If you ask any comedian in the business, they’ll all tell you the same thing: Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. But what happens when you bring the two together?

Brothers (and co-directors/producers) Scott and David Hillenbrand of Dorm Daze fame thought they were up to the task when they teamed up with writers Patrick Casey and Worm Miller to make Transylmania.

“What if we took American Pie and mixed it with Twilight?” says Scott. “Wouldn’t it be a challenge to see if we could make fun of that without going the Epic Movie/Date Movie route?”

The film chronicles the exploits of a group of American college kids as they take a semester to study abroad at the prestigious Razvan University, with its campus in Razvan Castle in Transylvania. First, there’s the sexually frustrated Rusty, who’s finally getting to meet his Romanian Internet girlfriend, Draguta, in real life. There’s also the studious Lia, who doesn’t agree with her twin sister, Danni, or their stoner friends Pete and Wang’s idea of a good time. Then there’s Newmar, who’s got a little problem in bed, but his sexy girlfriend Lynne is willing to try anything to spice up their love life. Finally, there’s Cliff, a hapless scam artist, whose newest ploy is to impersonate a vampire slayer. Fortunately for the might-as-well-be-drop-outs, the word “prestigious” seems to be subjective. Surely it shouldn’t be too hard to pass classes like Wooden Stake Whittling.

But little do our gormless American students know, such classes aren’t just for the credit hours. Oh, no, there really are vampires roaming the countryside, and it just so happens that the Vampire King Radu has risen once again to try and free his lover from an eternity inside of a music box. Not to mention the mysterious body snatcher on the loose within the castle walls, the three-foot tall dean or the sex-crazed hunchback. And that’s just for starters.

Transylmania was filmed on location in a real castle in the middle of winter in Romania. No, seriously.

“There was a real crypt!” David exclaims. “Look, you could build this on a sound stage, but by actually taking everyone over there with real crypts and real vampires — ”

“That’s why we’re so proud of it,” Scott interrupts. “We had to tough it out! We were there in the middle of Transylvania doing it! These places weren’t off of highway exit 134. It was in the backwoods of Transylvania!”

While filming in Transylvania offers financial incentives over filming in the U.S., filming in general is always going to be an expensive endeavor. But the Hillenbrands were smart. Instead of being tied to the whims of a big studio or boxing in their dreams, the brothers opted to create their own production company to put out the film.

“We didn’t have 50 people standing over us from a major studio, going do this, do that to water down our vision. It got to be purely our vision,” Scott says.

While this did offer them creative freedom, it also left everything wide open. But the Hillenbrand brothers have a long history of straight up horror and straight up college comedy films under their belt, so it wasn’t exactly a big jump to make a crossover movie.

“We had made a bunch of horror-type movies and we were getting tired of coming into the office everyday and figuring out how we were going to kill people,” says Scott. “We’ve always liked the comedy genre and for us, directorially, comedy is one of the hardest genres to pull off.”

“And you can’t fake it!” adds David.

One of the best things about Transylmania is undoubtedly the humor. Sure, it has moments of classic college humor. Some of the scenes feel like they could have been pulled from a campy, Robert Englund-style horror film, and others could have been written by Mel Brooks. But despite all of this, the film’s humor isn’t so obvious or lowbrow as to make me want to rename it “Not Another Vampire Movie.”

“The state of the world is still in a place where people want to go to the movies to just laugh out loud and forget the troubles of the economy and all these things and not delve into serious subjects,” says Scott. “As a piece of entertainment, Transylmania is just one of those movies where you’re going to come out going, ‘God, I hurt a little bit I laughed so loud.’”

Transylmania releases in theaters Dec. 4.