The Addams Family

08/13/2015 19:26

Film: The Addams Family

Year: 1991

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd



This film is one that I saw regularly growing up. This is another that always seemed to be on television and it was an easy watch. I’d pop in wherever it was and just finish it out normally. I’ve seen this now a couple times with a more critical eye. The synopsis is con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.

Most everybody knows who the Addams family is. They are definitely a different type of family. They are a ‘horror movie’ group that is made up of the mother Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and her husband Gomez (Raul Julia). Their children are Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman). These two are weird as they are constantly playing games to kill each other. Morticia’s mother is Granny (Judith Malina). The butler is Lurch (Carel Struycken). They also have a hand that is cut off from a body that moves around on and has its own mind that they call Thing (Christopher Hart).

The film begins with an accountant who does shady business comes to visit. His name is Tully Alfrod (Dan Hedaya). He comes by to get the monthly expenses for the Addams family and wants to introduce some new business to Gomez. He’s actually trying to swindle some money from him to pay off his debts. His wife also comes with him, Margaret (Dana Ivey). She wants to see if Morticia will donate anything to a charity auction. Margaret has more success than Tully as Gomez isn’t looking to talk about new business until next quarter.

When Tully returns to his office with a briefcase full of gold, he is met by a loan shark team that is made up of mother and son duo. She is Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson) and Gordon (Christopher Lloyd). They are there to collect since Tully hasn’t paid them back yet. Gordon lifts up Tully and spins him around by his neck. While he is being held there, he realizes that Gordon looks like Uncle Fester, just with curly hair. His briefcase opens up and everyone sees the gold. Tully comes up with a plan to get more and it needs Gordon.

The Addams family is doing their annual séance, trying to get in touch with Uncle Fester. Granny leads it with the help of Morticia and Wednesday. Granny claims to feel Fester being close and tells him to knock. There is then knocking at the door. She tells him to do it again and there is more knocking. Thing books for the door and opens it to find Gordon standing there, posing as Fester. Gomez is elated that his brother is back. Abigail is there with them as a doctor, to explain what happened and why Fester doesn’t remember.

There is some apprehension since Fester doesn’t remember things that Gomez feels he couldn’t forget. Wednesday also has her issues. Abigail comes up with a reasonable explanation. As time goes on, Gordon fit in more and more. This upsets his mother as she wants him to keep his eyes on the prize. Gordon will need to decide to help out his gaslighting mother or assimilate into the Addams family completely.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and where I want to start would be that this is a fun movie. This is actually a good gateway horror movie in my opinion. Some might not consider it horror, but I do. We have this odd family that embodies a lot of darker aspects. There are also some monsters and what not included as well. Just thought I should get that out of the way first.

Where I want to go next is the satirical nature of this. The Addams family is weird as I said, but they’re the perfect family. They aren’t pretending to be anything that they aren’t. Morticia and Gomez are in complete love with each other. There are no concerns as he doesn’t have eyes for anyone else. Despite being rivals with his Fester, he again loves him completely and wants him back. Wednesday and Pugsley try to kill each other, but that is a game. The real monsters here are Tully and Abigail, which is interesting as they’re more ‘normal’.

Since this movie is more of a family drama/comedy, I’ll go next to the acting as that is what carries this. Huston and Julia are great. Any time I think of Morticia or Gomez, they are who I picture. The same can be said for Ricci and Workman along with Lloyd as Fester. I like that he’s given a second role in the form of Gordon. Hedaya and Wilson are good as the villains here. They fit that perfectly. Aside from that, I think that Malina, Struycken, Ivey and the rest of the cast round this movie out for what is needed.

Then the last things to go into would be the cinematography, effects and the soundtrack. For the former, I think this movie is shot well. We get some interesting angles when focusing on Thing. The house itself has a lot of character and I love the ‘old dark house’ motif that we get there. We don’t get a lot in the way of effects, but what we do look good. There is some early CGI here that works. Aside from that, the rest are solid enough. The soundtrack is interesting. We have the iconic The Addams Family theme, but it also appears they got MC Hammer. It doesn’t fully fit, but doesn’t ruin it either.

So then in conclusion here, this movie is a classic family horror film. It is fun and just enjoyable. The acting is what makes this work as they all bring their characters to life. The story is interesting enough and holds my attention. The cinematography and the effects fit for what they needed. The soundtrack might not fully work, but it also doesn’t ruin the movie. For me, I’d say this is an above average movie in the scheme, but the entertainment factor is there.


My Rating: 7 out of 10