Review: The Munsters Scary Little Christmas
DVD: The Munsters Scary Little Christmas (1996)
A question often asked in my school playground back in the 1970’s, and one that is still asked by people today.
For the record, my answer was always The Munsters, though I enjoyed them both.
Herein lies my problem when watching The Munsters Scary Little Christmas. I watched the original series of The Munsters at a very impressionable age, and Fred Gwynne will always be Herman Munster to me, Yvonne De Carlo will always be Lily, and Al Lewis will always be Grandpa…who strangely always reminded me of my own Grandad too…but without the magical spells and turning into a bat (unless that was something he never told me about!).
The Munsters Scary Little Christmas sees a 3rd change of the cast since the original actors made their final appearance in The Munsters Revenge (1981), and it is very strange seeing the characters that I know and love being played by people who seem entirely out of place in their roles.
Sam McMurray does a passable job of portraying the bumbling Herman Munster, and Ann Magnuson keeps some of Lily’s sass, but Sandy Baron as Grandpa is hammier than a truck full of pigs. He overacts every line he’s given, and the awful make-up he’s plastered in doesn’t help either.
Marilyn has been ‘sexed-up’ a bit from the way her original character was portrayed, and Eddie Munster is, well, still an annoying little brat.
Having said all of that, you may well be thinking that this is one movie to avoid…and you’d be wrong.
The story, despite being a relatively generic ‘hijinks at Christmas where everything goes wrong’ kind of affair that has been done in so many family Christmas movies over the years, still raises a lot of laughs and is great family fun. It was only my history with the characters that prevented me from getting as much out of it than I could have.
So, if you grew up watching (and loving) the original series, you may well find yourself groaning in disgust more than laughing at the onscreen antics. However, if you’ve never seen the Munsters and/or have kids you want to entertain with another Christmas themed movie, then The Munsters Scary Little Christmas may well be your gateway into enjoying the lives of a family that has given me a hell of a lot of pleasure over the years.
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