Time to look at some 80s horror comedy, complete with musical numbers and horror icons!
TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (1989)
This lost gem came out a year after Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and totally follows that corny comedy formula. There’s plenty of goofy stuff going on here to make this a cheesy horror comedy fave.
A young man, played by incredibly charismatic and funny Steve Altman (who surprisingly, has very little on his acting resume), searches out a sexy pop star whose dad never returned an occult book to the library of the young man’s uncle. So the young man and the pop star travel to a castle in Transylvania, where they learn the pop star’s father has just died. Soon, they are dealing with Van Helsing, a vampire (played by Robert Vaughn), and the castle’s butler, played by Angus Scrimm of Phantasm!
Transylvania Twist pokes fun at plenty of iconic horror, including Jason, Pinhead, Freddy, Leatherface, and Poltergeist. And Angus Scrimm not only shows he has a great comic side, but he also reveals just how the Tall Man got his silver balls to fly! Awesome. The movie is also a reminder of how many decades we’ve been making jokes about Keith Richards looking like he’s dead….
There are plenty of other gags and jokes, both horror and not. The stars end up on the set of The Honeymooners, complete with a laugh track, and step into a 3D room that doesn’t work without the red and blue glasses. Star Steve Altman has a scene in which he has a complete conversation with Boris Karloff—all through stock footage of the iconic horror actor! Steve also gets possessed by Elvis. Plus, there are a handful of musical numbers!
But really, the ultimate reason to see Transylvania Twist is to watch Angus Scrimm mock his Tall Man character.
NAKED SPACE (aka: The Creature Wasn’t Nice) (1983)
In Naked Space, a small spaceship crew takes samples from a mysterious planet. Eventually, these samples create a big, one-eyed, red (rubber) slime monster that is hungry for flesh.
The Creature Wasn’t Nice has clearly been renamed because it has Leslie Nielsen in it. Nice try, but don’t expect Naked Gun level comedy here, because there isn’t any. Occasionally, Leslie does his best Leslie impersonation and delivers a dry punch line, but neither he nor the rest of the veteran comedy cast has much to work with here.
Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley is the only female on board—and by the end of the film, demonstrates her great set of screaming lungs (and does a couple of musical numbers)! Patrick Macnee of The Avengers is the scientist who refuses to believe his monster discovery is dangerous. And cast member Bruce Kimmel is also the writer and director of the movie.
Hey Bud! You rule!
But it’s Gerrit Graham, better known as Bud the C.H.U.D., who steals the show. The firstforty-five minutes of Naked Space are absolutely horrible and humorless (including the crew’s absurd talent show). But when the monster finally forms and the crew goes to check it out, Bud makes you forget Leslie Nielsen is even on camera. He saves this movie. Just his first contact with the monster is like something out of Abbott & Costello. He’s brilliant.
In fact, the final thirty-five minutes of the movie are much better, thanks to Bud and the arrival of the monster. The crew hooks the monster up to a translation machine to find out what he wants with them, and he croons his way through a song called “I Want to Eat Your Face” before breaking into a big monster dance number! Classic.
Spoofing 60s sci-fi and horror, Naked Space eventually ends with another musical number and even has a faux nightmare scare at the end! It’s unfortunate that more than half the movie totally blows, because the less-than-half second half rules. If only it had just been a movie called Bud the C.H.U.D. vs. The One-Eyed Red (Rubber) Slime Monster.