He is. Without question.
While The Halloween Tree may be the most spot on for Halloween of his work, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a close second -- with Halloway and Nightshade respective birthdays occurring just moments apart, one born at 11:59pm on October 30, and the other at 12:01am on the 31st.
And the 1983 film adaptation…
Well, it's a fine film.
And if you asked someone how they enjoyed their meal, and they said, "fine", what would you think?
They didn't hate it, no. But they also didn't love it.
I feel the same way about the movie.
The biggest problem? That it's a Disney film.
Because while we can talk at length about the darker side of the creations of the Mouse House (shall we do a count of how many of their beloved animated films involve youth-scarring renditions of parental death? Bambi, anyone?), those darker emotional shades were often reserved for the palette of their animated films.
Their willingness to go dark and nasty with the flesh and blood creations has never been their strong suit.
Despite the film's screenplay being written by Bradbury himself, the film feels toned down. Hell, maybe that's even because of Bradbury -- penning the screenplay with more of a autumn-shaded nostalgic view of his boyhood home of Waukegan, Illinois, than with the more sanguineous tones of children's' fears -- furthering my opinion that sometimes a novelist isn't always the best one to adapt his own work for film.
Maybe the experience for me was diminished knowing that the town square was nestled not amid the rural plains of the Midwest, but on the Disney backlot; literally twenty yards from bustling Alameda Avenue. I know that I shouldn't let it cloud my eyes. After all, I know that the great Universal Monster movies were primarily Universal backlot tenants. But the shadows and contrast of black and white somehow mute and restrain the Southern California sunshine that color film lets in with a flourish.
I, for one, would love to see it remade.
How about -- A Guillermo Del Toro Production of a Frank Darabont Film?
Come on, you know I'm right. That film would be amazing!