From Rob Zombie munsters With the movie slated to hit Netflix in September 2022, many fans of 1313 Mockingbird Lane’s bizarre family may want to rewatch many of their older episodes and the films that also inspired the series. Rob Zombie made his love neither for the munsters or classic horror cinema a secret, and there are several films to which the original series and its 2022 adaptation owe their existence.
From tried-and-true classics of the Universal Monsters franchise to some lesser-known horror comedies from the 60s and 70s, fans of The Munsters Wouldn’t hurt to revisit some creepy classics before settling in for the upcoming adaptation.
When it comes to classic horror movies, a great place to start is the Universal Monsters series. Given that’s what many fans think of when they hear the term, it’s practically an ideal introduction to the realms of gods and monsters. Especially if the viewer begins with a trip to Transylvania.
the original Dracula had basically everything a good gothic horror movie could want. With its grand, towering castles, seductive vampire brides, and an over-the-top performance by Bela Lugosi that lives on to this day, it’s one of the most effective springboards for diving headfirst into the horror genre.
The other obvious choice should be the original Frankenstein. Universal’s original adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel is what set the bar for all monster movies that followed. The image of the monster on the operating table rising from the dead as its creator screams “It’s alive! It’s alive!” is an image that will live forever in horror film history.
Given that Herman Munster is so obviously drawn from Boris Karloff’s appearance as a monster, it’s no surprise that this universal classic is also a huge starting point. While not as wordy or sweet as its sitcom counterpart, the original is the cornerstone on which the monster genre is built.
Frankenstein’s Bride (1935)
There are few sequels that can honestly say they rival the original, but Bride of Frankenstein is one of them. Picking up shortly after the events of the original film, this classic Universal Monsters sequel not only brings Karloff’s classic creature back to life, but also brings a sinister screaming bride to life on the big screen.
Essentially raising the stake of the original, Bride of Frankenstein brings in more classic horror imagery as well as elements from Mary Shelley’s book not seen in the first film. In the end, the end result is one of a harrowing tale of a monster and its mate. “We belong to death” is still one of the most chilling quotes from a classic horror feature film.
Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstien (1948)
Like the next munsters movie, it’s always an event whenever monsters mix and mingle with each other. While this isn’t the only instance where Universal’s cast of creepy creatures cross paths, Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein was one of their first straight-up horror comedies. Given that Rob Zombie’s version and the original series mix both horror and slimy comedy, the similarities are definitely noticeable with this production.
Abbot and Costello were the kings of comedy in the 1940s, and mixing them with a cast of familiar faces from horror cinema opened the door to a wealth of comedic possibilities. Not only that, but it featured horror icons Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., and Vincent Price reprising their roles as Dracula, The Wolf Man, and The Invisible Man, respectively.
White Zombie (1932)
If there’s one horror movie that earned Rob Zombie’s favor, it’s white zombie. Not only did Bela Lugosi’s horror film inspire both Zombie’s stage name and his band’s name, but it could also be considered a factor in the rock star’s entire aesthetic.
Although he openly loves guts, gore and all things horrible in his movies and rock shows, Zombie is a very theatrical performer, and that passion is clearly shared with Bela Lugosi in this role of Murder Legendre, a wizard voodoo with a legion. undead at his disposal. Madeline’s character certainly has “Living Dead Girl” vibes in her performance as well.
The Black Cat (1934)
In the days before the Hays Code was introduced, horror movies could get away with murder, no pun intended. Very freely inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The black Cat features Bela Lugosi battling a satanic Boris Karloff while trying to save two newlyweds before he can use them in his murderous blood rituals.
The movie’s lopsided plot descriptor is the exact type of horror spectacle Zombie would use in any of his shows or movies, albeit much heavier on the gore. It is undeniable that a character like Otis of House of 1000 Corpses would absolutely commit to that kind of extreme.
Tales of Terror (1962)
Terror Tales is one of those horror films that has become darkly comical due to the passage of time, but that’s to be expected with phenomenal performances from actors like Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. Based on three Edgar Allan Poe tales, the horror anthology is delightfully pulpy and corny in a Tales from the Crypt kind of path.
The hybrid adaptation of The black Cat and Cask of Amontillado is as scary as cornball, especially the scene of Vincent Price and Joyce Jameson playing catch with Peter Lorre’s severed head. It’s a great companion for those looking for a comedy with a darker edge.
The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
On the other hand, if viewers want the humor of something like The Munsters with horror that Rob Zombie could appreciate, The comedy of terrors is sure to satisfy parties on both sides. As with the previous film, Vincent Price teams up with fellow horror stalwarts such as Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and even Basil Rathbone in this tale of crazed antics and malicious murder.
Featuring many actors from the previous film, this is a brilliant black comedy that brings together some of horror’s most talented actors and presents them in a more humorous light.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
Movie buffs might recognize the exterior of the Simmons Mansion in this Don Knotts classic. According to Classic Movie Hub, this is the same house used as the exterior of Munster’s Manor on Mockingbird Lane when the TV series opened. In this campy haunted house flick, Knotts plays a nervous reporter who spends the night at a town’s infamous murder house.
The mansion’s backstory is undoubtedly unsettling for something starring the famous comedian, but the quotes, jokes, and physical gags look like something out of a cartoon. Truly one of Knotts’ best, it’s a must-watch horror comedy.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Of all the horror comedies that have been influenced by The Munsters and will no doubt be referenced in the upcoming film, Young Frankenstein it must be the best. This comedy from the legendary Mel Brooks both libels and pays homage to everything fans love about classic monster movies and all the beloved tropes and cliches that come with them.
As Victor Frankenstein’s descendant recreates his grandfather’s famous experiments, comedy gold is unleashed as a hilarious retelling of the monster’s man-made story arc gets a coat of ridiculous painting that only Mel Brooks could provide. Performances with classic comedic timing, it’s a monstrously big influence.
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