Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1983 mystery/fantasy/thriller from Disney studios and directed by Jack Clayton from an adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, Bradbury also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd with the role of the boys taken on by Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson.
The film might be the best adaptation of a Bradbury novel and Carson does a marvelous job at weaving a tale filled with the mystery and slightly dark tone of the novel.
As the story in Bradbury’s novel which I first devoured as a 13-year-old some years back, we have a small town that could be located in any state of America. We have two boys Will Halloway who is quiet and reserved and Jim Nightshade who has a bit of a daring and rebellious streak. The boys are told about a mysterious traveling carnival by a lightning rod salesman and are excited to investigate this carnival which is coming to town at a very strange time of the year it being October. Most carnivals would have picked up and returned home for the season right about labor day.
The two boys are both caught between being thrilled and also terrified when the Mr. Dark rides into town and has the very large carnival set up and ready to go in mere seconds. The boys soon realize this is no ordinary carnival as Mr.Dark has some ominous intentions of taking control of the town and collecting the souls of the innocent townsfolk. The boys know they must set out to thwart the plan and do this with the help of Will’s father who is also the town’s librarian.
This might be the darkest film attached to Disney but we have a film that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids, there are some scares from frightening imagery but no language or violence to be concerned about, a perfect example of a film with a healthy dose of scares without the worry of other objectionable content. However, I would note that it might be a bit too much for very young children.
I love the book and I love this movie and consider it one of the better films to come out of the 80’s, the cast is superb, the direction, cinematography, and atmosphere are all captured perfectly.