Why The Munsters Still Matter, Especially To Horror Fans, According To Jeff Daniel Phillips [Exclusive]

In a real blast from the past, the '60s sitcom about a family made up of vampires, werewolves, and a Frankenstein's Monster gets a modern update in director Rob Zombie's adaptation of "The Munsters." While not nearly as popular as its macabre counterpart in "The Addams Family," the charm emanating from the CBS series has developed a cult following of its own in the five-plus decades since it went off the air.

Seeing as how much "The Munsters" has affected its director — especially since his most famous song, "Dragula," is itself a reference to the infamous family vehicle — Zombie appears to be the perfect fit to helm the project. The film is even structured as a prequel about how Herman (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie) fell in love. I suppose the next generation must have their "Viva Rock Vegas."

In an interview with /Film's BJ Colangelo, Phillips spoke about how deeply the monster couple meant one another. "They both have something that the other one doesn't, and together, they're whole," says Phillips on the blossoming love connection between Herman and Lily.

Zombie ("The Devil's Rejects") has even labeled the film as "the greatest love story ever told," showing how much he wants to stress the love connection at the heart of this family, and all of the hijinks within. His reverence for the original series is unquestioned, as is the loyal fanbase that have kept this series from simply being an oddity of the '60s.

Phillips believes the Munsters represent the outsiders

When asked by Colangelo how "The Munsters" has endured among a new generation, Phillips said it's because of how strong this family is at its core. Even when the world around them has no interest in seeing them as anything but oddities, they stay true to who they are. "Even though we don't think we're the oddballs, they're the oddballs, and we can all identify with that, especially horror fans," says Phillips.

When it comes to how "The Munsters" appeals to horror fans, Phillips believes it stems from a different side of the same coin:

"As far as I'm concerned, the horror fans are so passionate, so they might have been the outsiders of their high school or whatever, but they come together. I meet so many of them at these conventions. And yeah, I think ... I don't know. They're a sweet family. They're not elitist. They're not above everybody. They're just another family in the neighborhood, unlike maybe the Addams Family, but I won't get into that. [laughs]"

The running gag throughout most of the original "Munsters" series involves the family, mostly Herman, interacting with the outside world, where they either terrify or confuse them. Where the Addams go out of their way to show off their macabre sensibilities, the Munsters try to live their lives, never quite understanding why everyone looks at them funny. 

For instance, there's an episode where Fred Gwynne's Herman gets in a car crash, and when he steps out, the police think his monstrous appearance is a result of the crash. No one has the imagination to think they're living next door to actual monsters who are largely kinder than their judgmental neighbors.

"The Munsters" is currently streaming on Netflix.