“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
Adapted by Ray Bradbury from his novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a delightful family (and horror) film about a mysterious carnival that descends on a small Midwestern town in October. Will Halloway (Vidal Peterson) and Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson), nine-year-old best friends, are dutifully intrigued by the traveling circus, but forewarned by Will’s father, Charles (Jason Robards), the meek town librarian, to proceed with caution. This only confirms Will’s suspicion that his father is a coward.
In the meantime, the town’s residents have started to disappear. Will and Jim sneak into the carnival after nightfall and witness the true and horrible nature of Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) and his carnie cronies, including the beautiful temptress, the Dust Witch (Pam Grier). Narrowly escaping, Will and Jim have nowhere to turn except to Will’s dad.
The scariest movie villain of all-time might just be Mr. Dark. He needn’t actually frighten to be scary. He rarely ever booed at all. His commanding carriage -- tall, thin, bearded, dressed in black, tux, tails and topcoat -- was all that was necessary to instill terror in the hearts of Will and Jim and even Charles Halloway. But truly, he needn’t be there at all to fright. His evil presence is felt throughout Something Wicked This Way Comes, whether he was in a scene or not, and frankly even more ominously felt when he wasn’t there.
What makes Mr. Dark so threatening? Promise. Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival promises to grant the want you desire most -- with disastrous consequences. Be careful what you wish for.