FYI, if you are looking for the widescreen version...
J. Wade | USA | 09/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not really a review, but if you are looking for the widescreen version of this film, it is also included on this DVD. That has NOT been noted in the description provided by Amazon. It really irks me when DVDs are issued in only full screen versions. I won't go into the particulars as to why. Those of us who are into this know why. This DVD has both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 versions on a one-sided dual layered menu selectable format."
By The Pricking Of My Thumb, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 10/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""And in despair I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth," I said. "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men." Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail. With peace on earth, good will to men"...
With Shakespeare & Longfellow both quoted in the film & movie screenplay, penned and adapted by the author Ray Bradbury, how could you go wrong with this Disney Family great!
Set in the 1940's in a small idyllic town called Greentown, Illinois; it is the pseudonym for Ray Bradbury's own home town of Waukegan, Illinois. Waukegan plays quite a big role in most of Ray Bradbury's works, just as Bradbury had a pseudonym himself by the name of Douglas Spaulding.
Greentown is mentioned in passing several times in short stories, just for the reader to put a name to the place, but it is featured most prominently in "Dandelion Wine", a beautiful anthology Bradbury wrote concerning his childhood
memories, and in the dark fantasy novel, "Something Wicked This Way Comes". So essentially, you COULD visit Greentown if you wanted to... Just be careful of the carnival "Autumn People" in October.
Jason Robards heads a stellar cast as the small town's middle-aged, midlife crisis cursed, librarian, Mr. Charles Halloway. Vidal Peterson plays Charles' son, the light, tow headed good boy, Will Halloway and Will's best friend, blood brother and alter-ego, the dark & brave Jim Nightshade, played by Shawn Carson.
This dynamically diametric duo get caught up in the carnival that literally blows into town, courtesy of a spooky black train, one fateful, autumn night. "Dark's Pandemonium & Carnival" to be exact & the name does apt justice to the goings on all along the carnival grounds.
All of the Greentown folk's deepest and most secret desires are met by the devilish denizens of the travelling fair and with dire consequences.
Take in the sights and sounds of Mr. Dark's (a deliciously evil & seductive, Jonathan Price) Pandemonium Carnival, such as the beautiful dancing girls, the spooktacular and haunted Ferris Wheel, the fortune teller, the confusing "House Of Mirrors", gambling tables, the "dust witch" (Pam Grier) and the demonically charged, Merry-Go-Round/carousel that will take you on the ride of your life... Literally!
Diane Ladd plays single mother, Mrs. Nightshade while Ellen Geer, daughter of the late Will Geer (Grandpa of The Waltons), portrays the mother of Will Halloway.
Someone HAS to save the citizens of small Greeentown from the "Autumn People" with their trickery, spells, evil powers and destructive ways. Who will "Step Right Up..." just like the carnival barker bellows???
Watch this gem of a film and find out for yourself!
Happy Watching & Unpleasant Dreams!
Genuine Horror from Disney via Anchor Bay Comes
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 03/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the best-selling 1962 novel by venerable SF and horror writer Ray Bradbury--who also penned this cinematic adaptation--1983's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES is the unabashedly nostalgic story of two young boys, Will Halloway (Vidal Peterson) and Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson), who engage in a battle of wills with Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce), the nefarious proprietor of a preternatural carnival that that literally blows into the boys' hometown one brisk October night (circa 1940). When Will and Jim discover that Dark and his troupe of midway miscreants are hiding some evil secret that might endanger the town, the boys take it upon themselves to uncover the truth and protect their friends and neighbors.Some viewers are surprised to learn that this somber film is a product of the Walt Disney Company. Though there are the lovable small-town characters that one expects from Disney, it is admittedly rare to find a Disney flick with an incorrigibly evil character such as Mr. Dark (obviously the Devil in all but name). It is also unusual for a Disney film to have such a grim atmosphere, at least one that is not regularly punctured with puerile comedic relief, but SOMETHING THIS WAY COMES has a consistently spooky ambiance and an earnestly frightening plot, both of which elevate it to the level of a genuine horror film DESPITE its Disney label.The performances in SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES are top-notch. Jonathan Pryce is deliciously wicked as the enigmatic Mr. Dark--genre fans might recognize Pryce as the actor playing Governor Swann in the 2003 blockbuster PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL--and Jason Robards does a fine turn as the wise librarian father of young Will. Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson, the two young actors portraying Will and Jim, are relative newcomers whose lack of substantial experience is an asset rather than a liability, as it actually adds to the realism of their characters' youthful innocence. Some of the seasoned actors that fill supporting and background parts also contribute greatly to the quality of the film. The gorgeous Pam Grier, star of several popular "blaxploitation" flicks in the 1970s, plays the carnival's witch-like fortune-teller; Diane Ladd plays Jim Nightshade's mother, a woman who is raising her son alone after both were abandoned by the boy's father; and Ellen Geer, daughter of the late Will Geer of TV's THE WALTONS, portrays the mother of Will Halloway. Horror fans might recognize the late Royal Dano in the role of Tom Fury, the lightning-rod salesman. During his lengthy career, the ubiquitous Dano appeared in such genre favorites as Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955), 7 FACES OF DR. LAO (1964), and KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988); and also in episodes of genre TV shows like LOST IN SPACE, NIGHT GALLERY, AMAZING STORIES, and TWIN PEAKS.Although the script does not have the same scope and attention to detail found in the novel, Bradbury has still done an exceptional job of translating to screenplay the novel's eerie essence and moral subtext. And director Jack Clayton does almost as well in visually interpreting Bradbury's script. He generates the perfect atmosphere for some genuinely creepy moments, and he is also quite adept at evoking Bradbury's primary theme of innocence lost.SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES generates most of its chills and scares the old-fashioned way--through atmosphere, suggestion, good plotting, and great characterization. Unfortunately, the flick was originally released during the peak of the first big wave of slasher films in the early 1980s, and it was therefore unfairly ignored by moviegoers and panned by critics. But thanks to the cool folks at Anchor Bay, this little beauty has a new lease on life via DVD. Anchor Bay's disc is short on extras, offering only the theatrical trailer and the option of viewing in either pan-and-scan or 1.66:1 Letterbox formats. But the digital transfer looks nearly pristine--even when viewed on a widescreen HDTV-- with only a few minor defects from the source print noticeable. In keeping with the subject matter, the film was shot with dark tones and subtle hues, and these come through wonderfully on the DVD. Serious collectors of horror films on DVD won't want to let this genre gem slip away."
One of my favourites!
octobercountry | the Land of Trees and Heroes | 10/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have watched this film every October since it first came out on video, so you can see what a fine piece of work I think it is. The opening scenes perfectly sum up the spirit of autumn for me: the narration (accompanied by James Horner's wistful and beautiful score) along with the photography of the October landscape conjure up a rather melancholy longing for the past. There are some great scenes showing the different ways people deal with their own private sadnesses and regrets. (And it makes you think, if the dark carnival came to your town, what would you wish for? On which longings of your own would the carnival feed?) The film is particularly suited to viewing in October, but it isn't a Halloween story, and can be enjoyed year-round. Watch the film, but by all means view the LETTERBOXED version! Even though the black bands on the top and bottom of the screen are minimal (the film wasn't shot in a very widescreen aspect ratio), the letterboxed edition shows much more of the original film frame than does the standard tv version--it makes a big difference (I've done a direct comparison of the two versions)...Highly recommended!"