Home » The Addams Family 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-Ray Scalds with Nostalgic Joy

The Addams Family 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-Ray Scalds with Nostalgic Joy

Addams Family Scalds Carolers

Almost every generation has its own Addams Family adaptation. First appearing in 1938 one-panel New Yorker cartoons, the gothic family created by artist Charles Addams has starred in sitcoms, Saturday morning cartoons, a Broadway musical and feature films, including a new animated sequel released earlier this year.

Fans have favorites, and all iterations contribute to the weird comic canon. But a standout on the adaptation front is of course Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 The Addams Family starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and a 10-year-old Christina Ricci as Wednesday in a star-making turn.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary, a new and expanded version is being rolled out in a 4K Ultra HD edition. “With MORE Mamushka!” touted on the cover. The original theatrical cut is included as well. 

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It’s a sharp transfer with rich, if dark, color and nuanced sound, and it’s a wonderful way to revisit the Addams world captured by Sonnenfeld, whose background was in cinematography when he took the director’s chair.

Even in 1991 with reruns of the 1960s version still a recent memory for many, Julia, Huston and Lloyd became Gomez, Morticia and Uncle Fester Addams in a dark and delightful cinematic landscape. Carel Struycken also managed to turn the virtually silent role of butler Lurch that Ted “You Rang?”Cassidy had owned into something fresh.

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The disc allows a viewing experience that original theatrical patrons should find nostalgic. It was for me. My wife and I were newly married when it was released, and it was our first holiday film that year. It holds up well and should be a great experience for first-timers as well. 

The canvas is really where the production excels. Above all, the film captures the twisted spirit of the original black-and-white snapshots of Charles Addams’ weird characters. It opens, in fact, with a moment snatched directly from a one-panel, and the sensibility is inherent in every reel. Reflections of other cartoons are sprinkled through the story as well, including one that depicted tiny passengers peering out train windows to see a giant Addams in control of their ride.

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The plot, on the other hand, is mainly a vehicle to let the world unfold. Cash-strapped lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya) hatches a scheme to slip an imposter who looks like long-lost Uncle Fester into the family to snatch treasures hidden in the Addams’ mansion. That’s cause for celebration, and suspicion, and celebration!

The festivities allow for visits from Cousin Itt, shenanigans by the disembodied Thing (Christopher Hart) and the newly titular mamushka. It’s a Slavic-folk-dance-inspired number that was truncated in the original release. There’s more singing from Gomez, more kicks and flips from Gomez and Fester, plus extra cutaways to Addams guests and extended family members.

For purists, the original PG-13 cut is included on the disc as well. The More Mamushka version is unrated but doesn’t really step beyond the boundaries of the original rating.

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Extras are sparse, just two mini-documentaries. The best includes a new interview with Sonnenfeld with a brief spotlight on actor-magician Hart whose nimble fingers made Thing memorable. The other is a nineties promotional featurette that’s a fun “backstage” look at the production design.

The disc release is out now, so look for it when you’re doing your holiday shopping.

Wicked Rating: 9/10

Director:  Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson and Charles Addams (creator)
4K Release Date: November 24, 2021

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Written by Sidney Williams
Sidney Williams is an author and comics writer. He's a former full-time journalist and has conducted hundreds of celebrity interviews.
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