Gothic, novel

Published date22 November 2022
Publication titleSignal
DONE right, The Addams Family has the potential to be one of the most pure-fun franchises that Hollywood has. It’s a joyously macabre antidote to the white-picket-fence American dream, with a good old-fashioned gothic tradition and all the best bits of modern Halloween — severed limbs as a joke, big spiders, being very horny in a slightly weird way — thrown in

In the 1990s, the films The Addams Family and Addams Family Values took Charles Addams’ source material and played it along perfectly spooky lines, with Anjelica Huston and Christopher Lloyd vamping it up to the maximum and Christina Ricci playing a wonderfully psychotic little Wednesday. The question is, do you trust Netflix — the people who made both Tall Girl and Tall Girl 2, may I remind you – to carry on that fine tradition?

Well, they’ve smashed it. The first perfect choice is the format — Wednesday casts Jenna Ortega, an Aubrey Plaza re-gen who is primed for stardom, as the titular Addams child, sending her to spooky boarding school Nevermore Academy after an incident involving piranhas, a swimming pool full of jocks and a lost testicle. There are sirens and lycans and vampires, but not in a Twilight way, and Wednesday is considered the weirdest weirdo at a school where a lot of the students legitimately feast on blood. What made Addams Family Values so funny almost 30 (what!) years ago was the contrast of the idiosyncratic vaudeville goth family (with an undead chauffeur and a pet severed hand) with cul-de-sac-and-prom-queen America. Here, they’ve tweaked the formula in a satisfying way: Wednesday’s sparklingly colourful roommate, Enid, could so easily have been written as a cheerful airhead who doesn’t “get” her new companion. Instead, she’s more than equipped to deal with her goth posturing while having a story of her own.

Second is the casting, which I think would be impossible to get more right. As Morticia, Catherine Zeta-Jones is less chewing the scenery than ravishing it at every glance, and Luis Guzman is playing Gomez less as a frenzied lothario and more as a man who has been so agonisingly horny for so long it has sent him stupid. Gwendoline Christie’s in it being great, as ever, and it’s...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT