Director: Dennis Steinmetz
Writer: George Tibbles
Cast: John Astin, Ted Cassidy, Jackie Coogan, Carolyn Jones, Henry Darrow, Jane Rose, Elvia Allman, Vito Scotti, Parley Baer, Patrick Campbell, Dean Sothern, Felix Silla, Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax, Jennifer Surprenant, Ken Marquis, Terry Miller, David Johns, Clinton Beyerle, George Ranito Jordan, and Suzanne Krarna
Composer: Vic Mizzy
Release Date: 10/30/1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
While preparing for Halloween, Addams family members Gomez (John Astin), Pancho (Henry Darrow), Morticia (Carolyn Jones), Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), Grandmama (Jane Rose), Cousin Itt (Felix Silla), Wednesday Jr. (Jennifer Surprenant), Wednesday Sr. (Lisa Loring), Pugsley Jr. (Ken Marquis), and Pugsley Sr. (Ken Weatherwax) await the arrival of Cousin Shy—a legendary figure who carves pumpkins for children on Halloween night. Trouble arises when two crooks, one of whom evokes an amorous reaction from Lurch (Ted Cassidy) while disguised as Little Bo Peep, attempt to steal the family fortune.
A slapdash remake of “Halloween with the Addams Family” from season one of the original series, this obscure television special offers no improvement over the episode that inspired it. Especially awful is the convoluted premise for Halloween with the New Addams Family, which leaves little room to acquaint/reacquaint the audience with characters new and old.
For remaining fresh and capable after an eleven-year break from the subject matter, actors John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, and Ted Cassidy deserve praise from fans of The Addams Family—much in contrast to Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis, whose portrayals of Herman and Grandpa in The Munsters’ Revenge (a 1981 revival attempt) can hardly be described as amusing.
In the opening sequence, Gomez and Morticia reveal that two young children, Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr., now belong to the Addams family. Superfluous additions to an already bloated cast of characters, Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr. fail to enhance the narrative of George Tibbles (an occasional contributor to The Munsters) and instead detract attention from Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, Uncle Fester, and other members of the core group.
Additionally worth criticizing are the repetitive comedic devices employed in Halloween with the New Addams Family, which often border on tedious. At one point, for example, two bodyguards fasten Gomez and Morticia to a chair upon receiving orders to dispose of them. Believing himself a participant in an elaborate game, Gomez calls upon Wednesday for assistance. After escaping, Gomez is subsequently captured and confined twice more, prompting him to enlist the aid of Wednesday a second and third time—a mildly humorous but terribly overplayed situation.
On a minor note, the iconic theme music of Vic Mizzy is never present except in the form of a mediocre, if not thoroughly forgettable, remix that plays over the introductory credits. Also absent are the characteristic noises produced by Cousin Itt, the voice of whom lacks an extremely high pitch to complement his trademark gibberish.
Lastly, as opposed to the bleak and dreary atmosphere that defined many episodes of The Addams Family, Halloween with the New Addams Family showcases a variety of rich and vibrant colors in practically every scene. Viewers may therefore struggle to accept the mood of this film, the accidental cheerfulness of which frequently clashes with the dark, morbid tendencies exemplified by the eponymous family.
Similar to the source material, this production emphasizes family values in a kooky but benign setting—arguably the only highlight of Tibbles’ aforementioned narrative.
Halloween with the New Addams Family is a poorly made, groan-inducing effort that will likely appeal only to diehard enthusiasts of the characters created by Charles Addams. Casual fans, on the other hand, should avoid this offering at all costs.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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