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Blu-ray Review: The Munsters (Collector’s Edition)

October 3, 2022

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The Munsters is a mix of passion project and glorified fan film from horror filmmaker Rob Zombie, that serves as an uneven but at times mildly amusing reboot of the 1960s sitcom about a monster family living in suburbia.

Zombie’s film is a prequel of sorts to the series, with much of the story taking place in Transylvania. The loose plot covers the romance between reanimated Frankenstein’s monster Herman Munster (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and the 150-year-old vampire Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie), daughter of The Count (Daniel Roebuck), showing how they came to America and got their house on Mockingbird Lane.

Better known for his R-rated gore fests like House of 1000 Corpses and the two Halloween remakes, The Munsters finds Zombie working in PG-rated, family movie territory for the first time in his career. There is a campy innocence to it that does keep true to the spirit of the show, with Zombie also paying homage to the classic Universal monster movies, and you can’t say that his film isn’t sincere.

It’s all knowingly cheesy, from Zombie’s screenplay offering a litany of silly puns, sight gags and corny jokes, to the cartoonish transitions between scenes and low-budget special effects. The props look like props and the costumes look like costumes, especially under some harsh lighting, but this is also kind of the point. The entire production has a Spirit Halloween aesthetic to it that is clearly intentional. Yes, the end result looks sort of cheap, but this gives it an old school, homemade quality that suits the material.

The biggest issue with The Munsters is that it’s not paced particularly well, with scenes that go on longer than they need to and no real drive or momentum to it. The episodic story often spins it’s wheels at an overlong 110 minutes, and it can feel more like a series of throwback sketches strung together, before morphing into a different movie in the last act and then just sort of ending. It’s kinda messy and not very well structured as a feature film, but there are still amusing moments scattered throughout, and the cast members – particularly Phillips and Roebuck – do commit to their roles.

It’s not completely successful, and there probably isn’t a ton here for those who aren’t already fans of the property. But I’m weirdly happy for Zombie that he got to make this goofy tribute to his favourite show growing up, and there is some enjoyment to be found in his quirky vision. I don’t think it entirely works as a film, and The Munsters is way too long. But it’s still pretty cool that a project like this got made, and there’s enough here to amuse that I can see certain audiences taking to it.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray comes with the welcome addition of an hour-long documentary on the production as well as a commentary track. The package also ships with a slipcover.

The Munsters: Return to Mockingbird Lane (61 minutes, 52 seconds)

Feature Commentary with Director/Writer/Producer Rob Zombie

The Munsters is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 110 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: September 27th, 2022

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