When fans saw the first images from Rob Zombie’s The Munsters reboot, there was an instant disappointment from many that it would be in color, not black-and-white. However, in a recent interview, Zombie said that this was Universal’s decision, not his.
It was first announced in March 2021 that rock star and horror filmmaker Zombie would be directing a reboot of the classic 1960s sitcom The Munsters. When the first trailer was released in July 2022, though, it was met with a largely negative reaction. Some criticized the use of color instead of black-and-white and what they saw as the film’s low production quality.
In an interview with Variety, Zombie has now revealed that it was Universal’s decision to make the film in color. Apparently, the company simply refused to produce the film if it was made in black-and-white like the original Munsters TV show was. “Sometimes you’re dealt a certain scenario. You can walk away from it, but that doesn’t create anything. You figure out how to deal with it,” Zombie said in the interview. “Sometimes you create something you would have never created.” He was able to retain one short segment, though: the film’s trailer has a short scene in black-and-white that recreates the show’s iconic opening theme. Universal wanted to colorize even this scene, however, fearing that people might be confused, but Zombie apparently refused. “I’m like, ‘People aren’t that fucking stupid,’” he recalled.
Zombie adds that the decision to make the film in color affected almost all other aspects of the production. “When I saw everyone in their makeup, I thought, ‘This looks like a live-action cartoon. They don’t even look like they’re actually real. They look like they’re made out of rubber. They look fake,’” he recalled. Because of this, he pushed to make the acting, lighting, costumes, and set design on The Munsters as exaggerated and ludicrous as the characters. “It’s out of touch with the style of how people make movies now. But that was what I felt that it had to be. I approached it in other ways at first. What if I light it realistically? It didn’t seem right. It needs to be hyperreal.”
While many fans initially reacted to the Munsters trailer with confusion and disdain for the film’s unusual quality, Zombie’s interview shows that all these choices were intentional, and he’s probably right that it’s the only way to make The Munsters in color. Even in the 1960s, the premise was ridiculous: a gay-coded himbo Frankenstein and his Transylvanian vampire housewife living happily in the suburban United States. 60 years later, The Munsters is like a bizarre fever dream, and this is how Zombie decided to film it.
The Munsters is available to stream on Netflix.
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