Monster fan Rob Zombie has long held a special place in his heart for the 1960s sitcom “The Munsters,” from his preschool days through his later years as a rock star and filmmaker. He even built an exact replica of Herman and Lily’s creepy old place on Mockingbird Lane.
The build project wasn’t just for fun, though: Zombie writes and directs ‘The Munsters,’ arriving September 27 on Blu-ray, DVD and on-demand platforms (with a Netflix release slated for later this year) . The horror-comedy – with its latest trailer exclusively on usatoday.com – delves into the early years of beloved characters originally played by Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo and Al Lewis and introduces them to a new generation.
While little kids might not be ready for Zombie’s earlier R-rated fare like “House of 1000 Corpses” or “The Lords of Salem,” his PG “Munsters” is meant to be watched by all ages. . “The movie is layered and weird, but it’s weirdly innocent. I feel like it’s the perfect Halloween movie,” says Zombie, who likens the movie to “a live-action cartoon.”
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The film leans heavily on the groovy, good-natured vibe of the 60s – “I wasn’t trying to reinvent ‘The Munsters’ because I love it”, says Zombie – but it needed a different approach to avoid being overwhelmed. be a two-hour version of a TV episode. So Zombie focused his story on “everything they couldn’t or didn’t do on the show,” delving into the Frankenstein-esque creation of lovable bumbling Herman (Jeff Daniel Phillips), the story of love between Herman and the bewitching Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife and star dates) and the way her vampire father, the Earl (Daniel Roebuck), comes between them.
“Herman is a complete moron,” says Zombie, 57. “Lily is always in charge and she’s almost like a straight person for the moron jokes to work. And then the Earl vacillates between the two, thinking Herman is an idiot, but somehow gets involved in his ridiculous plans.
“You don’t start with all the characters together (but) it’s this three-headed beast that I love.”
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Because the old show mostly took place inside the Munsters’ home, Zombie says his biggest job was “just trying to create a whole world.” But the classic house was a must. While previous reboots (like the 1988-1991 revival “The Munsters Today”) used different spooky residences, Zombie and his team crafted their meticulously detailed replica on the Budapest set. “Even though I like being there, I had to go back at some point,” explains the filmmaker.
The new “Munsters” features appearances from original stars Pat Priest and Butch Patrick (who played Herman and Lily’s niece Marilyn and son Eddie, respectively) as well as a slew of supporting characters from the old series, including including Herman’s Funeral Home boss Mr. Gateman (Jeremy Wheeler), Lily’s werewolf brother Lester (Tomas Boykin) and Uncle Gilbert, better known as the Creature from the Black Lagoon. New personalities also haunt the film, like Dr. Wolfgang (Richard Brake) and his assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia) — the guys responsible for bringing Herman to life — as well as Mockingbird Heights real estate agent Barbara Carr (Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira).
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The trailer shows glimpses of these goofy people, Herman and Lily’s colorful courtship, and other classic “Munsters” shenanigans. The film’s setting, however, is deliberately not contemporary. “Modern stuff and modern jokes date very badly and very quickly,” says Zombie. So the scenes in Transylvania look like “it’s 1890 but they have cars and TVs” while America looks like the late 60s when Zombie first fell for the OG “Munsters” when he was a child.
He was drawn to the show’s marriage of vintage Universal horror characters and sitcoms of the era: “If you don’t watch it and just listen to it, it sounds like you’re watching ‘Father Knows Best’, ‘Leave It to Beaver’ or ‘My Three Sons.’ The only thing that’s different is that they’re monsters.
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Zombie’s fandom continued in his rock career – his first “Munsters”-inspired single “Dragula” was a hit in 1998 – and he first expressed interest in making a “Munsters” movie in 2000 so that he was working on his first feature, “House of 1000 Corpses. The rights were tied to other producers and “Munsters” bounced around different departments at Universal until it came back into play a while ago. three years.
The heavy metal star, whose latest tour kicks off this week, wrote new music for ‘The Munsters’ to accompany the infectious 60s theme song and found it “natural” to make a family film for a change. “We’ve never done anything that doesn’t fit the mold of what ‘The Munsters’ is,” he says. “But actually, I was surprised. I thought, ‘Oh, they’ll find a reason to say it’s PG-13’, even though I couldn’t figure out what it could be.
“I didn’t want to go into that and turn it into something else. Sure, it might be weird and interesting, but it instantly wouldn’t be “The Munsters” as far as I’m concerned.
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