It’s hard to believe a filmmaker known for creating some of the most sadistic depictions of bloodshed and brutality ever captured on screen would eventually switch gears and direct a candy-colored comedy with a mild PG rating, but that’s exactly what Rob Zombie has delivered with “The Munsters,” his eighth feature film. An avowed superfan of the original CBS series that debuted in 1964 and ran for two seasons, Zombie’s reboot tells the origin story of gentle giant Herman Munster, his sweet-natured romance with the ghoul of his dreams Lily, and their move from a castle in Transylvania to a spooky house on Mockingbird Lane in sunny California.
“The Munsters” reaffirms Zombie’s status as the most prolific musician-turned-director in history. It’s no surprise, of course, that an artist as hyper-attuned to visual imagery as Zombie has been throughout his musical career would take to filmmaking with such intensity. His concerts have always incorporated vintage clips from B-movies, and the memorable music videos he directed were the perfect training ground for his eventual feature work.
Moreover, Zombie has achieved something no other musician-turned-director has to this point: a distinct signature style. By writing his own scripts, working with a recognizable stock company of players, and repeatedly mining his own personal obsessions in movie after movie, his films bear the unmistakable stamp of a genuine auteur.
But that doesn’t mean his work behind the camera has been consistently successful. Though more or less unified in style and substance, there are certainly highs and lows in Zombie’s directorial career. Here’s our ranking of his eight films, listed from bloody mess to gory great.