Stephen King’s IT

Year: 1990
Directed By: Tommy Lee Wallace
Written By: Stephen King, Tommy Lee Wallace, and Lawrence D Cohen

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a rare situation where I actually think the film was better than the book.  Making things even more bizarre is the fact that this was a made for TV movie and it still manages to be better than the book.  This was a household favorite when I was growing up but I had never read the book until a year or two ago.  The book is different, in many ways it is a better different but in the end there was one specific thing that brought it all crashing down and I am haunted by the memory.  Haunted not in the sense that I was scared but in the sense that I simply can’t get back the innocence I had before reading it.

I have always heard this book was one of King’s best but I didn’t feel that way after finishing it.  In fact I felt that Stephen King must have been drunk when he wrote the damn thing and whoever read it and decided to publish it should be ashamed of themselves. If you have read the book then you should know what I am talking about, it’s so shameful and disgusting I can’t imagine anyone ever forgetting it. If you haven’t read it then I strongly suggest you never do.  The book isn’t all bad, it’s just that one damning part but that part is just too bad for me to stomach.  In the end of the book after the children dispatch IT for the first time in the 50s they get lost trying to find their way out of the sewers.  For whatever reason, to solve this dilemma, Beverly decides the only thing to do is to have sex with each of the boys in turn.  Let me say it again, to find their way out of a sewer the ten year old girl allows six ten year old boys to practically run a train on her.  Now I have heard that there are explanations for this online and plenty of people have written about why it was necessary and blah blah blah.  I don’t give a shit.  I don’t think there is any justification for it.  All I know is I read 1,000 pages into this damn book only to get to the most ridiculous and despicable thing I have ever read.  There is absolutely nothing in the world that will make what happened in that book sit right with me and I do feel scarred for life to an extent because I read it.  It’s doesn’t just say what happened either; the sex is uncomfortably graphic and I actually quit reading Stephen King for quite a while after reading it. King is a very successful writer and I am still a fan, but in this case I don’t know what his problem was and I think he should be ashamed of what he wrote.

Aside from that one awful scene the book isn’t bad but it’s really out there.  My favorite part is the turtle.  There is a great turtle responsible for creating the universe and he actually apologizes to one of the characters for it saying he simply had a stomach ache.  When he threw up the universe came out of him and there it was. For whatever reason I really like this explanation for the creation of the universe. Not that I think there is any validity to it but simply because I think if we knew how it really happened it would be something weird like that.  Something nobody in their right mind would ever be able to even consider and ultimately probably the product of an accident. IT was an evil being that counteracts the turtle but I’m certainly not remembering it right.  The movie tends to focus on him mainly as the clown but I don’t remember it like that in the book.  The clown was a shape he took but there was really no limit to what he appeared as.  IT is a being with the ability to invoke madness in others simply by being around but also able to directly invoke that fear himself with physical force.  IT is really complicated to be honest and it’s been too long since I read the book to be able to explain it with any accuracy.  I know that IT somehow ties into the Dark Tower series like pretty much everything King writes but I haven’t read the series so don’t know much about it.  I think King is a really talented writer despite what he did in the end of this book but some of his stuff is just really out there, specifically this book and the Dark Tower series.

I think this movie stands on its own well and that usually isn’t the case.  I think a lot of that has to do with the performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown.  I would call it his best performance but would undoubtedly spark the outrage of Dr. Frank-N-Furter fans.  I have never been one to get behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show so I can’t compare the two but as Pennywise Curry was great.  The clown is the strength of the film and what makes it popular despite being a cheap made for TV film. My favorite scene is when the kids are looking in Mike’s scrapbook and Pennywise approaches them with menacing words before literally reaching through the page to get them. In that scene he has an evil look in his eye and a tone that could strike fear into anyone.  Great performance by Curry and my favorite part of the movie. You can see the scene I’m talking about below.

I’m not going to go into all the actors in the movie but I will discuss a few of them.  It’s cool to see a really young Seth Green playing Richie. I’ve never been a big fan of Green’s but I don’t dislike him and he has had a lot of success at different things.  I was a fan of John Ritter and I feel his presence gave this movie more credibility.  Jonathan Brandis played the most important of the younger cast in the role of Bill.  I remember seeing a lot of Brandis when I was a kid and he was a seemingly up and coming young actor.  I had forgotten all about him till watching this movie a couple of years ago and found out that he had died in 2003.  I was shocked to find out that he had actually committed suicide because he seemed to have such a promising future when I was a kid. Apparently he was really depressed because his career had declined significantly and he turned to drinking before ultimately taking his own life.  It’s a sad and unfortunate story.  I think he did a good job in this movie and was the best of the young actors in the film.

This is a cool movie and I like it but I don’t know how well it fits into the Halloween theme we are doing this month.  It is a horror film so it qualifies but I just don’t think it does much to set the tone for the season.  This is a horror film that can be watched any time of the year and for whatever reason it just doesn’t seem to fit with the other movies we are watching. It was a really long book and it made for a long movie.  This was actually a TV mini-series when it came out so I imagine it was four one hour episodes or something like that.  It’s a low budget film but that doesn’t take anything away from the film.  I chose to do this one mainly because I’ve wanted to write down my outrage over the book for some time. I don’t suggest this film as one to watch in preparation for Halloween but I would recommend it if you haven’t seen it.  So long as you don’t read the book, it will take way too long only to scar you for life.

AMBER’S REVIEW

What a creepy movie. Clowns are just so creepy and nobody does a creepy clown like this guy. Sometimes, when I see a balloon I will randomly just catch myself saying “They all Float.” How strange is that? Somebody in Party City has probably seen me and called me that crazy psychotic lady.

it-poster

I think this is a great one. It has the creepy clown front and center and it is surrounded by white. It’s ironic and it works. You see what you are supposed to see and you should automatically know this is going to be a horror flick. (In case seeing Stephen King’s name didn’t do it for you already.) The typography for the time was probably pretty cool and ahead of its time, but now the grunge look has been so over played. I will give this designer some kudos about the cast. They didn’t Photoshop them all together from different scenes that end up muddying up the piece, they decided to box them in across the bottom. MUCH better than the ones we have looked at in the past. I like this one. Halloween approved!

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