How The New Munster Movie Designs Compare To The Originals

The Munster family of 1313 Mockingbird Lane are easily one of the most widely recognized families in sitcom history, with Universal Monsters inspired costuming and aesthetics that turned them into pop culture phenomenons. Herman Munster famously resembles Frankenstein's monster, his wife Lily looks like a classic vampire while donning the trademark singular white streak of "The Bride of Frankenstein," and Grandpa Dracula looks as if a Ben Cooper Count Dracula Halloween costume aged into an adorable old man.

Their looks are as memorable as the wholesome comedy the show became famous for, which meant Rob Zombie had his work cut out for him with his cinematic adaptation of "The Munsters." Fortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone else on the planet with as big of a love for "The Munsters" TV series as Rob Zombie, who traded in his traditional aesthetic of "unwashed serial killer with dirt under his fingernails" and "hot woman has hair matted into dreads that look like the Grinch's fingers" for something a bit more classic.

In his latest Instagram post, Zombie posted a series of character photos of Jeff Daniel Phillips, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Daniel Roebuck who play Herman Munster, Lily Munster, and Grandpa Dracula, respectively. Zombie has been providing first hand looks behind the scenes all throughout the film's production, but between these photos and the recently unveiled teaser trailer, it's high time that we obsessively analyze Rob Zombie's "Munster" family designs to the original source material. Push up your nerd glasses, monster kids, it's about to get embarrassingly nerdy.

Herman Munster

Herman Munster is synonymous with original actor Fred Gwynne, whose large stature and expressive features turned Herman Munster into an essential TV dad. Fortunately, Jeff Daniel Phillips has a proven history of expressive acting. After all, he's the MCU's version of "Angar the Screamer." On a purely aesthetic level, Jeff Daniel Phillips' Herman Munster is right on the money. He's got the bolt necks, the forehead staples, the square top head, the weirdly dark nostrils, the sunken in eyes, and the expertly applied black lips. He similarly dons an oversized jacket, giving him an even larger frame that's ripe for physical comedy like walking through doors and leaving behind a Frankenstein's monster sized silhouette. Gwynne famously had a horrible time in his costume because it made him constantly overheat and sweat off his head prosthesis, but Phillips' looks pretty dang comfortable.

An interesting change, however, is that in many photos, Phillips' Herman Munster wears a fuzzy duster over his coat, resembling the costume from 1939's "Son of Frankenstein." The fuzzy duster was also shown on "The Munsters" original series run, but worn by Johann (also Fred Gwynee) the first creation of Dr. Frankenstein and Herman's prototype/technical older brother. They refer to him as Herman's "cousin," most likely because Dr. Frankenstein disowned his creation for being too hard to handle. Hey, no one ever said Dr. Frankenstein was a good dad.

Lily Munster

The fashion maven that she is, Lily Munster's flowy gowns consistently resembled something out of 1958's "Horror of Dracula" or 1960's "Brides of Dracula." The few instances of color imagery we've seen of Lily Munster show that her dresses have always been a lavender shade, but the neckline and sleeves have changed a handful of times over the course of the character's existence. Sheri Moon Zombie's dress doesn't look like the iconic original, but that's more than okay, as trying to emulate the look too closely risks appearing like cosplay. It's going to sound sacrilegious to say, but Zombie's wig is a great improvement on the stiff original.

Yvonne De Carlo greatly disliked the thickness of her Lily makeup, which is likely why Sheri Moon Zombie's look isn't quite so jarring. Back in the day, finding quality, non-costume grade goth makeup was a difficult task, but thankfully the world of makeup has evolved to the point where deep shaded lipstick is as easy to find as a bombshell red. Even with the bright, Argento lighting of Zombie's film, it's clear that Sheri Moon Zombie is also wearing a rich, vampy lip similar to De Carlo's memorable pout.

Looking at these two photos side by side, it's clear that Sheri Moon Zombie is wearing Lily Munster's famous traveling cloak. Lily Munster was far too glamorous to hide her beauty behind a coat, and instead wore a beautiful hooded cloak with dramatic ruching. This is what Sheri Moon Zombie can be seen wearing in this photo as well as many of the others Zombie has shared from the set, and I just need to know where I can get one of my own.

Grandpa Dracula

Grandpa Dracula was played by the legendary Al Lewis, who remains one of the funniest character actors to ever grace the small screen, and somehow made the most "costume-y" of all of The Munsters family costumes work. Grandpa Munster's makeup was consistently visibly cheap and his Dracula adornments always looked like something that could be purchased at a costume shop, which admittedly only added to its charm. Over the years, Grandpa Munster's eyebrows ranged from expertly coiffed to resembling the nightmare-inducing look of an elderly woman who insists on using black mascara to "shape" them. It's part of what made the character so lovable, because he reminded the world of their own messy ol' grandpas.

Thankfully, Rob Zombie is putting some respect on Grandpa Dracula's name, because Daniel Roebuck's look is FLAWLESS. The fabric used on his jacket and gloves are of noticeably higher quality, his mutton chops have been expertly styled, his contouring is on point, and his eyebrows are, as the kids say, "on fleek." The most notable change is that Roebuck is rocking a mustache, a possible homage to Vlad the Impaler who inspired the Dracula character, or as a means of giving the impression of an extended upper lip for Roebuck to match Al Lewis' memorable wide grin. Sincerely and with no disrespect to the original design, this is a massive improvement worthy of praise.