Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Something Wicked This Way Comes1983

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)



Critic Consensus: True terror and typical Disney wholesomeness clash uncomfortably in Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Something Wicked This Way Comes Photos

Movie Info

After a carnival comes to Green Town, the good citizens are compelled to follow their deepest desires, caught under the spell of the malevolent Dr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) who can grant those desires on one condition: that the grantees will forever join his freak show. Dr. Dark is after two young boys from the town in particular, while others in the town would certainly be easy marks. The sour-faced, older schoolteacher (Mary Grace Canfield) wants to be a seductive young woman, Ed the bartender (James Stacy) would like to regain his lost left arm and leg, and the librarian (Jason Robards) worries about a wasted life spent only in books. As Dr. Dark works his own brand of voodoo, the citizens and the two boys -- as well as the whole carnival itself -- approach a final reckoning. Something Wicked This Way Comes was based on a Ray Bradbury novel.


Jason Robards
as Charles Halloway
Vidal Peterson
as Will Halloway
Diane Ladd
as Mrs. Nightshade
Shawn Carson
as Jim Nightshade
Pam Grier
as Dust Witch
Royal Dano
as Tom Fury
Richard Davalos
as Mr. Crosetti
Jake Dengel
as Mr. Tetley
Jack Dodson
as Mr. Douglas
Bruce M. Fischer
as Mr. Cooger
Ellen Geer
as Mrs. Halloway
James Stacy
as Ed the Bartender
Sharon Lea
as Young Miss Foley
Angelo Rossitto
as Little Person No. 1
Peter Risch
as Little Person No. 2
Sharan Lea
as Young Miss Foley
Tim T. Clark
as Teenage Couple
Jill Carroll
as Teenage Couple
Scott DeRoy
as Cooger as a Young Man
Sharon Ashe
as Townswoman
Arthur Hill
as Narrator
Brendan Klinger
as Cooger as a Child
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Critic Reviews for Something Wicked This Way Comes

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6)

Possibilities for a dark, child's view fantasy set in rural America of yore are visible throughout the $20 million production but various elements have not entirely congealed into a unified achievement.

March 10, 2009 | Full Review…

The plot concerns a mysterious carnival outside a small town in the early 1900s that grants the wishes of the town's citizens, with dark consequences.

March 10, 2009

Ultimately, though, it's an uneasy blend of horror and whimsy, with the allegory being hammered a little too hard for comfort. It's also marred by some dreadfully tacky special effects and set designs.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

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.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A lively, entertaining tale combining boyishness and grown-up horror in equal measure.

August 30, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5

Bradbury's tale connects fear and dread to concupiscent desire and disordered regret — fantasies of wealth or women, preoccupation with lost beauty or physical ability.

November 3, 2003 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Something Wicked This Way Comes

In the age of slasher horror and torture porn this tale of a traveling carnival that's trade is misfortune seems light, but still is resonant for it's moral lessons. Perhaps the best Ray Bradbury tale on film, all ominous and creepy, and better meant for adolescents.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


I'm sure Something Wicked This Way Comes would have worked on me had I seen it at the proper age, but unfortunately I didn't. The film isn't altogether a mess. It's directed by Jack Clayton, has a score from James Horner, and features both Pam Grier and Jonathan Pryce in leading roles. What's not to love? Well it has a couple of annoying child actors in it for starters. Second, the meat of the story doesn't kick in until toward the end of the second act. It definitely gets dark, but not quite as wicked as its title promises. It feels more family-friendly than anything, and I think that's its major weakness. It has plenty going for it, but not enough for something really memorable or captivating. Worth a rent, but not much else I'm afraid.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

Cute movie in the company of "The Lady in White" and "Stand By Me". Buddies deal with a mysterious carnival that visits town. I was expecting a little more wicked... but it is more family friendly than horror.

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

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