Becoming Morticia For The Addams Family Was An 'Exhausting' Process For Anjelica Houston

Morticia Addams is #GothGirlGoals, but Anjelica Houston had a heck of a time portraying the macabre matriarch in the 1992 classic "The Addams Family." While Morticia is fairly fond of torture, Huston wasn't exactly a fan of the lengths required to create the cartoonish appearance of her creepy character. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 1991, during the filming of "The Addams Family," Huston opened up about how much she felt "at home" in Morticia's skin, even if she was horribly uncomfortable because of her clothing and makeup. 

In order to create the hourglass figure and line-less, ageless face of mama Morticia, Huston had to put up with some pretty serious pain, wearing a metal corset and having extensive makeup pulling her skin taught. The results are incredible, but they were absolutely exhausting for Huston to endure. It's honestly kind of amazing she came back for "Addams Family Values," but maybe she learned a thing or two about masochism from Morticia. 

The torture of body-shaping underwear

In the same interview with EW, director Barry Sonnenfeld explained that Morticia's figure is inhuman, and unfortunately that meant some serious corsetry for Huston:

"Morticia has a shape only a cartoonist can draw, so we lashed Anjelica into a metal corset that created this hips-and-waist thing I've never seen any woman have in reality."

Corsets were invented in the middle ages to help define a person's shape. They were usually a women's garment, though some men's corsets did (and do) exist. Corsetry uses boning made out of steel or genuine whale bone to force the rib cage and abdomen into a new shape. While the results can be visually appealing and some find wearing a corset oddly comfortable because of the extra back support, there are myriad dangers to tightly binding the waist, which Huston learned for herself after long days on set wearing the contraption. 

An hourglass figure and taped-up cheekbones

Corsets are laced up and take a while to get into, which meant that Huston couldn't exactly take the corset off between takes. Bending and lying down are also pretty close to impossible, so a day of shooting could feel much longer for the performer:

"Come afternoon, I could be prone to a really good headache from my various bondages. And because I couldn't lie down (in the corset) or rest, it was fairly exhausting."

In addition to the corset, which is painful enough, Huston also had daily gauze eye lifts and neck tucks, using glue and gauze to hold her skin taught. The techniques used to transform the already beautiful Huston into the ethereal Morticia were both as inspired and uncomfortable as those used by Lon Chaney to become the Phantom of the Opera all the way back in 1925. Beauty and the beast were both created through makeup and costuming, but I bet many performers these days are thankful to have a computer-generated nip or tuck instead.