Review: The Munsters’ Revenge (1981)


The Munster’s Revenge is a half-hour plot stretched into an hour and a half made-for-TV movie.

And boy, do you ever feel it.

The box art going around for this is honest, at least: Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis get the majority of screen time, and they’re the same as you remember from the original series. They look great in color, too.

Unfortunately this feels like a mediocre left-over 1960s TV sitcom script in a 1981 production, which works about as well as it sounds. The original Munsters series isn’t terribly deep, and being a weekly comedy, it didn’t need to be. But a film? In 1981? Rescue from Gilligan’s Island had more going for it. (And probably twice the budget.)

According to IMDB, Gwynne originally turned down coming back to do this, but his wife reminded him that money exists, and he could ask for a ton. Unfortunately for him, NBC called his bluff.

Sid Caesar shows up just to cash his check, bringing nothing to the film’s lukewarm villain other than the usual half-smirking shtick that made him famous.

Everyone else in the cast is merely unexceptional, at best.

With the exception of the new, visiting member of the Munster family, The Phantom of the Opera (played by Bob Hastings). He’s absolutely insufferable, loud, and grating. By design, I get it. But easily my least favorite part of the film, and he exists purely to solve a problem in the third act, and deliver a gag at the end. And for some reason he looks like a deformed Dwight from The Office.

Anyway, if you treat this as a super long, unfunny “lost episode” you’ll get what you expect, and probably walk away feeling robbed of your time.

One interesting point, though: there’s no laugh track. A welcome choice, but it’s weird hearing Herman and Grandpa’s zingers without that canned laughing following it.

Not that much of what was said warrants it.

2/5 (and only because Gwynne and Lewis are awesome)

[reposted from Letterboxd]