• Strictly Films

The Munsters; Grade: C-

The Munsters tells a story about a mad scientist/historian Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang (Richard Brake) whom is bound to create a grand discovery, by bringing mankind back to life. By doing so: Dr. Henry wants to make a lifeform out of a brilliant mind, so he has his henchman get a hold of a brilliant man whom just died recently. The henchman unfortunately got a mix up with the names, so he instead got a mind of a dimwit whom used to be a cheesy standup comedian during his time on earth. Dr. Henry calls his creation Herman Munster (Jeff Daniel Phillips), as soon enough his henchman took over as hoping to cash in on Herman in show business. Herman falls in love at first sight on a lovely gal named Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie), where Lily also fell in love at first sight as well. What makes way for this up and coming lovely couple?!

When it was first announced that Rob Zombie’s next project was going to make a reboot of the classic television show The Munsters, I honestly was curious to see how it’ll turn out. Knowing Rob Zombie mainly known for gritty gory horror films, I was intrigued to see how he can fair up by taking on a family friendly television adaption.

While there was much hype and anticipation for this film: The internet however treated the creation as a joke, once the first trailer was released. I didn’t think people expected Rob Zombie to go all out, in terms of actually executing an authentic goofy colorful family adaptation, that kind of resembles the likes of porno parody.  I found the trailer to be perfectly fine, considering the time period that television show existed, I felt the trailer was for the most on par with how trailers used to be presented in that time period.

I’ve only seen a few episodes of The Munsters when I was little, when they were re-run on some television network known as TV Land. I enjoyed the show for what it is, I was always intrigued by the different kind of monsters living in the house, while feeling odd by the pairing of a Frankenstein monster and Dracula’s Bride. Rob Zombie is a huge fan of The Munsters and quite honestly… This film in no way butchers the television show by any means, as Rob Zombie does gave his best effort on this project. 

The set design is one of the main highlights of this film. I really enjoyed how Transvlania looks as it feels like a Halloween Wonderland like Amusement Park attraction. From all the different locations including Lily’s castle, the streets of Translviana, the restaurants, the music hall… There’s a lot to dig within these sets as you have to give credit when it’s due, as that department put in a lot to make this come alive in full effect.

I felt the makeup design within the characters was well done as well, I felt they captured the true essence of how the beloved fav characters from The Munsters are supposed to look like. I feel where there isn’t an extreme beam of light hitting the characters… It’s when the makeup design is much more effective, as there are some pretty shots showcasing the characters.

The visuals are quite fun in my opinion, it actually shows a side you normally don’t see from Rob Zombie. Whether it be the split screen within the phone calls or a cartoon design of hearts whenever Lily or Herman is in awe of each other… It’s genuinely fitting to the campy/corny style of this presentation.

My main flaw with this film is the storyline… I just felt it wasn’t constructed properly. As a moving narrative it feels a bit too loose, unfocused, plus it’s not constructed as a feature length film at all. I feel Rob Zombie was trying to make it feel like a hour and forty minute long episode, but the problem is this isn’t a pilot for a reboot series, this a full length feature film as it should actually feel like a feature film. The Simpsons Movie, Bob’s Burgers Movie, The Many Saints of Newark, heck throw in Entourage… All films based on acclaimed television series yet all are constructed to feel like a feature film, so Zombie must’ve known this has to feel like a feature film which unfortunately doesn’t.

The story as a whole while it has my interest, however I do feel a sense of underwhelmed. It does go along with the whole feeling too loose aspect: Sometimes you’re entering in many different storylines, as trying to not only connect within each other as one, but to keep the same pace of importance was a challenge to keep up. I mean there are times where scenes go literally nowhere or my interest was getting bored by what was partaking in.

The comedy aspect for me was hit or miss. There are some actually fairly executed jokes, where you point at the screen and say “Ah, that was a clever joke”... For The Munsters you should have that kind of reaction towards the humor, as I least got some of that thankfully. I like the whole goofiness of the end, involving The Munsters realizing they were living in a normal neighborhood… That was funny. Then they’ll be jokes where it just flew over my head or wasn’t executed the best way possible.

Whether you like or dislike The Munsters, I feel there is something we can all agree on: At least it was made by someone that actually immensely cared about the property. There have been so many known entertainment properties over the years, whom were helmed by complete hacks who could honestly give two shits about it as the only thing they cared about was making money and nothing more than that, which resulted in making a complete dumpster fire. Rob Zombie with The Munsters: You can at least appreciate the fact this man actually gave it’s all, like this film was his baby, and for that I can at least acknowledge and respect the man for giving a great amount of effort to do the best he can.

Overall, The Munsters was meh. If you feel bored around the month of Halloween season: Sure go ahead and check it out, it’ll definitely get you into the holiday spirit! This film may be liked by kids: It brings me back to where I was a kid, enjoying The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas… It brought me back to the glory days of youth that’s for sure. -Mitch Smietana

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