“Grandpa, you’re 400 years old, stop being so childish.”
Justin’s rating: I need a flea bath after associating with this movie
Justin’s review: I always felt that when it came to dueling franchises, as viewers we always had to take favorites. And for the remarkably non-competitive field of horror sitcoms from the 1960s, I pledged my allegiance to the Addams Family over the Munsters, for what that was worth. Addams Family had a cooler goth vibe to it, while Munsters was a shameless raiding of the Universal Monsters catalogue.
But I only learned recently that there was a mid-90s TV movie that attempted to kickstart a Munsters revival. I don’t think greatly aging Munsters fans, what few of them were left, were enough to really justify this effort. But hey, we got Here Come the Munsters anyway, so we might as well take a look.
With a host of new actors taking over the duties of the original cast, this Fox channel movie kicks off with the Munster family moving out of their Transylvania castle when the villagers finally take to attacking it with rocket launchers. So they all troop over to America to visit their cousin Marilyn, who is played by Christine Taylor, who I best know from playing Marcia in the ’90s Brady Bunch movies. I guess she was going for a type here?
For a 90-minute flick, there’s a whole lot of plot crammed into Here Come the Munsters. In addition to generally freaking everyone out by being, you know, genial monsters walking among the population, the Munsters also have to solve a mystery concerning Herman’s comatose sister and her personality-changing husband (who has the last name of Hyde, and you can figure it out from there). Also, Eddie tries to fit in at school, Herman tries to get a job, and friends are made with the neighborhood watch.
There’s a whole gaggle of silly puns and mugging-while-shrugging, but the real star of this film has to be the props. I mean, props to the props department, because the set dressings of the two castles, the various horror-themed doodads (including a huge travel cage for their dragon, Spot), the secret passages, and an underground laboratory are remarkably well done. I love me a good haunted house, and this movie actually gives us one that I’d love to explore in real life.
I mean, Fox in the 1990s usually meant cheap, shoddy final product for one-off movies like these, but to my surprise, some actual love and money was poured into this. With a few more edits and maybe a little less “here’s a joke WAH-WAH” lines, I could even see this as a theatrical release. Everyone’s giving it their all and having fun with all of the monster tropes, even if most of it isn’t stuff that anyone over the age of seven would find laugh-worthy. I did find several of the sight gags pretty amusing, such as Eddie sleeping in various cupboards and Herman’s passport having numerous birthdates for his various body parts.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s this strange running theme of immigrants and acclimating to America. I was never quite sure what the movie had to say about the subject, but it kept coming up in all sorts of vague and uncomfortable ways.
Here Comes the Munsters didn’t really convert me into a fan of the franchise, but it was far less tedious than I had anticipated. It was even, one might say, hair-raising.
- Nice black-and-white-style opening
- Awful bat effects
- Spot the Dragon is a cutie
- Stuffing Eddie in the overhead compartment on the plane
- “Oh look, a refreshment stand!” [bench with a GIVE BLOOD sign]
- Cookoo clock raven saying “Nevermore! Nevermore!”
- Um, did they just remove the top of her head on television?
- The original Munsters cast as a family in the restaurant
- Newt Gingrich jokes
- The very old fashioned stairmaster