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Review of Netflix's The Munsters

I watched Rob Zombie’s remake of The Munsters on Netflix last night. I was excited to see this movie, especially after the preview that mimicked the opening shots of the TV series. Most aspects of the movie met or exceeded my expectations.

The Munsters is not so much a reimaging of the classic series as is a prequel to the television show. Grandpa (Daniel Roebuck) and his daughter Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie) live in a creepy mansion in Transylvania (what other kind is there) in the early 1960s. Grandpa wants to find a husband for his daughter, but Lily is bored with the dating scene and has lost interest in potential beaus. Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang (Richard Brake) is piecing together his latest creation from body parts of the deceased when he hears on the news that two brothers, the brilliant astrophysicist and pianist Shelly von Rathbone and the dim-witted comedian Shecky von Rathbone have died on the same day. Wolfgang sends his assistant Igor (Sylvester McCoy) to steal Shelly’s magnificent brain but… oh, you know what happens. During Herman’s (Jeff Daniel Phillips) debut on the Good Morning Transylvania show, Wolfgang hopes to introduce a self-made man of brilliance (pun intended) but instead unleashes a lovable oaf with a vast repertoire of the worst jokes imaginable (I think it says a lot about me that I laughed at all of them). However, Lily falls heads over fangs at the first sight of Herman. They meet, fall in love, and marry, much to Grandpa’s chagrin.

Rob Zombie made this movie as a homage to the original series. It provides the background story leading up to the Munsters coming to California. The Munsters explains how Herman got his name, how they adopted Spot, why the family had to leave Transylvania, and how they wound up at 13 Mockingbird Lane. Zombie included so many nods to the genre in general, to the show, and to the time period. The main actors do an excellent job in portraying Herman, Lily, and Grandpa as their characters were perfected by Fred Gwynne, Yvonne DeCarlo, and Al Lewis. I loved Richard Brake as the mad doctor; his performance was so over the top it was hilarious. Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson and Catherine Schell have small but important roles. And see if you can pick out the voices of Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, and Dee Wallace.

The one thing that bothered me about The Munsters was the cinematography. The set designs were excellent, but the colors used to create the backgrounds were, in my opinion, too vibrant. The Munsters at times mimicked some of the movies made in the 1960s where powerful, almost fluorescent colors were used to signify the teen angst of the time. In my opinion, it didn’t mesh with the vibe of the movie. I know a lot of people said this movie should have been made in black and white like the TV series, but I disagree. That would not have worked. I only wish Rob Zombie had toned down the colors a bit.

That is not to imply that The Munsters is not worth watching. It is, especially if you’re like me, a Monster Kid who enjoyed watching reruns of this show and The Addams Family after school. This movie is pure nostalgia and will bring back fond memories. It’s a fun movie the entire family can enjoy. So, grab your caramel-coated cockroaches and your Bloody Mary (let Mary watch if you didn’t drain her dry) and enjoy the show.

I give it a 3.75 out of 5 laughing skull heads.

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