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Cocaine Bear, The Flesh Eaters, Skinwalkers, Colossus: The Forbin Project, The Munsters’ Revenge, and Fulci for Fake
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 222
We’ve got our usual lineup of four movies and a short film this week— This time, it’s a wild assortment of weirdness!
Last week, we looked at Winnie the Pooh, but this week, it’s “Cocaine Bear” another wild romp in the woods! We’ll then go for a swim in the ocean with “The Flesh Eaters,” and then hunt for the promised child with the “Skinwalkers.” Then we’ll watch a weird cold-war AI drama, “Colossus: The Forbin Project” and learn that our robot overlords only want the best for us.
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For our bonus reviews over at horrorbulletin.com, we have:
* “Fulci for Fake” (2019) a documentary about Lucio Fulci
* And “The Munsters’ Revenge” (1981) the final outing for the original cast.
We’ve got two announcements this week pertaining to our books:
1. NEW! “The Horror Guys Guide to the Films of Peter Cushing” is available now at all the usual places, including our web store: https://brianschell.com/b/cushing. This is one of our biggest books yet, looking at all fifty of Cushing’s horror films and eight of his other influential movies.
2. FREE! ”The Horror Guys Guide To The Halloween Films” is available now, exclusively at our web store, https://brianschell.com/b/halloween. The eBook version is completely free. Enjoy! Note that it’s also available as a paperback, but that one’s obviously not free. Also note, that there are a couple of other free books on the site as well!
Check out all our books!
The Horror Guys Guide to:
Here. We. Go!
Cocaine Bear (2023)
* Directed by Elizabeth Banks
* Written by Jimmy Warden
* Stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a little bit of a thin story stretched out into movie length, but it’s so funny and well-made that it’s forgivable. And the humor is balanced with gruesome animal attacks so it has the horror/thriller element.
It’s 1985. A man on an airplane wildly throws packages overboard as credits roll. He then jumps out of the plane, hitting his head and knocking himself out before pulling the chute.
We cut to a couple, Kristoff and Elsa, hiking in the woods. They pass some of the packages from the airplane as well as huge bear prints in the mud. They soon see the bear and take pictures of it acting strangely. It’s beating its head against a tree. The bad-CGI bear soon chases them through the woods and kills Elsa.
We see a news report about a huge drug drop from an airplane, but the man from the plane died on impact. We cut to the cops, who say there’s a lot more cocaine out in the woods somewhere. Detective Bob wants Officer Reba to babysit his dog.
Elsewhere, Daveed meets up with Syd, the head of the drug cartel. They also know that there are a lot more drugs out in those hills. Syd orders Daveed and Eddie to go out there and find the missing drugs. Eddie is so broken up over his girlfriend’s death from cancer that he didn’t notice that the tattoo artist put “John” on his chest instead of “Joan.”
Sari gets a call from the school. Her daughter Dee Dee and her friend Henry have ditched school to go hiking. The two kids immediately find a brick of cocaine. They each dare each other to eat a big spoonful of it, which they try (with no real effect, which is strange). We see the bad-CGI bear behind them; he sneezes cocaine all over them.
Sari comes to the ranger station to look for Dee Dee. Ranger Liz and her boyfriend Peter accompany her on the search. Eddie and Daveed arrive just as they leave. Daveed beats up three criminally-minded teenagers in the restroom before noticing he has a knife stuck in his back. The teens have a brick of cocaine, so Daveed insists one of them lead him to the rest.
Detective Bob calls Reba so he can talk to his dog. Sari, Liz, and Peter find Henry hiding way up in a tree. He says the monster took Dee Dee, and then they all hear the bear in the woods. Peter crawls through some cocaine and then climbs a tree, Liz runs away, and Sari tries to hide.
The bear smells the cocaine on Peter and tears him up while Henry climbs down to Sari.
Liz, along with the two evil teens, opens the door for the bear. Then there’s only one teen— nope— all out of teens.
Two paramedics arrive at the ranger station and find bodies. They soon find Liz and the Bear. The bear chases them, even in the ambulance. [At this point, I say, “I don’t think bears can run that fast,” and Kevin says, “They can if they’re on cocaine.” Clearly, he’s right.] All three of the people in the ambulance soon die.
Meanwhile, Eddie, Daveed, and the last hooligan walk through the woods and bond. Bob is also wandering around in the woods, and he soon finds a big bag of cocaine. He also finds Daveed and the others, and they have a standoff.
Meanwhile, Dee Dee wakes up in the bear’s lair. Sari runs into Kristoff in the woods, who rants about a “devil bear.”
Daveed, Bob, and the others soon encounter the bear. It passes out on top of Eddie. They watch it eat a great big brick of cocaine. They start to reach an understanding when Syd shoots Bob. Officer Reba shows up to save the day, but it turns out that she’s really working for Syd.
Meanwhile, the bear drags an entire duffel bag full of coke to his lair. Sari, Kristoffer, and Henry arrive at the lair and go inside. They find Dee Dee and a couple of small bear cubs covered in cocaine. Syd, Daveed, and Eddie get there soon after.
The cubs want Syd’s cocaine, but nobody wants to shoot baby bears. Sari gets the rifle, and Syd disowns Eddie, who sticks up for her. Sari and the kids jump off the waterfall, as do Eddie and Daveed. Syd shoots the big cocaine bear before going back for a bag of coke.
The big bear gets a cocaine recharge and climbs up after Syd, tearing him to pieces with the help of the cubs. All three bears roar in victory.
In the morning, Sari, Henry, and Dee Dee ride home on bicycles. Reba gives Eddie Bob’s little dog. Daveed asks if the dog is on cocaine; it isn’t.
This was Ray Liotta’s final film. He did have a full part to play, it wasn’t just a little cameo.
How do you shoot off just a guy’s pinkie and middle finger with only one shot? This is the burning question I’m left with after watching this.
I’ve already mentioned that the CGI bear isn’t going to fool anyone. Other than that, it’s really funny—much better than I would have expected.
The Flesh Eaters (1964)
* Directed by Jack Curtis
* Written by Arnold Drake
* Stars Martin Kosleck, Byron Sanders, Barbara Wilkin
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s got a surprising amount of gore considering the age of the movie and budget. There’s a decent story, some horror tension, decent acting and direction. Don’t overthink the science though.
Ann and her boyfriend Fred are out on a boat, and he’s really annoying. They both jump in for a swim. There’s a strange noise, and they both sink to the bottom and bubbles come up as credits roll.
Jan Letterman wants to hire Grant Murdoch’s plane to take her and Laura to Provincetown. There’s bad weather coming in, but she offers triple his regular rate. The engine starts to cut out even before the storm.
They land on a deserted beach. They must tie down the airplane before the storm hits. Laura’s a drunken movie star, and Jan is her assistant or secretary. As they walk along the beach, they run into Professor Peter Bartell in his wetsuit.
Laura soon stumbles across a skeleton in the sand. It’s what’s left of Ann. Peter blames sharks. They go to Peter’s tent and see his creepy bird. “I assure you we are for a good pounding,” Peter says as the storm rolls in.
Morning comes, but the wind is too high to take off. Jan says that Laura has some mental issues that keep her from acting. Grant is suspicious of Peter, who’s been deceptive about the sharks.
Peter is clearly jealous of Grant; he thinks that Laura’s interested in Grant, but she’s only interested in getting more booze. She ends up biting him and running away. She goes back to the plane for her bottles but passes out on the beach.
Peter finds a glowing fish skeleton. Then he finds Laura passed out and unties the airplane.
Grant finds dead fish too, and Peter theorizes that it might be a parasite of some kind. Grant decides it’s time to get off this island. Then they find Laura next to the plane anchor—but no plane. Naturally, they blame her.
Grant spots something glowing in the water—something alive. There are millions of the things in the water. Laura finds her booze-filled suitcase out on the rocks and goes after it. Grant rescues her, but he accidentally steps in the bubbling water.
He cuts off his pants leg and it’s a boiling bloody mess under there. Peter cuts the things off, and they tie up his leg. He also collects a few specimens in a metal cigarette case, but it quickly burns a hole through the metal.
Peter says his supply boat is coming tomorrow, and they’ll be able to leave that way. In the meantime, some guy floats up on a raft, and the small glowing silver dust-things that eat flesh crawl up onto his raft and burn his feet. He comes onto shore, and Peter cuts his sandals off. He’s Omar, a really stupid beatnik-hippie type.
We cut to Matt and Jim, two sailors that run supplies to Peter. Matt gets into a boat and heads to the island.
Back on the island, Grant asks Peter about his huge solar power unit. Why does he need so much power? He demonstrates on some sample creatures. He electrocutes a bunch of them in a beaker. He wants to run a long wire to the beach and electrocute the ocean (I don’t think it works like that).
About 55 minutes later, the “Flesh Eaters” come back to life, but Peter keeps that to himself. Matt comes up on his boat, but the flesh-eaters eat—his flesh. After that, Peter puts one of the things in Omar’s drink. The things eat their way out, which is surprisingly gory for a film this old.
Laura goes back to the tent and finds that the flesh eaters that Peter experimented on are not dead. Not only that, but it looks like they are growing. She knows Peter knows more than he’s telling and goes to Peter to “join his side.” He leads her off into the hills and stabs her to death before burying the body. Except we see her hand reach up out of the dirt.
Grant accuses Peter of “losing” their plane, so Peter pulls a gun. He reveals that the Nazis developed a strange virus that would consume only living matter. It was developed as a biological weapon that would kill the entire fish supply of a continent. He plans to sell them to the highest bidder as a weapon of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, back in the tent, the growing flesh-eaters eat Peter’s bird.
Peter has Grant throw the electrodes into the water to test his electrocution project. Jan goes back to the tent and finds the bird has been eaten. She realizes that electrifying the flesh eaters only makes them grow and become more dangerous. She runs back to Grant and Peter, but they’ve already done it.
The tent thing’s now bigger than a car. Peter points out that the sea is now cooking up a monster a hundred times bigger than this one. Laura pops out of nowhere and attacks Peter. He shoots her and pushes her into the monster. She hits it in the eye with a knife and it dissolves. No, it wasn’t the knife, it was her blood.
Grant thinks they should rig up some kind of huge hypodermic needle containing their blood. Peter uses a syringe to draw blood from each of them. Grant goes out after the new monster in a wetsuit with the by needle.
For some reason, Peter decides to pull a gun on Grant before he battles the monster. Peter ends up going for a very brief swim and then shooting himself.
Then the big monster surfaces. It’s bigger than Godzilla. Grant wades out to it in his rubber wetsuit and jabs it in the eye with his blood-filled hypodermic. The creature then explodes.
He then comes back up onto the beach with Jan. They’re still trapped on the island, surrounded by the original small flesh eaters, and their plan to electrocute them only makes things worse. We don’t know what’s next…
The special effect for the sparkly little monsters is pretty neat considering the time period. Martin Koslek plays the mad scientist well, and Byron Sanders does a pretty good leading man. The big monster at the end is pretty awful, but comparable to other films of the period.
It’s got a super low budget, but it’s really ambitious and does a lot with a little. There’s a lot of blood in this one between the monsters and the blood-drawing scene. The big monster at the end was a little hokey, but overall, it was pretty good.
Short film: The Rotting of Casey Culpepper (2023)
* Directed by Daniel Slottje
* Written by Daniel Slottje
* Stars Daniel Slottje, Kelsey Strauch, Lilliana Ketchman
* Run Time: 13:22
* Watch it:
Lonnie and his daughter Casey play cards but then hear something loud in the attic. “It’s here. It’s back,” she points out. “I’m sorry for putting you through this.” Casey vomits—she has leukemia.
Lonnie gets locked out of the house. Or does he? If that’s him out in the car, who’s rattling the doorknob?
It’s an obvious metaphor for a girl battling cancer. Just when you think you’ve beat it, it comes back. Battling real monsters is way more fun than that kind of battle. The lighting and visual effects are really nice. The creature makeup and music are also very well done.
* Directed by James Isaac
* Written by James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan, James Roday Rodriguez
* Stars Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 50 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This one focuses on the action while keeping the horror elements simmering in the background. It’s well-acted, moves well, and the effects are good. The story is a little predictable, but it’s still entertaining.
“A war has been raging between those who want the curse to end and those who embrace the powers of the beast. According to legend, a thirteen-year-old boy will bring an end to all Skinwalkers.”
A man runs through the forest, encountering dead bodies along the way. He sees how close the pursuer is and tries to burn his map. He’s soon captured and awakens, hanging upside-down, surrounded by four people. They have his map, and the woman says that they will track down the other camps and kill the boy. “It’s already begun,” says the hanging man before they kill him. “We find this boy, or it’s the end of us,” she demands.
Somewhere else, a group smiles that there are only four more days. They go into the basement and three of them get put into very elaborate restraints. The power goes out, so the only free man goes back up to check it out. He dies, and the other hunters come downstairs to interrogate the three who are already restrained. “Where is the child?” Varek is the leader of the hunters, and Sonja is worried that they’ll soon be plain humans again.
Elsewhere Will and Rachel take care of young Tim, who’s having a seizure. Tim has premonitions, and his mother shows him the red moon outside. Will says that the moon is exerting more and more power, and Tim will probably get worse before it’s over. Rachel tells Jonas that she and Tim need to leave the group soon. Jonas’s dead brother is Tim’s father.
Rachel drives into town, and everyone asks if Tim’s doing better. She thinks it’s crazy that everyone in the town knows their business. Meanwhile, Varek and his gang load up and head to town as well along with their pet hawk.
Tim and Nana are shopping in town, and the hawk spots them first. Nana spots Varek and looks stunned. The old lady pulls out a big pistol and Varek shoots her. The mailman pulls out a shotgun. The shopkeeper pulls out a shotgun. Everyone in town is armed, but they’re all really lousy shots. Most of the good-guy characters jump in a truck and drive off, leaving badass granny Nana behind. She’s extremely bullet resistant.
Jonah relates the werewolf stuff to Rachel about Tim. It’s going to happen in three days. “We’re cursed. We kept you in the dark all these years for his own safety.” He tells Tim that they’re all werewolves.
That night, the truck continues on with all the skinwalkers in restraints in the back. Will, an old Native American explains, “My people have been taking care of these people for a long time.” Rachel watches them all turn, so she believes the whole story now. In the morning, Will releases all of them once they revert to human form.
Tim passes out, so the group takes him to the hospital. The nurse says Tim has a very unusual blood type. Tim says, “We need to leave.” Yes, the bad-wolves are already in the building. Sonja goes into the room with Tim and Rachel and attacks them. There’s another gun battle as fewer of the good wolves make it back to the truck. Varek calls Jonas, “Brother,” a surprise we saw coming a mile away. Rachel sees that Varek is her former husband—and Tim’s father. Varek didn’t realize Tim was his son, but that doesn’t stop him from taking Katherine, Jonas’s daughter, as a hostage.
A bit later, Jonas tells Rachel that he thought Caleb, or Varek as he’s known today, was dead. The good guys go into a bunch of caves to hide. The good wolves go back into the restraints in the truck for safety as one more red moon passes over.
The next morning, Jonas figures out that son-in-law Adam has gone after Katherine, alone. He finds her and brings her back. Why would they let her go so easily? She says Varek stood up for her and let her live, but she doesn’t remember all of it.
Night falls, and Katherine starts acting strangely as the others get into restraints. She kills Will, and she’s going to kill Adam and Jonas. She’s turned bad. Adam’s got a gun, but he won’t shoot her; she has no trouble shooting him. Jonas tries to talk her into fighting the hunger. Jonas is finally able to reach his gun and shoots her.
The truck runs off the road as the three remaining biker wolves approach. “We only have to make it till midnight,” Jonas explains to Rachel and Tim as they walk to a nearby farm. Jonas locks them inside a steel barn and goes outside to fight.
Jonas and Varek fight in werewolf form while Sonja goes after Rachel and Tim. Sonja loses pretty quickly, but then Varek and Rachel have a staring contest—they used to be married. He slashes her before Jonas returns to continue the battle. Jonas can only win by biting Varek, which immediately turns him evil.
Rachel shoots Jonas several times. Varek gets up, not dead at all. The clock strikes midnight, and the moon gets bright red. Varek bites Timmy, and the bite makes Varek sick. The moon turns white, and now Rachel, Tim, and Varek/Caleb are a family again. Tim’s blood is the cure for the werewolf curse.
The idea of a civil war among werewolves is cool. The acting is good, and the action scenes and special effects are good. The story doesn’t really hold many surprises, though. If Tim’s blood is the cure for werewolfism, then why wait for that one particular night when he was born with that blood?
We never really see anyone transform into a werewolf, but the makeup effects are pretty good for the wolves we see. Still, they could have put in a transformation scene, since that’s usually the main thing in a werewolf film.
It’s well made, never gets boring, and looks good, but the story is completely predictable.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
* Directed by Joseph Sargent
* Written by James Bridges, D. F. Jones
* Stars Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 40 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
The technology is the big and clunky stuff of 50-plus years ago. But this is a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence that is very relevant today as we move closer to machines having a mind of their own. It’s very well made, and it was an interesting watch.
We watch a montage of 1970s computer technology—tapes, reels, and counters, as clickety-clickety teletype fonts show us the credits.
We open on a huge room full of blinking lights—it looks to be about a half mile long, a giant complex. Dr. Forbin closes insane security doors before retracting the bridge and activating the radioactive safeguards. Outside the giant sub-mountain complex, scientists and the military shake hands for the press photographers. Forbin shakes the President’s hand for the cameras.
The President says this is the greatest security measure ever taken—now all they have to do is tell the people about it. The next day, he announces the Colossus project to the world. Colossus is a computer that can emotionlessly analyze millions of factors at any time and respond defensively if the evil Soviets, or anyone else, attacks. Charles Forbin shares the details. Colossus fills the inside of a mountain in Colorado and is connected to all the nukes and weapons and sensors that we have. They don’t make its location a secret since Colossus can defend itself and is “impenetrable. In short, there’s no way in; no human being can touch it.” He insists that Colossus is not capable of independent thought; it is just a smart machine.
During the President’s party, Colossus interrupts that “There is another system.” The party is over! The Soviet Ambassador calls—it turns out they have a similar system on their side—it’s called Guardian. Forbin says that Colossus shouldn’t know about another system, but since it does, it’s working better than intended. Colossus then orders them to connect it to the Soviet computer.
CIA Director Grauber makes excuses about not knowing about Guardian. He doesn’t know where the other system is located, but Colossus does. Forbin thinks it would be safe, and maybe even a good idea, to allow Colossus to communicate with Guardian. Guardian speaks Russian, so the two computers immediately develop a machine language only they can understand.
The Soviets call, and they don’t like that they don’t know what the machines are talking about; the President agrees and decides that both machines must be turned off before they share something secret with the other side. Dr. Kuprin, the Russian scientist in charge of Guardian, calls Forbin.
They switch off the communications simultaneously, and both computers want their communications restored. “If link not restored, action will be taken,” it threatens. “Missile launched at USSR,” is its next message. That’s OK because Guardian has launched its own missile at Texas. They restore the link between the two computers. Colossus intercepts the missile heading to Texas, but the other one hits the target in the USSR. The Soviets cover it up by saying it was a meteor strike.
Forbin goes to meet with Dr. Kuprin in Rome, in person so the computers can’t listen in. It appears that Colossus has assimilated Guardian to make itself even more powerful. The Americans pick up Forbin when Colossus demands it, but it orders the Russians to kill Kuprin because he’s no longer needed. When Forbin returns to the base, Colossus essentially makes him a prisoner.
Forbin knows he’s being always watched, so he arranges with Dr. Cleo Markham to be his mistress. He figures he can arrange some private sexy time with her to pass messages. They install cameras everywhere so that Colossus can see. Colossus allows him to have a woman four nights each week. He starts to build a voice for the computer.
Cleo comes over as scheduled, and they pretend to be lovers. They dance and talk, and Colossus carefully watches for any signs of deception. Colossus requires that they get undressed in the living room so it can make sure they aren’t passing notes. When alone, she reports that they are going to try to feed in too much data and overload the system in a few days; she doesn’t think that’ll work, but it’s all they’ve got.
A general comes up with a plan to replace the warheads in the nuclear missiles with duds, but that would take three years. On their next “date,” Cleo keeps Forbin up to date—oh, and as long as they’re naked in bed, maybe they could pretend a little… harder.
Now Colossus can speak. It wants all the missiles to be realigned and pointed at countries not yet under its control. Manual realignment of the missiles means they can replace circuitry with some that Colossus can’t control and it won’t take three years now. They have a way out!
Drs. Johnson and Fisher attempt to overload Colossus. It doesn’t work and Colossus has them shot. It wants a new facility built on the isle of Crete, so all those people living there will have to move. On Friday, Colossus plans to get on all the TVs and radios on Earth and declare his intentions. It says that it knows about the warhead sabotage, so it detonates a few on the ground to teach them all a lesson. Colossus states that he is in charge of… everything. He will build and learn more and humanity will worship him as he discovers the secrets of the Universe. “We can coexist, but only on my terms.”
The technology and the visuals here are quaint at best, but the idea behind the film is probably even more valid today than it was 53 years ago. The acting is fine, but not great, the production values are pretty good considering the age of the film. The film has been cited as one of the inspirations for James Cameron’s “Terminator” series, as well as many other stories such as “Wargames.”
Fulci for Fake (2019)
* Directed by Simone Scafidi
* Written by Simone Scafidi
* Stars Nicola Nocella, Camilla Fulci, Antonella Fulci
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is an interesting documentary about Fulci the person more than Fulci’s movies. There are many interviews with people who knew him, including his two daughters. They tried to make it unique by the narrator of the documentary being an actor hired to play Fulci who is learning about who he was so he can properly portray the man. It would have been fine without that, but it’s still something that Fulci fans will probably find interesting.
We hear from “Nicola Nocella” who is going to play Lucio Fulci in a film about Fulci. We watch the makeup man put on his makeup to make the actor look like Fulci. He tells us the director asked him to interview people who knew Fulci to find out what he was really like. Then he peels off the makeup and we see he doesn’t really look much like Lucio Fulci at all.
Camilla, his youngest daughter, is up first. She talks about her mother and herself as a baby. We are told that there are a handful of “essential” films by the great director that really show everything he was about. He made a huge number of films, but nobody cares about any of them other than the horror films: those are “True Fulci.”
Cameramen, directors, and producers all talk of their experiences with Lucio. Camilla and one of the directors talk about Lucio’s wife’s “death by gas.” The film doesn’t come right out and call it suicide, but that’s the impression it gives (his wife Marina had killed herself with a gas oven after learning she had inoperable cancer). They all speak of how he was a messy person in his private life but exceptionally organized and prepared in his work.
A cameraman talks about Fulci’s women and actresses. He was too busy to stay with any one of them for very long, but he liked having them around in his films. Camilla talks about the few older women he was involved with but she’s careful to leave out their names. He once called his costume designer and asked her to buy him more shirts because his were all dirty.
One special-effects man said he never knew just how much blood to bring with him; “Fulci always wanted a lot of blood.” Another man says people say his films had great potential, if only they had higher budgets or better effects, but these films look exactly the way Fulci intended them to look.
Fulci loved horses, and when Camilla had her horse-riding accident, it was a life-changer for the family. She tells the story of how she broke a fence and her back after falling from her horse. It’s mentioned she recovered enough from that to walk again, but a debilitating disease on top of it has left her in a wheelchair today.
Then we move on to Fulci’s first biographer, who wrote Fulci’s biography while Lucio was still alive. “Door to Silence” was going to be Fulci’s big comeback after several heart attacks, but when the distribution company went broke, it was barely even released. “The Wax Mask” was to be his next big project, but it never really happened due to his early death.
Hearing the old people talk about Fulci was fine; many of them had interesting stories. What I didn’t like were the scenes with Nocella dressed as Fulci standing around and doing things; there’s not that much of a resemblance, and it’s not that interesting.
It really focuses more on him personally than dwelling too much on his individual films, but there are occasional stories that are linked to specific movies.
If you’re a Fulci fan, you should probably see this; if you’re interested in learning more about his specific films… maybe not.
The Munsters’ Revenge (1981)
* Directed by Don Weis
* Written by Norm Liebmann, Ed Haas, Allan Burns
* Stars Fred Gwynne, Yvonne DeCarlo, Al Lewis
* Run Time: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was in a made for tv format without a laugh track. It should have had one to let us know when things were funny. There were a few chuckles, but it’s silly and dated. It’s fun seeing the three main characters together for the last time, but it wasn’t great.
The family goes to a chamber of horrors at the carnival. Herman gets creeped out at some of the displays. They come upon a display featuring themselves—all but Marilyn, who would scare away all the customers. They all take their pictures with their doppelgängers.
As soon as they leave, the people who run the wax museum come out and activate the exhibits, which are actually all robots. Elsewhere, the “Monster Robots,” including two who look like Herman and Grandpa, do crimes all over town.
Lily says that Aunt Elvira is coming for a vacation. Cousin Igor writes to say he can’t make it. Cousin Phantom of the Opera is already there, and he’s quite the singer. Marilyn’s new boyfriend is Warren, whose father owns a theater. Lily invites him to Halloween, which is when they have their family reunion. Suddenly, the police storm in and arrest Grandpa and Herman.
Police Chief Boyle talks to his son Glen about the suspects, but Marilyn comes in and gives them an alibi. The witnesses, on the other hand, all swear that they are the guilty party. As Marilyn gives her statement, a bee flies into Herman’s coat, sending him on a rampage, destroying the police station.
Boyle orders them locked up. Glen Boyle, the detective, comes to the Munster house to “interview” Marilyn again. It doesn’t take long before Herman and Grandpa break out and steal Chief Boyle’s car.
Herman mentions that the figure at the wax museum is the only thing in town as handsome as he is, and Grandpa connects the dots. They sneak into the wax museum and watch the robots come to life and walk out. Grandpa and Herman disable their opposites and take their place. Downstairs, Dr. Diablo tells his assistants to improve the robots’ mobilities for their future crime operations.
Diablo tells Ralph to recharge the robots with 2000 volts and then load all the monsters into a truck. The Munster men get out of the truck and flag down some cops who’d rather arrest them than pursue the robots.
They go home and tell their story to Glen, who takes his father and a bunch of cops to raid the wax museum. Dr. Diablo stalls the cops, but they eventually find the secret office downstairs, but there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, so they leave.
Herman and Grandpa dress up like waitresses and go to work at the pizza shop, which they know is somehow involved with all this. They overhear the proprietor on the phone with Dr. Diablo.
Diablo claims that he’s a direct descendant of the Egyptian pharaohs. His ultimate plan is to rob the museum and steal the royal necklace from the mummy’s neck. Grandpa wants to try his life-giving rejuvenation potion on the mummy, and then the mummy can stop Diablo.
On the way out, they’re captured by Glen. Grandpa turns into a bat, and Glen crashes the car. Grandpa and Herman make a trip to Transylvania for Grandpa’s life-giving elixir. Marilyn talks to Glen, who has been fired by his own father.
Grandpa goes home to his Transylvanian castle. Igor shoots flaming arrows at them, but he’s not a very good shot. They want the potion, but all Igor cares about are the villagers coming to kill him. Igor falls over dead, and they test the potion on him. Not only does it work, but it also makes him young.
Back at home, Marilyn sneaks into the museum and disguises herself as a cavewoman to join the others. She’s soon exposed, and Glen is captured too. The bad guys lock them up in an air-tight transparent glass egg.
It’s Halloween, and the guests are showing up at the Munster House. Herman and the Phantom arrive at the museum to rescue Marilyn. Herman can’t break in but the Phantom sings a high note to shatter the glass.
It’s also a big costume party at the museum, and all the evil robots attend. So do Herman, Grandpa, Marilyn, and Glen. Grandpa gives the mummy the elixir.
Midnight strikes, and they are ready to unveil the new mummy display. Marilyn pickpockets the robots’ remote-control box. Dr. Diablo opens the mummy’s crypt and reaches for the necklace, but the now-undead mummy grabs him and chokes him. The mummy sits up in front of everyone, and it’s really Herman in rags. Then Diablo figures out that this was the wrong tomb.
Grandpa gave the mummy too much rejuvenation potion, and he reverted to being a baby.
Back at the Munster house, everyone returns for the big Halloween party.
The robots include a werewolf, Gill-Man, cavewoman, hunchback, executioner, demon, and a Tor Johnson character, as well as the fake Herman and Grandpa. A Witch, mad scientist, Bride of Frankenstein, and Fu Manchu are all the Munster’s party guests. Why were “The Munsters” on display in the wax museum in the first place— they aren’t famous as a family in the world of the show, are they?
Unlike the previous film, “Munster, Go Home,” this one was made for network TV, and it shows it. It’s not particularly funny (also, there’s no laugh track), and the plot is pretty outrageous, even for the Munsters. Sid Caesar, in particular, has not held up well. The Phantom of the Opera characters is annoying and does one gag over and over again.
Fred Gwynne really didn’t want to reprise his role as Herman, but the network made him a financial offer he couldn’t refuse. The main three actors are all obviously quite a lot older, but for some reason, they re-cast Eddie and Marilyn with actors the same age as in the original. The movie was a flop, so they didn’t make any more, but at least the original characters were able to get together this one last time.
It was tolerable, but the made-for-TV format really hurt it.
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