Thursday, October 24, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: The Addams Family (1991) & Addams Family Values (1993)

Because I am incapable of making decisions, I couldn't choose between one of the two original Addams Family films for this spot on the list, so I decided to include them both? Why? Because both of them exhibit a wonderful sense of gallows humor and morbid fun that deserves to be seen. Is one better than the other? Maybe. But, these are still two movies that make for great companion pieces, and should be viewed as such.

The movies center around the extremely oddball Addams family, lead by eccentric patriarch Gomez (Raul Julia) and wraith-like mother, Morticia (Anjelica Huston). Their two children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) often standout amongst their younger peers, leading to all sorts of awkward moments. But, the real focus of both films is Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), who first seems to be a con artist, but later is accepted into the family and even finds love in the arms of the murderous nanny, Debbie (Joan Cusack).

Many people seem to feel that the sequel is better than the original in this case, and I wouldn't necessarily argue with them too much. Joan Cusack's character is sultry and silly in all the right ways, and the sequences with Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp are worth the price of admission. The plot also benefits from having Fester established as one of the family members, instead of trying to balance his weirder tendencies with his duplicitous nature like in the first film.

However, I can't help but love the original just as much. Some of my favorite gags (which is essentially what the films are based around) include the Uncle Knick-knack bit and the truly awe-inspiring awesomeness of Wednesday and Pugsley's swordplay for their school talent show has me in tears every time. The reason both films work well is because of the nearly impeccable casting. All the main characters are so perfect that you really feel they were born to play these roles. The writing on both films are also smart to keep interjecting that devilish wit every few minutes. The jokes and quotable lines are legion in these films.

While I usually wait and watch these films around Christmas (thanks to the pitch perfect opening from the first film), their ghoulish charm is so perfect for the Halloween season that I couldn't help but recommend them. They are great to watch with the whole family, since the themes of togetherness and love do run through them, even if it's among corpses, sentient severed hands and other graveyard delights.

Tomorrow, we'll look at one of the absolute best films ever to come out of the 1980's. Hint: It's not Teen Wolf Too.

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