addams family, theOrion / Paramount Pictures
1991
PG-13

“I would die for her. I would kill for her. Either way, what bliss.”

Come join The Addams Family for the most hilarious scarefest of this season or any other! When long-lost Uncle Fester reappears after twenty-five years in the Bermuda Triangle, Gomez and Morticia plan a celebration to wake the dead. But Wednesday barely has time to warm up her electric chair before Thing points out Fester’s uncommonly “normal” behavior. Could this Fester be a fake, part of an evil scheme to raid the Addams fortune?

The fall of 1991 was a good time for me. It was my Senior year in High School, and everything seemed vital and alive. The world was my burrito. Also, some pretty good movies that rank high in my Nostalgia Locker were released then. Like, for instance, the live action Addams Family movie.

Based on the classic and deliciously morbid cartoon strip by Charles Addams, the live action movie itself is the directorial debut of Barry Sonnorfield, who you may know better as the guy behind such blockbusters as the Men In Black movies. He also brought us Wild Wild West and Space Chimps, but let’s not let that besmirch this review, shall we?

Now then, we come into the titular family with Uncle Fester having been missing for the past 25 years. Seems there was a disagreement between Gomez and Fester that lead to his leaving, and Gomez is lamenting his absence. Meantime, Gomez’s lawyer decides, since his loan shark’s son looks so much like Fester, that he should use this to try and gain access to the vast Addams fortune. Things go…well, until “Fester” begins to bond with the Addamses, and begins to believe he really is Fester. Since it’s been over 25 years since this released, SPOILER: He really is Fester. Go figure. Anyway, deliciously morbid humor abounds and wackiness ensues.

I’ll just come right out and say it: the Addams Family movie is one of my Top 5 favorite movies that I try to watch at least once a year. Usually around Christmas time, because, like Gremlins, this is a wonderfully twisted and whimsical treat that’s set during the most dark holiday of the year. Just the opening shot of the recreation of the classic Charles Addams Christmas cartoon of the family about to surprise a bunch of carolers with some boiling oil perfectly encompasses my feeling of the so-called Yuletide cheer of the season. I watched this twice in the theaters when it was first released. I then owned a VHS copy that I systematically wore out, then had it on DVD until I lost it (fortunately, I made a digital backup copy, so I still technically have it).

Bottom line is, The Addams Family movie is just fantastic. It’s dark, it’s whimsical, the cast is perfect, there are oodles of little jokes and puns firing left and right…if you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. Recommended.