Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description?: Yes
I always had some kind of pride in the fact that i had never seen a Rob Zombie film. I like my horror movies to have plots, and his largely seem to just be gore for the sake of gore. I’ve come close to watching his Halloween, and i probably will if i ever find it streaming around October with audio description. This was a film that on paper, a lot of people were excited for, most of them being Zombie fans, I assume. Then, that trailer was released, the internet melted down, and we’ve been living in a post-Munsters trailer apocalypse ever since.
But now the movie is on Netflix, and you ca watch it for yourself and make up your own mind. it’s a fun thing to do, actually make up your own mind.
Granted, I don’t know what this film looks like visually, The makeup could look like a high school production and I’d have no idea. But, there are some things we need to discuss first before ever talking about this film. First, this is not your usual Rob Zombie. I think some people thought it might be, that Herman Munster would be ripping someone’s face off. It’s not. I don’t know what the rating is on this, but I’d be shocked if it was even PG-13, but a few jokes could have gotten it there. Zombie isn’t the first director to be known for one genre and then suddenly decide to diversify their portfolio. Robert Rodriguez was really successful with Spy Kids, and even Eli Roth felt the need to direct The House With a Clock In It’s Walls. Zombie wanted to try something different. So he chose to adapt. A show that clearly has inspired a lot of who is and what he does. No reason to touch The Addams Family, as you can’t recreate that Raul Julia magic. But, The Munsters is up for grabs.
Another thing to remember is something that most directors seem to have forgotten. Big screen adaptations of the TV shows of yesteryear are *REALLY* hard to pull off. For every Addams Family, there is a My Favorite Martian, Car 54 Where Are You, Leave it To Beaver, McHale’s Navy, Sgt. Bilko, Bewitched, Land Of The Lost, Lost In Space, and even abysmal cartoon adaptations from the period like Woody Woodpecker, Underdog, Yogi Bear, and animated attempts at rebooting Top Cat, Heathcliff, and Fritz The Cat. Basically, leave old TV in the past. Yes, lightning in a bottle happened in the early 90’s with one franchise, but that doesn’t mean every single 50’s and 60’s TV shows need a reboot. Hell, I loved the Flipper movie as a kid, but does anyone remember it fondly today?
So, Rob Zombie had his deck stacked against him. And instead of leaning into his strengths, he made it fun for the whole family. Or… tried to. unfortunately, he was given 10 dollars to cast this film, and found what I can only assume are community theatre actors from South Dakota who passed up the opportunity to stage an all white production of The King and I so they could be here for this. It would have been nice to see what Zombie could ahve done with actual actors, and not just… family members… but I guess no one gives him money. i agree with Zombie. If this film had a 70 million dollar budget, I’d shit myself. The only way they’d have used that much is if 69.9 million was used on craft services.
Zombie purposefully tries to recapture the goofy nature of the original show, and makes no attempt to modernize the material. Everything from the plot, the soundtrack, the dialogue, and the sketchy delivery of the lines, all harken back to simpler times. And recreating an era, as not just a look, but a vibe, is really hard. To make this feel like the lost episode of The Munsters, is a tough task, but I think that’s what he was trying to do.
Even though I can figure out the path, the reasoning, and see that Zombie had a vision, it still doesn’t mean this film works, or that it’s good. It’s campy as all hell, in a very intentional manner, which leads me to believe that it might one day become a midnight movie classic, or something along the lines of The Room, where people keep watching and screening it even though no one thinks its actually a good film.
to be honest, i don’t think Zombie cared. he was trying to do something here, and I think he knew it might not hit with audiences. That’s why I’m not just failing this film outright. Too many people tried and failed with a lot more talent, and a lot more money, and a lot less vision. Zombie did something different. it doesn’t work. his cast can’t act. But I experienced something unlike anything else this year. And that’s certainly something.
anyone who thinks this is the worst film of the year still hasn’t seen Marmaduke.
Final Grade: D+
2 thoughts on “The Munsters”
I do agree it is hard to remake these iconic tv shows into big screen adventures. This sounds so bad it might be good, as you say…perhaps a midnight film “hit.”
Cult hits are hard to predict and some of them fizzle out. I don’t know if it’ll happen, but i wouldn’t be surprised if people were still watching this ten years from now. But no, it is not great. At all.