THE ADDAMS FAMILY VOLUME 2
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
The mis-adventures continue for Morticia and Gomez Addams and their gothic little family. From Lurch, the butler, to children Pugsley and Wednesday, electrically capable Uncle Fester and Cousin Itt, Grandmama and Thing, their adventures include all things ghoulish.
Is it good movie?
I never watched The Addams Family when I grew up, I was actually a Munsters fan. I did catch the first film with Angelica Huston and Raul Julia which quickly made me not want to watch the series. I’m sure at some point I watched an episode or two but I never made much of an effort. So when I had my chance to check out The Addams Family Volume 2, I was open to see what it had in store. And frankly, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It is a fun, none too serious series of mishaps and eye of newt. The cast is mostly top notch, especially Carolyn Jones and John Astin as Morticia and Gomez Addams. The two had wonderful chemistry and the family of freaks and ghouls are passable, aside from the children Wednesday and Pugsley who are a little on the annoying kid side. Luckily, they are very seldom the spotlight and that makes for a more pleasant watching experience.
Now, truthfully, with all the gothic ookyness it is very safe and obviously dated. But the black and white is very fitting and I don’t think it would have the same effect in color. I also felt the story lines were a little on the simple side which has good and bad attached. First off, the good is that it makes it an easy watch. No hidden messages and no political or emotional agenda at all. It’s just silliness, and usually involves some stranger coming into the Addams Family household and being freaked out by their odd antiques and creepy inhabitants. The irony being, most of the guests are much stranger than the family themselves. But surprisingly, the jokes don’t get too old and thanks to some interesting casting, it remains fun throughout all 21 episodes from Season 1 and 2. Yet on the bad end of the scale, the simplicity may just bore many would-be watchers, and it may come across as just dull by today’s standards.
The Addams Family is based on the cartoon by Charles Addams and seems to have kept much of the spirit of those original images yet maybe not so much of the macabre. But for this to be really entertaining for you, you must be a fan of classic television. It helps to enjoy shows like I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island or the previously mentioned The Munsters. If this is not your cup of TV tea, then it’s best to avoid. But if it is your fancy, it’s great to have this classic piece of TV history and it’s nice to see creepy horror comedy in its most simplistic form. It’s safe to be a genre geek and really be proud to say I dig The Addams Family. So sing along, “They’re creepy and they’re cooky, Mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky… The Addams Family.” Da, duh, da, duh! (Snap, Snap)
Video / Audio
Video: Wow. What a terrific looking 1.33:1 transfer. I can’t imagine it looking clearer than this.
Audio: Also pretty fantastic although keep in mind, this was made long before Dolby Surround so it can only sound so good in Mono.
The extras here are entertaining, albeit a little light. There are several Scene Commentaries with Cousin Itt and Thing. This is included with “Thing is Missing”, “My Son, The Chimp”, “Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor” and “My Fair Cousin Itt” . This consist of two small frames at the top of the screen with “Thing” and “Cousin Itt” (obviously, not the originals) and they chatter, well, actually Cousin Itt chatters away while Thing gestures as only a hand can do. And in case you don’t speak “Itt”, there are subtitles. Although this is fun, it is a bit on the pointless side.
One other Commentary is included with “Morticia’s Romance Part 1” and it is a very informative listen from Stephen Cox, author of “The Addams Family Chronicle”. It is here you learn that the same actor who played Lurch was also Thing. This set would have benefitted more from commentaries like this.
There is also a fun watch with Mad About the Addams (12:58) that is ultimately too short. Fans, a few scholars and John Astin are all interviewed. This could of have been at the very least a half hour instead of 13 minutes.
In the most clever and unique feature, we have the Guest Star Séance where a crystal ball can conjure up images of Vito Scotti, Peter Bonerz, Parley Baer, Milton Frome, Margaret Hamilton, Sig Ruman, Elvia Allman, Eddie Quillan, Elisabeth Fraser and Richard Deacon. I’m sure you remember all these fine folks… right? Eh, don’t feel bad, neither did I. But with this nifty little haunt, you can learn who they are, which episode they appeared in and where you may have seen them before. And lest I forget, for more trivia, you can watch “Morticia’s Romance, Part 1”, Tombstone Trivia which is much like the VH-1 hit back then, Pop-Up Video’s.
The discs include the following episodes:
Disc One, Side A: “Thing is Missing”, “Crisis in the Addams Family”, “Lurch and his Harpsichord” and “Morticia, the Breadwinner”. Side B: “The Addams Family and the Spaceman”, “My Son, the Chimp”, “Morticia’s Favorite Charity”, “Progress and the Addams Family”.
Disc Two, Side A: “Uncle Fester’s Toupee”, “Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor”, “Lurch, the Teenage Idol” and “The Winning of Morticia Addams”. Side B: “My Fair Cousin Itt”, “Morticia’s Romance Part 1 and 2” and “Morticia Meets Royalty”.
Disc Three, Side A: “Gomez, the People’s Choice”, “Cousin Itt’s Problem”, “Halloween – Addams Style” and “Morticia, the Writer” while Side B finishes off with “Morticia, the Scupltress” and the additional special features “Mad About the Addams” and “Guest Star Séance”. Gomez only gets his name in one episode… poor guy, I wonder if it ever ticked him off being that Morticia's name is almost in every title.
I’ll say this here and now, but Carolyn Jones was hot. Really, she had the long black dress and the long black hair and just looked damn stunning. And as for the show itself, it is a truly entertaining and unique slice of classic television that is still fun to watch. The cast is worthwhile, aside from the kids, and it has a fun and simple gothic elegance. In comparison to modern day sitcoms, I actually prefer The Addams Family because of the old-fashioned appeal. There is sweetness to it, with a family that really loves each other and the children aren’t smart-asses (although they were annoying). If you are looking for sweet, petite and neat… The Addams Family is the one to beat.