The director of the project, rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie, has just revealed that the classic ’60s series The Munsters will receive its first film adaptation. Zombie’s Dream Project, which he claimed idealized to get his hands on the hardware for 20 years, very little is known about production at the time – but we can expect Sheri Moon Zombie, wife of the director and star of all his films, involved in some capacity or possibly starring.
The ideas cloned in cinema and television are not new and refer to the beginnings of the audiovisual industry. To insiders, The Monsters are the eternal rival of the Addams family, confusing even viewers of generations past as to which bizarre family was which. Today, that confusion is greatly reduced due to the complete disappearance of Media Monsters. It is true that a restart of the program was attempted without success in 2012, but we will comment on it below.
Interestingly, The Monsters’ creative trajectory is quite similar to that of The Addams, coincidence or not. While cartoonist Charles Addams created The Addams Family in 1938 for cartoons on the pages of The New Yorker, animator Bob Clampett developed his idea of comic monsters between 1943 and 1945 for a series of cartoons. The creator then suggested his idea to Universal Studios. But the project didn’t come to fruition until 1963, when Rocky and Bullwinkle animation writers Allan Burns and Chris Hayward came up with a similar idea. Still, studio executives questioned whether the series should be animation or a live broadcast.
The screenplay ready, the first episode of the sitcom Les Monstres was to be broadcast on September 24, 1964 on CBS (produced by MCA Television, then a subsidiary of Universal). The original title The Munsters immediately makes a pun with the family’s last name and the word monster in English, changing the ‘o’ to ‘u’ – something that could have been applied in the translation as well. Portugese. The main idea was to satire the customs of European immigrants in North American suburbs, the old formula of fish out of water. The difference is, these immigrants were all based on classic Universal Pictures Golden Age monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Werewolf.
Leading for a few days, his rival ABC created on September 18, 1964 his own show on a “monstrous” family: the Addams family. Both were broadcast in black and white, and remained on the air for only two seasons, until 1966. However, their notoriety transcended this first contact with the public, and the broadcasts were repeated numerous in Brazil) . The Addams Family even won respectable cartoons and film productions in the 1990s, and appeared in all kinds of media and spinoffs, such as video games, never leaving pop culture. In 2019, an animated feature was released in theaters, with big names in Hollywood dubbed and will soon be followed.
The main difference between The Addams Family and The Monsters is that the former derives its humor from bizarre situations and beyond the macabre tastes of its family members; while in the second, the peculiarity of the situations lies in the fact that their members are real monsters, and that their appearance alone is what hinders the “faces”. Monsters are even good, docile people, but it’s their habits that are strange. In the case of the Addams, their entertainment lies in human misery and torture.
Members of the Monsters include Patriarch Herman (Fred Gwynne, the former neighbor of the original Cursed Graveyard), a replica of Frankenstein’s monster; his wife Lily (Yvonne De Carlo), a slender vamp; his father, grandfather (Al Lewis), an aging and cranky Dracula; the couple’s son, Eddie (Butch Patrick), a little developing werewolf; and the niece of the Marilyn family (separated between performers Pat Priest and Beverly Owen), the only “normal” human, blonde and doll-like, but who is seen as the “ugly duckling” by those close to her. A very nice balcony.
The Monsters attempted to make a comeback in the media during the 1980s and 1990s, with little success. In 1981, the TV movie A Venança dos Monstros premiered with the same original cast. As early as 1987, The Munsters Today program ran for three seasons with a completely renewed cast. At the same time, Grandpa (still in the shoes of Al Lewis) wins a show where he presents horror films. In 1995, still with another cast, the film Os Monstros É de Volta, produced for television, was released.
What many may not know, however, is that a revival was slated for the 2010s, and that a pilot was even produced by NBC under the direction of none other than Bryan Singer (X-Men and Bohemian Rhapsody). With a script by Bryan Fuller (from the Hannibal, Star Trek Discovery and American Gods series), The Monsters have been redesigned for the new times in a more “realistic” way, with the cartoonish look of characters from the past now more humanized. Herman in the form of Jerry O’Connell was a ghastly zombie, and Eddie Izzard’s grandfather turned into a stylish hipster. The show titled Mockingbird Lane (The Family Address) failed to become a series due to the swing of tone between dark drama and humor. The 40-minute episode, which aired on October 26, 2012, has become one of those urban legends and can be viewed online.
While he’s something very dear to director Rob Zombie, there is some skepticism about his casting in this reboot. First because the filmmaker has based his entire career on a visceral horror that puts him alongside the greatest representatives of torture porn, where violence is created only to shock aimlessly. There isn’t much of a trace or attempt at humor in your films. The madness and the oddity always present in his works can serve as a basis for the proposal. And it could be that Zombie completely changes the hue, although we think that’s unlikely. Recalling that personal projects on macabre and comedic families also gave rise in 2012 to the boring film version of Shadows of the Night, the dream film of Johnny Depp directed by his collaborator Tim Burton.
It remains to be seen to see the evolutions of the next production announcements, like the cast, the studio involved, the size of the production and, in particular, the tone that Rob Zombie will use.
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