When I was a kid I had a Halloween joke book packed with gems like, “What do skeletons say before they begin dining? Bone appetite!” I pulled that book out every October for years, but hadn’t thought about it in years. For years, that is, until I saw “Hotel Transylvania,” the new animated kid’s movie starring the voice of Adam Sandler as Dracula. It seems I wasn’t the only one with a well-loved Halloween joke book. A bagel with scream-cheese, anyone?
In the world of “Hotel Transylvania” Dracula is a single father—he’s a bat-chelor—so desperate to keep his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) away from the human world he builds a hotel for monsters far away from living, breathing people. With the slogan, “Human Free Since 1898,” he caters to guests right out of Universal Pictures’s heyday— Murray the Mummy (voice of CeeLo Green), Frankenstein (Kevin James) and Griffin, the Invisible Man (David Spade). Every year on Mavis’s birthday they all gather to throw a fang-dango of a party, but on her 118th b’day she’s behaving like a spoiled bat (see what I did there?). She wants to leave the hotel and see the world, but her dad won’t allow it. However, when a young traveller brings some life to the hotel of the undead she gets a glimpse into the lives of humans.
Like my joke book, (here’s another sample: “What type of coffee do vampires prefer? Decoffinated!”) “Hotel Transylvania” leans toward the silly rather than scary. Unlike “ParaNorman,” another recent horror themed movie for kids, this one won’t give the little ones nightmares. In fact the only people it might make a little batty are parents who’ll have to listen to jokes like, “Invisible Man! Nice to see you!” me, I thought those lines were funny… but then you already know how I feel about jokes like, “Who is a vampire likely to fall in love with? The girl necks door!”
The animation is top notch, stylized and colorful, with cute creatures that should catch kid’s eyes.
“Hotel Transylvania” is ghoul movie for kids that’s family friendly and, like Baron Frankenstein will have you in stitches.