Every Hotel Transylvania Movie, Ranked

Drac holding Dennis in front of the moon in Hotel Transylvania 2
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Sony Pictures Animation is not Pixar. It’s not Dreamworks, either, nor is it Illumination, home of all of the Despicable Me movies. Sony Pictures Animation is its own thing, and within its stable of franchises is the Hotel Transylvania movies, which I consider the best series within this studio (when it comes to singular films, though, fan-favorite–and Oscar-winner!–Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the true crown jewel).     

Ah, Hotel Transylvania. The premise sounds deceptively simple, and yet, it still works so well. Take the public domain classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, etc, and put them all in a hotel together. 

Sure, Pixar’s Monster’s Inc. did the whole, monsters afraid of a human thing all the way back in 2001, but Hotel Transylvania’s strengths have always been more of the moment-to-moment jokes, which makes sense when you have a stacked cast (for most of them) that includes Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, and even the legend, Mel Brooks, for a couple of them. Much like the silly greatness of The Fast and the Furious movies, I find something to love in all of the Hotel Transylvania films. But, which one is the greatest? Well, you’re about to find out.  

Oh, and some spoilers up ahead. If you haven't seen all of the Hotel Transylvania movies, here's how to watch them streaming or by digital rental.

The crew in Transformania

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

4. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022) 

Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska, making it the only Hotel Transylvania NOT directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Transformania also doesn’t have Adam Sandler as its lead role as Drac, but instead has Brian Hull, who does a commendable job taking over. Most of the other actors have thankfully returned. This time, Drac and his son-in-law transform (hence the title) as Dracula becomes a human, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster. Together, they have to find a way to turn back before their transformations become permanent. Fun hijinks ensue.

They definitely did the best they could with this fourth Hotel Transylvania movie. The story moves quickly enough, and it’s fun seeing the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy, and the Invisible Man as humans (Especially hot Frankenstein), but the jokes don’t land as often as I would like, and Brian Hull, while good as an Adam Sandler substitute, still can’t hit all the funny registers that Sandler could.  

I know Sandler has recently reacted to poor reviews of his recent comedies, but I think some of these lines would have been better delivered by the man himself, but oh well. Our very own Mike Reyes called Hotel Transylvania: Transformania a “solid series ending,” in his review, and I agree, but it’s still my least favorite in the series. The others are just that good, and I missed Sandler, which I don’t say often enough.   

Mavis in Hotel Transylvania

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

3. Hotel Transylvania (2012)  

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (in his first feature length gig), and starring Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, just to name a few, the first film is essentially about a father who is worried about his daughter dating, which I know I will one day relate to. Wanting to fool his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) into believing that humans are dangerous, Dracula stages a fake village with hostile villagers, which makes her believe that humans really might be trouble. But, when one actually slips in (Andy Samberg), and she falls in love with him, Dracula has to do everything in his power to hide the fact that the human isn’t a monster, which leads to some funny moments.

And, I like the first movie. It sets up the universe of this world, and it’s fun. All of the actors sound like they’re having a good time, and the jokes come quickly enough that you never get bored. If I have any complaint, it’s that since this is an origin story for Dracula in this world, it gets a little melodramatic, and it leads to some slow moments. But, other than that, it hits all the right notes, and it’s a great intro into this franchise. I definitely approve. 

The gang in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

2. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) 

Written -- along with Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me screenwriter, Michael McCullers --  and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is just what it sounds like. Drac and the gang go on a cruise, and enjoy some fun outdoors. The regular actors return (Sandler, Samberg, Selena Gomez, etc), but we also get newcomers like Agatha Harkness herself, Kathryn Hahn, as Drac’s new love interest, Ericka. We also get Jim Gaffigan as Ericka’s great grandfather.    

But, therein lies the conflict, and what makes this film so enjoyable, as Ericka’s last name is Van Helsing, which makes her great grandfather the legendary vampire hunter, Professor Van Helsing, who is Drac’s mortal enemy. A lot of the fun of this film is seeing Drac fall deeply in love with Ericka, and how it’s his family (notably his daughter, Mavis) who has to be the “adult” in this situation. Plus, the new setting adds a great deal to the cast, making it feel like a justifiable and necessary sequel. It’s not the best Hotel Transylvania, but it’s close. Real close. But, that honor goes to… 

Dracula with his family in Hotel Transylvania 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

1. Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)  

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (again!), and starring most of the same cast as the original (except for mummy, who is now voiced by Keegan-Michael Key), but also including Mel Brooks as Dracula’s father, Vlad, Hotel Transylvania 2 is everything you could want in a sequel and more. This time, Drac (Sandler) is much more comfortable around humans, even opening the hotel to them. 

But, he’s kind of concerned that his half-vampire grandson isn’t going to turn out to be a vampire, so he essentially kidnaps the kid while his daughter and her husband go on a trip together, and antics ensue (especially when Mel Brooks arrives to ham it up).

Back when it was released, Hotel Transylvania 2 got a 4 star review from this website, and for good reason. It’s the best movie in the entire series. What makes this one really work is that it allows itself to just be fun without any of the melodrama from the first movie. We get great set-pieces (especially the vampire camp), and both A and B storylines of Mavis and Johnny on vacation, and Drac with the monsters and his grandson, are equally enjoyable, with it all coalescing in an awesome, action-packed climax. It’s also the funniest in the series. No doubt about it, Hotel Transylvania 2 is the best the franchise has to offer, by far.   

But, what’s your favorite Hotel Transylvania movie? For more news on all things animation, make sure to swing by (or fly by ) here often.  

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.