Over on my youtube channel I have been doing a Disney Scares month for Family Movie Night. With October being a 5 Monday month I decided on Black Hole, Watcher in the Woods, Frankenweenie, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dragonslayer. It’s been particularly fun to watch these films from the 80s that hardly seem like Disney films at all. Watcher in the Woods has some questionable acting but the rest of the production is fantastic. Black Hole ended up being more of a sci-fi movie than horror but I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of a good episode of Star Trek more than a horror movie like I was expecting. But this Sunday I will post my review of Something Wicked This Way Comes and spoiler alert I LOVED IT!
Rarely do I watch a movie that excites me as much as Something Wicked This Way Comes did. If you like Stranger Things than rent this film. I think you will really love it. It’s not hokey fun like Watcher in the Woods but just chilling and thoughtful and extremely well acted.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is based on a novel by Ray Bradbury and it focuses on 2 boys named Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade from a small isolated town where everyone knows each other. The boys are a bit rebellious but there is also an innocence to them. They are instantly likable without being too adorable child-actorish. Will is particularly interesting because his father is an older man (Jason Robards) who worries he can’t play ball and be there for his child the way he wants. To me it was interesting to have a parent more insecure about his child than the child. Usually in most movies it’s the unaware, workaholic parent and the damaged child.
The movie does a great job setting up insecurities of many of the townspeople. The school teacher who was once beautiful. The storekeeper who lost limbs in the war but was once the town football star. These aren’t just cliches but characters we grow to care about in their brief screen time. They all have this mixture of innocence and darker desires that the movie explores.
Then one day a carnival comes into town- something wicked you might say! This is ran by a man named Mr Dark who is played brilliantly by Jonathan Pryce. This is the kind of role that Tim Burton would muck up with exposition and a tragic backstory. Not here. We get very little about him, which makes him unpredictable and scary.
The carnival at first seems like an innocent diversion but it of course is not. I don’t want to give away too much but it was so surprising. Each step of the carnival was both a temptation and curse. Some things like a carousel which can change your age appear very appealing but as always is the case there is a price to be paid. The trailer says “never whisper your dreams” and that is such a good tagline for this film. Dreams are where we are often most vulnerable.
What was so great is not everything was explained and I’m sure someone could point out plotholes and inconsistencies but we are dealing with dark magic here. It really worked. There are some incredibly chilling scenes with everything from psychological scares to creatures in the night. Some scares were even quite devastating like when Will’s Dad is confronted with his insecurities as a father or the school teacher in her lost youth. I cried which is saying something in a scary movie.
Everything works in this film. The cinematography by Stephen H Burum is perfect mixture of Americana and Burtonesque carnival scenes. The music by James Horner is quiet when it needs to be. The sets and special effects held up and were scary and the acting is top rate. Jason Robards, Jonathan Price, Diane Ladd, Pam Grier, and all the small roles including the boys Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson are all fantastic.
I loved this movie. I mean loved it. It builds tension so well and draws you into the story and characters. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up if you are looking for family appropriate Halloween fare to check this out. It is definitely one of Disney’s most hidden gems.
I will go into more detail on my youtube review on Sunday but trust me on this one. It is a fantastic film. Have any of you seen it? Were you as impressed as I was? Let me know in the comments. Thanks
9 thoughts on “Hidden Gem- Something Wicked This Way Comes”
While I think ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was scarier, I prefer watching this film over that one. This film is great fun to watch with a great dark atmosphere to it all. I consider it very “freaky” rather than “scary”.
Is that planned Haunted Mansion film w/Ryan Gosling still on?
I’m not sure on Gosling Haunted Mansiom film. I can see what you mean about freaky rather than scary but I thought there were genuine scares like with the spiders. I completely agree this is so much fun to watch. Watcher in the Woods is also fun and may be scarier but because the acting was so much better here I was more invested. I’m glad to hear you enjoy this strange film. Have you reviewed it on your blog? It really does have great atmosphere and I found it unpredictable which was refreshing
Yeah, I’ve reviewed both The Watcher in the Woods and Something Wicked. You can check the Index section on my blog to find links to them.
Cool. I will check it out
Yes I’ve always loved this film. I think I saw it when I was 12 and I appreciated the dark sinister tone. It’s a movie that doesn’t get much love anymore. It’s nice to see you have discovered its charms.
Oh yay!! I’m so glad you love it too. You are really right on about the tone. It’s not a film like because of camp or nostalgia it’s genuinely creepy and scary. I bet the Stranger Things folks know this movie very well.
I haven’t seen this film yet, but from what little I’ve seen on this film it astonishes me just how far apart Jonathan Pryce’s performance is from his role as Governor Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Granted he was younger by 30 years, but they’re so drastically different! At any rate, I still hope to see this film some time in the future.
I feel like Something Wicked traumatized me as a kid – not sure why it hit so hard but it’s one of very few films which fills me with unease decades after watching.
It’s definitely scary!