The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas

The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas (1996)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Bug Hall, Sandy Baron, Elaine Hendrix

I admit that I am a fan of the Munsters, that weird family of gothic horror icons who have trouble adapting to modern day life, always remaining the outcasts in their clean little neighborhood in everyday Americana. "The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas" was a 1996 TV movie that is now available on DVD from Universal Home Entertainment and I was happy to take a look when it arrived.

This show is entirely about the Christmas Spirit. The Munsters prepare themselves for the holidays but Eddie (Bug Hall) doesn't feel the spirit at all. To make him appreciate and enjoy Christmas, Herman (Sam McMurray) and Lily (Ann Magnuson) decide to involve little Eddie in some holiday-spirited activities. With the help of Grandpa (Sandy Baron) and cousin Marilyn (Elaine Hendrix) the compete in the house-decorating contest – Munster-style of course – and other munster- filled activities. Things go out of control however when one of Grandpa's experiments suddenly places Santa Claus (Mark Mitchell) right in their lap. What will happen to all the kids in the world if Grandpa doesn't manage to get Santa back to his workshop on time?

I admit it, "The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas" is not the greatest film. If you are like me, a Munsters movie without Fred Gwynne, Yvonne DeCarlo and Al Lewis is just not a real Munster movie. Sadly, of course, in 1996 when this film was made, a cast reunion of the original Munsters cast was impossible as Fred Gwynne had already passed away from cancer, and both Lewis and DeCarlo were becoming too old to play their respective parts. After all, the heydays of the show were 30 years earlier. So, with a fresh cast, it simply takes time to accept the film and get into the mood even though they all do their best to try and revive the original quirks and spirit of the show and their respective characters. For some reason it doesn't work all to well, and it may also be attributed in apart to the writing, which is simply not up to par with the original show or even the 1986 TV movie "The Munsters' Revenge." It feels a bit ham-fisted at times, too desperate to capture the original show's spirit while coming across as simply outdated.

But not all is bad. The film is still quite entertaining and has some funny moments sprinkled throughout.

Universal Home Entertainment is bringing "The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas" to DVD for the first time in its original fullframe aspect ratio. The transfer is clean and free of blemishes or defects and offers nicely vibrant colors. Black levels are solid finely restoring the film's gothic look where shadows prevail. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression is, as expected, flawless.

The Dolby Digital Stereo audio track is also without problems and reproduces the film's original audio presentation. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable while the music is balanced and clear at all times also.

Sadly this release contains no extras at all.

"The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas" is an enjoyable little TV production. It clearly doesn't measure up to the original TV series but still manages to keep viewers entertained with its quirky story and the lovable characters that we have grown to love over the decades. But while enjoyable it also reminds you just how perfect the original cast of the show was.