A few months ago, I wrote a review on Hotel Transylvania 2 for my friends at Rue Morgue. With the film hitting DVD/Blu-ray today, I thought it would be worth sharing with you Biff Bam Poppers, especially after my daughter and I had such a good time rewatching it.
Growing up in the 1980s as a horror-loving kid was a blast. My generation was just so lucky! The world hadn’t become obsessively PC, and the icons of horror could be found in the safest of places. There was the Hilarious House of Frightenstein (which, like the whole Berenstain Bears conspiracy controversy from a few months ago, I will always remember as Frankenstein, right or wrong). There were the Real Ghostbusters and Teen Wolf and Drac Pack, all airing on Saturday mornings. I’d be thrilled seeing old reruns of The Flintstones when the Gruesomes would appear. And come Halloween time, local channels in and around Southern Ontario, where I grew up, would air classics like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The kid that I was, the adolescent who read and reread books like Frankenstein Moved In On The Fourth Floor, for me that world was right there waiting, easily accessible and oh, so entertaining. Those monsters became my go-to’s, and helped make me who I am today.
Things are different now, though.
No, I’m not going to “back in my day” you…though I suppose I already have. But look, back in my day, when I was a kid, things WERE better. At least, if you loved the classics monsters. These days, kids don’t have Saturday morning cartoons. Not the kind that I grew up on. Not the kind you probably grew up on, either. And while I’m certainly not sitting my five-year old daughter down to watch the next generation of horror monsters, the Pinheads and Michael Myers and Jason’s and Freddy’s, I have to admit that it’s a bit of a downer for me that she’ll never quite have the same experience I had growing up when it comes to horror. But I get it. As Lou Reed once sang, those were different times.
Which is why I’m so happy that Hotel Transylvania has taken off as a franchise. There, by the grace of Sony Pictures, director Genndy Tartakovsky and Adam Sandler we have an animated experience that in just about every way encompasses the horror world I loved growing up. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Mummy, the Blob – they’re all part of Hotel Transylvania, and damned if they’re not so close to how I remember them growing up. Lucky for me, my daughter has embraced these monsters with equal amounts of affection.
Hotel Transylvania 2, recently released and which has been out-grossing (financially, that is) the 2012 original, exists in a world where monsters and man are trying to live together in perfect harmony. Dracula has opened his hotel up to humans, while his daughter Mavis and husband Johnny are now married with a little boy. The question is – is Dennis human or is he vampire? Drac and co spend the majority of the film trying to bring the vamp out of Dennis and, as you’d expect, hilarity ensues.
If you’re looking for morals in Hotel Transylvania 2, don’t worry, they’re there. The idea of accepting those around you for who they are plays big in this film, much as the first film dealt with the idea of growing up and letting go. But really, don’t go for the moralizing. If you’re a parent like me, go for the fact that Hotel Transylvania 2 is an easy and entertaining way to introduce your kids to the monsters we grew up loving and who continue to stand the test of time, even as the world around us changes.
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