Ray Bradbury left us nearly two years ago, and we are simply not sure how he would feel about the recently released news that Seth Grahame-Smith will be getting a crack at filming Something Wicked This Way Comes. You may remember Grahame-Smith as the author of that parody/revisionist-history bit of pop culture “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”. Some people loved it, some people hated it. When he went on to write the screenplay for the flop that was Dark Shadows, his stock plunged even more.

Even if you like Seth Grahame-Smith for his cheekiness or maybe his more humorous angle, it is probably safe to say that he should not be mentioned in the same breath as Ray Bradbury – a man whose Wikipedia “Awards and Honors” page fills an entire screen. Bradbury has won an Emmy, he has a crater on the moon named after him… heck, he has a literary award named after him! In an objectively measurable way, he is light years ahead of the man that will film his moody, supernatural love letter to the American autumn.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is required reading for SciFi fans. His story of two young boys, and the mysterious circus which rolls through town one October carries an important, weighty message, expertly disguised as a young adult novella. You could knock it out in an afternoon. It bears subsequent readings as you get older too. Where you once sympathized with Will and Jim, you will slowly find yourself appreciating and understanding Will’s father. It’s truly a piece of art.

It has been adapted for the screen before. In 1983, Disney released a film version of the story, in which Jonathyn Pryce absolutely nails the character of Mr. Dark. Bradbury himself was not thrilled with the way things turned out onscreen, which should tell you a lot about how discerning he was. Even though Bradbury didn’t care for it, the film was nominated for seven awards, and took home two. Something tells us he would be devastated to hear what is about to happen to his masterpiece.

Seth Grahame-Smith is set to write a treatment for the upcoming film, which will be passed off to another writer. That second writer will turn it into a screenplay, which Grahame-Smith will then direct. He will be over, under, around and through this thing. He has penned a loving tribute to the source material and what it means to him over at NPR, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will turn it into a good movie. I love the book, but I don’t think I should film it either. Loving the book, and appreciating the subtle dread it weaves through its tale about childhood, growing up, and death does not magically turn it into good cinema.

Seth, please don’t let us down. This is important.

What do you think about this news? Can Seth Grahame-Smith pull off a good movie adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes?

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  • Jacquie Schmidt

    I bet whomever they cast, the actor won’t be as good as Jonathan Pryce from the original film.