The Horror Honeys: Honey Switch Month: 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'

Honey Switch Month: 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'

A January Switch - Head Honey Review by Lisa

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962)

For whatever reason, this movie was on the same list as Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Mommy Dearest every holiday season: these are my holiday movies and I will not be judged. With a screenplay from Ray Bradbury, based on his novel of the same name, Something Wicked This Way Comes was another project from Disney while they were trying to appeal to a broader audience and prove that they can do more than just animation and family friendly entertainment.

Starring Jason Robards as Mr. Halloway and Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark, this is exactly the kind of sweet coming-of-age tale for the child in your life who has a touch of the dark side. At its heart, this is a story about a father and his son that happens to take place amidst the background of a carnival that has nefarious intentions. As two twelve year old boys enjoy growing up in an idyllic, Norman Rockwell kind of town, they find themselves pulled in different emotional directions upon the arrival of a mysterious carnival.

Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival arrives in the middle of the night in the small town of Greentown, Illinois and life will never be the same again. Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are best friends, blood brothers and next door neighbors. After hearing about this mysterious carnival from the traveling lightning rod salesman, the boys have two distinctly different feelings about its arrival. Jim is naturally cautious and leery of anything or anyone out of the ordinary, so he finds the mere fact that a carnival is arriving after Labor Day to be highly suspicious. Jim, on the other hand, is rebellious and cannot wait to see what kinds of curiosities can be found within the carnival.

Mr. Dark brings his carnival into town with the intentions of damning souls. His carousel can make you young or old depending upon which direction it is traveling and his mirror maze will grant all of your deepest wishes. None of these things come without a consequence, though, and it will take all of the courage that Will, Jim and Mr. Halloway can muster to defeat Mr. Dark.

Pryce plays Mr. Dark with such an impressive balance of menace and sophistication that, at times, you’re not sure if you fear him or want to join his carnival. After a delicious game of cat and mouse has begun between him and the two boys, a scene where he leads a parade through town in a covert effort to find the boys is pure creepiness. Robards has played a host of fathers in his career, but Charles Halloway is one of his most endearing. He fell into fatherhood at an advanced age and that lends him a patience and intuitiveness that a younger father wouldn’t own. The relationship between Charles and Will is a truly touching one and it’s what elevates this movie from a mere horror film to something so much more.

While the visual effects easily date this film, which certainly does not detract from the story that Bradbury has crafted. The movie gods must have been smiling on this project because if anyone besides Bradbury had written the screenplay, the overall tone would have suffered for it and a story about friendship and a father/son bond would have been nothing more than a whacked out movie with creepy carnies and scary mirror maze and a rad carousel. Instead, the sight of the menacing Mr. Dark walking through a quaint, Technicolor town is unsettling in all of the very best ways and the theme that you should always be careful what you wish for is a universal one that stands the test of time. Something Wicked This Way Comes is a unique horror film that also tugs at your heart strings.

Something Wicked this Way Comes is available via Google Play & DVD

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