When one hears the word Disney they think of the wonderful kids films they grew up with. Well did you know that in 1983 Disney made a horror film. Yes you read that right and not just any horror film, but a dark and mature one based on a book by the late great Ray Bradbury. It’s the only Disney film to take one of Walt Disney’s ideals, the concept that dreams do come true, and darkly twist it. That movie is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and boy is it a damn good one that sadly most don’t remember.
In a small American town in the 1920s or 1930s (its never specified) Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival comes rolling into town in the middle of the night. However this isn’t your normal carnival, it is led by the Mysterious Mr. Dark, a man who can grant your very hearts desire…but at a cost. It’s up to two young boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, to discover the truth of Mr. Dark’s carnival before it preys upon all of the townsfolk.
What really depresses me about this film is not the film itself but how no one of my generation knows of it and didn’t grow up with it. Luckily I did and for me it was the film that best represented the cautionary tale of “Be Careful what you Wish for.“ Though it’s rated PG it’s a very mature and grown-up kind of horror film with its adult characters longing for what they desire. You can feel the regrets from the characters and have sympathy for these troubled townsfolk. With the adult themes it manages to be a wonderful kids coming of age film. Jim and Will are great characters who you sympathize with. Last, you have an absolutely wonderful villain in Mr. Dark, a mysterious man whom you’re not truly sure if he even is a man or something else entirely. There are plenty of genuine moments of creepiness. Truly the only “adult” Disney villain.
If you want to show your little ones a Disney film of a truly different nature where both kids and adults will be intrigued then I cannot recommend “Something Wicked This Way Comes” enough. A truly dark and wicked Disney film that I hope you will all enjoy.
-James J. Coker