tek's rating: ½

Something Wicked This Way Comes (PG)
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This is based on Ray Bradbury's 1962 novel, which I haven't read. The movie came out in April 1983, when I was 7 years old. Of course I didn't see it at the time, and I can't imagine I was even aware of it until years later. But at some point I became aware of it, and I'm sure I wanted to see it. In fact, I vaguely remember it being on TV at some point (probably in the early 90s), and possibly planning to watch it, but for some reason I didn't. (I also remember years later seeing an episode of Freakazoid! in which Fan Boy mentioned that this movie lost a fortune.) Of course, the fact that it was a box office bomb only made me more interested in seeing it, someday. Anyway, I'm finally watching it the day before Halloween, 2016.

There's bookend narration by adult Will Halloway, about something that happened when he was twelve. (I'm not sure what year the movie is actually set in, but it has the nostalgic feel of the early-to-mid-20th century.) Um... so, there are these two kids, Will and his best friend, Jim Nightshade. I guess they're both mildly rebellious, though Jim more so than Will. Jim likes to make up stories about his absentee father, while Will is kind of disappointed that his own father, Charles Halloway, is too old to do some of the things a father was expected to do with his son. (Though I think Charles himself was more upset about that than Will was. Particularly because of an incident that had happened when Will was younger.) Anyway... one day in October, a lightning rod salesman named Tom Fury comes to town, and sells a rod to Jim. (It kind of seemed like he'd be more important to the story than he ended up being, but I suspect he was more important in the book than he was in the movie.) Shortly thereafter, a traveling carnival comes to town. The head of the carnival is a creepy guy named Mr. Dark. Eventually, Will and Jim discover that bad things have been happening to several people who attended the carnival. And they see Mr. Dark torture Tom Fury, trying to get him to tell Dark when a storm was coming. (That scene really didn't make much sense to me, and again, I suspect it was better explained in the book.) And when Dark catches the boys spying on him, they run away, and he and the whole carnival try to find them, to make sure they can't thwart his evil plans, or whatever. But they manage to convince Charles of what's going on, and since he's the town librarian, they look stuff up at the library about this carnival, which apparently shows up like once in a generation, or something, and bad stuff always happens when it does.

And, um... basically, this one old man and two young boys have to try to save the town from Mr. Dark, or whatever. Oh, and there were a few people who worked in the carnival who were also creepy, each in their own way. One of them is Mr. Cooger, who at one point turns into a creepy kid after riding on a backwards-spinning merry-go-round. And there's a beautiful woman credited as the "Dust Witch," who... well, I'm not even sure what to say about her, except that she was played by Pam Grier (from Foxy Brown), but I didn't realize that while watching the movie, only when I looked at the cast list online while writing this review. Weird. Anyway, I don't know what else to say, except that the movie was reasonably scary, I guess. (Particularly the tarantula scene. The second one, I mean. That was full of NOPE.) I definitely don't think the movie deserved to be a financial failure, and in fact I'm sure I'd find it nostalgic if I'd actually seen it when I was a kid. But, watching it now, I didn't really find it very memorable. I liked it, and I'm glad to have finally seen it, but it's not something I feel the need to watch again. (I'll hold onto the DVD, though, in case I'm ever feeling nostalgic for 2016, or something.)

Edit: I just saw on TV Tropes that Tom Fury was an "ascended extra." This means he was less important in the book than the movie, which I can't even imagine how that's possible. The movie definitely makes it seem like he's important, that he has some special insight into everything that's going on, but it doesn't explain it at all. So really, he seems like such a random character that his inclusion in the story is just a confusing distraction. The idea that he was less important in the book, rather than more important... makes me even more confused. But whatevs. I guess it doesn't matter.

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