The Hotel Transylvania films are some of Sony’s most popular releases. With Adam Sandler voicing Dracula, and a host of friendly monsters in every film, it’s easy to see why. It helps that the franchise is guided by the creative eye of a single director: the wildly inventive Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky.
Thanks to Tartakovsky’s unique touch with family-friendly comedy, the series is expanding to a third film. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation opens on July 13. Before vacation begins let’s dash through a refresher of the story so far, so you’ll know the good monsters from the bad when they all hit the beach next month.
A Place For Monsters
The first film begins, as so many good films do, with Dracula. This version of the bloodsucker, voiced by Sandler, loses his wife to an angry mob. So he creates a retreat for himself and others like him: a monster-only five-star hotel in Transylvania. Now a single parent, Drac raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) in the creature-friendly resort.
That was over a century ago. Now, as Mavis turns 118, dad allows the (relatively) young vampire to explore the real world. Drac has a plan to make Mavis fear humans, however, so she’ll remain safe at home with the other monsters. His plan seems to work, but there’s a complication: a human man discovers the hotel and sticks around.
Mavis quickly falls for this guy, Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg). Rather than admit there’s a human around, Dracula concocts a story about him being the cousin of the Frankenstein monster, explaining that he’s a party planner hired to give hotel events a more modern feel. There’s just one problem: the other monsters love Johnny. So does Mavis, who begins to warm to the idea of humans thanks to her new boyfriend.
There are more complications: The hotel chef, realizes Johnny is human and sets out to cook him. Dracula stops that plot, and Johnny comes to understand why the father has been so protective of Mavis. Things come to a head at Mavis’s birthday party, when Dracula reveals that he set up Mavis’s trip to the human world and Quasimodo lets everyone know Johnny is human. Mavis and Johnny kiss, but the human leaves, respecting her father’s wishes.
Soon Mavis and Dracula have a heart to heart, and dad begins to understand how humans have changed since he was young. They put together a monster party to find Johnny, and Dracula even has a moment of self-sacrifice as he gives Johnny his blessing to date Mavis.
The Second Chapter
It’s seven years later. Mavis and Johnny are married, with a young son, Dennis, and the world begins to get used to monsters. But at almost five years old Dennis still doesn’t have fangs, worrying Dracula that his grandson might not be a vampire. Making things worse, Mavis begins to think about raising her son in California.
Drac gets Johnny to take Mavis to California, hoping to sate her desire to move without actually losing her. Meanwhile, he gets to take care of Dennis, and with the help of a bunch of monster friends starts trying to force Dennis’s transformation into a vampire. His efforts fail, but they do get back to Mavis, who forces Johnny to return with her to Transylvania.
Once again, the character all collide at a party. Mavis plans to leave Transylvania with Dennis and Johnny after the boy’s fifth birthday party. She invites her grandfather Vlad (voiced by Mel Brooks!) in the hopes that he can help provoke Dennis’s vampiric transformation. Vlad, who doesn’t trust humans, arrives with a hulking assistant, Bela.
The party turns into a big fight and Dennis leaves the hotel with another young monster. They’re attacked by Bela, who thinks Dennis is human – and in his protective rage, Dennis grows his fangs and manifests all his vampiric abilities. Mavis, her family and all the monsters team up to defeat Bela, and with Dennis’s status as a vampire established, they all remain in Transylvania.
That primes the family for a splashy getaway on a cruise ship, which (of course) leads to a conflict with a notorious monster hunter.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation opens on July 13.