Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

(pb; 1962)

From the back cover:

"What if someone knew your secret dream, that one great wish you would give anything for?

"And what if that person suddenly made your dream come true - before you learn the price you have to pay. . .

"Something Wicked This Way Comes. . . is the story of two boys who encounter the sinister wonders of Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show.  They will soon discover the show's awful mystery - a mystery that will change the life of every person it touches."


The melancholy, affright and exuberance of youth (as embodied by tweens Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway) and being middle-aged, as embodied by Charles Halloway, Jim's father, skeleton, theme and suffuse this fantastic, yet focused novel about a late night carnival whose hidden, twisted rot can be sniffed amidst its otherwise sweet-scent promises. . . this was one of the first novels I read as a child that made my eyes go agog with wonder at the magic of the printed word - an ongoing frisson I continue to believe in, along with Something's PG-rated, sometimes whimsical, sometimes grim core: life itself.

Worth owning, and re-reading at varied annual intervals.


This novel has been filmed twice.

The first movie version, a UK production, was released in the UK in 1972.  It starred Ben Clennell, Mark Ashman, Tony Collins, Jenny Glennell, and others actors.  Who played what role is not listed by  Collin Finbow directed.


The second, more widely known film version was released stateside on April 29, 1983.

Jason Robards played Charles Halloway.  Jonathan Pryce played Mr. Dark.  Vidal Peterson played Will Halloway.  Shawn Carson played Jim Nightshade. 

Royal Dano played Tom Fury.  Pam Grier played Dust Witch.  Mary Grace Canfield played Miss Foley. Ellen Geer played Mrs. Halloway.  Diane Ladd played Mrs. Nightshade. 

Bruce M. Fischer played Mr. Cooger.  Scott De Roy played "Cooger as a Young Man".  Brendan Klinger played "Cooger as a Child".  Richard Davalos played Mr. Crosetti.  Jake Dengel played Mr. Tetley.  Jack Dodson played Dr. Douglas. 

An uncredited Phil Fondacaro played "Demon Clown".  Arthur Hill was the voice of the "Narrator".

Jack Clayton directed the film, from a screenplay by book author Ray Bradbury.

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