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Saturday, 19 October 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Addams Family Reunion (1998)


Continuing the discussion about what makes a horror film, the Addams Family has always used tropes of the horror genre, albeit for comedic effect, so I think my discovery of a third movie - that I'd previously not known about - in the franchise counts for this month's challenge.

Like most right-thinking people I'd always understood that the Addams Family movie franchise ended with 1993's Addams Family Values.

But it turns out I was wrong.

Five years later a TV movie, Addams Family Reunion, was snuck out with an almost entirely new cast (only Carel Struycken and Christopher Hart returned as Lurch and Thing respectively) that was supposedly in the same continuity.

The hot take on this 90-minute effort is that it makes Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan look like high art in comparison.

When their grandparents (Kevin McCarthy and Estelle Harris) show up for a visit, Gomez (Tim Curry) and Morticia (Daryl Hannah) realise they are suffering from Waltzheimers (an affliction that leads to a "tendency towards ordinary behaviour and ballroom dancing").

Determined to find a cure, Gomez decides to consult with the many members of the Addams family across the globe, in the hope of finding a possible home remedy.

Fortuitously, having contacted a local family history organisation, he is invited to a family reunion event.

Unfortunately, a computer glitch has sent him an invitation to an Adams family reunion, at the Primrose Resort.

Hilarity ensues (no, it doesn't really), as the Addams family roll up to mingle with the straight-laced (but conniving) members of Adams family, who are trying to sucker their patriarch, Walter Adams (Ray Walston), out of his fortune.

Meanwhile two members of the Adams family have been sent - courtesy of the same glitch - to the address of The Addams Family Mansion, where their sanity is sorely tested (as is our patience, as this sub-plot goes nowhere beyond a series of slapstick gags).

Most of the so-called comedy is very on-the-nose, while some of it hasn't aged well, like the storyline about poisoning a pensioner with dementia and Lurch turning into a sleep-walking sexual predator.

While the adults are off having hijinks, the sub-plot the children are railroaded into tries to recapture the thematic magic of the legendary summer camp scenes from Addams Family Values, but fails dramatically.

Pugsley (Jerry Messing) gets a girlfriend, which is something I suppose, but she inexplicably disappears towards the finale.

While Patrick Thomas's overacting as Uncle Fester plumbs new depths of annoyance, Tim Curry is - of course - quite magnificent as Gomez, while Daryl Hannah is simply odd as Morticia.

Shockingly - given that she is trying to fill the boots of Christina Ricci's definitive take on Wednesday Addams - Nicole Fugere makes a very different, and very convincing, Wednesday.

She would go on to play the same character in the one season of The New Addams Family TV show, and while it could never touch the brilliance of the original TV show, I'd be quite tempted to track this down just to check out Nicole Fugere's deadpan Wednesday.

Except for Tim Curry's turn as Gomez and Fugere's Wednesday, there is almost nothing to recommend this film except to Addams Family completists.

It's neither clever nor interesting, and is best left forgotten.

GAME MATERIAL



Metzgerhund

Created by a particularly devious wizard, the Metzgerhund is a deceptive companion (although not a familiar) that spends the majority of its life as a pale, skinny, canine the size of a toy breed (picture left).

However, when its master speaks a particular magical phrase (usually something you wouldn't normally associate with keeping a pet), the creature transforms into a stocky, dark, creature the size of a bulldog.

It even grows small spikes down the ridge of its nose and along part of its back, and its collar (should it wearing one) also develops defensive spikes.

These creatures have been trained to attack the head and face when possible.

#ENC: 1
HD: 1 (original) / 3 (transformed)
AC: 7 [12] (original) / 5 [14] (transformed)
Atk: bite, 1d3 (original) / 1d6+1, bite (transformed)
MV: 15 (original) / 18 (transformed)
SV: 17 (original) / 14 (transformed)
SPECIAL:

  • Training: A transformed Metzgerhund targets a foe's head as much as possible, ripping at the face and hair. Any natural roll of a 19 or 20 by the creature does double damage.
  • Immunities: As a magical construct, it is immune to any mental control magic, sleep, command etc

CL/XP: 3/60


FILMS WATCHED: 30
NEW TO ME: 23

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