On October 24, 1994, Raul Julia died from complications from a stroke he’d suffered only days earlier. For any fan of the man who brought such iconic characters as M. Bison (Street Fighter) and Valentin Arregui (Kiss of the Spider Woman) to life on the big screen, it was hard news to hear. Since beginning his career in the early 70s, Julia amassed a huge following of fans that faithfully followed him through the ups and downs of his twenty-plus year career.
For me, the first time I realized who he was came the first time I saw 1991’s The Addams Family and watched as Gomez and Morticia (Angelica Houston) showed the most unconventional of love stories that, to this day, remains one of the greatest relationship goals to strive for; they not only adored each other without end but each others’ quirks and eccentricities. Their love defied all logic and reason and was a fire that was meant to burn for all time. With the death of Raul Julia, that love was snuffed out as there were no moves made to make a Gomez-free sequel.
But what if they had? What if we had seen what became of the Addams family in the wake of their patriarch’s death? Where would that have left Wednesday, Pugsley, Pubert, Grandmama and, most importantly and intriguingly, Morticia? I’ve been having a few thoughts about that after finding The Addams Family and Addams Family Values on Netflix and have to one conclusion: we lost out on what might have been the most heartfelt dark comedy never made.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
It’s been twenty years since Gomez died – perhaps saving his beloved – and no one has heard from Moriticia in all that time. Wednesday and Pugsley are on their own, with their own lives and families, Pubert is away at college. Uncle Fester takes care of a dying Grandmama in a manor that was once filled with wicked joy and frightening life. Days before the anniversary of Gomez’s death, Grandmama dies and Fester reaches out to his neice and nephews to come home for the funeral.
When the Addams children arrive, they don’t see the home they loved but as something different, something… bright. Scarier than the healthy garden is the sight of Morticia basking in the sun, a golden tan covering her porcelain skin and dressed in a flowing white gown. Most frighteningly, the roses are in full bloom. Wednesday quickly sees that there are many things that’d been kept from her since she left to begin her own life. Worried for her mother, she soon recruits her brothers in a plan to help their dear mother rediscover herself.
What follows is the journey of one woman who, when her love died, believed she’d lost all meaning. We watch as she comes out from the waking coma and slowly reclaims the darkness that made her whole.
HOPE FROM PAIN
As wild and ridiculous the movies got, at the heart of both were the unbreakable bonds of family and how much each member becomes a part of the others. When one of those members is suddenly and tragically ripped away, it sends out ripples that never stop growing. If we’d been shown not only the pain of losing him but of hope as Morticia built herself back up and found that moving on didn’t take away from the love she’d shared with him but also honored his memory by no longer closing herself off to the life she still had yet to live and experience.
We, flawed and broken and emotion human beings, are always searching for hope. The world we live in can be mean and scary and ugly yet we move on. But to do so, to continue that fight for a better life, we need examples and inspiration. Entertainment fills that need, especially when it’s something that crosses generations and brings joy to countless individuals.
If you’re like me, you don’t exactly fall into the so-called “normal” category. When it comes to relationship goals, I’ve got Al and Peg Bundy (Married… with Children) and Gomez and Morticia Addams. Seeing these kinds of couples, as unusual as they are from the typical daytime heroes, was always a reassurance that I, and those of you like me, do have a chance at happiness without twisting ourselves into someone else. To see Morticia lose her Gomez and, in time, rediscover her inner strength and joy would also, as sad as her loss would be, another ray of hope; even if the weirdoes lose their perfect half, life doesn’t end and is, in fact, a beginning.
While I understand why there was no third film that dealt with a deceased Gomez, I believe enough time has passed that no one would be hurt or offended. I also know that something like this would be embraced by not only current fans of the films but to others who feel they are more Addams than Smith. Hollywood spends billions making films with no other message than mindless fun (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing as mindless fun is also something we can all use) so how about one that tells a truly heartfelt story not written by Nicholas Sparks?