I saw The Addams Family movie on the television the other week. I enjoyed it. (Please note that this is probably as close to a film review as you will ever get from me on FT, but before you point me in the direction of Do You See to exercise my new-found cineastic skills, hear me out). Although it was the first time I’d watched the film, lots of the script was familiar to me, because a decade or so ago I played a great deal on the pinball machine film tie-in.

The Addams Family is by no means a classic pinball machine (though a quick web search suggests it’s the best-selling ever!), but it was installed in a few of my haunts and we got used to each other. When the ball went down a hole, say, or you managed to trigger a feature, a little clip of dialogue from the film played, generally a laugh line or a few words from a key moment. More or less meaningless, of course, if you hadn’t seen the movie.

So when watching the film, all the best moments were coloured by little shocks of recognition from my days on the pin table. When I hear Gomez saying ‘fumes, toxic waste’ it’s all ours’ I’m immediately thinking of the pleasure of locking a ball in the Swamp. It feels good but it distracts me from the film as I try to remember what exactly I had to do to ‘WAKE THE DEAD’ or whatever.

And I’m left feeling like the film’s a spin-off from the pinball machine, and the story is like one of those narratives you get on fan-sites, where loads of a band’s song titles are tacked together to form a story which makes little or no sense. Loads of good one-liners though, and gratifying to see how many of the phrases broadcast across the bar were very, very mucky indeed.