Rob Zombie’s long-awaited adaptation of the classic 1960s series is actually a prequel that shows how that lovable Munster Herman meets Lily.
Dr. Wolfgang is a brilliant scientist who is getting various parts for his new creation, a monster. Lily is a vampire who is looking for true love. When Dr. Wolfgang finally has enough to bring the monster to life, he is shocked to learn his creation has the brain of a comedian. When he is embarrassed on live TV, Wolfgang leaves the monster with his assistant, Floop, who calls the monster Herman.
When Lily sees Herman on TV, she instantly falls for him. Learning he is performing at a local nightclub, she meets him and Herman instantly falls for Lily. The two start a cute relationship much to the chagrin of her father, the Count. The Count wants Lily to marry a rich vampire and not a dumb monster. However, that’s about to be the least of the Count’s issues when his son is attempting to conspire with a fortune teller to steal his home so the teller can make it an entertainment attraction.
When it was announced that Rob Zombie would be coming out with a feature film version of the 1960s classic series The Munsters, it was met with well, strangeness. The musician and filmmaker, known for his R-rated Firefly saga and Halloween remake saga, would not only make this, but would it follow suit? Surprisingly, he decided to go the family friendly route and not only that. He has decided to answer a question that may have invoked fans’ minds: how did Herman and Lily meet?
While no one can compare to the iconic Fred Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo, you have to hand it to Jeff Daniel Phillips and Sheri Moon Zombie. They made the roles their own with inspiration from Gwynne and De Carlo, especially Mrs. Zombie. Her performance of Lily was like watching a combination of De Carlo and Carolyn Jones’ Morticia of The Addams Family. For a “prequel” if you will, she actually does a good job while Phillips is really funny as Herman. The two also respectively play the comedian whose brain is implanted to Herman and a breaking news reporter.
Dan Roebuck does his own thing as The Count, Lily’s father who only wants her to marry a rich vampire and sees Herman as not a great guy for her. We get to learn why Eddie is a werewolf as Lily has a werewolf brother, Tomas Boykin’s Lester, who is a debt-ridden lowlife who is forced to work with a fortune teller, Catherine Schell’s Zoya, to get the Count to sell the castle. This seems a bit like a takeaway from the courtship between Herman and Lily. If they focused solely on their love and the Count’s attempts to stop them should have been the focus. However, overall, it is still a fun film to enjoy.
The Munsters is Rob Zombie’s love letter prequel to the classic series. While there are some flaws, they are pretty much ignored as this is actually a pretty fun Halloween treat for the family. Kudos to Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and cast for making the most of their performances and they are fun ones indeed. Especially Richard Brake’s Vincent Price-inspired Dr. Wolfgang, Herman’s “daddy”.
WFG RATING: B
A Universal 1440 Production. Director: Rob Zombie. Producers: Mike Elliott and Rob Zombie. Writer: Rob Zombie; based on the series created by Norm Liebmann and Ed Haas; from a format by Al Burns and Chris Hayward. Cinematography: Zoran Popovic. Editing: Vanick Moradian.
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dan Roebuck, Richard Brake, Jorge Garcia, Sylvester McCoy, Catherine Schell, Tomas Boykin, Cassandra Peterson.