Rob Zombie’s ‘The Munsters’: Why Are Kitschy Spooky Films Still Being Made?


“The Munsters” (2022) (Courtesy IMDb)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Rob Zombie’s remake of the 1964 spooky sitcom series “The Munsters” brought on too much theatricality with little merit or reward, failing to pay homage to the original family of spooky suburbia.

‘The Munsters’

Zombie’s remake stars his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, as Lily Munster, Jeff Daniel Phillips as Herman Munster and Daniel Roebuck as The Count. Boris Karloff makes an odd appearance as Imhotep, dressed in a tacky pharaoh Halloween costume. 

Even some actors from the original series have minor roles in the film. Pat Priest, who played Marilyn Munster in the original series, voices the announcer for Transylvania Airlines. Butch Patrick, who voiced Eddie Munster in the original series, voiced the Tin Can Man. His robotic character was meant as a homage to Eddie’s science fair project robot he creates with The Count, or “Pops” in the original series, for which Patrick’s robotic character is named. It’s a nice attempt but turns out cheesy and Patrick’s vocals remove the silly suspense of the original robot.

Another element absent from the plot is any sort of bond between The Count and Herman — instead they are pitted against each other and The Count is made the butt of many jokes that fail to land. Herman Munster is no longer the lovable oaf of the original series. He lacks his wholesome, silly demeanor and is instead a chaotic and severely annoying caricature.

In spite of these glaring deviations from the original, several outlets have called it a touching love story and praised it for its various tributes to the original series. 

Tried and Tired

This raises the question — how are these movies still getting made? Who is watching them, and better yet, giving them ovations and high praise in reviews?  The answer might have to do with Hollywood’s long-standing trend of remaking beloved classics for a modern era. It could be that people just want low-production value movies and shows to laugh at and amuse themselves with.

Maybe Zombie’s reputation for creepy, small productions that garnered him a cult following such as his horror flick “House of 1000 Corpses” is why a production doesn’t need to dazzle to win views. 

The Rise of Unsatisfying Flicks

Overall, the film’s tributes to the original series — Igor’s transformation into a bat, the raven clock that riffs on Poe’s poem and closing credits themed after the opening from the original — fail to make up for bad acting. The film’s jokes fail to have a sitcom feel and the humorous interactions between characters are stiff and awkward. It could be the absence of the laugh tracks that run throughout the original. 

The production looks like the cast raided Spirit Halloween and wanted to get too adventurous with what they found. Maybe the film would have been more satisfying as an original comedy about a female vampire trying to find a date instead of this monstrosity that used names and titles from the original without giving them the proper execution for “The Munsters” to really nail the wholesome-yet-scary vibe of the original series.


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