You've got to love actors who show up, give their all, and try to make something out of whatever Z-grade horror comedy they've been lucky enough to get cast in. I like to think their best acting job is pretending they don't know how bad the script is.

Transylmania is a bad movie with a cast of no-names who hurl themselves at it as if it were auditions week at Juilliard. A graphic spoof of vampire thrillers and college-kids-in-Europe-in-jeopardy horror, it's unfunny and out-of-step. It feels dated, almost quaint, in the post-Hangover and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell cineplex.

Ten college "types" set off for a semester of study at Romania's Razvan University, which is actually a castle where female students occasionally disappear. Might the vampires who once ruled the roost be to blame?

RU is run by a dwarf dean (David Steinberg) who has a humpbacked daughter (Irena A. Hoffman). She's been sexting the virginal-but-on-the-make Rusty (Oren Skoog, apparently his real name) after meeting on the Internet. Rusty is a dead ringer for a long-dead (supposedly) vampire, which his classmates - the brainy one, the stoners, Mr. Bad-in-Bed, the sexpot, the good sister and bad sister, the hustler, and '70s hair - think is hilarious until the real vamp wakes up and confusion ensues.

South African Musetta Vander (Kicking & Screaming) rolls her r's as the resident vampire hunter on campus. An Ava Gardner look-alike, she wields swords and wears her spandex with verve. C-movie vet Jennifer Lyons flings herself at her character - the daffy, sometimes-possessed-by-a-vampire bombshell Lynne - with the abandon of someone with a lot of direct-to-DVD credits and one shot at showing she deserves better.

Other than them, only the pothead Wang (Paul H. Kim) makes an impression.

Transylmania * (out of four stars)

Directed by David Hillenbrand and Scott Hillenbrand, with Jennifer Lyons, Oren Skoog, Irena A. Hoffman, James DeBello, and Musetta Vander. Distributed by Full Circle Releasing.

Running time: 1 hour, 32 mins.

Parent's guide: R (crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use, language, and some violence)

Showing at: Area theatersEndText