‘The Munsters’ Review: How Rob Zombie Brings a Whimsical Twist to a Classic


Sheridan Daley, Writer

The Munsters follows the origin story of the ghoulish family on 1313 Mockingbird Lane. We watch as Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie) struggles to find the man of dreams, or rather nightmares while her father, the Count (Daniel Roebuck) pushes her on failed dates. This is up until Herman Munster (Jeff Daniel Phillips) is unveiled on live TV as Dr. Wolfgang’s (Richard Brake) new creation as Lily is instantly infatuated by him. On the other end her brother Lester, (Tomas Boykin) is striking up a real estate deal with a “Zoya Krupp” (Catherine Schell). While Dr. Wolfgang is left in agony following Herman’s debut as a putz instead of a genius, his assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia) finds that Herman has the potential to be a true star. 


Lily has a brief interaction with her estranged brother at one of Herman’s gigs, where she is pointed in the direction of his dressing room; starting their romance. When the Count meets Herman he is not impressed and plans to split up the two, but before he can they are soon engaged. Before the wedding Lester approaches Herman about his real estate deal as the Count refuses to take part; Herman agrees without Lily’s knowledge of the deal. Before they know it Herman, Lily, and her father are evicted from their castle leaving them with the option of moving to sunny California where they find the spookily charming home of 1313 Mockingbird Lane.


Director, writer, and producer Rob Zombie does an amazing job at carrying the whimsy throughout the film, from the colors, costuming, and makeup, to the cinematography; it’s incredibly clear that Zombie has an eye for putting a fun twist on a true classic. While he may be more well known for his music with hits such as Dragula it’s evident that his writing and directing abilities are not to be overlooked. Though the script has its weak points along with the acting, it offers a different perspective on the story that has been rebooted several times since its original release in 1964.


The cast includes Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Daniel Roebuck, icon Cassandra Peterson along with a cameos by original cast members Butch Patrick and Pat Priest. Their performances vary on a scale of mediocre to hilarious. Jeff Daniel Phillips perfectly embodies Herman’s aloof and numbskull personality though being stuck in a “rockstar” facade. While Sheri Moon Zombie gives us a Mrs. Roper (Three’s Company) level of playfulness and charm. With this in mind there were moments where I was left wanting more but, it’s worth mentioning that going into the film I wasn’t looking for award winning performances so overall I was impressed. 


When it comes down to costumes, they pay homage to the past whilst displaying Zombie’s new vision for the characters. The makeup department did a fantastic job at adding an unseen dimension to characters whom we are so used to seeing in black and white or muted tones. Rob said via a Variety interview that  “When [he] saw everyone in their makeup, [he] thought, ‘This looks like a live-action cartoon. They don’t even look like they’re actually real. They look like they’re made out of rubber. They look fake.” prompting him to move forward with the outlandish style of the rest of the film. Not to mention the fabulous set design that reflects the iconic aspects that we are so familiar with while adding in elements that leave a lasting impression in your mind. 


To conclude, The Munsters is further proof that Rob Zombie’s neoteric filmmaking is something that may not be for everybody but if anything is an unforgettable experience nonetheless.  

My Rating:  🪩🪩🪩🪩/5