4 of 25: Addams Family Values

I grew up the daughter of a horror and science fiction lover, which may explain a lot about me to anyone who knows me. My father is a great fan of the dark and the macabre, the frightening and the scary – but when you have a young child, you have to find something of a middle ground. Enter the Addams Family…

Now, for my family, the ultimate iteration of the Addams Family is from the 1991 film of the same name, and its sequel, Addams Family Values. For me, Raul Julia just is Gomez Addams, and no matter what I see her in and however much time passes, Christina Ricci will always be Wednesday Addams.

Ah, Wednesday Addams – how I could wax lyrical about what a childhood icon she was to me. In fact, I got the chance to do just that on the BFI website a few years ago. I could only encapsulate my admiration in a mere 150 words, but the sentiment still remains – Wednesday Addams was, and still is, my gothic queen.

And it was in the 1993 film, Addams Family Values, that this fact was cemented for me. While I love the 1991 Addams Family film, the children (Wednesday and Pugsley) are given more autonomy in the sequel. Not only that, but the film’s villain is a work of utter genius. Joan Cusack charms and horrifies as the psychotic black widow, Debbie, and I still to this day am deeply saddened that Cusack has never really had the career she deserves. She is one of many talented character actresses who has seemingly been sidelined by Hollywood, for whatever reason – though that reason is certainly not for lack of talent.

For me, the Addams Family were something affirming for a person who had never been comfortable fitting into a mould. As a child, I had never been particularly girly, but neither had I really been a tomboy. In my teens, I cut my hair short into a pixie style, which was viewed with some casual animosity by certain people at my own and neighbouring schools. I was something of an androgyne, never one to follow a trend, and that wasn’t always a comfortable position to be in. But the Addams Family represented to me the fact that it was okay to be different, that there was nothing wrong with not being exactly like everyone else. They had the strength of their convictions to be themselves, and that, in my eyes, is a very beautiful thing.