Strange Bacon’s Stephen King Marathon Part VIII: IT

If you were anything like me as a child, you likely frequented the cable movie channels alone, searching desperately for some horror movie that you knew, were your parents around, that you would be roundly punished for watching. The opportunity to have a young imagination stretched beyond its somewhat benign capacities and into a world of struggles, terrors, and uncertainties presented itself as a fascinating variation from the typical childhood movies. Great as The Lion King might be, very few emotions can mimic the strength of the fear a kid can feel when watching a horror film.

It is possible that my fascination with horror movies is a sentiment not shared by many others. But if that is the case, I have an imperative to try to convey the sort of experience that this movie can be, if you simply allow yourself to be a part of it. IT isn’t perfectly shot, cast, or acted. It has some noticeably poor computer animation at times. But if you’re able to work past this, it’s a genuinely scary movie, and an even scarier novel.

It is quite possible that this tv miniseries has had a profound cultural impact. Most people I’ve talked to credit IT for their irrational fear of clowns. The somewhat iconic Pennywise (played by Tim Curry) is the omnipresent malefactor, the ostensibly friendly clown, who extends a hand of friendship and the promise of balloons to young children, only to viciously murder them.

“The loser club” is a group of misfit kids who join together and find that their cumulative strength is greater than the sum of its parts. They confront Pennywise, first as young children, and subsequently thirty years later as adults. Though their modern storyline is likely intended to be the focus of the story, I personally found the children’s portion of the tale to be more interesting and less predictable, and I think most of the film’s audience agreed.

Yes, that is a 16 year old Seth Green in the background, playing a 12 year old character.

There are a few staples of a King book/movie, a repetitive line voiced by one character frequently throughout (In this case, it is Pennywise’s devious “Everything floats down here”). It has a small gang of young evil children wearing leather jackets (Sometimes they come back,) as well as the main character being a writer (More than half of King’s books). I’m fairly certain that King is aware of these frequencies, and views them more as a trademark, or signature of his fiction than a self-imposed cliché.

This deserves a legitimate “You mad, bro?”

The version I watched was missing some scenes that I remembered as a kid, and that took away from the experience. But as a whole, it’s an acceptable story with terrific execution. I felt largely the same way about the novel, that the quality came more from the time and detail put into the writing than the actual plot, and the movie is similar in that regard. You won’t likely be surprised by anything that transpires, but it should still, at the very least, creep you out, and give you an appreciation for each well rounded, fully developed character. There should be no confusion as to the motives or inner struggles in any of the characters.

Except, perhaps, why one would engage Pennywise in conversation in a situation such as this.

This one is a collector’s item for horror movie enthusiasts. A staple of the genre, it has real fright without any of the cheesy over-the-top violence that has become a cheap solution for thrill seekers in the modern movie economy. IT isn’t overly long, has well rounded characters, and avoids many of the transition problems, be they acting quality or a tedious plot, that have tainted other King adaptations. It’s hard to say no to a classic, and if you weren’t afraid of clowns before…

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