I wouldn’t say I am a fan of IT, not the full version anyway, as there is something about the horror/sci-fi crossover that turns me cold. This is because I am not a sci-fi fan. Horror, yes. Sci-fi, no.
For me, this is where Stephen King went wrong with this story, turning an horrific clown into an alien spider (or whatever it was). It ruined a damn good horror story!
I kind of understand why he did it, though. It is the whole thing about the face you show to the world, which is not necessarily who you really are. His choice of the darker side of Pennywise just didn’t work for me.
Choosing a figure that represents the fun and innocence of youth was a clever move on King’s part and has spawned a generation or more of people who are terrified of clowns. This is highlighted in the new series of American Horror Story – AHS: Cult. After all, who would ever suspect that a clown, whose purpose is to entertain and create fun, would ever harm a child? Yet, haven’t all series killers had a benign and affable public facing persona? This is what makes it so shocking when you find out the truth.
IT is a very child led story which makes it all the more uncomfortable.
Although the original film was one instalment, the film-makers have, in true Hollywood style, decided to milk it for all it’s worth, and split it into two. Where the original starts with the kids as adults, who go back and remember what happened when they were kids, this new version follows the kids in ‘real time’, so to speak.
I have to hand it to the film-makers, though. Even though they are ‘dragging it out’, it certainly didn’t feel like it.
This version of IT was extremely well done, except for the unnecessarily necessary ‘blood everywhere’ scene (bathroom). It illustrated in full technicolour the fears of each of the children and how Pennywise became the image of that fear.
Speaking of Pennywise, I never thought anyone would pull it off as well as Tim Curry, but hats off to Bill Skarsgard for a truly terrifying and completely mad Pennywise. I wouldn’t say he was better, I’d say he was different.
For me, Chapter I of IT was the perfect version – all horror and all clown. I doubt Chapter II will capture me quite so much, though I will, of course, be watching!