Something Wicked This Way Comes is a scary movie for kids based on a novel by Sci-Fi writer Ray Bradbury. It takes it’s title from a line in Shakespeare’s MacBeth: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes is set in small town America, and follows the adventures of two young boys – Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade. When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival that is coming to town, they decide to see what it is all about. When the ominous Mr. Dark rides into town at midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified.
It seems to be just another carnival at first, but before long, the forces of darkness are manifesting in a haunting carousel which can change your age depending on which way you ride it, and a mysterious Mirror Maze. With his collection of freaks and oddities, such as the Fat Man, Mr. Electro, and the blind Dust Witch, Mr Dark intends to take control of the townsfolk and steal their innocent souls.
With Something Wicked This Way Comes, Disney ventured into dark territory. Stephen King explored similar territory in the movie Needful Things. Adults will find many of Bradbury’s themes about loss, regret, and second chances engaging, and children will be treated to a macabre toy box of frights. Some of those are gentle (the time-altering merry-go-round, a green mist that moves slowly but oh so deliberately), while others are less so (Mr. Dark’s gruesome demise, the moment the Dust Witch reveals her true face, and that army of tarantulas). Mostly, though, kids will want to root for the two appealing young leads.