Ben Hanscom: Derry is not like any town I’ve been in before. People die or disappear, six times the national average. And that’s just grown ups. Kids are worse. Way, way worse.
“It” boasts a 27-year nostalgia in homage to the adaption of Stephen Kings book. It was released periodically, 27 years after the original miniseries which follows the stories antagonist Pennywise the Dancing Clown’s 27-year awakening pattern. Indulging with the hype I realised the weight of Stephen King’s influence within the field of Horror, without being necessarily bothered by the scare factor within the film. Clowns do not scare me, though the original two-part miniseries maintained a creepiness that Tim Curry paraded performing as Pennywise. He was exhilarating, utilising the strangeness of clowns and the sheer eeriness of the setting. I assume this somewhat brings Stephen King’s book alive in a sense of film. It follows the formation of the Losers Club after Bill loses his brother Georgie who is abducted by Pennywise in this famous scene. Nevertheless, understanding the content of the novel, I believe a more appropriate adaptation of It could have been a TV series to fully flesh out the brilliance of Stephen King’s work.
This new adaptation of It was hilarious, though I kept thinking to myself maybe I appreciated it in the wrong way. It follows the Losers Club, unfavourable School Kids who find themselves together and expanding with 3 new additions in Beverley, Ben and Mike who also suffer at the hands of the Goon Squad. I admire coherent films, witnessing the cast act in a flowing manner you can see the chemistry compiling as the film steadily turns into a great one. The cast were simply fantastic and that is what I appreciated the most with this film. The previous miniseries made me weary of Pennywise, a small-town horror and appreciative of that vintage – the 80s early 90s stylistic feel through filming techniques. It gave me a retro vibe in a sense of considering the past, though we miss something in comparison to that era. It is a feeling we cannot entirely recreate and it was aided by my superstitions as a child taking in hints of these characters livelihoods. Hence this new viewing worked as my kind of coming of age, ironically the 27-year gap between the adaptations and decade between my own viewings encouraged me to conceive the implications of the film much more. As an “adult” social realism is anxiously scarier than anything else. Hence Get Out is one of the most incredible films I have ever seen, it plays on anxieties in the same way It plays on the fear and the horrors of these characters realities.
I say the acting is what made this film incredible at times due to the great selection of characters. Bill Skarsgard was impressive as Pennywise, a sinister voice and startling look forces an evil projection. Of course, he is the antagonist but as Stephen King states in the book “Adults are the real monsters.”. This film focuses on the Children’s chemistry, coming together to realise the threat of Pennywise whilst solidifying their trust in each other. It manages to capture a nostalgia we all experience, the fruitfulness of school days where notions of livelihoods and pressures are compiled. Finn Wolfhard as Ritchie put on an excellent performance, he is an immense actor at such a young age. He manages to interject a comedic apt to the setting, much to the annoyance of Bill who is played by Jaeden Liebrher. The conflict in interest here is great as Bill rarely breaks into a smile whilst Ritchie is attempting to joke his way out of the scenario his then crazed friends encouraged him into. Beverley Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis, is the only girl in the Losers Club, hence drawing in everyone’s attention in the group. The dynamic on screen between her, Bill and Ben Hanscom, played by Jeremy Ray Taylor, is a very much awkward love triangle. It was perfected to a point I was sympathetic, only one of them could win in terms of falling for Beverley. Despite having watched the previous miniseries I felt they perfected it due to the camera angles and the children’s acting prowess in general. What is thoroughly interesting to me was how focused it was on the children’s projection of things; the adults remain as a burden.
Richie Tozier: Do you need to be a virgin to see this fucking clown?
In this era of fantastic showings through the new forms of media e.g. Netflix and other streaming services television and cinema have somewhat been effected. The reception is different, content is galvanized and I would say millennial fans champion understanding the content and wholesomeness of films. Directors, actors, inspirations and representation. This is energised through social media, the way we can communicate and witness news translate through the times. For example, the director of Jeepers Creepers Victor Salva, a convicted child molester who sexually abused Nathan Forrest Winters during filming in 1989. He still managed to salvage a career despite being a disgusting piece of shit that should be dead. Jeepers Creepers 3 is soon to be released during this stream of amazing horror content. Tweets, Facebook posts and articles informed me of his past – hence I no longer feel the attraction to the film. It is that social weight of the realities we face that is championed in Stephen King’s storytelling. Specifically, in It King amasses immense reasons behind the fears of the Children of Derry. The reason why I think It should have been a TV series is due to the weight of content. There are some discussions that must be had or at least realised by a wider audience. Capturing the elements of a book is a hard thing to do justice by in a 2-hour film. Nobody wants to sit and watch 3 to 4 hours of plot building, unless it is some open World sort of mythical adventure at least. However, realising what they left out from the book it lessens the importance of the story, in turn allowing you to take it for something else – comedic and exciting acting, a well put together film opposed to a horrific and socially realistic lasting tale.
I have not read It yet, I hope to pick it up one day to get the full context. What interested me was the angles of all the Characters. You had the Goon Squad, who have horrible tales within the film. Such as the bully Henry Bowers who exacts his insecurities and pain out on the Losers through targeted bullying. His Father is clearly abusive through implications in the film, yet it almost doesn’t excuse his horrid behaviour. Though in the book his Father is an ex-Marine gone on to be a Police Officer that takes out his psychosis on his Family members, verbally and physically. His abusive nature and his Family’s joint racist behaviour towards Mike stems from the book.
Pennywise: Where you going, Eds? If you lived here you’d be home by now! Come join the clown, Eds. You’ll float down here. We all float down here. Yes, we do!
There are Characters who don’t make the cut, like Eddie Corcoran. He attends the same school as the Losers’ Club, he and his younger brother suffer abuse at the hands of his Stepfather who kills his younger brother Dorsey with a hammer. Running away from the situation he encounters It, who appears in the form of his Brother and is gruesomely killed by a transforming Pennywise. Abuse is a strong part of this tale. Scenes in this 2017 adaptation of Beverley being intimidated by her sexually abusive Father is some of the creepiest scenes I have witnessed in a while. Eddie, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, is constantly protected by his Mother who escapes coming across as narcissistic due to the toning down of her role. She forces him to be reliant on drugs, weary of illness and harm, to stay in doors with her – a constant effort to stay loved and protective to smother Eddie into submission. Lastly the creepiest omission from the book should be Beverley suggesting the Losers’ take turns having sex with her, to solidify their companionship.
Georgie Denbrough: Bill? If you’ll come with me, you’ll float too.
Bill Denbrough: Georgie?
In conclusion, the X Rated content of the book is something I think would have been better served over a TV series. Ironically the creators of Stranger Things the Duffer Brothers asked to do this adaptation of It, it would have been an awesome movie I believe. Stranger Things is full of It inspired contents, loosely speaking the concept of small town horror and even the bike riding children – as well as the conventional bullies and lack of adult cooperation. They were shunned and eventually created the outstanding series Stranger Things which in its own rights could become a thing. It somewhat inspired me to take in this new adaptation of It, I feel the 80s early 90s vintage is complimented well with the colours the new filming technology can grasp. Though due the grandeur of It, this film was always bound to be a hit. I cannot wait to see what they do with Part 2 as the miniseries proved to be way more comedic and less frightening than the first.