Directed by: Rob Zombie
Premise: An adaptation of the 1960s television show. Lily and Herman Munster (Sheri Moon Zombie and Jeff Daniel Phillips) fall in love much to the chagrin of Lily’s father The Count (Daniel Roebuck). The family relocates to an American suburb.
What Works: The production values of 2022’s The Munsters are uneven but when filmmaker Rob Zombie pushes the style it looks great. The film has a few notable set pieces, in particular Herman Munster’s creation scene and the family’s arrival in the United States. It’s kitschy but in a way that’s appropriate to the material and the film would have benefited from more of this stylization.
What Doesn’t: Rob Zombie has had an uneven filmmaking career with great films such as The Devils Rejects and The Lords of Salem offset by disasters like 31. The Munsters falls into the latter category and it may be Zombie’s worst picture. While the film has some exceptional set pieces, most of it looks cheap as though the props and costumes were purchased from a popup Halloween store. Narrative has never been Zombie’s strong suit and that is a fatal flaw of The Munsters. The movie is catastrophically unfocused. It starts out as a love story between Lily and Herman. Her father is positioned to be the obstacle keeping them from living happily ever after but he doesn’t do anything except pout. They marry halfway through the movie at which point The Munsters devolves into a series of disconnected scenes that aren’t leading anywhere. The humor is lame. The comedy is intended to echo a 1960s television show but it doesn’t come across retro. It’s just painfully unfunny. The Munsters is strained between playing to fans of the classic television show and a contemporary family audience. It doesn’t do either mode very well and the final result is a film that’s unlikely to appeal to anyone.
Disc extras: Making-of documentary and a commentary track.
Bottom Line: Rob Zombie is a self-professed Munsters fan and this film is clearly an attempt to share his affection for that show and its characters. While Zombie’s enthusiasm is evident, The Munsters fails at virtually every filmmaking metric.
Episode: #923 (October 23, 2022)