The Munsters Visit England

After becoming a smash hit on television, the Munsters made the leap to the big screen in Munster, Go Home! In color for the first time, original cast members Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, and Butch Patrick reprise the roles that made them popular television stars. The family of friendly monsters end up in England when a distant relative leaves his estate to Herman Munster. The Munsters get tangled up in a scheme by their shady English relatives.

Comedy rarely ages well, even classic comedies that audiences found hilarious. Many once-popular Hollywood comedies from the Sixties are badly dated and almost unwatchable today, largely due to cultural changes and lost references. Call it their wholesome charm and broad-based family appeal, somehow the Munsters’ simple brand of spooky laughs remains a silly delight.

Originally only running three seasons, the television show lived on in syndication for decades. Lovable characters, perfect comedic timing and the absurd reality of monsters living out the dreams of your standard sitcom family, make for a funny and heart-warming formula.

Munster, Go Home! is for everyone that loved the original cast members

Hammy and silly at times, the Munster family are genuinely endearing thanks to a wonderful cast of performers, especially Fred Gwynne’s Herman Munster. His friendly take on Frankenstein is the good-natured anchor around which everything revolves. The witty satire on family sitcoms works because the monsters go about life like everyone else, tackling the mundane domestic problems of living with a twist.

Having ended its run on television, Universal thought a theatrical movie in 1966 for the Munsters would help the syndicated run and thus Munster, Go Home! was born. Returning most of the original cast other than Marilyn, now played by a fresh-faced Debbie Watson, Herman and family head to England when an uncle leaves him an English estate and title. Terry-Thomas plays a sniveling English relative named Freddy looking to usurp the estate from the family. It’s typical monster mayhem for the Munsters as they adjust to life in England, trying to fit in with their relatives.

There’s a lot to enjoy in the movie even if fans gripe about a few elements. Adding Debbie Watson as a slightly older Marilyn, including a sub-plot about her romance with an English man, works better than it should. There’s also an issue that the Munsters’ beloved home on Mockingbird Lane goes almost entirely absent during the movie. Almost a character in itself on the show, that loss rankled some fans.

Munster, Go Home! is for everyone that loved the original cast members and wanted to see them back together in a full-length movie. It’s not quite perfect but comes close, bringing warm nostalgic feelings back for the beloved show.

Video

Scream Factory digs up a serviceable film transfer for Munster, Go Home! Licensed from Universal, the 1966 theatrical film gets an older telecine scan with some sharpening baked into the 1080p video. Grain reproduction is erratic but generally passable. This isn’t a state-of-the-art image harvest. It reflects work done years ago when transfers were struck for formats like DVD. The 96-minute main feature is encoded in perfect AVC on a BD-50. The AVC encode averages well over 30 Mbps, easily handling the occasionally rough grain structure.

Color saturation isn’t bad in the Technicolor production. Herman Munster has a nice mint green tint to his skin reflecting the family’s monster make-up. The “humans” have ripe flesh-tones. Texture and detail are ordinary, if lacking in refined definition. Clarity is above average as a result of quality studio cinematography and excellent lighting. Some minor shadow detail is lost in the darkest scenes.

Audio

2.0 DTS-HD MA audio faithfully reproduces the soundtrack’s zany dialogue and comedic underscore. The comedic exchanges are intelligible and cleanly delivered, occasionally bolstered by funny sound effects. It’s not an elaborate mix but the recording holds up surprisingly well given its age.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

Somewhat strangely, Scream Factory doesn’t go out of the way to promote this release as a double feature. But Munster fans should know the 1981 television movie, The Munsters’ Revenge, gets included in full HD from a new 2K scan. In fact, the transfer on the newer television film blows the transfer for Munster, Go Home! away.

The BD is coded for region A and includes reversible artwork. In terms of special features, a new commentary with actor Butch Patrick and filmmaker Rob Zombie is the big attraction. As far as I know, no slipcover exists. Footage of a “lost” Easter special has surfaced in recent years that aired once during the show’s original run. That would have been a great bonus but nothing like that is included.

The Munsters’ Revenge (96:14 in 1.33:1 1080P; 2.0 Dolby Digital in mono) – Directed by Don Weis and returning cast members Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis and Yvonne De Carlo, the 1981 television movie sees the frightfully funny family return. Receiving a fresh 2K scan from the original elements, it’s a fine film transfer with excellent grain reproduction. In fact, it’s superior to the dated scan the older theatrical film gets on this disc. Wax dummy recreations of the Munsters start committing crimes, posing as the family. They end up being robot doubles in the wacky adventure.

Audio Commentary with actor Butch Patrick and musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie – Butch Patrick recalls his time playing Eddie Munster and shoots the breeze with super-fan Rob Zombie in a loose discussion. Moderated by Justin Beahm, it’s an enjoyable talk mostly for Patrick’s memories of working with the cast.

Cast Radio Interviews (17:59) – Vintage radio interviews made for promotional purposes with Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis and Debbie Watson.

Radio Spots (02:26) – Four vintage radio spots.

Theatrical Trailer (02:49 in HD)

“Munster, Go Home!” Still Gallery (11:53 in HD)

“Munster, Go Home!” Behind the Scenes Gallery (03:49 in HD)

“Munster, Go Home!” Poster Still Gallery (05:08 in HD)

“The Munsters’ Revenge” Still Gallery (06:27 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review by the label. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Munster, Go Home
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

The original cast from the hit television show returns in their first and only big-screen adventure, this time visiting England as they get into hilarious antics with the locals.

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