Rob Zombie’s The Munsters

  • Produced, Written, and Directed by Rob Zombie
  • September 27, 2022
  • Based on the classic series The Munsters created by Allan Burns and Chris Hayward

This is the story of how Lily and Herman met, fell in love, and found themselves in Mockingbird Heights.

I had high hopes for The Munsters. Rob Zombie is an unabashed fan of the original series, and it is among my favorite television shows. While this film gets the tone right and embraces the series mythology its big problem is that this is helmed by Rob Zombie.

Why do I say that? Because while Rob Zombie can handle his own stuff it appears he cannot handle stuff that originates from others. Have you seen his two Halloween reboots? His version of Halloween was a rehash of the original that spent far too much time humanizing Michael Myers and making the entire cast of characters unlikable. His sequel to that film was just plain bad. On the other hand I found his House of 1000 Corpses films as well as 31 very good.

The first issue with The Munsters is that it lacks any real conflict or resolution to a conflict. Lily’s brother Lester (Tomas Boykin) shows up owing money to Zoya Krupp (Catherine Schell) who is Grandpa’s (Daniel Roebuck)-referred to here as ‘The Count’-ex-wife. Why Lester thought getting involved with her was a good idea is beyond sitcom logic. She wants to turn The Count’s castle into a casino as revenge. Lester gets the castle for her and then…

Herman gets created by Dr. Wolfgang (Richard Brake) who unveils him on Transylvanian TV and gets humiliated by his bumbling. His assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia) attempts to help Herman get a standup career going and then…

Even something as minor as Igor (Sylvester McCoy) getting turned into a bat never gets wrapped up or given any importance other than a passing event. The Zoya element is a fine plot idea but it’s a plot element that ultimately does not get resolved. It has been a while since I’ve watched the series from start to finish so this may have been something touched on the series but why make a prequel to a series episode where nothing really happens in the prequel? The core audience will be fans of the show, but you also need to bring in people who have never seen it but might find it interesting.

Another issue is that The Munsters feels like it goes on far too long. What we get feels like somebody strung together from several episodes of the series and they called it a film. And in this all scenes just drag. Perhaps I might feel different if something got resolved or just felt significant but none of it does.

On the other hand from courtship, the relationship of Herman (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Lily (Sherri Moon Zombie) feels really rushed. We know they end up together but there is no crafting on how they do. It just is. The story as a whole in this movie just kind of meanders around and stumbles from one element to the next with nothing really moving it towards the finale other than the need to end the movie at a point just before the show starts. I give Zombie credit for crafting a story that feels like it came right from the show. It’s got the same unexpected humor and bad puns and goofy jokes as the show had but nothing happens!

We all know why Sheri Moon Zombie got cast as Lily in this. It certainly helps to be in a relationship with the director and the producer. The issue is that she is just flat. She is doing an impression of Yvonne De Carlo as Lily Munster rather than trying to channel Lily Munster. That’s a fine line to walk and she just couldn’t do it. 

Herman Munster was a little too energetic. Phillips needed to tone it down a bit. He needed to pull it back down by half. The energy level was just too high. Daniel Roebuck on the other hand got The Count perfectly. He channeled Grandpa but not Al Lewis as Grandpa. He had the perfect amount of tolerant disdain for his son-in-law. He got the mannerisms right but yet was not doing a bad impression of someone else as the character.

The Munsters is well directed but it’s not quality material. It’s not even mediocre material. It’s a movie that goes on at points too long and others not long enough with an ending that ultimately resolves nothing that began the film and just sets up the elements of the television series. While this does fit into the continuity of the show it’s much too tied into the continuity and it suffers greatly from that.

Rob Zombie’s The Munsters is something definitely for fans of the series but not aimed for a broader audience. Unfortunately it doesn’t even service the former that well. I say you can check it out as a curiosity but I would not encourage you to watch it.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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