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Universal Studios Home Video presents
The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas (1996)

"Just look at this place, Eddie. Awash with Christmas gloom! Good work son! You must be the proudest little wolfie boy around."
- Herman Munster (Sam McMurray)

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: November 28, 2007

Stars: Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Sandy Baron, Bug Hall, Elaine Hendrix, Mark Mitchell
Other Stars: Mary Woronov, Ed Gale, Arturo Gil, Jeremy Callaghan, John Allen, Noel Ferrier, Bruce Spence, Kate Fischer, Patricia Howson
Director: Ian Eames

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:29m:25s
Release Date: November 06, 2007
UPC: 025195015585
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+AB+ C

DVD Review

The essence of the best comedy of The Munsters is the juxtaposition of their monsterdom with everyday life. It is the same type of humor that is exploited in a hit-or-miss fashion by the current comedy, Cavemen. The Munster's Scary Little Christmas utilizes the popular characters from the 1960s television series but features brand new actors. The plot line is a fairly straightforward "saving Christmas" adventure with plenty of Munster bits along the way.

The story begins with young werewolf Eddie (Bug Hall) down in the dumps, and the upcoming Christmas holidays exacerbating his homesickness for Transylvannia. His parents, monster Herman and vampire Lily, join the other members of the family in trying to find ways to cheer him up and make his holiday experience better. Herman tries to obtain the necessary funds to buy Eddie a special Marquis de Sade torture kit and Lily enters the family in the neighborhood Christmas decorating contests. Marilyn Munster (Elaine Hendrix), who apparently never met a short skirt she didn't like, sends out invitations to all their old family and friends for a big Christmas party. Vampire Grandpa Munster (Sandy Baron) is working in his lab but his experiments go wrong and he transports a pressed-for-time Santa (Mark Mitchell) and two elves (Ed Gale and Arturo Gil).

Thus, we have our big problem to be solved on top of Eddie's little problem. It turns out that Santa's two elves aren't happy about labor relations at the North Pole and do every thing they can to stymie the efforts of the Munsters to save the day.

The producers (John Landis, among them) assemble an eclectic group of talent to try to recreate the magic of the original television show. Sam McMurray is a regularly seen television character actor; Ann Magnuson was singer/songwriter for underground experimental rock band Bongwater in the 1980s; Sandy Baron has had more than 40 years as an actor, comedian and musician. He appeared as himself in Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose, the director's homage to borscht-belt comedy. In the 1990s, Baron appeared as Jack Klompus, the nemesis of Jerry Seinfeld's father on the hit TV series "Seinfeld". His take on "Eastern Europe's pre-eminent alchemist," is the least successful, but mostly because Al Lewis is so memorable in the role from the series. Mary Woronov as Mrs. Dimwitty was a member of Andy Warhol's entourage and starred in a number of his underground films and has appeared in such cult films as Silent Night, Bloody Night,  Sugar Cookies,  Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul.

The cast tackles their roles with great elán and it is pleasure to watch a show so upbeat and fun with these unfamiliar actors energetically playing these familiar, iconic TV roles. One might think that the performances of the original cast would be so indelible that any remake with different actors was doomed to failure. Sam McMurray sets a great tone in the first scene as he greets Christmas carolers who scream at his appearance with "Oh Goody! A James Brown encore!" and launches into an impromptu dance. The script is reasonably literate and, although certainly no new ground is being broken here, entertaining. The costuming and make-up are quite sufficient and the attention to detail in the production is a pleasure, and should boost the repeatability for kids. The automated guillotine display in the Munsters' Christmas decorations with the snowmen is quite something, with snowmen... well, you know.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The full-frame transfer is the same as the production's original broadcast format. The image quality looks a little better than a typical made-for-TV production, with clearness and plenty of detail. The colors are deeply saturated and sometimes bleed a bit, but the look captures a certain "horror noir" quality that enhances the look of the show.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is perfectly fine, with clear dialog and subtle cues in the nicely contrived music score.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: This is a pretty bare-bones release and appropriately so. It serves its purpose as something for kids to watch during the holiday season.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

If you and your kids like to mix your Halloween and Christmas (and who doesn't), then The Munster's Scary Little Christmas is for you and provides a double helping of each. The new cast is entusiastic and thewhole production is quite amusing and will provide plenty of spooky amusement for kids at Christmas time.

 


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