Stephen King’s It is the 3 hour & 12 minute long miniseries based on the 1,138 page book by famed horror author Stephen King. Although my blog is meant for movies, a miniseries like this walks a thin line between both movie and TV. While originally aired on ABC as a 2 parter, Stephen King’s It has been retroactively released as a straightforward movie. Which I never tried to watch when I was younger. Even though a lot of people my age were terrified of It. Since the fear of clowns is so common. As one of Stephen King’s best stories (with such a vaguely simple title), I knew I needed to check It out.
Part 1 takes place in 1960 and is framed with events from the modern day in 1990. Both are a few years later than the book which took place in the 50’s and 80’s. Part 1 is easily the best part because It focuses on the kids. The story takes place in Derry, Maine where an increase in child murder takes place every 30 years. The most notable victim is Georgie. A precocious young child who plays with a paper boat on a rainy day. When his boat floats down a sewer drain, Georgie is greeted by Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Tim Curry is easily the best part of the whole miniseries. He’s both menacing and entertaining. Pennywise became iconic with his white makeup, big red nose, bushy red hair, colorful baggy clothes, and unusually large head. Pennywise offers him his boat back with the promise of balloons that all float down there. Georgie’s death is off screen like almost every other death. Since It has a TV-PG rating with a TV budget…
Pennywise waits for Georgie
Stephen King’s It features Stephen King’s most well developed kid group to date. The Losers Club are a group of kids living in Derry who are tormented by visions of Pennywise. Who can either appear as a clown or take on the form of what they fear most. The Losers Club consists of: Bill, Ben, Beverly, Eddie, Richie, Mike, and Stan. Bill is their leader with a bad stutter traumatized by the death of his younger brother Georgie. Ben is the “overweight” new kid. Beverly is the only girl in the group. Eddie is the sick kid with an inhaler. Richie is the self-proclaimed comic relief, Mike is the only black kid in the group. And Stan is their nervous Jewish friend.
Each one of them is dealing with some kind of problem. Like the love triangle between Bill, Ben, and Beverly (“Your hair is winter fire”) or bully Henry Bowers and his gang. Pennywise doesn’t so much try to kill the kid’s as he does torment them. Basically tenderizing them with fear. When they work together, the Losers Club is able to defeat It once and for all.. or so they thought.
Part 2 is easily the worst part because It focuses on the boring adults. Like the book, the story is framed with an older Mike calling each and every Loser. Telling them that It has returned and they need to honor their oath to kill It for good. All but Stan return to Derry where Pennywise is waiting to torment them. Everyone just sort of mopes around wanting to return to their successful lives. It isn’t until an institutionalized Henry Bowers (controlled by It) escapes to kill them that they try to finish what they started. The final form of It is underwhelming to say the least. Basically a fake looking giant spider-like creature with deadlights underneath.
Stephen King’s It has a lot of story to condense even in a 3 hour movie. So some of the weirder elements like a certain turtle, It’s origin, an ancient ritual, or that infamous underaged sex scene were all taken out. While the violence is pretty tame. Most effects are achieved with makeup or stop-motion. Although I later realized I knew more than I thought, Seth Green and Annette O’Toole were the only actors I initially recognized. Save for Tim Curry, the acting can get pretty hammy. Stephen King’s It has the creepy story, but their restrictive choice of platform doesn’t always keep it that way.
Pennywise presents his balloons