Jeff Daniel Phillips has collaborated on many films with Rob Zombie. Additionally, he has appeared in GEICO commercials and appeared as a guest star on TV shows such as Flaked, Arrest & Trial and Philly.
Rob Zombie’s The Munsters star as Herman Munster. We caught up with him to talk comedy, wearing such an enormous suit and his appreciation of classic sitcoms.
House of 1000 Corpses (1999)
Rob Zombie rose to prominence through his rock band White Zombie, but when working on Universal Halloween Horror Nights haunted attraction he had another idea in mind. While designing it, House of 1000 Corpses came into being and once completed Rob decided to release it himself as a movie.
Zombie’s debut directorial effort, an underrated modern classic called The Last Exit to Paris was an underappreciated modern classic and an homage to classic slasher films. Its plot takes the essential components of these movies and expands them into larger-than-life situations, while boasting an outstanding cast and memorable characters.
The film introduces us to the Firefly family, an eccentric clan modeled on Groucho Marx characters such as Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Otis B. Driftwood (Bill Moseley), Rufus T. Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Hugo Z Hackenbush – named for Groucho Marx characters.
As the film progresses, we witness these families coming closer together as they work to solve crimes committed against them. Zombie shows his directing talents but there are moments in which it feels too formulaic.
House of 1000 Corpses’ final act truly shines, where its macabre and horrifying aspects take over the film. A great early 2000s horror flick and this Blu-Ray transfer is excellent.
Not an ideal movie, but this Blu-Ray release comes complete with some terrific extra features to rewatch this cult favorite.
Additionally, this movie includes two bonus featurettes. One features interviews with Zombie and cast, while the other provides a commentary track which offers a unique look into how the film was made.
Zombie also created an alternate ending of his film that wasn’t included in its initial release due to concerns from Universal that they might give him money and tell him “go re-shoot everything.” Although this experience wasn’t successful, it served as an invaluable learning opportunity that now has given him more insight into making horror films.
Halloween II (2009)
Michael Myers returns a year after killing everyone in Haddonfield, Illinois with the aim of continuing what he started. Accompanied by an apparition of his deceased mother, Myers vows to complete what he started and complete what has begun.
Zombie has created an ingenious follow-up that brilliantly taps into themes of All-American paranoia and unease associated with Carpenter’s classic, while breaking free of genre expectations and making something wholly new and groundbreaking in horror cinematic terms. It stands as an unforgettable work.
One of the defining characteristics of Zombie’s film is the use of dream sequences, which weave between reality and dreams like snakes. These dreams reveal an unsuspected psychic bond between Michael and Laurie – who herself is prey to nightmares about a dead killer – as Michael attempts to connect them through these dream sequences.
Dreams also illustrate Myers’s pursuit of reuniting with his long-lost family and reclaiming land he once occupied; for instance, after Michael murders a dog we see his image of a giant white horse held up by Deborah as his representation.
Dream Sequences in “Psychotic Violence” is an almost uncannily realistic depiction of psychotic violence. Shot in 16mm format and offering a shocking presentation.
Zombie employs dream sequences as a cheap trick for dramatic effect and to cross-cut between Laurie’s nightmares and Michael’s murders, creating an unnerving sense of danger for his audience.
Overall, Halloween II is an awful movie that should be avoided at all costs. Even fans will likely dislike it greatly as one of the worst films out of all four Halloween films.
It features numerous irritating characters and boring monologues; and what’s worse, Laurie Strode doesn’t really do much in this film except drinking and demanding people kill her.
The Gifted (2013)
The Gifted is a charming tale about a mathematically talented girl and her uncle’s quest to help her realize her full potential. The film does an admirable job exploring whether intelligence may act as an obstacle towards happiness and fulfilment in one’s life.
This film examines family dynamics and what it means to belong. A family needs love and support in order to thrive; therefore this film encourages viewers to think about how they define a family unit as well as how a child should be raised.
A humorous family drama, The Gifted depicts an ongoing legal dispute regarding custody of an exceptional young math prodigy named Mary (Chris Evans). When given the option of enrolling her at school due to her exceptional talents, Frank refuses to let go of homeschooling her instead and instead takes legal action against Frank to win custody for himself and Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) takes an interest.
As the custody dispute escalates, this movie provides an excellent platform to explore larger questions regarding parental responsibilities and ethics of parenting. We learn that Evelyn believes children with special abilities deserve nurturing care from both her parents; Frank on the other hand believes they must teach her to use her unique gifts for good in society. Both parties’ differing opinions lead them down divergent paths until ultimately becoming estranged due to this tug-of-war about who gets to make the best decisions for a child.
“Widows” is an insightful script full of hilarious moments that makes for an excellent movie experience on Friday nights.
The Munsters (2019)
Rob Zombie’s latest movie, The Munsters (2019), is an uneven affair. A passion project of Rob’s that functions more like an elaborate fan film than anything else based on the 1960s TV show, it stars Jeff Daniel Phillips as Herman Munster and Sheri Moon Zombie as Lily Munster with a loose plotted origin story showing us how these two met in Transylvania.
The film also pays homage to classic Universal monster films like Frankenstein and Dracula, yet its pacing can sometimes seem disorganized despite having committed performances from its cast members.
There’s an impressive commitment to 1960 sitcom visuals that makes the film stand out, from costumes and set designs that work beautifully to the overall visual experience of watching it. All these elements combine for an easy viewing and enjoyable watching experience that anyone will appreciate.
Though this movie doesn’t quite feel worth its ticket price, there are a few amusing moments scattered throughout. Gothic imagery, cheeky camera angles, and gorgeous cinematography all combine to make this stunningly-made flick.
As such, The Munsters is an entertaining film sure to please fans of the TV show. While not the greatest version, it remains one of the more enjoyable entries in its franchise.
Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang (Richard Brake, Offseason) and his assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia, Lost) break into graveyards to harvest body parts for their experimental project, Herman. To complete it, they need an intelligent brain which they employ Floop to procure from dim-witted comedians; once Herman is complete they fall in love.
Herman and Lily meet and fall in love, yet the relationship faces obstacles due to Herman’s father, The Count (Daniel Roebuck). Also present are other problems within the Munster household that arise.
At 110 minutes, it may seem long; but still worth watching for its nostalgic charm and lighthearted atmosphere. Fans of the series or anyone looking for a fun film should give this one a watch!