“Hotel Transylvania” Uses Comedy to Elaborate on Life in a Single Parent Household: A Synopsis


Hotel Transylvania is a comedy directed by Gennedy Tartakovsky and produced by Michelle Murdocca. Voice Actors Selena Gomez (Mavis), Adam Sandler (Dracula “Drac”), Andy Samburg (Jonathan), Kevin James (Frankenstien), and many others band together to create a film about: loss, growing up, love, and learning to let go. However, Hotel Transylvania is not an incredibly sad film on the contrary, it uses comedy and extremely relate-able scenarios for all ages to convey it’s very important yet lighthearted message.

The film opens with a spooky misleading atmosphere where we see Dracula in route to a large castle in the middle of the night. The scene shows a classical monster motif where Dracula is leaned over a crib looking as though he might pray on a young child, we soon find out it is his own daughter. Dracula has become a widow. Alone and armed with a promise to always keep his daughter safe and a goal to bring his wife’s dream to life, he sets to work on building a fortress of sorts. What is this fortress? A monster only hotel that is seemingly impenetrable to humans, it becomes a wonderful place to raise his daughter, keep her safe, and continue his wife’s dream of one day opening a resort.

The hotel appears to have popped up over night and the film cuts to a montage of Dracula learning how to be a single father. This scene is quite comedic and is something adult viewers can understand. Unlike most humans however, Dracula has magic to help him along. We see him reluctantly changing diapers, happily reading bedtime stories about “evil humans”,  teaching young Mavis to fly, and feeding her yummy foods.

Hotel Transylvania (Official Trailer) Credited YouTube and Fandango “MovieClips”

In the above video clip we see Dracula building his new fortress, and caring for young Mavis.

Dracula soon gets regular guests and sees old friends that become a pseudo family for he and young Mavis. Many are introduced in a family friendly manner. Frankenstein and his wife, Eunice are transported via shipping containers because Frank is afraid to fly. He even has to be reassembled upon entry at the hotel. The Wolf-man and his wife also express a great level of relate-ability. They struggle with getting the amount of rest needed with a few litters of extremely hyper pups to care for. With the pups often biting, howling, ruining everything in their path, and eating everything in sight they become very expensive. Something any parent watching the film can relate to. Other “family members” include: The Invisible Man, The Mummy, Blobby, and a couple of gremlins to boot. All watch over Mavis and celebrate birthdays and holidays with the “Draculas”, something that is common even in human households after death of a spouse.

All seems perfect until Mavis starts to grow up, Dracula experiences very high anxiety over this on his “little girl’s 118th birthday Dracula promised to let her go out into the “human world” and experience things for herself. He lets her go and Mavis extremely excited flies off to get a taste of independence. However, Dracula was not completely honest with Mavis. Due to his extreme fear of humans (we later find they killed his wife) he feels he has no other choice, but to keep her as far way from them as possible. So he tells her she may visit a small human village near by (one that unbeknownst to Mavis was created by her father specifically to frighten her). She returns from her big trip crying exclaiming how her father was “right” and the humans really were awful even though she tried to be nice to them. This for a short moment seems to sadden Dracula, but then he realizes his plan worked, or so he thought.


By lying to his daughter, Dracula created a butterfly effect. The fire that was set in the “Human Village” made the castle visible to humans for a moment. This is something Dracula was warned about prior to building. However Drac’s lie caused a human named Jonathan to find his way into the hotel. To keep Jonathan from compromising Drac’s reputation, he is made to look like a Frankenstein’s monster. This in turn creates an even larger web of lies, Drac lies to his daughter again, Frankenstein, and most of his hotel guests for a majority of the film.

To read more about the consequences of Dracula’s lies see : Are White Lies Really Harmless?