELL, it's some brain shattering words of wisdom, which boil down to:

"If you don't find your true love, you'll be miserable forever, so watch out for that shit. 
Because it's the most important thing in life."

No seriously. That's what it says.

Pardon? The greatest goal you can ever have in life is finding your true love?

So, there you have it. The rest of the movie is spent watching Drac trying to keep Mavis and Johnny apart, while she falls hopelessly in love with him and he kind of seems vaguely interested but is mostly a dopey idiot. And then, with Drac finally getting Johnny out of the castle, he realizes that Mavis is in love with the moron and that she'll never be happy ever if they're not together. Great.

Manic Pixie Dream Goth
I entered Hotel Transylvania with the impression that I would be seeing a lighthearted take on the problems of being a monster in the modern world and antics at the hotel, not have a low budget Disney Princess message shoved into my eyeballs, oh, and we learned the less (according to HT) important (and almost hidden) lesson of not judging a book by it's cover, and the importance of independence (which Mavis doesn't actually get to learn, but whatever, at least Johnny has learned that already). AND since it's not a secret that there will be a Hotel Transylvania 2, it's not spoiler-y of me to point out that the sequel takes place precisely a year and nine months later. How do I know that? It's because Mavis and Johnny were obviously immediately married and immediately had a baby, and it's his 1st birthday party. Ain't nobody got time to waste on having a meaningful adult relationship before making the huge decision to bring a half-immortal child into the world. How awkward to explain when little Dennis reaches his 118th birthday. Part 2 also looks like another storyline that focuses more on the character arc of Dracula, and his worldview, plus a bunch of dude time with his monster pals. But hey, the screenplay was written by Sandler himself, so, really, nothing that happens should be a surprise.

The verdict: 3 Housekeeping Witches out of 5 - with stars removed for low-rent Disney aesthetics that ruined all of the shit I enjoyed.

Will I be seeing Hotel Transylvania 2? Only when it hits Netflix, which you know it will be because Sandler has just signed a deal with them that he's really excited about because "... Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks." I'm not kidding, he said that.