I’m officially starting Horror Month early with the review of Rob Zombie’s new movie The Munsters!
Not a great start.
Why have you done this, Rob Zombie? Why?
A lot of this review most likely won’t be about the story, because there really isn’t one. Like Rings of Power it is completely devoid of any plot.
However, it does have more likable characters.
But that isn’t to say the writing in this isn’t this film’s issue because boy howdy is writing an issue for this “movie”. I put quotes around “movie” because honestly, it doesn’t feel like one. At least not one by someone on their… I want to say 8th film?
Everything feels so off kilter, from the lighting, the score, the writing, the acting, the editing, everything is screaming this isn’t a studio movie, but something you’d find on YouTube made by a bunch of fans.
I understand the low budget, but Rob Zombie mainly works within a small budget, aside from his Halloween remake most of everything he has done was low budget. So, making the excuse he didn’t have much to work with isn’t going to fly with me.
First let’s talk about the trailer. Actually, first let’s talk about the fact this is on Netflix. To point out the obvious, The Munsters is a Paramount property. The thing is, Paramount has its own streaming service. Not wanting to dump it on your own streaming service speaks volumes.
I’m not sure which came first, the announcement that this was premiering on Netflix or the trailer getting released.
If I’m going based on memory, I want to say the trailer came first, and things kind of spiraled from there.
If you haven’t seen the trailer, I highly recommend watching it right now. It becomes pretty clear it was a trailer cut together not only by Rob Zombie himself, but it used untreated footage to make it up, with audio not properly mixed and from what I thought, scenes not color corrected.
The color in this is a whole other issue. I’ll make sure to get back to that. I’m still on the damn trailer.
So right off the bat, you can tell maybe this isn’t going to be good. But it’s a PG Rob Zombie movie, what chances did this thing have in ever being good?
The thing is it still feels like a Rob Zombie movie. Maybe messier and needing of a reedit and rewrite but still, it feels like Rob Zombie wrote and directed it, using the same cast he’s been using since House of a Thousand Corpses. If Sid Haig were still alive, he’d absolutely be cast as Grandpa Munster no doubt about it.
If you’ve seen any of Rob Zombie’s films, you know he isn’t exactly kid friendly. That alone makes absolutely no sense to me why a kiddy version of The Munsters would be appealing. I get he’s most likely a giant fan of the franchise, but know your audience, dude. It ain’t kids, nor are kids going to want to see this. They have no clue what the Munsters even are. It feels to me like they had the rights to The Munsters and instead of losing those rights since they haven’t done shit with them since the 90’s reboot series and the forgotten tv movie Here Come the Munsters, they decided to just let Rob Zombie do whatever he wanted.
Then after the trailer leaks and is panned by almost everyone who sees it, this is when Paramount announces it will be shown only on Netflix. Though I think it is getting a Blu-ray release, so if you’re a Rob Zombie fan and you must complete your collection, they got you covered. Still waiting for that unrated Director’s Cut of 31 your promised backers, Rob, you fuck! Full disclosure I actually own three copies of his film 31. 3 too many if you ask me.
The Munsters is bad. Like unimaginably bad.
In the trailer you can tell the audio hasn’t been properly mixed yet, with it sounding pretty bad during any talking scenes. The other thing that I thought was off was how it looked. Aside from it looking cheap, it had this neon green glow about it.
And I thought, maybe those scenes were meant to be black and white. You have to light scenes differently when you intend to shoot in black and white and I thought maybe much like the audio, it wasn’t corrected.
Nope! I was wrong. Dead wrong in fact, as this was a design choice. I think I understand what he was going for, the scenes in Transylvania are the only ones that have this gel green lighting, anytime they move outside of there, we get normal lighting.
At one point we have characters standing next to lit torches and still we get this green glow cast on them, it makes no sense.
What would have made more sense however if everything in Transylvania was in black and white. Not only would it have made the SFX look better but also the cheap sets might have seemed less noticeable. It also would have made more sense, seeing as everyone in Transylvania is from an old monster movie from the 1940’s and 50’s, seeing them without color like their movie counterparts would have been a no brainer. I have no idea why he didn’t make it that way.
The one good thing we get from the trailer was seeing it in black and white, at least for a scene or two. And it worked! It looked like the old tv series from the 60’s.
Why am I the one coming up with this? These are ideas Rob Zombie should already have in his head.
Now, I am a giant fan of Richard Brake, he’s one of those actors that’s in everything, you just never realize it. Since Rob Zombie’s film 31, he’s been a favorite of his, putting him in 3 From Hell, the sequel to Devil’s Rejects.
From his performance in this, it kind of gives away what Rob Zombie might be trying to do, as Richard Brake is hamming it up to an absurd degree. I mean, he is putting Nic Cage at his Caggiest to shame.
But it isn’t only him, as everyone is acting this way for the most part.
So, what is Rob Zombie going for? To me it felt like maybe he was trying to make episodes of the old series. But without beginning or ending credits everything felt off. The way the story is structured and paced; it feels like an old sitcom with only 3 episodes to try to tell a story. That also explains the abrupt ending.
What even is the story?
Like his remake of Halloween, The Munsters is a prequel, telling the story of how Herman Munster met his undead wife Lily.
At first, I thought since Herman is in a rock band, maybe this was Rob Zombie’s way of telling the story of how him and his wife Sheri Moon Zombie met and fell in love, but he’s using The Munsters as a vehicle to tell it.
Maybe that’s still the case, I very much doubt it, but it would have been more interesting if it were. Like this rock musical story of Rob Zombie and Sheri Moon Zombie finding each other. And him putting her in every single one of his movies so he can film her ass.
Instead, we get this weird plot about gypsies wanting to own Grandpa Munster’s castle so they can turn it into a casino?
I guess to come up with a reason as to why they not only have to move but why Grandpa Munster is living with them?
Also, why is he called Grandpa Munster when he is Lily’s father, not Herman’s? It has been so long since I’ve watched the series, that I can’t remember if it is the case there as well.
I used to love The Munsters, I think watching it on Nick At Nite all the time. Or some other station that would replay old episodes. That and Get Smart were my favorite shows to watch.
Now both having terrible modern day movie adaptions. Go figure!
Since this is a prequel, no Eddie or Marilyn yet. Though in Marilyn’s case I believe she makes a special cameo.
And if I’m seeing this right, Eddie or rather the actor who played him on the old tv show also makes an appearance as the robot, which I’m sure was the robot from one of Rob Zombie or White Zombie’s music videos.
Richard Brake plays basically Doctor Frankenstein, gathering parts to cobble together the perfect creation. He wants the brain of the world’s second smartest man, second seeing as he is the first.
But instead, his assistant steals the brain of a comedian.
Meanwhile, Grandpa is trying to set Lily up on dates that end in mostly disappointment. She goes on a bad date with Nosferatu, as he shows her pictures of his pet rats and his budding DJ career.
There is some payoff to the rat thing, as we get a glimpse in the paper later on, he was eaten by his rats.
That’s what is kind of frustrating about this movie, as it does have some minor things in it that work. Like Herman for example, at times he is great, but other times he is just too much. And he starts to annoy you.
Richard Brake brings Herman to life but is letdown when he reveals his creation to the world and all he does is tell corny unfunny jokes.
After that he basically leaves the movie and that’s it for his character.
Lily sees Herman’s performance and instantly falls in love, wanting to go see him perform in his band during one of their live shows.
They of course fall instantly in love; we see them go on greenscreen dates until Herman proposes and the two get married.
During all of this we get a minor plot spliced in about Lily’s werewolf brother Lester owing money to a bunch of gypsies who have their eye on Grandpa’s castle. Turns out one of these gypsies is an ex-wife of his and wants some payback.
Herman gets tricked into signing the deed over to Lester, so now no one has a place to live.
But Herman gets the genius idea to fly to Hollywood and become a big star. This is actually quickly dropped, as he instead gets a job working at a graveyard.
When they arrive in the US, it’s during Halloween, so everyone is dressed up to look like monsters. They think it’s a paradise, then after buying their new creepy home and waking up the next morning they see everyone out of costume and freak out. As they are the freakish ones and The Munsters are the norm ones.
And then the movie kind of just ends with Lester showing up to give them a check for a bunch of money and then the movie ends.
You’re left with whiplash as you’re a bit confused since this movie has pacing issues. You feel like there should be an hour left since nothing so far has happened.
And that I guess is Rob Zombie’s The Munsters. Yes, this gets a SKIP IT rating from me. It’s campy, the acting is over the top and the editing sucks.
Oh, I didn’t even mention how bad the score was. It was like a mixture of mouth sounds, kazoos and regret.
Is this the worst thing Rob Zombie has made? Honestly, no. to me that might still be Halloween 2 or possibly Lords of Salem, even though that film is unintentionally hilarious.
Alright, that does it for me right now, but I’ll be back every Saturday or Sunday to list the weekend wrap-up, a list of horror movies I watched that week as perusal this time of year. Because it is HORROR MONTH!
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