When it was first announced that Rob Zombie would be adapting the classic TV series The Munsters as a movie, there were understandable fears. After all, the man behind House of 1,000 Corpses and 2007’s ultraviolent Halloween reboot embarking on a monster-flavored sitcom adaptation seemed an odd fit. Then the trailers for the movie arrived, and a whole new set of concerns arose, as they seemed, well, bad. Now, though, the movie has arrived, and those who sit down to watch it on Netflix or Blu-ray are in for a wild and surprisingly enjoyable ride.
Believe it or not, Rob Zombie’s Munsters is not a bad movie. In fact, it’s pretty good and it’s not at all the movie he expected it to be. Instead, it’s ’60s-era camping baked into sitcom silliness filmed against a beautiful, colorful backdrop.
The Munsters is the edgiest thing Zombie has ever done as a filmmaker, trading in his dark and creepy horror stories (and the animated craziness of El Superbeasto) for genuine comedy, albeit the kind of comedy we don’t see that often anymore. Instead of updating The Munsters, the director turned to what made the original TV series tick when it first premiered in 1964. This is a nearly two-hour movie that’s goofy, ridiculous, pleasantly overacted, and almost surreal in its own right. how ridiculous it is. gets.
It’s a smart approach to bringing The Munsters back in 2022. This is an objectively silly franchise, and turning it into a grim horror tale would be stealing its identity, in the same way a down-to-earth, down-to-earth Addams Family would. the earth. And while it may not be the kind of material you normally create, Zombie has done a fantastic job here, taking what makes The Munsters special and showcasing it for long-time fans and a new generation who don’t know the previous show. .
However, more than that, he has created a unique world, unlike anything we have seen from the director. It’s full of color, wacky settings, and beautiful visuals far beyond the trashy horror aesthetic we’ve come to expect. The Munsters is bursting with purples, greens and oranges, filling in these hints of pigment in a way that looks like it came straight out of the original black-and-white and colorized series, thanks no doubt to cinematographer Zoran Popovic.
The look is paired with an excellent original score from the composer Zeuss, which even includes some original songs heard in the film. Seriously, stay tuned for the insanely catchy “Disco Vampire.”
With a movie this over the top, you need a cast that can carry the load. Fortunately, Zombie has cast the perfect trio for the roles of Herman, Lily, and The Count (also known as Grandpa in the original series). Jeff Daniel Phillips’ version of Herman is just as goofy and goofy as he was on the show, but played to even greater comedic effect when you realize this guy just wants to find love, wherever it leads him, and he it’s too dumb. do it subtly. Instead, this is a loud and boisterous performance. The Count, played by Daniel Roebuck, on the other hand, is incredibly disappointed that his daughter Lily has chosen a thug like Herman as his fiancé. Seeing him taunt Herman, without the Frankenstein-esque monster realizing what’s going on, is comedy golden.
However, the highest praise goes to Sheri Moon Zombie. She is arguably doing the best job of her career as Lily. She floats through every scene she’s in, with a high-pitched tone that manages to be both cozy and hilarious as she ping-pongs between Herman and The Count. Before this movie, I’m not sure I expected Zombie to be this funny, but The Munsters is enough to make me want to see her show off her comedic chops more often.
The only real downside to the movie is that it gets off to a clunky start. It takes too long to introduce the world and its characters, which is unfortunate for a movie like this. With a runtime of almost two hours, the beginning feels like it takes an unnecessarily long time before getting into the thick of the story.
Also, it should be noted that this is not a new version of the series that you may know. Instead, The Munsters acts more like an origin story for the sitcom. We see Herman and Lily reunite, we get to see their love story unfold, and we see how they end up at their iconic home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. While that certainly leaves room for a sequel, where we’d meet his son Eddie or even cousin Marilyn, there’s no guarantee that will happen, which seems like a missed opportunity for this movie.
Ultimately, The Munsters is not the movie you think it is. His trailers are a detriment to the final product, which is a genuinely funny romp with slight horror tones infused into the story. Don’t expect Zombie’s brand of horror or a cheap pseudo-sitcom that spills over into feature length. Instead, this is a celebration of the original Munsters with a few updates, a ton more color, and some really fun performances.