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The Addams Family is a black comedy film based on the characters, from the cartoon of the same name, created by cartoonist Charles Addams, featuring songs and a video from rap artist Hammer (ie. "Addams Groove").[232042]

The movie was originally developed by Orion Pictures (which at the time owned the rights to the television series on which the movie was based). But due to the studio's financial problems, Paramount Pictures paid additional funds to complete the film and released the movie in the U.S., with Orion retaining the international rights (these rights now belong to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through their purchase of Orion). The film debuted in Los Angeles on November 16, 1991. It opened internationally on November 22, 1991 to generally good reviews.

The Addamses are a family of wealthy and eccentric individuals who live together in a Second Empire-style mansion and share a common interest in the bizarre and the macabre. The characters first appeared in cartoons in The New Yorker magazine in the 1930s, and later gained popularity in the defunct Television series, The Addams Family. The film centers on the day to day life of the family, and the return of Gomez Addams's long-lost brother, Fester, played by Christopher Lloyd. The film stars Raúl Juliá and Anjelica Huston.


The story begins as Gomez (Raúl Juliá) mentions to his lawyer, Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), that he has not spoken to his brother Fester since a quarrel 25 years ago. Gomez's wife, Morticia (Anjelica Huston), invites Tully and his wife, Margaret (Dana Ivey), to a séance in which they will attempt to contact the spirit of Fester, believed to be lost in the Bermuda Trianglemarker all of this time. Tully gets a surprise visit at his office from loan shark Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson), and her son Gordon (Christopher Lloyd), who have come to collect what he owes them. Gordon harasses Tully until he discovers the gold doubloons with which Gomez has paid the monthly expenses. Tully notices that Gordon seems similar in physical appearance to Fester, and proposes that Gordon pose as Fester to infiltrate the Addams' vault where the family fortune is kept.

At the séance, the Addamses attempt to contact Fester's spirit, demanding he knock three times. As they ask, they hear three knocks at the door. They answer it to find Gordon (as Fester with amnesia) and Abigail (posing as a psychiatrist named Dr. Greta Pinder-Schloss). Gomez is initially overjoyed, but his elation quickly turns to suspicion as Fester fails to remember key events from their childhood. Fester attempts to break into the vault but is foiled by several treacherous booby traps, such as rusty chains, a toxic underground lake, and a piranha tank.

Gomez reconciles with Fester, in spite of his doubts, and he and Morticia throw a party that draws an extensive portion of the Addams clan. When Wednesday is sent to check on Fester, she finds Gordon in the bathroom, with Abigail shaving his head. Wednesday thinks that he is an impostor and flees to the family graveyard; Gordon pursues her, but soon has to get back to the party so that no one becomes suspicious.

In the meantime, Tully has discovered that Fester, being the older brother, is legally in control of the entire Addams estate. He enlists the aid of a cantankerous judge who lives next door to the mansion. As the party winds down, the family begins searching for the missing Wednesday — all but Fester, who volunteers to stay behind at the mansion in case she shows up. When she is found, the family returns and finds Tully behind the locked front gate, holding a restraining order that bars them from the property. Gomez takes the issue to court, only to discover that his angry neighbor is presiding over the case. After Fester wins in court, he, Tully, and Abigail return to the mansion and continue their efforts to reach the vault.

Meanwhile, the Addamses attempt to adapt to their new living situation as Gomez moves his brood into a motel. To raise money for their family, Wednesday and Pugsley resort to selling lemonade in the parking lot, Thing works for Federal Express, Lurch sells vacuum cleaners and Morticia teaches a kindergarten class where she leaves all the children traumatized after reading her version of Hansel and Gretel. However, they soon realize that they are ill-suited to live like the rest of society. Morticia then returns to the mansion to confront Gordon, but is captured by Tully and Abigail, who plan to torture her so that she will divulge the location of the vault. Thing sees this and returns to the motel, where he informs Gomez that his beloved wife is in trouble. Gomez rushes to the rescue, whereupon Abigail threatens to kill Morticia if he does not take Gordon to the vault.

Gordon, who has become sympathetic to the Addams family, takes matters into his own hands. The bookshelf concealing the passageway to the vault contains books which, when opened, project their contents into reality. Gordon threatens Tully and Abigail with a book named "Hurricane Irene" while Gomez and Morticia escape. The gale-force winds from the book hurl Tully and Abigail out a window and into two open graves (dug by Pugsley and Wednesday), while Gordon is struck by lightning emitted by the pages.

Seven months later, all is well with the family as they are throwing a Halloween party. It turns out Gordon was Fester all along as Fester had vanished in the Bermuda Trianglemarker and developed amnesia, and Abigail made him think he was her son so that he would assist in her criminal schemes; the book's lightning strike restored his memory. As everyone rushes out to the graveyard for a rousing game of "Wake the Dead" (complete with shovels), Gomez ponders what could possibly make life better. Morticia reveals she is pregnant, and the two share a passionate kiss.


Differences from the television series

The film was much closer to the description Charles Addams made for the show, and followed his instructions closely.

The film differs from the television series in several ways. The most significant change is that Fester is an Addams, Gomez's brother; in the series, he was the brother of Morticia's mother, Hester. Also, in the series, Grandmama was Gomez's mother, Eudora; the film notes that Gomez's parents were murdered by an angry mob, and subsequently implies that Grandmama is in fact Morticia's mother (even though Charles Addams originally said that the character was Gomez's mother), with Morticia frequently referring to Grandmama as 'Mama'. Both reflected changes to the family relations first made in the 1973-1975 animated series. Another change is that Wednesday appears to be the older of the Addams children, whereas in the original series, Pugsley was older. Cousin Itt's voice is of a decidedly higher pitch in the film, and his hair is completely straight, lacking the curls he featured in the original series.

In the original version of the television series, Gomez Addams does not appear to have any supernatural powers, behaving like a normal (albeit eccentric) wealthy gentleman. However, in the film version Gomez Addams is capable of many feats, including moving at high speed and sword fighting with superhuman poise and alacrity. Other members of the family also have a notably high tolerance of pain or injury; Morticia, for instance, seems mildly amused (if not aroused) by Abigail and Tully's attempts to torture her with a rack. Also Pugsley does not suffer from being strapped to an electric chair and heavily shocked by his sister( which would prove fatal to any normal human being ) and even seems to enjoy it. The Addams Family Mansion has also been re-designed and coincides more with the house seen in the cartoon where the family dumps boiling oil on some carolers.


The soundtrack for The Addams Family was released on December 3, 1991 and features most of Marc Shaiman's film score. Two of the soundtrack's most interesting songs are the jazz-tinged "The Mooche" and the full version of "Mamushka", in which Gomez prattles off the names of many famous brothers (including the Brothers Grimm, the Wright Brothers, and the Marx Brothers). It is also worthy of note that the complete version of "Mamushka" was cut from the film after a key audience demographic from test screenings complained the song brought the movie to a stand-still. In all officially-released versions of The Addams Family, only one minute remains of the "Mamushka" scene, but there is a workprint (which has yet to circulate heavily) that contains the complete scene. A near-complete version of the "Mamushka" scene can be found on The Making of The Addams Family television special that aired only in the Netherlands on December 7, 1991.

  1. "Deck the Halls & Main Titles"
  2. "Morning"
  3. "Seances & Swordfights"
  4. "Playmates"
  5. "Family Plotz"
  6. "Mooche"
  7. "Evening"
  8. "Party...For Me?"
  9. "Mamushka"
  10. "Thing Gets Work"
  11. "Fester Exposed"
  12. "Rescue"
  13. "Finale"

Deleted scenes

In addition to the complete "Mamushka" scene, there were several other major scenes filmed but cut from the final movie. Most of these scenes were deemed too violent and grotesque; they involve the following:
  • The introduction to Gomez and Morticia Addams in Tully and Margaret's point of view as well as Gomez leading Tully to his office
  • The aftermath of the sword fight including bills for "The Fester Addams Community"
  • The retrieving of the Addams' fortune and the leaving the mansion and Tully's entrance to see Abigail and Gordon
  • Granny's fog machine malfunctioning, falling off the roof of the Addams' mansion, and nearly decapitating Gomez
  • Granny ripping out Wednesday's loose tooth by tying it to a trap door and flinging it open
  • Wednesday depositing her newly-removed tooth into a cigar box full of animal teeth and glass eyes
  • During Gomez and Tully's sword fight, Gomez telling Tully he wished he would "drop by more often," to which Tully confesses that he's "a bleeder"
  • Letting Fester and Dr. Greta Pinder-Schloss in and letting them take their seats while having a chat
  • Fester climbing into the mansion's attic and seeing several glass display cases containing stuffed vampire bats
  • Wednesday catching Fester snooping around the attic and informing him that the one large empty glass display case is reserved for a school bully
  • When Morticia is trying to figure out why Gomez is so suspicious of Fester, Granny reads a passage from a large book that recommends they "Drain all his blood, replace it with vinegar overnight. Leave a headless rooster beneath his pillow. Smear his forehead, palms, and feet with the tears of a stillborn monkey. Add milk." Mortcia then reacts in disgust at the suggestion of adding milk
  • Fester showing Wednesday and Pugsley a hand grenade
  • Before Wednesday and Pugsley's performance, Gomez inviting Judge Womack to play a round of golf in his cemetery, to which Womack replies he'd "rather rot in hell"
  • A longer scene of Wednesday and Pugsley's theatrical performance (which includes more blood and Pugsley's severed prosthetic arm falling off the stage and landing in Judge Womack's lap)
  • Fester implying that the blood from Wednesday and Pugsley's performance was real
  • Fester escorting Dr. Greta Pinder-Schloss, who says "Auf Wiedersehen", out until Greta Pinder-Schloss (Abigail) and Fester (Gordon) had an angry conversation
  • Directly preceding the Mamsuhka, Morticia taking Fester's hand and spinning him onto the dance floor. Fester then comes nose-to-nose with Gomez, who is holding several sharpened scimitars. Gomez then circles around Fester while juggling the scimitars
  • During the Mamushka, Gomez admiring how Fester hasn't seemed to forget any part of the dance and song. At that moment, as Fester hears his brother's words of admiration, he hesitates, and the sharpened scimitars that Gomez has tossed to him rain down
  • Near the end of the Mamushka, Fester catching four of the five scimitars in his hands. Panicked and seemingly without a way to catch the last scimitar, Fester begins to scream. The fifth scimitar conveniently lands in Fester's mouth, which he then swallows
  • Granny and Morticia searching for Wednesday in a cave
  • Pugsley and Gomez eating wrapped motel soaps
  • Morticia revealing to an interview clerk that she regularly takes Wednesday and Pugsley to visit Death Row inmates at the local prison — for autographs
  • Lurch attempting to sell vacuum cleaners and subsequently hurling a bucketful of slop onto a client
  • Fester and Gomez each commenting that blood is thicker than water, to which Morticia quips that it's "just as refreshing"
  • Abigail and Tully dead, stuffed, and on display in a huge glass case


With a domestic gross of $113,502,246 and a worldwide gross of $191,502,246, The Addams Family proved to be a financial success, as it eventually became the seventh highest grossing film of 1991.

Despite this, the film received mixed reviews. Critics were divided almost in half as Rotten Tomatoes, a web site which aggregates reviews from critics, proves that only 58 out of 100 critics gave a positive review. Although the RT Community gives it a much more gracious rating of 78%, the provided Rotten Tomatoes consensus reads: "The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole."

Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader called the film "A collection of one-liners, and that's about it," while critic Steven Crum wrote a positive review, saying that it was a perfect translation of the 1960s sitcom, and was just as ghoulishly hilarious. Despite the disjointed plot, some critical praise was given to the casting and visual style. Variety magazine wrote, "Despite inspired casting and nifty visual trappings, the eagerly awaited Addams Family figures a major disappointment."

Awards and accolades

The Addams Family was awarded Best Horror Film of the Year in 1991 by the Horror Hall of Fame. Carel Struycken appeared at the award ceremony to receive the award on behalf of the cast.

The Making of The Addams Family

A TV documentary, "The Making of The Addams Family", was produced to promote the film in 1991.

DVD release

The film has been released on DVD with the following special features:
  • Theatrical Trailer 1
  • Theatrical Trailer 2


  3. 3rd Annual Horror Hall of Fame Telecast, 1991

External links

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