SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983) Reviews and overview



Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1983 supernatural mystery film directed by Jack Clayton (The Innocents) from a screenplay written by Ray Bradbury based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, and Pam Grier.


In Greentown, Illinois, a small town enjoying the innocence of an upcoming autumn as the days grow shorter, two young boys—reserved Will Halloway and somewhat rebellious Jim Nightshade—leave from an after-school detention for “whispering in class” and hurry off for home.

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When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival, Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival, from a lightning-rod salesman, they decide to see what it is all about, but Will is fearful, as most carnivals end their tours after Labor Day.

When the ominous Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, rides into town on a dark midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified. It seems to be just another carnival at first, but it is not before long that the forces of darkness are manifesting from the haunting melodies of the carousel—which can change your age depending on which way you ride it—and from the glaring Mirror Maze.


With his collection of freaks and oddities, such as the Fat Man, Mr. Electro, and the blind Dust Witch, Dark intends to take control of the town and seize more innocent souls to damn. It will take all the wit and hope of the two boys to save their families and friends, with aid from an unlikely ally, Will’s father, the town librarian, who understands more than anyone else that “something wicked this way comes”.

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“Despite being a family film, Something Wicked explores some very heady and dark material. Aside from the obvious terrors associated with our deepest desires,  Something Wicked also examines the dread of coming of age, of losing one’s innocence, growing apart from one’s friends, and being forced to confront the humanity and mortality of our parents.” Monsters at Play

“In its descriptions of autumn days, in its heartfelt conversations between a father and a son, in the unabashed romanticism of its evil carnival and even in the perfect rhythm of its title, this is a horror movie with elegance.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

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Filming locations:

Vermont and at the Walt Disney Studios.

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