Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, The Horror! #35: The Addams Family & Addams Family Values

I re-watched both movies a few nights ago with my girl and both remain at the top of favorite movies for me. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being part of this kooky family that was created by the masterful Charles Addams and it was these two movies that cemented my love for this morbidly humorous family. The film stars the late Raul Julia as the energetic and romantic Gomez, Anjelica Huston as the vampish wife Morticia, Christopher Lloyd as the indestructible Fester, Christina Ricci as the morbidly deadpan Wednesday, Jimmy Workman as the unintelligent naive Pugsley, Judith Malina as the curse-inducing Mama in the first film and then Carol Kane in the sequel, Carel Struycken as the Frankensteinish butler Lurch, Christopher Hart as the handful Thing, and finally John Franklin as the too kool to shave Cousin Itt. Each actor perfectly brings the family to life in both movies that feature non-stop laughs ranging from disturbing actions and high morbid humor.

The first movie revolves around a plot of a greedy woman named Abigail Craven played by Elizabeth Wilson who dresses her son, Gordon, to resemble Gomez Addams long-lost brother, Fester, to steal treasure and become rich. Gordon, as Fester, slowly begins to feel more like part of the family despite at first being completely uncomfortable with their weird life-style. Morticia found no problem with finding cyanide in his suitcase, Pugsley laughs at having his arm caught in Gordon's bear trap, Thing attacks him to sleep, and Wednesday watches him from her door in a suspicious way. A huge question is constantly brought up about if Gordon is actually in fact really Fester or really an impostor. The overall plot of the movie isn't strong, but you still can't help but fall in love with the characters. They're kookier than the 60's television show (I know, as if that were possible) and their constantly one-liners are too perfect not to love.

Craven: Love/hate. Hate/love. Like for Mama, no?
Gomez: But I didn't hate my mother. It was an accident!

Morticia: Gomez.
Gomez: Querida?
Morticia: Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!

A most definite favorite part of both movies are completely how into each other both Gomez and Morticia are. They're the most perfect couple I've ever seen in any movie with hardly any tension in their relationship, just complete adoration and love. The chemistry between both Huston and Julia works perfectly and are completely believable. When the two get into a scene that requires them flirting, you can't help but smile and laugh at their lines to each other. The scene when Morticia is tied up and being tortured and Gomez is speaking to her about real torture being to live without her and their theme music begins to play as they're about to kiss and are interrupted is truly hilarious and gets a chuckle out of me and people I'm watching it with every time. Lloyd does a wonderful job playing the extremely chaotic Fester and watching his love and appreciation for the family grow is a delight to see, especially when he grows especially close to Wednesday and Pugsley and teach them how to sword fight and blow up bombs and play pranks against Mama. Besides the fantastic scenes between Gomez and Morticia, it is Ricci as Wednesday that steals the show. Wednesday in the original series/cartoon/strips is a completely different character as she's more happy-go-lucky and sometimes very sad character but Ricci plays her with such deadpan humor that it's impossible not to love the ret-conned personality. Ricci's portrayal of Wednesday fits perfectly for this type of movie and it would have been extremely weird seeing a different portray than what we got.

Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?
Wednesday: Yes.
Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they're real lemons?
Pugsley: Yes.
Girl Scout: Well, I'll tell you what. I'll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

The sequel, Addams Family Values, takes place about 9 months from the last movie where Morticia reveals to Gomez that she's pregnant with a third child. When the child, Pubert, is born, Wensday and Pugsley grow highly jealous to the point where they drop him from the roof of their home and try to decapitate his head. The loving wife and husband see fit to find a nanny. After various failed attempts, they finally find just the right nanny, the white-dressed and extremely beautiful Debbie played hilariously by Joan Cusack. She seems right at home with the family as she isn't quite freaked out by their life-style and even says a few lines that fit perfectly with the Addams way of thinking. As she's introduced to the members of the household and shown through the house, she takes an interest to Fester who's extremely shy of her. As the movie progress, she tries to get close to him and they eventually get married. But during her first night at the Addams Mansion, it is revealed to us that she is actually the murderous Black Widow who marries rich men and kills then during their honeymoon, collects their money and vanishes until she's broke. Due to Debbie, the family starts to slowly deteriorate as Wednesday and Pugsley are sent to a freakishly happy summer camp that hates them and tortures them with songs, hugs, and Disney movies, Gomez seems to slowly go insane and may possible die, while their baby has transformed to a rosy cheek and blond curl baby who may fearfully become President one day.

Once again, this movie is filled with even more of the humor that's loved in the first movie:

Morticia: Oh Gomez... you still desire me after all these years? The old ball and chain?
Gomez: Forever.
Morticia: I'll get them.

And we get more laughs and destruction. And it's inpossible not to fall for the adorably new-born Pubert who fits perfectly with the kooky family especially by the end of the movie as he laughs happily after causing a death of a character.

Overall, both movies are very fun and well made films. While the second film is much stronger plot-wise, I have a slightly bigger love for the first movie due to the music and editing. The soundtrack score composed by Marc Shaiman is very enticing and grasping as when the tracks from the movie play on my Media Player, I can't help but reply them over and over for a long while, my favorite piece being A Party for Me? and the Finale. Shaiman plays very well with the energetic family while adding some horror sounding music that complements the family very well. Editing-wise, a huge favorite transition of mine is the scene when Morticia and Gomez waltz for a few seconds and Morticia pulls off a sheet that then brings us to the grand ball for Fester. Beautifully well made films, both movies are directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. If you haven't seen either of these movies, you've been living under a rock and need to be stoned with that rock and enjoy it.

And major props to David Hine for making me a part of the Addams Family.

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