"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue

**Find The Vault of Horror on Facebook and Twitter, or download the new mobile app!**

**Check out my other blogs, Standard of the Day, Proof of a Benevolent God and Lots of Pulp!**

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Munsters As You've Never Seen Them Before

Fans of that charming family from 1313 Mockingbird Lane have great reason to rejoice in a little less than two weeks, when The Munsters: The Complete Series DVD box set will be released. But of course, if you already have the individual season sets, then it's really nothing new for you.

Unless, that is, you have an interest in seeing the original Munsters for the first time... in color. You see, the new collection will also include the first season episode "Family Portrait" in a brand new computer colorized version.

Now, before you start raving about "double-dipping", rest easy--because Universal has done the right thing, releasing "Family Portrait" individually on a separate DVD the very same day.

Most people serious enough about home video to buy an entire TV series are likely to be the same people who viciously object to the colorizing of old movies and TV shows. Usually, I agree. But I have to give it a pass in this case. For one thing, it's The Munsters for crying out loud--and it's only one episode. And furthermore, I really believe that The Munsters is the kind of show that was meant for color, and most certainly would've been in color, but for the fact that TV production hadn't completely made the switch yet from black-and-white. Also, from what I've seen, the colorization process has made great strides since the era of Ted Turner's crude defilements of classic films.

Yet I also sympathize with those who would argue that colorizing it detracts from the original intent of the show to be a parody of the old Universal monster movies of the 1930s and '40s. Still, this just seems like it's all in good fun to me. Hopefully it's not some kind of "testing of the waters" for broader colorization down the road.

Screen grabs courtesy of DVD Talk.


frgodbeyjr said...

Munsters was a very funny and unique show. I have no problem putting color to the old black and white episodes. I loved how the Munsters family felt sorry for their niece because she was "different." The whols concept was funny.

Glass Devaney said...

the munsters were shot in black and white for good reason. it was originally supposed to be shot in color. the pilot episode was shot in color and it was decided that black and white would be better for this format. the dramatic shadowing of black and white suites the show much better than the gaudy lime greens and whatnot.

ill probably end up buying the set, even though i already own both seasons. im just that much of a fan ;}

Mr. Cavin said...

The issue of whether or not to colorize isn't about whether the creators initially envisioned their work in color. It isn't about how they couldn't afford color, or about how the technology wasn't really available to them. It's about how they actually created the show in black and white, and how these two processes don't translate.

The visual choices made in filming and lighting, in set design, etc, for a black and white image are decisions made about value contrasts. When shooting in color, similar decisions are about heat and color saturation and matching. The palettes are unrelated.

Recoloring something that has already been made in black and white, or even desaturating something initially shot in color, uncovers this disconnect between palettes. Sometimes this makes a neat effect, but mostly it doesn't. When retroactively color updating something designed for black and white, the resulting mash-up looks muddled and dull, the framing becomes abstract, the field becomes soupy and uneven. Details that used to pop or fade now shuffle distractingly across the screen in a newly forced evenness. It doesn't work and it's unnecessary.

All that said, I don't mind it. It's good to experiment, and a good colorization process will attend to much more image manipulation than merely painting corresponding hue over value. But any manipulation is just another imposition on the integrity of the original. Might as well go back and re-dub the characters with today's famous voices, or insert computer-generated sex scenes with the original actor's faces. I know my illustration here is eye-rollingly extreme, but tampering is tampering. All of it is outside the scope of the original, as-is, and all arguments about original intents are pretty much immaterial compared to what exists.

And frankly, I don't think it's really going to work out well. But just as long as the originals are also available, I'm all for the test.

B-Sol said...

I agree Mr. Cavin, having the original version available makes it much more available. Thanks for the very informed input!

B-Sol said...

I mean, much more acceptable!

Anonymous said...

Horror Story Contest
$250 Grand Prize
WorldWide Alliance of Writers, www.wwaow.com, an on-demand self-publishing website, is launching a horror writing contest on www.publishyourself.com. The top 10 stories (by vote count) will be included in a compilation book that will be published on WWAOW.com. Top 10 winners will receive a complimentary copy of the compilation book.
Submitting is easy. Just create a FREE ACCOUNT HERE and then follow the step by step instructions to upload your work.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, that picture made Herman look a little funky. It would be interesting to see what the rest of the episodes looks like though.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...