FAMED blood sucker Dracula has never been so genial than in Adam Sandler's family comedy Hotel Transylvania 2.
The sequel to 2012's animated film, which grossed more than $350 million worldwide and still holds the record for the biggest opening September movie in the US, has the fanged hotelier (voiced by Sandler) relax his monsters-only policy.
The introduction of human guests at Hotel Transylvania is not met with enthusiasm by Drac's visiting dad Vlad.
"Vlad is an old-school vampire," says director Genndy Tartakovsky, who helped to reinvent classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and the werewolf in the first film.
"Drac and his father have this very tumultuous, confrontational relationship - they're at each other all the time. Vlad is judging him; Drac is defensive."
Oscar and Emmy Award winner Mel Brooks joins the cast as the grumpy Vlad.
"He's one of the foundations of comedy, he's been around forever, he shaped my comic sensibility, and he's still sharp and witty, so I was very nervous to direct him," Tartakovsky says. "He's amazing - it's not like he needs directing.
"But I remember at one point, he wanted to hear how I thought he should do one particular line. What was I going tell Mel Brooks? But he wanted me to do it, so I did it, and he liked it, and he did it the way I did it. That was an amazing moment for me. I'll never forget that."
In the film, Drac is also worried that his half-human, half-vampire grandson Dennis isn't showing signs of being a vampire.
Dennis's mum Mavis (Drac's 125-year-old daughter voiced by Selena Gomez) has become an overprotective mum, attempting to baby-proof the hotel.
"It's what we all go through when we become parents," says the film's production designer Michael Kurinsky.
"I'm a parent and I baby-proofed everything when my daughter was crawling around. Mavis's change to the hotel is to make it safe for Dennis, which is kind of funny, given that he might be a monster, and if he is, none of it would have hurt him anyway."
When Mavis goes out of town, Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a "monster-in-training" boot camp.
"Dracula may be a world-famous monster, but he's really just a family guy," Tartakovsky says. "Mavis and Johnny are ready to accept their son for whoever he is, but of course, Dracula secretly hopes that Dennis is a vampire. He's afraid that if Dennis is a human, Mavis will want to raise him in the non-monster world instead of the hotel. So Drac is going to do anything to try to bring the fangs out of Dennis."
One of Tartakovsky's goals with the irreverent sequel is to show the common themes of identity and acceptance running through the lives of his human and supernatural characters.
"We have a ton of fun in this movie, with four generations of Draculas under one roof and humans now being accepted into the monster world, but there's also a great message about accepting each other as we are," he says.
"That's a lesson we all, parent or child, need every day."
Hotel Transylvania 2 opens nationally on Thursday.
Hotel Transylvania 2
- Stars: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Steve Buscemi, Mel Brooks.
- Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
- Rating: PG
- Reviewer's last word: The second instalment of this animated, family-friendly monster film is better than the first but still full of corny gags from Adam Sandler and co.
- Star Profile: Selena Gomez
- Quirky fact: Confirmed last month she has been suffering from lupus for the past few years and underwent chemotherapy treatment.
- Best known for: Wizards of Waverly Place, Monte Carlo, Spring Breakers.
- If you like this movie you'll like these: Minions, Home, Rise of the Guardians.
- Quote: "I was never the girl who thought I need to make sure I look like all the other girls. I think you look best when you stand out."
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