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Something Wicked This Way Comes

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The movie “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is an adaptation of Bradbury’s novel which illustrates a fundamental aspect of human behavior which might otherwise be explained only in a work of great complexity. The movie vividly portrays a battle between good and evil through the eyes of children and their world views. This work can be interpreted as a horror and fantasy film. From the very beginning, the signs in the film suggest that maybe evil can prevail even in the presence of good. Thesis The movie depicts that negative influence of adults resulted in the loss of childhood innocence and dark nature of human beings.

The plot structure is clearly set out, with few diversions of sub-plot and with fairly obvious contrasts of characters. It consists of several frames which force the viewer to rethink the events and interpret them in a different manner according to behavior and thoughts of the main characters. It is possible to say that the main frame is the world of childhood influenced by adults and low morals of the society. The plot structure and dramatic meaning is shaped by horror and magic, evil and satanic nature of Mr. Dark. Also, this structure unveils that in childhood many things appear much important than in adulthood.

The directors of the film skillfully use dark and light, and special visual effects to underline important elements and actions of the main characters. Dark and light means good and evil, hopes and disappointment, and more important life and death. The special effects are used to unveil the loss of childhood innocence as the main theme of the movie. It is possible to draw a line between darkness and danger.

Through the characters of Will and Jim, the directors unveil that if young people are afraid of nothing, they cannot understand the terrors and danger around them. The symbolic interpretation of the events, comparison and contrast between the meaning of dark and light helps the directors to hold viewers’ attention. The differences are slight, and need special attention of viewers to grasp the idea of evil and good. The difference in the light and dark, night and day interpretation has a particular metaphoric meaning, which adds pathos to the whole story. The desire to escape from the dark world creates the feeling of fatality.

Such literary elements as voice and language unveil the loss of childhood innocence through the choice of words and personal tone of children. The language has more than a touch of the traditional fiction genre, and the exploration of language and persona helps to underline darkness of human heart. The role of persona (a child) is crucial because it helps to communicates with the audience through it. The vocabulary is uncomplicated, the sentence structure avoids unnecessary elaborations, and the dialogue is terse and col­loquial.

The important fact is that the directors express the themes of innocence and evil nature of humans through the child’s perspective which adds dramatic elements and pietisms. The plot structure and dramatic forms depict that there is no eternal standard of what is innocence or good, because everything depends on circumstances. The film directors want other people to understand the hardship that darkness and lightness, prosperity and loss of innocence mean. Through dramatic structure and characters of children, the movie persuades viewers to think, to analyze and to come to conclusion themselves. Sound effects play an important role heating up the atmosphere of constant horror.

The movie is full of symbolic elements which underline the loss of childhood innocence and evil nature of adults. For instance, “white”, in Western culture, is the traditional color for innocence, but the directors of the movie use dark colors to create the feeling of horror and danger. In cultural terms, this movie shows that it is dangerous thing to forget about human dignity and human code which lead to the loss of innocence. This movie can be interpreted as a philosophical one portraying low morals and absence of personal values through the theme of dark human nature and low morals. These themes are closely connected with cultural context, decadence and moral decay which reflected through the main characters and their world views.

One of the main characters is James Nightshade. In contrast to his best friend, William Halloway, he is afraid of nothing. His character is always associated with shadows, and lack of light. He contrasts physically with Will, being unattractive without silliness. He differs too from Will in his lack of sympathy for the other people. He never accepts defeat gracefully and sets himself in competition with evil and dark. This literary character is free from fears and danger which lead him to lack of moral scruples and cruelty. Through this character, the movie demonstrates excellently how complex philosophical and moral themes can be handled in one character.

The killing of the boy by Mr. Dark and “reincarnation” of Jim is the climax of the movie. These episodes are the most emotionally intense and horrifying elements of the plot. The main thematic events are the coming of Mr. Dark and the beginning of carnival; the feeling of Mr. Halloway who predicts something bad; the panics of Miss Foley inside the Mirror Maze; the episode when the carousel is out of control; tattooed faces of the boys on the man’s hand and destroying of the Mirror Maze by Mr. Dark.

These thematic elements lead to the climax of the movie giving some hints to viewers about the forthcoming events. These thematic events are closely connected with one another creating a serious and sensitive impression of dark nature of human beings suppressed by evil and magic power. The main cinematic elements are: the visual images which create the unique atmosphere of horror and danger; cinematic composition based on the contrast of violence and picturesque images of nature; crosscutting and fast motion; high angle shots and music (sounds).

In this movie, couture can be defined as a set of moral principles which affects all characters in the movie. In general, the movie reflects modern culture and cultural context of the American society, low morals vs heroism. It comprises ideas through which people perceive and interpret the world, symbols they use to communicate these ideas, and institutions which enable individuals to become socialized and satisfy their needs. The loss of childhood innocence and evil nature shape the atmosphere of culture contradicting with traditional views on children as innocent creatures and their moral purity. It is possible to add that the directors and Bradbury possess a unique opportunity to observe and record human’s behavior and actions, through the lens of their world perception, which reflected in this film.


  1. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). (1999). DVD. Widescreen, NTSC. Anchor Bay

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