“The Munsters” is Excellent: Hear Me Out


Photo courtesy of TV Insider

Michael Campbell, Writer

  Gather ‘round, boils and ghouls! “The Munsters” is streaming, and critics are screaming for Director Rob Zombie’s head. 

  With 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and 2/5 on Screen Rant, many see the Netflix release as something of a nostalgic nightmare. However, let me conjure some reasons to appreciate the “Superbeast’s” film, before burying him alive.

  “The Munsters” is a mirror, reflecting the reality of broken human behavior. They are a wholesome, supportive, loving family and yet are treated as hideous monsters because they look different. While they may seem clueless, they’re demonstrating that what other people think of them is unimportant. Their actions and how they treat others are what count most.

  This tale begins with a dark and stormy night, as all good stories do, and we behold the creation of Herman and the Munster family. A grumpy Count wants his vampiric daughter Lily to marry well, but she finds true love in an oversized blockhead.

  We witness Lily and Herman’s romance blossom and their journey from Transylvania to the iconic 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Zombie even shows their rescuing of the mysterious Munster family pet, Spot. 

  Pick a scene, any scene, and you’ll be bedazzled by a ghastly set design. Since Zombie wasn’t allowed to film the entire movie in black and white, he injects lighting with a bold palette of reds, blues, and greens. Visually, you will be mesmerized.

  Unfortunately, none of the original cast members were truly immortal. Torches and pitchforks have been aimed at Zombie’s replacements; essentially for not existing as clones of their predecessors. However, I believe it’s better to judge if they maintained the character’s spirit, rather than duplicate another actor’s interpretation. 

  While Jeff Daniel Philips’s voice doesn’t boom like Fred Gwynne, he reanimates the loveable qualities of Herman’s character. He’s excitable, laughs at his own jokes, and has someone else’s big heart. Move beyond the cracks in the young monster’s voice and enjoy his deadly dad jokes.

  Sherri Moon Zombie captures the affluent mannerisms and level-headed essence of Lily Munster. Even as a young Komtesse, she brings balance to the folderol between Herman and the Count. What’s more, her undying love for her romantic counterpart feels grotesquely authentic.

  The phantasmic bones of this film would be incomplete without Daniel Roebuck as The Count. His pestilent timing and snarky disposition ooze Al Lewis’s “Grandpa.” Roebuck took his comedic performance very seriously. I believe Lewis would be proud.

   People could spend hours watching reviewers on YouTube missing the entire purpose of “The Munsters”, both old and new. Statements like “there was no point to this movie” prove they didn’t do their homework.

  Let me be Frank: this sitcom’s initial run was during a time of civil rights movements, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The world was in distress. Shows like this were originally designed to give people a short reprieve from daily heartbreaks and fear campaigns.

  60 years later, civil rights are still being attacked, our country is divided, and the world feels as if it’s moments away from being blown into oblivion. Truly heart-breaking stories overwhelm our social media feeds and news outlets daily. Zombie managed to resurrect the tone and purpose of the show, for a climate as chaotic as the original.

  As I step down from my pine box, I’ll leave you with this: if you’re looking for a spooky vibe and some cheesy punchlines, go to Netflix and give “The Munsters” a try. It shouldn’t kill ya…that’s a different movie. 

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