Parents' Guide to

Something Wicked This Way Comes

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Book-based '80s movie about an evil carnival is scary.

Movie PG 1983 96 minutes
Something Wicked This Way Comes Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 13+

More Darkness From 1980s Disney

This is another example of Disney's attempt at straying away from their kiddie movies of the 1980s. Let's face it, the 1980s weren't exactly a booming time for Disney cinema. Something Wicked This Way Comes (the name comes from Shakespeare's Macbeth) is rated PG, but ultimately should be re-rated to PG-13. PG-13 ratings would not come on the scene until 1984, one year after this movie was released. Having said that, it's not worthy of an R rating, but is likewise not suitable for younger children. For Christian families: consider the occult aspect of this movie before allowing your kids to watch it. It deals with a haunted carnival, black magic, and things that you may not want to expose your kids to.
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Frightened me for 20 years

I had the unfortunate experience of my kindergarten teacher showing this to our class when I was 5/6. It frightened me beyond all comprehension for 30+years. Even the sound of the musical score makes my skin crawl today at age 43. Not for small children. At. All.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The book-to-movie road is strewn with disappointing results, and while this horror-fantasy boasts many assets, overall it's more puzzling than entertaining. Ominous music and freak-show oddities (an ex-football player with only one arm and one leg hops around) set the stage early on for doom and the triumph of evil, but it's a full hour before there's the tiniest attempt to explain what the evil is about and why it has chosen its particular victims. For this reason kids may be scared and still not have the slightest idea what the movie is about.

On the plus side, Bradbury has cleverly created Dark, an ironical devil who pits the longing of childhood -- to grow big -- against the longing of middle age -- to regain youth. Also in its favor, the movie has an almost archaic appreciation for poetic language, which may be attributable to the fact that the book's gifted author, Ray Bradbury, also wrote the screenplay. This leaning probably also accounts for the film's generally literate tone, but, unfortunately, often what works on the written page can seem out of place on-screen. Further along those lines, the literary/cinematic bent of director-actor Orson Welles is deliberately evoked here, as the film's climactic scene is staged in a hall of mirrors but not nearly as artfully as when Welles' did it himself in his 1948 The Lady from Shanghai.

Movie Details

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