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Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

 -  Drama | Family | Fantasy  -  29 April 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,672 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 44 critic

In a small American town, a diabolical circus and its demonic proprietor prey on the townsfolk.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

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2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Halloway
Mrs. Nightshade
Tom Fury
Vidal Peterson ...
Will Halloway
Shawn Carson ...
Jim Nightshade
Mary Grace Canfield ...
Miss Foley
Richard Davalos ...
Mr. Crosetti
Jake Dengel ...
Mr. Tetley
Dr. Douglas
Bruce M. Fischer ...
Mr. Cooger
Mrs. Halloway
Dust Witch
Brendan Klinger ...
Cooger as a Child
James Stacy ...
Ed, The Bartender


Can two young boys overcome the worst the devil himself can deal out? Wishes are granted, but twisted as only the esteemed Mr. Dark can make them. Based on the Ray Bradbury novel. Written by Mayla Kalrist <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | carnival | mirror | devil | lightning | See All (48) »


Something frightening. Something strange. Something different. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cos paskudnego tu nadchodzi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stephen King wrote a rejected adaptation. See more »


When Jim Nightshade buys the lightning rod with cash and coin, he has a Lincoln Memorial penny, which wasn't minted until 1959. The story is set earlier. See more »


Charles Halloway: I, uh, have the honor, sir.
Mr. Dark: And have had for many years, I do believe. All that time spent living only through other men's lives. Dreaming only other men's dreams. What a waste.
Charles Halloway: Sometimes a man can learn more form other men's dreams than he can from his own. Come visit me, sir, if you wish to improve your education.
Mr. Dark: I will, and I may improve yours.
See more »


Referenced in The Ten (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Disney does darkness
8 October 2001 | by (Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK) – See all my reviews

Ray Bradbury's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is a classic novel about the transition from childhood to being an adult. It deals with becoming independent from our parents, the dread of loosing a loved one and the very real possibility of being alone in the world. There is also the classic morality story of there being no such thing as a free gift - there is always some price to be paid.

This is a very dark story set in the classic mid-Twentieth century America of a Rockwell painting. The most innocent of places with the very best people you could imagine. But underneath the pristine surface, there is something dark gnawing at their souls. When a carnival comes to town, blown in with the autumn winds, it begins to feed on the evil in the town.

As a piece of cinema this is truly gorgeous, best seen through a good film print or the laserdisk transfer. The opening scenes of the autumnal countryside are superlative and are almost too pretty to be true, which only serve to contrast the darkness of the later scenes.

The central performances are all absolutely excellent. Jason Robards is almost typecast as Mr Halloway, the decent American father, but manages to pull some subtleties out of what could have been a by-the-numbers performance. You are never in doubt that he really does love his son and the exchanges between them ring true. Halloway is a man with a lifetime of regrets; missed opportunities and poor decisions who realises that he is the only person standing in the way of evil. Robard's performance is magical; you can't help but empathise with him.

Particularly when evil is played by a young and rarely bettered Jonathan Pryce. As the sleek and lupine Mr. Dark he comes across as the ultimate Victorian villain - one moment charming, the next terrifying beyond belief. Wonderful delivery of fabulous lines raise this bad guy above almost others in recent movies. The conflict between Dark and Halloway in the library is an all-time classic, both spitting their lines in a scene that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The movie is aided by some top-notch effects that still look good in the CGI age. Once again the library scene is perfection, with effects being used to enhance the acting - not overwhelm it. As Dark tears pages from a book, they flare up, illuminating the scene briefly before returning it to gloom. It may not sound much, but compared to the modern orgies of graphics, it is a blessed relief.

'Something Wicked...' is one of the last horror movies that allowed the audience's own fears to do most of the work. It didn't play gross just to get a quick scream and a guilty laugh, it builds on the very real fears we have inside our heads and lets them do the hard work.

Bradbury adopted his own book into the movie and fortunately kept almost all of the material. A pre-Eisner Disney then made a neglected classic without worrying if the Sand Witch would look good in a burger chain promotion.

Oh and then there are the spiders, but that would be telling...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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