The miniseries IT hits some pretty astounding highs and some equally astounding lows but, sown throughout is a performance that is destined for infamy. TIM CURRY’s Pennywise the clown is nothing short of one of the most terrifying figures in horror. Like oh so many of the films that are mentioned on these pages, IT’s origins began in the mind of STEPHEN KING. Director TOMMY LEE WALLACE (HALLOWEEN 3, FRIGHT NIGHT 2) certainly had a gargantuan task on his hands. Many of the Lovecraft-ian multidimensional ideas of the 1,000 plus page epic novel were simply unfilmable, and attempts to scale them down are understandably less than successful. This is why the well earned climax usually leaves the viewer a bit undernourished and dissatisfied. Rather than watch our seven heroes, the STAND BY ME-ish “losers” battle the nemesis we’ve grown to fear and love, they share fisticuffs with a spider-like reject from CLASH OF THE TITANS. What they are seeing in fact, is the being in the closest form that their collective minds are capable of producing. (A kid who does see IT’s true form is instantly turned into a white haired JIM JARMUSCH clone). Unfortunately for the viewer it’s not a fraction as frightening as the mocking, child-killing monster that skipped around the rest of the movie with an arsenal of blood filled balloons, stale jokes and an elaborate display of phantasmagorical fortune cookies. That said, audiences mostly share the same selective memory as the inhabitants of King’s fictional town of Derry. Few can recall the giant spider, they’re still quivering over the clown.
Any scene with Pennywise is scary take your pick:
- In the sewer
- In the clotheslines
- In the shower
- In the sink
- In the road
- In the library
- In the moon? Yes, he even shows up in the moon. What is up with this guy?
I thought I’d give this a read based on the fact that we are approaching the 20th anniversary of IT and supposedly there is a remake in the works. It’s an R-rated feature. *sigh* Pardon my lack of enthusiasm. The writer, Dave Kajganich, is also doing a remake of Pet Semetary. But back to IT. How can you condense a 1,000 tome to a 2 hour feature? Or better question, how can you do it well? They had good intentions with this version by making into a mini-series, however, not a network mini-series. Something this demented HAS to be on cable. I don’t care which channel, just as long as they were free of censors. I know that wasn’t the option back in 1990 as it is now. The only mini-series HBO was running back then was Tanner ’88. Everything else was series (Dream On, Tales from the Crypt, The Hitchhiker).
Still, this version did what it could within the constraints of 1990 network TV. Like everyone else, Tim Curry made me wet my pants at 15 which as you said, made the reveal of the giant spider all the more frustrating.