Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chasing Youth and Growing Up Too Fast, or Thoughts on Something Wicked This Way Comes

A dark and sentimental portrait of a small town childhood from a bygone decade, much like Stranger Things on Netflix (2016), but for baby boomers, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) is a Disney Picture with a Screenplay by Ray Bradbury from the 1962 novel of the same name.  A very young Jonathan Pryce, who you just watched as the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones stars as Mr. Dark, an Illustrated Man, perhaps The Illustrated Man, (Bradbury and the film certainly hint at it) of Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival. 
The carnival comes to 1930’s Greentown Illinois in late October and corrupts the town by digging into everyone’s secrets and granting wishes, for a price.  Childhood best friends Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, as played by Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson watch helplessly as their town falls prey to the dark carnival.
And much like The Illustrated Man or The Martian Chronicles, each character feels like the embodiment of a classic Bradbury tale, all coincidentally living in the same small town.  There’s the barber, Mr. Crosetti who dreams of exotic perfumes and beautiful women, the stern teacher Miss Foley, who was once the most beautiful lady in Greentown, Ed the Bartender, missing an arm and a leg and also his glory as a high school athlete, and Mr. Tetley the Cigar Store owner, who wants to win the lottery.  And then there’s young Jim Nightshade, who is sick of being a kid and wants to grow up.  Fortunately Mr. Dark has a magic carousel that can age you in either direction, and a mirror maze that reveals your darkest desires.
With Jason Robards as Will’s dad, Charles Halloway, Diane Ladd as Mrs. Nightshade, Jim’s mom, and Pam Grier, who follows me on Twitter, as The Dust Witch.
Watch out for Angelo Rossitto, you know, Master of Master Blaster from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and from Baretta, Kung Fu, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., as a carnival barker.  And veteran actor Royal Dano portrays Tom Fury, the Lightning Rod Salesman.  He has a familiar face you recognize from Moby Dick (1956), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and TV shows including The Rifleman, The Virginian, Bonanza, Lost in Space and Twin Peaks.  And don’t forget Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) and his final film The Dark Half (1993, directed by George A. Romero).



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals (inspired by this very movie), punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…

read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback from these fine (amazon) bookstores.