Rob Zombie's The Munsters Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
From Transylvania to Hollywood fame, comes a family so deliciously monstrous that you can’t help but love them… at least the original because this is trash!
Genre: Comedy / Fantasy / Horror
Director: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Daniel Roebuck, Sylvester McCoy, Jorge Garcia, Richard Brake, Catherine Shell, Cassandra Peterson & Tomas Boykin.
Run Time: 109 min.
US Release: 27 September 2022 (Netflix)
UK Release: N/A
German Release: N/A
This might have been the biggest surprise announcement of the year! Rob Zombie declared that he will be directing a passion project of his, a remake of the 1960s monster family sitcom The Munsters, of which he is a big fan. Since Zombie’s previous directorial work is pretty hit-and-miss for me and knowing the style he brings to his pictures, I thought it could give the director, as well as this franchise, a breath of fresh air. After having seen the trailers, though, I started having doubts, which finally manifested once I saw the final picture… because this is a terrible movie!
A prequel/reboot of the classic 1960s sitcom The Munsters, which follows a family of monsters, who moved from Transylvania to a suburb of American Los Angeles, after having been scammed out of their home castle.
The Munsters are a rich source of horror comedy, giving it the potential to be an entertaining flick in the right hands. However, it's also very much a product of its era; the campy jokes, the fashion-style plus costumes, it is all silly and joyful in atmosphere, similar to Adam West’s Batman series. Either you commit fully to the 60s nostalgia or you modernise it a little bit for modern audiences. Zombie made the terrific error to do neither thing. Somewhere in the middle, this reimagining of the well-mannered monster family is a muddled mess of nostalgia and modern tone.
Worst of all, the runtime is way too long for the story it tells! An origin tale of how the family came together, Zombie focuses unnecessarily on how Herman was created, as well as going through Lily’s parade of dates, on her hundred-year search for true love. Boring, predictable and with the pacing of a snail, it is the most painful cinematic experience I ever made! Even worse, Zombies' sense of humour is bad; the jokes aren’t funny, simply annoying, plus mostly timed terribly. Finally, the romance between Lily and Herman feels awkward.
It is in the final twenty minutes that the characters move to Los Angeles, into the old rundown mansion, to live among normal neighbours; the key selling point of the series. Still, even that aspect was handled dodgy, without any talent. In the end, you feel the director’s love for the source material, but the screenplay was developed in the worst way possible!
The conversations between characters aren’t any better. Herman sounds like a broken record full of lame jokes, while the Count ironically comments on the lack of quality thereof. A lot of the dialogue seems to be very meta, commenting on the calibre of characters and the overall flick. If on purpose or accidental is not clear.
Sheri Moon Zombie is miscast as Lilly Munster. She does not know how to act in a comedy, plus is too inexperienced to carry a picture as a lead actress! Her re-enactment of Yvonne de Carlo’s classic stance is plump, wooden and overdramatic, just like her recital of dialogue. Everything she does, or says for that matter feels completely unnatural. It is disappointing to see such a classic role, be driven into the ground like that.
Jeff Daniel Phillips is possibly the most annoying of the cast! He tried way too hard at giving the perfect Herman Munster portrayal, to the extent that he veered off completely, giving anything else BUT a rendition of this Frankenstein-like monster! His constant laugh was irritating, his high-pitched voice nothing like what Herman sounds and the campy movements are simply embarrassing.
Daniel Roebuck is the only one in the cast, who brought a little bit of talent! His recital as The Count is better than most performances, paying homage to Al Lewis’ portrayal of the character. Ironically, the disapproving comments he made about Herman, could have been meta references to Zombie’s take on this TV’s classic material. He is also the funniest of the main three personas.
Cinematographer Zoran Popovic did an incredibly poor job! Be it the terribly cut transitions, which look like a bad spoof of the Batman series, the goofy hyperactive zoom-ins and outs, for which Zombie’s films are well known, or the nauseating number of dutch-angles used… On a technical level, this is a total disaster! The biggest missed opportunity, however, was the fact that it wasn’t colour-corrected to black and white. Not only would it have given it a nostalgia factor, but it would have looked far better. The way it stands, the colour, just like the lighting, only cheapens this already low-quality product.
The effects are no better! Be it the terrible greenscreen, the horrible-looking rubber creatures, or the cartoonish backgrounds during cut-together montages. There is nothing that looks remotely of quality and once again, the colour just makes every horrible effect look
even worse. Even if paying homage to the series, this level of cheap effects is simply unacceptable!
Not even the music, composed by Zeuss, is good. It sounds as if the soundtrack for the crapiest sitcom ever, would be playing on loop. The sound effects are goofy at best. Worst, the classic soundtrack of the series makes an appearance at the very end!
Verdict: I do remember seeing reruns of this 60s series, Saturday mornings on German TV. I always appreciated The Munsters, never missing an episode, yet I also never went to revisit it, once I reached teenagehood; so, I vaguely remember what the episodes were like. This remake, however, has nothing interesting to offer! The plot is paced terribly, while the humour is really bad - none of the jokes were funny, whatsoever! Sheri Moon Zombie was completely miscast as Lilly, while Jeff Daniel Phillips gives one of the worst performances I have witnessed! The only one who vaguely resembles any of the characters, is Daniel Roebuck, as the Count. The cinematography is absolute garbage, while the effects couldn’t look any cheaper. This is worse than what I had expected! It is sad because somewhere in this mess, Zombie’s love for the original material can be felt. As it stands, though, this doesn’t deserve more than a 1.5 out of 10.
So, did you manage to get a peek at Rob Zombie’s remake, of this classic 60s TV sitcom? Leave a comment to let me know & as always, thank you very much for reading!