Director: Earl Bellamy
Writers: George Tibbles, Joe Connelly, and Bob Mosher
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Debbie Watson, Terry-Thomas, Hermione Gingold, Robert Pine, John Carradine, Bernard Fox, Richard Dawson, Jeanne Arnold, Maria Lennard, and Cliff Norton
Composer: Jack Marshall
Release Date: 6/15/1966
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Following the death of Lord Cavanaugh Munster, Herman—now proprietor of the family estate—travels with Grandpa, Lily, Eddie, and Marilyn (Debbie Watson) to Munster Hall in Shroudshire, England. Unable to accept the conditions of Cavanaugh’s will, Lady Effigie (Hermione Gingold) and Freddie Munster (Terry-Thomas) hatch a plot to eliminate Herman. Meanwhile, Marilyn forms a relationship with Roger Moresby (Robert Pine)—a handsome, polite young man whose parents harbor a centuries-old grudge against the Munster family.
Munster, Go Home! benefits from the combined writing talents of Bob Mosher, George Tibbles, Joe Connelly, and Earl Bellamy—four long-time contributors to The Munsters. Sitcom buffs would nevertheless be wise to ignore this effort, which fails to retain the magic of the original television series.
Filmed in Technicolor as opposed to black-and-white, Munster, Go Home! (a parody of the Universal Monster series) never quite exemplifies the creepy, suspenseful atmosphere that one would expect of a classic horror movie, satirical or otherwise. Certain eerie tropes (e.g. chattering skeletons, exterior shots of a dilapidated mansion, and the blood-chilling cries of a werewolf on the prowl) do, however, serve as homages to those iconic films (Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man to name only a few) that inspired The Munsters.
Lacking the innocent charm/beauty commonly associated with the character of Marilyn, Debbie Watson—though mildly attractive—hardly matches the archetype established by her predecessors (i.e. Pat Priest and Beverley Owen). Therefore, many fans of The Munsters will no doubt lament the absence of Priest, who, despite being in her 20s during the production of this film, was considered too “old” to portray Marilyn on the silver screen.
Also problematic is that Munster, Go Home! recycles a number of comedic devices (e.g. Grandpa’s “hairy” predicament aboard the cruise ship) from prior episodes of The Munsters. In one scene, for example, Freddie disguises himself as a ghost in the middle of the night, hoping to frighten Lily and Herman; predictably, however, the plan backfires when Freddie, having observed the Munster couple for the first time, runs away panicking—a gag that had been employed to a more humorous effect in “Herman’s Happy Valley.”
While competing in a rigged drag race (a concept borrowed from “Hot Rod Herman”), Herman steers the Drag-u-la alongside Lily, who risks her life to warn her husband of the danger to his safety—a touching, if comically executed, sequence that offers a testament to the loving, self-sacrificing characteristics possessed by the Munster family.
By forgoing the elements (e.g. a laugh track) of a traditional sitcom, this obscure film earns its reputation as a lackluster installment in the Munster franchise. Especially deserving of criticism is the screenplay for Munster, Go Home!, which can best be described as a muddled, unamusing rehash of about half-a-dozen highlights from the aforementioned television series.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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