After the sad death of brilliant actor Raul Julia, the “Addams Family” film series was put to rest, despite both films being big commercial hits for their respective years. Almost immediately, Paramount sold the rights to the series to, baffling enough, Saban Entertainment. Saban, of course, is known for producing cheap but popular kids entertainment like “Power Rangers” and “Digimon.” The Saban label at the opening is almost a black mark on the entire movie, as the reboot of the reboot is a bargain basement third entry in to the series with all the cast replaced save for Lurch. The dark and Gothic aesthetic is missing, and comically sinister tone the series perfects is considerably watered down with the film feeling less like Tim Burton, and more like the terrible pilot to a show that never quite took off.
With the success of the first installment of the nineties “Addams Family” (however minimal), a sequel was only inevitable. The follow up is a turning point for the movies where the writers put the more popular side characters in to the forefront. This time around Fester and the kids get so much more focus, as Barry Sonnenfeld allows Fester more of the spotlight this time around. After the big reveal in the first film, Morticia and Gomez have a baby boy and much to their disappointment, Wednesday and Pugsley hate him. Despite making their feelings quite apparent, they persist in trying to kill their new baby brother, causing more headaches for their parents.
Among some of the best adaptations during the odd period in the nineties where every studio was putting sixties shows to film, “The Addams Family” is one of the best. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Addams Family together again after the cult series, Barry Sonnenfeld offers up a unique retelling of the Addams Family that works well. The biggest change to the lore is now Uncle Fester is no longer Morticia’s uncle but an Addams’ and Gomez’s brother. This allows the writers to offer up a pretty fun and unique re-visiting of the family where the primary brood is played by some brilliant actors.
A lot of what makes Addams Family such a fun series is the darkly comic and sinister tone and great sense of Goth that comes with it. It’s not often I say this but watching the rare 1977 movie is kind of a chore to sit through, and you can sense it’s not a good movie at all once you gander at the grainy video and lack of production quality. This attempt at a series revival is a “feature length” television movie that is supposed to set off the new Addams Family. For some reason this is a reboot with the entire cast from the original series all over again, right down to an adult Wednesday and Pugsley. “Halloween with the Addams Family” isn’t just abysmal, but it’s boring, and painfully silly.
Directed by David Cairns who co-wrote with Alex Livingstone, The Northleach Horror is a comedic take on the wartime insane scientist scenario. They take something that has been done before and breathe fresh air into it with a sense of humor that can only be from the UK. This sense of humor makes the film as it’s dark, it’s inappropriate, yet it’s so funny. The way the humor works is perfectly paired with the film’s darkness while it also balances it out. The entire film is soaked in this humor and riddled with inappropriate jokes that work perfectly. Of course, this is for someone who has a similar sense of humor and some might not find it to their taste, but horror fans should be quite pleased.
Written and directed by Ruth Pickett, The Honeymoon is anything but subtle and that works for it. The sex den these newly wed land into is just perfect and hilarious given their expectations. The way she uses these newlyweds in comparison with the lady who keeps the B&B works on the humor side and also as a bit of a message on society’s divide in terms of sexuality and many other subjects. Here she uses this mostly for laughs but it works on many other levels. The film’s subject is a bit ridiculous, but the humor makes it quite something. The humor here is rather in your face and uses sex a lot for laughs, but as people living a society where sex is taboo still, this works to bring the funny and make the film quite entertaining.
Written and directed by Dick Maas, Prey is a horror comedy film with its comedy very dark and its horror a bit light. The film takes the wild animal on the loose premise and moves it to the city of Amsterdam where the idea of a killer lion on the loose is particularly ludicrous. The way the film develops this and adds hunters, both experienced and not so much, who once paired with the local police becomes a bit of a mess in terms of lion-chasing but a fun watch in terms of horror-comedy. The film shows an ability to pit characters against each other in a way that is entertaining while they all face the lion threat. The comedy is often situational and takes advantage of the characters’ flaws in a way that works well here. The direction is rather on point for the comedy and fairly good on the horror. However, as a horror film, it has just about no scare factor.