Growing up, I have immensely vague memories of two incredibly spoopy families that would play on the television as syndicated re-runs – “The Addams Family” and “The Munsters”. While The Addams family has achieved a longevity since its inception in 1938 as a cartoon, “The Munsters” has sort of faded away in public memory for reasons unknown to us. However, during its run on television, “The Munsters” was hip and happening, with their ratings prompting the development of a spin-off series and several films, including the theatrically released MUNSTER GO HOME! While the film itself is essentially a much-longer TV episode released theatrically, it still goes to show how well the spooky family was received by audiences everywhere to prompt its development in the first place.
The premise of the film follows Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne), who learns that he has inherited a mansion, wealth, and a fancy smancy title from a recently deceased relative in England. This prompts the Munsters to pack their belongings and travel over there to take stock of their new home. However, not all is right in England and, as is generally the case when finding out about mysterious wealthy dead relatives, there are strings attached. These strings for The Munsters are the other members of the British family shaking their fists over the fact that these people are getting this inheritance and not them. Even worse is that the family is concerned about the Munsters screwing up their illegal activities within the halls of the mansion. So, these jealous Brits try to come up with a plan to scare the Munsters away to no avail.
While all of this is happening, Marilyn (Debbie Watson) develops a crush on a young man. The catch is that this young man is a part of a family that absolutely despises the Munsters, which kind of turns the whole thing into a weird Romeo and Juliet situation in terms of the family rivalries. This culminates with a challenge issued to the Munsters to take part in a drag race (not Rupaul’s Drag Race, guys. Like a legit drag race), which Herman Munster eventually hops into. Needless to say, as per how it goes for the Munsters, everything works out in the end and the credits begin to roll.
The movie itself isn’t the greatest in the world. From what I vaguely recall of “The Munsters”, the movie captures the silly zaniness that was infused in each episode of the television show. Having original cast members Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, and Butch Patrick there with their already pre-established performances in place really helped with that feeling of continuity if one were to flip between the TV series and the film. What I think really makes MUNSTER GO HOME stand out though is that this was the first time we get to see everyone in full technicolor. The image quality is great considering that it must have been taken from an older version of the film. There is some slight graininess, but that more has to do with the age of the film. The green tones to the Munsters’ skin really pop. And the inside of the Munsters’ home practically pops with all the varieties of color used in the set design. The dialogue itself is clear, which is a godsend for something being taken from an older film.
What’s the real standout on the Blu-ray is the newly added commentary featuring Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Rob Zombie, and Justin Beahm, who helped to keep the questions coming during more quiet moments of the commentary. This commentary is an absolute must for fans of the original series. The three come together to discuss a variety of things as it pertains to both the original series and MUNSTER GO HOME. There’s a lot discussed regarding the history of the film and Butch, in particular, dives deep into his contribution and time on both the show and the film. The added interviews within the Blu-ray disc itself are more interviews conducted by the original cast for radio appearances but, for those who are too young to have had that exposure to the radio appearances, it gives even more insight to the film from the actors playing the characters we love.
- Bonus Television Film – The Munsters’ Revenge in HD – (1.33:1)
- Vintage cast radio interviews
- Radio Spots
- Theatrical Trailer
- Extensive Still Galleries for both films – behind-the-Scenes photos, movie stills, and posters
Overall, MUNSTER GO HOME! and the inclusion of The Munsters’ Revenge on the Blu-ray release is great for fans of the original Television series. While the movies themselves are a bit of a campy mess, the clean-up of the audio and visuals are nice and the newly added commentary by Scream Factory helps to provide more of a wow factor than the actual film itself. Would I recommend this as a first watch for newbies to The Munsters? Probably not. While the film itself captures almost the exact same kookiness of the series, I think the film itself could be appreciated more by fans of the original series rather than used as an introduction to the family. So, for fans of the original series, I highly recommend you snap up this Blu-ray.
MUNSTER GO HOME! is now available on Blu-ray through Scream Factory HERE.