review by Bobby Blakey
In the 60s a new kind of family graced the CBS network with the TV series The Munsters starring Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Beverly Owen and Pat Priest. Although the show only had two seasons is spawned numerous TV films, TV reboots and an animated series. Now one of the biggest fans out there rocker and director Rob Zombie is bringing them to the small screen in an all-new feature film.
The Munsters follows the strangest love story ever told. Lily is just your typical 150-year-old, lovelorn vampire looking for the man of her nightmares . . . that is until she lays eyes on Herman, a seven-foot-tall, green experiment with a heart of gold. Its love at first shock as these two ghouls fall fangs over feet in this crazy Transylvanian romance. Unfortunately, it’s not all smooth sailing in the cemetery as Lily’s father The Count has other plans for his beloved daughter’s future, and they don’t involve her bumbling beau, Herman. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll howl at the moon as The Munsters make their way to Mockingbird Lane!
The film stars Jeff Daniel Phillips as Herman, Sheri Moon Zombie as Lily, and Daniel Roebuck as Grandpa along with cameos from Butch Patrick as the Tin Can Man and Pat Priest. For those fans concerned have no fear this isn’t one of Zombie’s gore fest horror flicks, but instead his true take on the characters with a full on PG rating.
Heading into this film I had specific expectations of a homage to the original series and something fresh with the Zombie spin and it is all here and pretty well executed. Is the film silly and ridiculous? Of course it is as was the original show and that is part of the charm. Does
everything work? No, but for me more was silly and fun than not and I had a fun time.
The cast all do a pretty good job with these iconic characters with Daniel Roebuck stealing the show as Grandpa. Jeff Daniel Phillips does a good job with Herman although didn’t really capture the laugh fully for me. Zombie is fine as Lily, but like them all there is no way to replicate what that original cast did so perfectly yet it still works. There ius clearly love for the show and genre infused here to make for a goofy fun time. The movie features a great vibrant color palate that pops well with the attention to detail to the sets and costumes. Sure I would have preferred it fully black and white, but it works like a live action cartoon and fits the tone.
There are some pacing issues later in the film that slows things down a bit and not all of the jokes land, but for the style of film Zombie is trying to deliver it works well. There are so many nods to the original series and the world of the creepy crawly that almost makes you forget it’s in the real world and not in some monster universe. I will say I was a bit surprised to how much went into recreating the famed house on Mockingbird Lane which is barely in the film, but love that it went all in. This is not a movie for everyone obviously, but after seeing the film I would by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the foolishness of it all and would love to see more.
Keep in mind that this is a family film and not the usual Zomibe flare and it’s a welcome change. Keep your mind open and just go in for a good time and you might have some fun. The film is not only streaming now on Netflix, but also out today on Blu-ray and DVD that features bonus content including commentary and a making of featurette.