Graveyard Shift

Dark And Morbidly Funny Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The '90s Addams Family Films  

Jacob Shelton
162k views 14 items

If you were a kid in the ‘90s, then Barry Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family films were probably rays of moonlight in your life. Where else could you find a family of beautiful eccentrics living in a gothic mansion and having a great time?

The cast and crew stayed mostly the same for both 1991's The Addams Family and 1993's Addams Family Values, so everyone established close bonds. Some great stories from behind the scenes came to light, too. The actors spilled the beans about various strange occurrences on set and how often the director passed out while filming, but their memories are fond ones. The eccentric tales are also somewhat endearing. Would you expect anything less from the macabre, yet lovable Addams clan? 

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Test Audiences Thought Wednesday Took Out Amanda
Test Audiences Thought Wednesd... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Dark And Morbidly Funny Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The '90s Addams Family Films
Photo:  Addams Family Values/Paramount Pictures

During the Thanksgiving play finale in Addams Family Values, Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) makes her acquaintances affix Amanda Buckman (Mercedes McNab) to a post. Then, the 12-year-old puts an apple into her nemesis's mouth, pours gas, and flicks a match. Apparently, test audiences thought this scene was excessive, especially since in an initial cut of the film, Amanda never returned to the screen.

McNab noted the producers "didn't want kids watching the movie to think [Amanda didn't make it] because that obviously doesn't really look too good for them to be out there [harming] children, no matter how awful the child is."

To appease the masses, Amanda appeared in the movie a final time: she was with her parents, flying home from camp.

Carol Kane's Prosthetics Weighed Her Down
Carol Kane's Prosthetics Weigh... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Dark And Morbidly Funny Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The '90s Addams Family Films
Photo:  Addams Family Values/Paramount Pictures

Carol Kane stepped into the part of Grandmama in Addams Family Values, taking over for Judith Malina. Her friendships with Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia made the role even more appealing, and she had worked with Christopher Lloyd on Taxi.

Kane had a lot of fun, but her prosthetics made shooting a challenge. She discussed the cosmetic process, noting:

I had to do everything short of pray to talk them out of using prosthetics on me. They did their very best to make me very old, but you know, they wanted more than old: they wanted hundreds of years old!

Her fake visage took four hours to apply and one hour to remove. Plus, her wig weighed five pounds.

Animating Thing Was Incredibly Difficult
Animating Thing Was Incredibly... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Dark And Morbidly Funny Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The '90s Addams Family Films
Photo:  The Addams Family/Paramount Pictures

Christopher Hart, the actor/magician who played Thing in both Addams Family films, got into some weird situations to portray a living hand. To get the correct posture for the character, he lay face down on a dolly, wearing a black leotard; crew members pushed him around set. Hart was digitally edited out later.

More complex effects required the use of stop-motion animation - a time-consuming process. Consequently, a 10-second scene where Thing jumps between lily pads took eight hours to film.

Christopher Lloyd Thought He Was Going To Lose His Job
Christopher Lloyd Thought He W... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Dark And Morbidly Funny Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The '90s Addams Family Films
Photo:  The Addams Family/Paramount Pictures

Christopher Lloyd loved the original Addams Family TV show and Uncle Fester's character in childhood. He remembered:

"When I first got the role of Fester, I was so excited. I was an avid fan of Charles Addams's cartoons when I was an adolescent. Fester was a favorite of mine. I loved his mischievous personality. Decades later, I got a call to be in the film, to be Uncle Fester. I was blown away: what are the odds!"

However, Lloyd felt discouraged after an initial screen test in which he wore heavy prosthetics. When he was called in to speak to the producers, he was convinced he was going to be replaced - but that wasn't the case at all. The creative team just wanted him to act without all the extra makeup.