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Now or Then – Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant or Something Wicked This Way Comes?

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Now: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)Then: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Based on the introductory volume of a 12-book series, this week’s Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant hopes to be the first installment in a long-running movie franchise. That remains to be seen, but in watching this story about two boys who get taken in by a mysterious supernatural traveling freak show, you can’t help but be reminded of Jack Clayton and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, the underrated 1983 fantasy cult classic about two boys who get sucked into a mysterious supernatural traveling carnival. So how do these films stack up against each other?

Our Nerdy Hero and His Impulsive Best Friend

Cirque du Freak: Darren (Chris Massoglia) is an obedient teen, except when he falls under the influence of his best bud Steve (Josh Hutcherson), who convinces him to check out a freak show that’s just arrived in town.

Something Wicked: Will Halloway (Vidal Peterson) is a risk-averse young lad who gets roped by his best friend, the incorrigible Jim Nightshade (Shawn Carson), into sneaking into carnival shows intended for adults.

When the Carnival Comes to Town

Cirque du Freak: The Cirque du Freak is a traveling freak show that includes a Bearded Lady, a man with exposed ribs, and a strangely tall ringmaster. Naturally, it turns out to be connected to an ancient supernatural war.

Something Wicked: Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show’s coterie includes a Bearded Lady, a Dust Witch, and a giant. Naturally, it turns out to be connected to an ancient evil.

The Demonic Presence Behind It All

Cirque du Freak: Mr. Desmond Tiny (‘Des Tiny” – get it??) is a
mysterious, seemingly all-powerful figure who revels in watching
ancient races of beings battle against each other.
Something Wicked: Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) runs the carnival
and seems to have unnatural powers over pretty much everybody else.
Also, he collects people’s souls and makes them work for his carnival.

Eight-Legged Friends
Cirque du Freak: Obsessed with spiders, Darren steals Madame
Octa, a giant spider belonging to vampire Larten Crepsley (John C.
Reilly). The next day at school, Madame Octa gets out and all hell
breaks loose.

Something Wicked: After they disrupt the carnival, Will and Jim have a terrifying dream in which they are attacked by armies of spiders.

Uptight Educators

Cirque du Freak: Our heroes’ high school teacher is a
tightly-wound jerk who protests the Cirque du Freak because he thinks
freaks are an abomination.

Something Wicked: Our heroes’ seventh-grade teacher Miss Foley
is an aging, stern but secretly caring taskmaster who is seduced by Mr.
Dark’s carnival.

Don’t forget to vote in the Now or Then poll or leave a comment below!

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