So, I re-watched Stephen King’s IT (1990), and for a two part mini-series heavily sanitized for ABC, it was really good. I loved it then, love it now and can forgive some of the cheesiness of the dialogue (after all, aren’t the horror movies that the Losers Club loved so much as kids themselves cheesy?). As far as I’m concerned, it held up well, all things considered. I’m sure that had it been adapted by Showtime or HBO, the darker elements might have been utilized to great effect, but it wasn’t. Fortunately, the new film directed by Andy Muschietti and with Bill Skarsgård as the terrifying Pennywise is coming out on September 8, which I am eagerly looking forward to.
So, why the re-watch of a very whittled down and sanitized adaptation of my favorite novel? Well, there are many reasons why I wanted to. First, there’s Tim Curry (!) playing the iconic evil clown Pennywise that haunts the sewers of Derry, Maine. Then there’s the touching and hilarious moments among the Losers Club as kids and their adult counterparts. And that bittersweet ending, where their memories of each other start to fade, still makes me teary-eyed, as it always does with the book.
Originally slated for a four part, eight hour production, whatever the TV mini-series lacked in terms of budget and creative flexibility, it more than made up for in the feeling of the novel. That familiar feeling and knowing of your own home-town. The childhood friendships that may or may not have survived to adulthood, but which you treasure, even as their faces fade. That, even as the town has changed over the years, it is still the same. And even though you have changed as well, there is still that part of you that feels the same as you did as a child.
I can’t remember the last time I’d watched this mini-series and I liked re-visiting it and seeing this story play out. The location feeds into the story as much as the script and actors do. It was still a bitter-sweet viewing, but for very different reasons now. Since it aired in 1990, John Ritter (Ben as an adult) and Jonathon Brandis (Young Bill) have passed away.
I’m looking forward to the new film, make no mistake. I’m currently on my umpteenth read of the novel (seriously, I lost count on how many times I’ve read IT in the last twenty years or so). If there are many variations of Pennywise within the text, then there can be as many interpretations of the novel. IT all comes down to how it resonates with you.
Here’s the newest full trailer from Warner Bros. to really get the blood pumping. We’re all excited down here.
Are there scenes in the book you’re hoping to see in the new film? Let us know on Twitter!