1. Anjelica Huston was 40 when she played Morticia. Considering that it’s very hard for women over 40 (who aren’t A-listers) to get lead parts, that’s already a milestone. But she’s also sexy. Incredibly sexy. Yes, she’s playing the mother of a pair of preteens, but she appears immaculately (and eerily) beautiful in every scene she’s in. How often do we see a mother character who is genuinely sexy?
2. Morticia and Gomez Addams are famously in love with each other. What set the 1960s series apart from all other sitcoms was that this was a married couple who were crazy about each other, instead of fighting. In the film, this tradition of their great love affair continues. There are no mother-in-law jokes, both take responsibility in raising the children, and have a very healthy sex life. So many stories have the love story end at marriage, or have the couple grow to loathe each other over time. Just think of it - a loving marriage was groundbreaking.
3. Addams Family Values explicitly challenges conformist WASPs at the Summer Camp that Wednesday and Pugsley stay at. The siblings absolutely refuse to compromise themselves and pretend to be happy or to enjoy sickeningly sappy things (like Annie the musical). The camp counsellors show favouritism to the traditionally attractive blonde white rich kids, and it’s made quite obvious how hateful and hypocritical they really are. At the end of the movie, Wednesday and the other “outcasts” (meaning everyone remotely considered a minority) deliberately sabotage the counsellors’ tremendously racist Thanksgiving play by symbolically enacting revenge for the genocide that Native Americans suffered at the hands of white people.
4. Despite the Addamses having both a boy and a girl child (at least in the first film), it is the girl that gets the good parts. That doesn’t happen very often at all - other examples of media that have a male and female sibling almost always emphasize the brother. Christina Ricci’s sarcastic and deadpan portrayal of Wednesday is one of the highlights of an already perfectly cast set of films. It contrasts sharply with the cheerful Wednesday from the TV version, but I can’t be the only one longing for more sardonic brunette girls in family movies…who aren’t the villains.
5. The climax of The Addams Family seemingly has a damsel-in-distress situation…except that it’s been turned on its head. Morticia…enjoys…being tied up and tortured. Yep kiddies, here’s your first introduction to bondage and BDSM! It’s played for laughs of course, as it always is, but notice that when Gomez and Morticia discuss her predicament, it’s with absolute passion. Their kinkiness is just another aspect of their already healthy sex life. And in the end, the damsel-in-distress isn’t really in distress at all! Sure, she needed to be untied, but Morticia was definitely not in any danger.