It’s a big year for spooky kooky people everywhere. Not only are we getting a Tim Burton-directed Addams Family spin-off with Wednesday, we’re also getting a modern take on the The Munsters from writer/director Rob Zombie.
I confess to never liking The Munsters as much as any iteration of The Addams Family, but I am WILDLY curious to see what ROB ZOMBIE does with the new film. I could only be more curious if Rob Zombie was directing a new movie of Leave It To Beaver. A teaser has dropped for The Munsters introducing the main cast of Jeff Daniel Phillips as Herman Munster, Sheri Moon Zombie as Lily Munster, and Daniel Roebuck as Grandpa Munster. The teaser also shows off how the Munsters look in color, as the television show aired in black and white.
The Munsters might be a monstrous family, but the TV show was more mainstream and accessible to 1960s audiences than The Addams Family, which aired at the same time, but was less popular than The Munsters. The Munsters is basically a parody of suburbia, while The Addams Family digs into something deeper and darker about outsiders and society—unlike the Munsters, the Addamses are NOT your next-door neighbors, they’re rich and eccentric and probably all murderers. But the Munsters are a nuclear family unit living down the block, they just happen to be monsters. The idea was ripped from Charles Addams’ cartoons—confessed by co-creator Allan Burns—but the characters were styled after Universal’s famous monsters, since the studio owned those rights, and the characters were softened throughout the development process and even the first season, with one character recast because the original actor seemed too “mean” (Butch Patrick replaced Nate “Happy” Derman as Eddie in a later version of the pilot).
So what will Rob Zombie, best known as a heavy metal singer and the filmmaker behind creepshow horror movies like House of 1000 Corpses and The Lords of Salem make of the Munsters? Will he stick to the TV show’s premise of a not/normal family doing normal things, or will he do something cleverer with it? The Munsters never felt like particularly biting satire, which is probably why it played as well as it did, especially compared to The Addams Family. This could be a chance to do something interesting, or maybe it will be a mess—Rob Zombie movies sometimes are. At the very least, I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.