Review: ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’

Film version of Ray Bradbury's popular novel Something Wicked This Way Comes must be chalked up as something of a disappointment. Possibilities for a dark, child's view fantasy set in rural America of yore are visible throughout the $20 million production but various elements have not entirely congealed into a unified achievement.

Film version of Ray Bradbury’s popular novel Something Wicked This Way Comes must be chalked up as something of a disappointment. Possibilities for a dark, child’s view fantasy set in rural America of yore are visible throughout the $20 million production but various elements have not entirely congealed into a unified achievement.

Location scenes shot in an astonishingly beautiful Vermont autumn stand in for early 20th century Illinois, where two young boys are intrigued by the untimely arrival of a mysterious carnival troupe. By day, fairgrounds seem innocent enough, but by night they possess a strange allure which leads local inhabitants to fall victim to their deepest desires.

Thanks to the diabolical talents of carnival leader Mr Dark, played by the suitably sinister Jonathan Pryce, these wishes can be granted, but at the price of becoming a member of the traveling freak show. Mr Dark decides that little Will and Jim would make excellent recruits and pursues them vigilantly until the apocalyptic finale.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Production

Walt Disney/Bryna. Director Jack Clayton; Producer Peter Vincent Douglas; Screenplay Ray Bradbury; Camera Stephen H. Burum; Editor Argyle Nelson; Music James Horner; Art Director Richard MacDonald

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Jason Robards Jonathan Pryce Diane Ladd Pam Grier Royal Dano Vidal Peterson
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