While poorly received at the time, the film, like many of the “Dark Age” films, now has a cult following.
Take a midnight journey on Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival Train with us as we tell the story of how the film came to be. Published in 1962, the novel was an expansion of Bradbury’s short story “The Black Ferris." Part of Bradbury’s Greentown Trilogy, it is a tale of the dangers of longing, regret and vanity. Early on, Bradbury expressed the desire to bring the story to the big screen, and began shopping a screenplay around. Dancer and entertainer Jean Kelly was looking for the film to be his directorial debut, but was turned down by all the major studios. Eventually the rights were sold to Paramount Pictures with Director Jack Clayton and Bradbury attached. After languishing in years of development Hell, Walt Disney Pictures bought the rights from Paramount, and kept Clayton on as director. After a disastrous test screening and five million dollars spent in rewrites, redone special effects, and a new score by James Horner, the film was released to a lukewarm reception. Bradbury even called it “not a great film.”
Something Wicked was released on DVD by Anchor Bay, and later by Disney in 2004, with both versions of the soundtrack released by Intrada Records. In 2014, a remake was announced with the author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith, attached as director. The Disney Company was very different 35 years ago than the Marvel/Star Wars juggernaut that is currently dominating the cineplexes. Chances were taken and mistakes were certainly made (looking at you, Condorman), but the period of experimentation and pushing the envelope gave us a creepy and disturbing period film that will forever have us looking over our shoulders at the approaching storm.