The Addams Family films, in grotesque mockery of a 1930s nuclear family, bring new meaning to “2.5 kids and a dog” when they eat their third child and keep on a disembodied hand to retrieve their mail. The Addams Family lovingly encourages weirdness, a refreshing change from most 90s-era children’s claptrap.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
So none of the memorable lines belong to Buttercup, despite the fact that she’s the title character. That aside, Princess Bride seamlessly combines comedy, action, and romance in a playful satire of children’s fairy tales. From Vizzini’s “Inconceivable!” to Inigo Montoya’s search for a six-fingered father-slayer, the film pleases everyone (except the Blockbuster employees who don’t know which section to shelve it in). It’s basically impossible to dislike a movie this charming. And besides, Cary Elwes.
Neon, monsters, and Fred Savage equal really funny, really scary stuff. Like the tagline reads: “Sometimes friends can be REAL MONSTERS. And sometimes monsters can be REAL FRIENDS.” And, let’s face it, monster friends like Maurice, could kick Ron’s ass.
RETURN TO OZThe unofficial sequel to the Wizard of Oz, made 46 years after the original, is darker, more sinister, and much, much scarier than the 1939 yellow-brick-road classic (and Potter doesn’t hold a floating candle to Return to Oz). Dorothy (played by a pigtailed Fairuza Balk) gets shipped off to the loony bin, transported to Oz with her talking chicken Billina, meets up with Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik-Tok, the evil Wheelers, the Nome King, and most haunting of all, Mombi and her cases full of interchangeable heads.
BEETLE JUICEHighlight numero uno is when the dinner table gets possessed, the guests shimmy to the “Banana Boat Song,” and crab claws shoot out plates and toss everyone to the floor. Gothy Winona Ryder befriends the homey ghost couple (Gena Davis and Alec Baldwin) and is almost forced to marry sleaze ghost Michael Keaton.
FLIGHT OF DRAGONSCame out around the same time as The Last Unicorn (which might be part of the reason it was a straight-to-video affair), but the animation is fresh and elegant, the dragons are alternately vicious and bumbling, the quest plot captivates, and the closing scene ― where technology and magic come face-to-face is still powerful.
GREMLINSGremlins blends horror and comedy in a tale of an imported Chinese pet that, when not properly cared for, spawns a brood of bloodthirsty monsters. Luckily for the negligent American family in question, the gremlins have a weakness for ordinary kitchen appliances.
THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION
A kid’s hair falls out from fright (harum-scarum); he gets a magical goo to spread on his scalp in which peanut butter features as the main ingredient; kid’s hair grows and grows, and not just on his head. And turns out a painter needs brushes made with human hair. It’s billed as a comedy, but it’s actually terrifying.
THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSENIt’s a like a Dali painting. With more explosions. And Robin Williams.
In an enigmatic blend of influences (Beauty and the Beast, Frankenstein, and Tim Burton’s own life experiences), Edward Scissorhands features an unfinished robot recluse who struggles to find his niche in friends, art, and life. Johnny Depp’s stunning portrayal of Edward and his connection with Burton’s style kick-started further projects involving the now-famous duo.
Nothing like a psychedelic boat ride down a chocolate river into the heart of a candy factory… You guys ever wonder why it’s called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Wonka’s factory makes all types of candies? Hmm. Anyway, Gene Wilder is scrumdidlyumptious in the original, where Johnny Depp is just didily in the remake — yucky, mud, yikes.
WILLIE WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
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