Director: Ian Emes
Writers: Ed Ferrara and Kevin Murphy
Cast: Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Bug Hall, Sandy Baron, Mary Woronov, Ed Gale, Arturo Gil, Mark Mitchell, Jeremy Callaghan, Elaine Hendrix, John Allen, Noel Ferrier, Bruce Spence, Kate Fisher, Ann Dane, Patricia Howson, Dominic Condon, Jonathan Biggins, Alan Zitner, Daniel Kellie, Michael Hamilton, Malcolm Mudway, Charles Russell, Michael Tauro, David Anderson, Viv Carter, Julie Herbert, Beth Armstrong, Jalsyn Colby, Robert Staader, Brett Samuels, Michael Thrift, Robert Yearly, Neil Johns, Peter Leask, Barry Evans, Christian Manon, Justin Case, Francois Bocquet, Andrew Windsor, Renee Askar, Lou Pollard, Brian Langsworth, Ben Grieve, Jason Taylor, Brett Wood, David Anthony, Donald Cook, Troy Livermore, and Lucy Clifford
Composer: Christopher Stone
Release Date: 12/17/1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Feeling homesick for Transylvania, Eddie Munster (Bug Hall) struggles to embody the spirit of Christmas. Hoping to improve Eddie’s mood, Herman (Sam McMurray), Lily (Ann Magnuson), Grandpa (Sandy Baron), and Marilyn (Elaine Hendrix) concoct a scheme to manifest Santa Claus (Mark Mitchell)—with a ridiculous outcome.
The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas is marred by narrative clichés, second-rate makeup effects, and juvenile humor—even by the corny standards of the original show. In addition to its hackneyed script and lame production values, this made-for-TV special suffers from the cringe-worthy antics of Santa Claus and his dirty-minded elves.
Featuring cameo appearances from the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Gill-man (more commonly known as the Creature from the Black Lagoon), the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney version), and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, this offering pays tribute to the classic Universal Monster movies that inspired The Munsters.
Fans of The Munsters will likely criticize this production for its dubious casting choices. Especially problematic are the efforts of Sandy Baron, whose poor resemblance to Al Lewis effectively ruins the Grandpa character; Elaine Hendrix, who fails to convey the sweetness, humility, and overall innocence that define Marilyn’s personality; and Sam McMurray, who, despite capturing the goofy mannerisms of the original Herman, lacks the towering height and baritone voice that many associate with Fred Gwynne’s portrayal of the Munster patriarch (and with the Frankenstein monster in general).
Though emphasizing the love and concern that the Munsters feel for one another (a key aspect of the original show), the family relationships depicted in this film are overshadowed by crude humor, distracting subplots, and silly holiday tropes.
A childish and poorly written Christmas special, this film should be avoided by Munster enthusiasts and holiday movie buffs alike. Worth noting in particular are the weak performances, cheesy one-liners, and awful comedic gags (e.g. Santa turning into a fruitcake) that hamper The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas from beginning to end.
Overall Quality: 1/10
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