Wednesday: 5 films that influenced Tim Burton’s Addams Family spinoff, from Carrie to Scooby-Doo

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday, Scooby Doo and Shaggy from the movie, and CarrieNetflix/Warner Bros.

From Carrie and Scooby-Doo to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, these are the films that influenced Addams Family spinoff Wednesday.

Tim Burton has overseen a new eight-part Netflix series that focuses on Wednesday Addams. The brilliant Jenna Ortega plays the title role, while Catherine Zeta-Jones is Morticia, and Luis Guzman plays Gomez. You can read our spoiler-free review of Episode 1 here.

The show is nothing like the original Addams Family show, as where that series went for broad laughs, this is gothic horror with a few gags but just as many violent kills.

There are also times when Wednesday wears its many influences on its sleeve, with the following five of the best. Just beware of mild spoilers ahead.

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The Addams Family (1991)

The Addams Family in their first film.Columbia Pictures.
The 1991 Addams Family.

We’re starting with the obvious, via 1991’s The Addams Family, a movie that had more in common with Charles Addam’s original comic-strip than the aforementioned TV show. Barry Sonnenfeld directed the movie, and his visual style has often been compared to Tim Burton. Though the early Coen Brothers movies that Sonnenfeld DP-ed suggest he did it first.

Wednesday also pays homage to the movie on multiple occasions, from the title character sleeping with her arms crossed and talking about eating girl scouts, to sailing in a canoe, Addams Family Values-style. The 1991 Wednesday Addams – Christina Ricci – even appears, playing a teacher called Miss Thornhill.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.20th Century Fox
There are “peculiar children” in both this film, and the Netflix show.

This 2016 Tim Burton movie – based on a 2011 book of the same name by Ransom Riggs – revolves around a place where the so-called “Peculiar” can co-exist away from judging eyes, so a bit like Nevermore, the school where much of Wednesday takes place.

Like some of the teenagers in Wednesday, several of the Peculiars possess powers. And there’s a fair bit of crossover, thanks to a gorgon, prophetic visions, a kid connected to bees, and someone who reanimates the dead.

Scooby-Doo (2002)

Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.Warner Bros.
Thing is pretty much Scooby-Doo in the series.

Wednesday has quite a lot in common with both the Scooby-Doo cartoon and movies. Wednesday spends much of the series investigating mysteries, and by the end of the series, she’s got a gang helping her that’s not unlike Mystery Incorporated, with Thing their equivalent of the titular dog.

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Like Scooby-Doo, there are monsters and magic and things going bump in the night. While no one is quite what they seem in Wednesday, in that Scooby-Doo way of unmasking the villain who then moans about “meddling kids” ruining their plan.

Carrie (1976)

Sissy Spacek in Carrie.United Artists
Carrie inspires an entire episode of Wednesday.

Based on the bestselling book by Stephen King, 1976 movie Carrie concerns a troubled teen with telekinetic powers. Wednesday has no such talent – that we know of – though she does experience terrifying visions that unlock the past.

However, Episode 4 – entitled ‘Woe What a Night’ – pays homage to the most famous moment in Brian De Palma’s classic. The scene in question takes place during the Rav’N Dance, and involves what looks like blood. Lots of it. Though with Wednesday being a comedy, this version of the horror is also pretty funny.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

David Thewlis and Daniel Radcliff in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.Warner Bros.
Azkaban is clearly a BIG influence on Wednesday.

Harry Potter is all over Wednesday, from the role that the title character plays, to the school she attends being like Hogwarts, to the attendees having special names for those who don’t (muggles = normies). So Harry Potter had to be on this list.

We’ve picked Prisoner of Azkaban because Alfonso Cuaron’s movie is the most visually arresting Potter movie, and Wednesday’s visuals are similarly beautiful. But also because it features Remus Lupin’s werewolf sub-plot; creatures who play a major role in the Netflix show thanks to Wednesday’s burgeoning friendship with lycan Enid. In both instances, rather than being villains or anti-heroes, the werewolves are very much heroes.

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Wednesday streams on Netflix from tomorrow, while you can read our spoiler-free review of Episode 1 here.