By Emma Towers


Perhaps the most iconic and beloved Addams Family films are the 1990s adaptations, which star Christina Ricci, Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston and Christopher Lloyd (Doc from Back To The Future).

These films feature some wonderfully classic lines, like Wednesday’s ‘This is my costume. I’m a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else.’ 

Or Morticia’s ‘I’m just like every modern woman trying to have it all. A loving husband, a family. I only wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.’

1 - Addams Family Values, 1993. (Sequel to The Addams Family)

This film sees the arrival of the latest Addams baby, Pubert. Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny to take care of him, after Wednesday’s and Pugsley’s failed attempts to kill him. Nanny Debbie Jellinsky seduces their uncle, Fester, and quickly becomes an addition to the Addams clan. A seemingly typically beautiful woman, whose dark secret is hidden behind her perky and pure exterior. Her manipulative behaviour goes unnoticed at first until she banishes the family from the mansion she shares with Fester, to hide her murderous intentions. When her attempts fail, she becomes incensed and attempts to murder Fester and his family. They’re saved by the unlikeliest of heroes, baby Pubert!

2 – The Addams Family, 1991.

By the 1990s the Addams family had been off of our screens for almost 15 years until this film’s release and The Addams Family 1992 TV series. This film introduces the 1990s audience to the ‘creepy’ and ‘kooky’ world of the Addams family.

The Addams family are torn apart by the 25-year-long absence of uncle Fester, Gomez’s long-lost brother. Gomez’s lawyer, Tully Alford, is in serious debt to con artist Abigail Craven, and together they plan to steal the family’s vault with the ruse of Fester’s sudden reappearance. ‘Fester’ is played by Craven’s son, Gordon, who strongly resembles him. To make it more convincing, ‘Fester’ is conveniently suffering from amnesia.

Hilarity ensues from the con artists’ plan being constantly thwarted, the children’s suspicions of ‘Fester’ and their ways of dealing with it, and the battles of wills between the two families. Gordon eventually recovers his memory with the help of a magic book and re-joins the Addams family, as he is in fact Fester! 

He is welcomed back into the family on Halloween, Morticia then reveals she’s pregnant.

3 - The Addams Family, 2019

This is the first cartoon Addams family film, but the character designs are based on the original character drawings of Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams family.

The plot of the film is that the Addams’s don’t fit in anywhere, but their children just might.

Two themes are echoed throughout the film; persecution and that Fester Addams loves tough, blonde women (like Debbie from Addams Family Values). 

The family are chased out of a town and have to relocate rapidly. Although the family love their abandoned asylum home, the children don’t fit in with their parent’s wishes – which almost comes at a price for the entire family. You can take Wednesday out of the Addams’s home, but you can’t take the Addams’s spirit out of her.

The family are under persecution again, thanks to obsessive property mogul Margaux Needler, who sees the family as a threat to her empire. She rounds up the villagers with rumours about the family, to destroy their home – which they oblige. But the villagers realise what they’ve done to a family and the two sides come together to rebuild it.

The film does not hold up against the 1990s films, but it makes the family somewhat relevant to today’s ‘social media obsessed’ audience. The film ends before the characters can truly be developed, which is highly disappointing. It’s an interesting shift to have the focus on the children instead of the whole family, yet it doesn’t make the impact it could have with CGI.

4 - Halloween with the New Addams Family, 1977

This film’s plot shares a similarity with Addams Family, as someone else is attempting to con the family out of their money and again the crooks focus on Gomez’s weaknesses.

Prior to this film the Addams family had only ever been in black and white.

A previously unmentioned sibling of Gomez’s, his brother Pancho, stays with the family while Gomez is at a meeting in Tombstone, Arizona. Gomez has actually been lured off by crooks who have bugged his home to steal the family’s fortune.

The main thug, ‘Bones’ Lafferty, despite his many schemes does not consider the unusual behaviour of the family – making all his plans fail. Lurch manages to scare them off simply with his presence.

The film concludes with the Addams family celebrating Halloween without interruption and singing together to welcome cousin Shy – their version of trick or treaters. (Pancho describes cousin shy as someone ‘who distributes gifts and carves pumpkins.’)

Although the cast is true to the Addams Family TV series of the 1970s, the warmth of the family is greatly missing, making the entire film lacking the heart it had in the TV series. Also, the live effects fall flat, which makes certain scenes uncomfortable to watch.

5 - Addams Family Reunion, 1998

The entire cast of this film differs from the previous 1990’s adaptations and has a much weaker plot. I’d highly recommend avoiding this, despite Tim Curry portraying Gomez. After the success of the 1990s film you’d expect this to be great, but you shouldn’t.

The film focuses more on the ‘strange’ and ‘otherness’ of the Addams family, they are outcasts at their own family reunion. Though this mostly due to a clerical error at the family search company handling family reunions – they misspell Addams, making it Adams, beware this is meant to be funny.

That’s it, that’s the entire plot, more or less.

The film fails to capture the true nature of the Addams family, despite their unusual lifestyle, they love each other dearly. Instead the film makes them into characters that ‘normal’ people would want to either experiment on or imprison.

The film would have benefitted from including more Addams like relatives within the Adams’s and exploring their relationship, rather than just the one relative.