Blu-ray Review: Munster, Go Home!



The Fall of 1964 brought a boon to kids with a twisted sense of humor with the arrival of two different “family” sitcoms. First was ABC’s The Addams Family that brought the twisted characters from Charles Addams that ran in the New Yorker magazine. A few days later arrived CBS’s The Munsters. The series from Universal made use of the famous monsters that were the prime titles for Saturday afternoon Creature Double Features that ran on cool UHF stations. Unlike the extremely rich Addams Family, the Munsters were working class with Herman working at a funeral home. They lived in a house that resembled Grey Gardens except instead of raccoons in the walls, they had a dragon called spot under the staircase. There was a laboratory in the basement. Plus they had a cool family car built by legendary car customizer George Barris. Strangely enough both shows only lasted two season. The big difference at the end of their runs was that Universal wanted to make a theatrical film of The Munsters. This gave the studio a chance to get fans of the show one last chance to see the characters. The movie provided a way to introduce the characters to foreign markets before the 70 episodes aired on their televisions. Munster, Go Home! takes the first family of fright across the Ocean so they can finally live like royalty.

A hearse pulls up to 1313 Mockingbird Lane and Herman Munster (My Cousin Vinnie‘s Fred Gwynne) gets pulled out of the back. He looks like Frankenstein’s monster and likewise he’s alive. When he gets inside the house, he learns that a distant relative in England has died. The will has left him an estate known as Munster Hall. This means that Herman is now Lord Munster. His family is thrilled at this twist of fate and eager to get across the Atlantic to claim their new life. They board a luxury ship with big posh dreams. His wife Lily (Satan’s Cheerleaders‘ Yvonne DeCarlo) finally gets to tell her father (Car 54, Where Are You?‘s Al Lewis) that he needs to quit acting like Herman is a bust. Their son Eddie (Phantom Tollbooth‘s Butch Patrick) loves his new status in life. The Munsters are hopeful that this will help their poor deformed niece Marilyn (Tammy‘s Debbie Watson) can finally meet a guy on the boat. And she does when she sits in a sports car owned by Roger Moresby (CHiPs‘ Robert Pine). Turns out he lives near Munster Hall. Another thing that turns out is that cousin Freddie (Danger: Diabolik‘s Terry-Thomas) isn’t happy that an American is getting the title Lord Munster. He has been using the estate for a nefarious purpose that involves weekly coffins being taken out of the basement by Richard Dawson (Hogan’s Heroes & Family Feud). He gets Lady Effigie (Gigi‘s Hermione Gingold) to help him come up with ways to scare off these new Munsters. He has no idea who is arriving on the British Isles. Herman has no plans of giving up being Lord Herman to his gap toothed cousin.

Munster, Go Home! really expands upon the show besides giving us this freaky family in Technicolor. Things don’t play like three episodes stitched together. The Munsters inhabit a 96 minute movie that allows them to come off bigger. The movie does give all the elements that made the movie special including revisiting the Dragula race car that’s main body is a coffin. Instead of having it drag race, Herman gets to zip it around a cross country track. The only strange move is the replacement of series regular Pat Priest as Marilyn. It was a bigger jolt than Julie Newmar not playing Catwoman in the Batman movie that came out around the same time. The story is that Universal replaced her because Pat was pushing 30 and Debbie Watson was their new young star. Watson does a fine job flirting with Robert Pine.

Unfortunately Munster, Go Home! wasn’t a massive hit when theatrically released. But over the decades, the film has been a great way to introduce new viewers to the show. Station that ran the movie as part of their weekend horror film series would often receive calls from fans wanting The Munsters back on in the afternoon. Even Svengoolie has run the movie recently on MeTV. This upgrade of Munster, Go Home! deserves to be in your home.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the details in Herman’s make up. The make up team does a fantastic job of bring him to a color universe after two seasons of black and white. The details do make it obvious that the big race is not taking place in England. The audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono. The mix works good for the score and odd noises made by Herman. The film is subtitled in English.

Commentary with Butch Patrick and Rob Zombie. This makes sense since Rob’s biggest selling solo song is “Dragula” about the Munster’s drag racing coffin. Butch Patrick talks about how Batman was what killed The Munsters in the rating and CBS was about to go color didn’t want to pay for the upgrade for a low ranking show. The movie came about since Universal wanted to get one last project done before Fred and Al moved back to New York City. Rob Zombie really knows his Munster details. Butch Patrick says Pat Priest was replaced for the movie because she was almost 30 and the studio wanted to go younger. You’ll probably want to listen to the

The Munsters Revenge (96:14) is a reunion TV movie made in 1981. The movie unites Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo and Al Lewis. Eddie is played by K. C. Martel (Growing Pains) and Jo McDonnell (The Octagon) is the latest Marilyn. The Munsters find themselves accused of crimes when a wax museum isn’t all it appears. The movie is 1.33:1 since it did run on NBC originally.

Cast Radio Interviews (17:59) are chats with the cast so radio stations could air them as a special. Fred Gwynne talk about his time on the Munsters which included two hours a day in the make up chair. He talks about the details they went into in his makeup for the movie. Yvonne DeCarlo talks about the silver streak in her hair. Al Lewis talks about how he made Grandpa Munster as lovable about himself. Debbie Watson talks about the importance of getting a college education.

Radio Spots (2:26) reminds us that the Munsters are now in color and inherit a castle full of homicidal relatives.

Theatrical Trailer (2:49) lets us know that the family is in Technicolor. Herman and the cast talk straight to the camera about the film. The end promotes the Universal Studio tour.

Munster, Go Home Still Gallery (11:53) includes portraits, promotional shots from the film and behind the scenes photos.

Munster, Go Home Behind the Scenes Still Gallery (3:49) includes the cast reading TV Guide, checking the script, eating cake, showing up for a Munster Festival, going to the blood bank and Robert Pine playing Chess.

Munster, Go Home Posters Still Gallery (5:08) includes international posters, the photo book, lobby cards, newspaper advertising and the press kit.

Munsters’ Revenge Still Gallery (6:27) are promotional photos, behind the scenes and the VHS box. There are snaps of the cast out of make up.

Scream Factory present Munster, Go Home!. Directed by: Earl Bellamy. Screenplay by: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher, George Tibbles & Earl Bellamy. Starring: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Debbie Watson, Terry-Thomas, Hermione Gingold, Robert Pine, John Carradine, Bernard Fox & Richard Dawson. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: March 31, 2020.

Tags: , , ,