Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 127: Creepy Killer Clowns in Horror and It (1990) vs. It (2017)

Creepy Killer Clowns - It 2017

You’ll float, too, when you listen to Episode 127 of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… During this themed edition of HMP, Jay of the Dead and Dr. Shock discuss Creepy Killer Clowns in Horror and bring you an hour-long discussion of It (1990) versus It (2017) with the help of returning special guest “Carl of Cthulhu” Sederholm. Wolfman Josh was on location in Alaska working on a film, so he was unable to join us for this episode.

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voicemails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


SHOW NOTES:

I. Introduction
— Wolfman Josh is in Alaska working on a film
— Welcome to special guest Carl Sederholm


[ 0:03:03 ] II. Concept Discussion: Clowns as Monsters
— Dr. Shock joins us!


[ 0:29:27 ] III. Short list of other Creepy Killer Clown Horror films


[ 0:49:10 ] IV. IT (1990) vs. IT (2017)

Ratings for the 1990 film:
Jay of the Dead = 6 ( Rental )
Dr. Shock = 8 ( Buy it! )
Carl Sederholm = 6 ( Buy it! )

Ratings for the 2017 film:
Jay of the Dead = 9.5 ( Must-see / Theater / Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 9 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Carl Sederholm = 9 ( Theater / Buy it! )


Pennywise - It 2017

V. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— Listener feedback from Jacob at Test Pattern horror podcast


JOIN US IN TWO WEEKS ON HMP: Episode 128: Child’s Play (1988)


NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, you can find all of our previous episode here on the website, with direct links to our themed episodes and franchise reviews on the sidebar. There are also 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar.


LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

Follow Carl of Cthulhu on Twitter @CarlSederholm
-Buy Carl’s book The Age of Lovecraft on Amazon

Speaking of clowns, here is an OK compilation of Jay’s favorite thing: Mascot Fights!

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for the original Horror Movie Podcast theme and composer Kagan Breitenbach for the use of his arrangement of Fred’s song for our updated theme.

Jay of the Dead’s links:
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Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on TwitterInstagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Horror Movie Podcast Official Instagram @HorrorMovieCast
Josh covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
Follow @MovieStreamCast on Twitter 
Like MSC on Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie review on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation, now on Facebook
Dave covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Dave covers Western movies on the We Deal in Lead podcast
Dave appears on another horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Order Kyle’s new book! The Written Dead: Essays on the Literary Zombie
Order Kyle’s previous books American Zombie GothicHow Zombies Conquered Popular Culture, and Triumph of The Walking Dead
Follow Kyle on Twitter @DrWalkingDead

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42 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 127: Creepy Killer Clowns in Horror and It (1990) vs. It (2017)

  1. Excellent episode. It has been a while since I have contributed so I thought I would add my two cents on the topic. Personally, I am similar to Carl in that clowns are neither scary nor funny to me. They simply exist, yet I do find them intriguing and I understand their appeal in the horror genre. Clowns appeal to our base human instincts, either joy or terror. When the topic arose, the first thought that came to mind was of John Wayne Gacy. I am 43, and a bit young to remember his crime spree, but I do remember watching on tv the movie with Brian Dennehy, and how it creeped me out. I was always a kid who watched investigative tv shows, so I then delved in to Gacy’s crimes more in depth, and let’s just say it left an indelible impression on me. It also made me appreciate how strong Dennehy’s performance was.
    The second thought that popped in my head, ironically was Jerry Lewis’s film, The Day The Clown Cried. I, obviously have not seen the film but its status is legendary and the subject matter is so morose that I have always wanted to check it out. It seems, though, that will be difficult.
    As I was listening a few thoughts popped in my head. They are not necessarily horror related but deal with clown related horror theme. To start, when thinking about the role of The Joker in Batman, I wonder how much inspiration of the look came from William Castle’s Mr. Sardonicus. Good movie, but not exacty clown related. When thinking about the sad clown (Joel, I am 43 and do not remember the sad clown movement, lol), I thought of that classic scene in Uncle Buck when John Candy punches Pooter in the face. Pooter represents the creepy clown, and Candy the hero saving the children from him. I also thought of the classic Mary Tyler Moore episode of the death of Chuckles. It was sad and funny at the same time. To a younger viewer, the thought of a clown getting “shelled” may be a very scary situation, lol.
    I also thought of the recent death of Tobe Hooper and his film, The Funhouse. While not directly a clown film, a funhouse is traditionally a place where clowns and similar characters cavort and untold terrors can take place. I recently looked up a 2015 film, The Funhouse Massacre which has clown images and curios to see it. Has anybody seen this?
    Anyways, just a few thoughts…I look forward to the next episode.

    • I also heard that the Joker was inspired by Conrad Veidt’s character in The Man Who Laughs (1928). Which is a great film, BTW. Coincidentally, another border-line horror film, The Bat (1926), was an inspiration for Batman. I’ve seen the remake with Vincent Price from 1959 but not the original version.

  2. I love your theatrical experience.
    Hearing it made me smile huge.
    I so wanted to dress as a clown, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

  3. Hey everyone! Long time listener and lifetime horror fan. I was about 7 when I first saw It the tv movie, and I couldn’t get enough. I have read the book several times and it has turned into my all time favorite novel. I have been patiently awaiting a rebooted version that could better portray the relationship between the kids and the town of Derry with It the entity. I will always have a place in my heart for Tim Curry’s performance in the tv movie, however it was a tv movie and it couldn’t accurately portray all of the wonderful horror the novel packed. This new movie is amazing. Pennywise is terrifying and I genuinely felt that the cast deeply cared for each other. I even love the references of the Turtle. Thank you for your great review discussion.

    • Hey, LeAndra… welcome to the comments! Awesome to hear about your relationship with It… I wish I had that background with the source material because it feels like this 2017 version is chock full of Easter eggs.

      Good news is we’ll be getting even more It discussion when (if) the Wolfman returns from Alaska!

  4. I saw IT 2017 this past Saturday at the drive-in theater with my husband and we both loved it! Neither one of us has seen the 1990 version, but we are planning to watch it this week. (I’ll report back after we watch the mini series.) I also haven’t read the novel, but after seeing the new film I had to look into the book, because I was curious about the origins of the monster. Drew and I were talking over the idea that IT came from outer space (or another dimension) and that the novel came out a couple of years before Killer Clowns From Outer Space where the Clowns are on a mission to eat humans. We figured that the makers of Killer Clowns must have been fans of King’s book. I’ll report back after we watch the mini series.

    • If you are a fan of audio books – the reading by Steven Weber is fantastic. Granted it is like 45 hours long but if you commute a lot or are taking a road trip I highly recommend it. He has his own unique interpretation of Pennywise and I found his Georgie seen just as riveting as in the films.

  5. Did anyone see mother! this weekend? I’m curious if it’s worth seeing in the theater? It’s has gotten so many mixed reviews that I want to see what true Horror fans think on it.

    I saw IT opening weekend with a full pumped up theater. I had a blast with this movie, even though it has a few flaws. None of the things are really worth pointing out. I wasn’t prepared for how good this movie was after seeing the somewhat disappointing Dark Tower. This movie was funny as much as it was scary. A couple things I think I noticed was that the tower the kids were floating around looked a lot like the Dark Tower? The creepy house they go into was the same one in the Dark Tower? I’m hoping to go see it again and see if I feel the same way after a second viewing. This could go either way, I could see more flaws and not like it as much or see more details that make it even better! I’m guessing the ladder since I like it so much the first time. Maybe we can all catch it Friday the 13th before the meet up?

    One of my favorite quotes from the movie, “I’m glad I met you before you died.”

    • Mother! might be my favorite film of the year. IT and Get Out are up there as well. If you are going to see Mother! I suggest going in as cold as possible. It’s fantastic.

      • Good to hear! I finally have somewhat of a free weekend and should be able to hit it up this weekend. I won’t be going in cold, but from what I can tell, it will be my kind of f’d up movie. It seems like it will stick with me afterwards, which is what the movie is going for. I hope more people go to it this weekend.

        • You were right, mother! Was amazing! I’m with you, one of the best movies for this year. You could relate almost every part of this movie to either religion or how the Earth gets treated by us humans. I don’t get how everyone is dissing this movie. Guess some people are just too closed minded to appreciated good film making. Lighten up people!

      • mother! is definitely my favorite film of the year! I was shaking after I saw it and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a week! However, I’ll say, if you hate the movie, I get it. It’s definitely not for everyone, but a movie hasn’t affected me like that in a LONG time!

  6. Hey guys, just wanted to comment on a few points you talked about on this episode. Tim Curry as Pennywise I agree was more on the silly side, but I would imagine that’s how it was written for him. I also read somewhere that Curry didn’t want to use prosthetics. Had they wanted a more sinister Pennywise someone like Powers Boothe would have been a better choice for that time. Current Pennywise definitely was truer to the book and scarier. Much more animalistic, even having a stream of saliva running down his chin at most times, like he was starving and on the hunt.
    Also, I wanted to speak to the pacing complaint of the 90’s adult half of the movie. The book and the miniseries touch on Pennywise’s ability to cause people to forget or cause indifference to what is happening. Each time adult Mike calls a member of the losers club, it sparks a flashback and each person remembers IT and what happened when they were kids. The constant flashbacks with each member is basically necessary to kind of lift the fog Pennywise instilled in each character as they grew up and left Derry. Even the silly bicycle montage and dinner scene montage are necessary to help build the Losers club bond that has been lost over time.
    Can’t wait to see what Chapter 2 has in store for us.

  7. Also that clown who dressed up is great. Unfortunately, here in Indy no one was aloud to dress as a clown, but a raincoat was fine.

  8. Great episode guys. I’ve been listening for a year or so now, and I have really enjoyed delving deeper into your entire episode collection. A little background as far as my love for “IT” is concerned… My father and I sat down watched the original airing back in 1990. Admittedly, I was a little young being that I was born in 1986, but I instantly fell in love with Pennywise, The Lucky Seven/The Loser’s Club, as well as the genre of horror all together. So I knew as soon as the new version was announced that I would be in the theatre opening night (I probably average one movie a year at the theatre which is basically forced upon me by my in-laws over the Christmas holidays). I prefer my home setup and the control that comes along with that… Unfortunately, my father passed away a few years ago because I know he would have loved every minute of it. The nostalgia factor definitely plays heavily on me and I knew it was going to be hard to beat Tim Curry’s performance in the mini-series, but I think they might have done it. The R-Rating, the kid’s performances, the time that they were able to spend devoted solely to the character development of the kids, and just the overall feel of the movie had me hooked from the word go. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us with Chapter 2…

    Thank you guys for the time you put into your craft. Jay, Dave, and Carl you did an awesome job. I’m also excited to hear Josh’s thoughts.

    – Georgia Shanesaw Massacre (the best I could come up with)

  9. I’d like to preface these comments by saying I loved the episode and ya’lls opinions of both clowns and both incarnations of IT. I’d also like to say I am a HUGE fan of the novel so my thoughts are colored by that deep love. The novel IT holds a special place in my heart. I first read it during my sophomore year of high school, after moving to a new city (Louisville, KY) and being a total outsider. I really identified with the Losers club and re-read the novel every year. Carl’s presence as a fellow lover of the book was perfect for this episode. Our thoughts aligned almost every time he spoke about the new film.

    Unfortunately, I did not experience IT (1990) until a few years ago. I’m in my late 20’s and many of my friends/co-workers were absolutely traumatized by it. As a big fan of the novel viewing it later I likely viewed the film with a more critical lense. However, I very much enjoyed the mini-series and Curry’s performance is fantastic. It’s campy as hell but I still revisit it on occasion.

    I’ve followed IT (2017) through all the production woes and was delighted to hear that Andy Muschietti was directing. Fight me if you want but Mama is great film. Also Jessica Chastain better play Bev in Chapter 2! Despite my excitement over the director, I was hesitant that anyone could do Pennywise and the epic story of Derry, Maine justice. I’m happy to say I think this iteration gets as close as a feature film can. It has problems which I will detail but the film is hilarious, heartfelt and actually pretty damn creepy.

    First, I’d like to tip my hat to Bill Skarsgard. Like Jay, I thought his performance was more menacing and frightening that Curry’s. IT is a monster, an eater of children that takes on the appearance of a clown to lure in his victims. However, something is a bit off about him. I loved the transition from cheery stranger in the sewers to a leering, drooling predator. Just Bill’s smile alone was enough to make me giddy.

    Second, man did the kids do a great job. I love the original cast but truly felt like this group were friends ready to face evil. I also appreciate the handling of Bev. She is my favorite character (along with Mike) and is truly the heart of the Losers club. Her arc is a bit different than the novel and I had some disagreements with her final “plight” but I loved Sophia’s performance. My major complaint with the film, and I appreciate Carl’s thoughts, was Mike. I’m not sure why they passed off his historian role to Ben but I missed the Mike created in the book. His relationship with his father (non-existent in the film) is fascinating and my favorite parts of the novel are his chronicles of Pennywise and Derry. I’ve always felt Mike was the strongest character, even more so than Bill. He stayed and lived with the memories and the horror of that summer. Mike was the one to call them all back when the pattern started again. I hope they do him more justice in Chapter 2.

    As mentioned in the podcast, the novel took place in the 50s so the fears of the Loser’s club often reflected cinema of that period. The Wolfman (wearing a Derry High School jacket), the Mummy, Frankenstein, etc. all showed up. I think that the 2017 film did a fantastic job updating the “fears” of the kids to the late 80s. From the painting to the recreating of the “Black Spot” (damn it Mike deserves more!) all the fears were fun and unique. I wanted Freddy but got some fantastic scares and creatures.

    I would not want the task of adapting a beloved story into a film. I think Andy and company have done as good a job as anyone can. I’d like to go deeper into some of my thoughts but fear that they would spoil portions of Chapter 2 for those who haven’t read the book. Honestly, this film is a 5/5 for me. It’s been a long time since I have had such a fun communal experience at the movies. I’m excited for Chapter 2 and trust that the adult Losers are in good hands.

  10. Great episode as usual! I’m in total agreement with your ratings – 2 superb films. I think it’s worth mentioning the Stranger Things vibe/cross over. As well as sharing one of the same actors, I noticed other similarities – that I don’t think are purely attributed to the 80s setting. Cheers Marcus, Uk

  11. Another awesome episode guys!

    I absolutely LOVED the 2017 IT, for me it’s a definite 10/10 and the 1990 version is a 7/10. I thought everything about the 2017 version was a hell of a lot darker, creepier and genuinely scarier, although I never jumped my heart was racing throughout most of the movie. Also, I have to side with Jay I thought Bill Skarsgard played a much scarier and menacing.

    As for other creepy killer clown movies, has anybody got any details about Terrifier? the full length movie with Art the Clown from All Hallows Eve?

  12. Great episode! I loved Tim Curry from the 90s one, but I was absolutely fascinated with this 2017 Pennywise. He was unpredictable, the voice was all over …just sooo creepy. Loved the description “menacing.” I looked forward during the movie for the next time he popped up just to see what he’d do next. At one point towards the end, I was so impressed by the creep factor i actually whispered ” this $#@#er’s really bringing it! ” LOL…

  13. Great episode! Love the discussion of clowns in horror before the reviews of It. Like I think Carl and Doc say, I find clowns a bit sad rather than scary or funny. They can also be a bit annoying. Other than It, the only killer clown film I find effective is Jon Watts’ Clown (2014/2016). I think Jay is right that what makes clowns scary to some people is their exaggerated features. It’s the uncanny, as so often in horror, when familiar appearances are distorted so as to look strange. They can also look like animated corpses, which also brings up the abject (corpses being abject due to being reminders of our mortality). Stephen King alludes to this in his inspiration for Pennywise:

    “As a kid, going to the circus, there would be 12 full-grown people that would all pile out of a little, tiny car, their faces were dead white, their mouths were red, as though they were full of blood, they’re all screaming, their eyes are huge, what’s not to like?

    “I started to actually look at kids, when I grew up a little bit….Kids are all terrified of them, and the parents are all like, ‘Aren’t the clowns funny, Johnny?!’ and Johnny’s like, ‘No, get me the hell out of here! These people are all crazy!’ Because they are monstrous-looking and children are really afraid of them. They do have that monstrous thing going for them.”
    http://comicbook.com/movies/2017/05/02/stephen-king-pennywise-inspiration-it-tim-curry/#1

    As for the most recent It, I loved it, and am very happy with how well it’s doing at the theaters. Really looking forward to Chapter 2. I’m curious though, does it’s success mean anything for horror? Will studios give more attention to horror? Will King adaptations be handled with more care, and try to capture a darker tone?

    It (1986 novel) vs. It (1990 TV mini-series) vs. It (2017 film)
    The latest episode of Streaming Horror Society tackles in-depth comparison of all 3 versions of It, with a roundtable between Jeff Hammer, Little Miss Horror Nerd (of Resurrection of Zombie 7), Channy Dreadful, End of Davez, and yours truly.
    http://streaminghorrorsociety.com/episode-10-stephen-kings-it-discussion/

    The novel is my favorite Stephen King book, and It has to be the most powerful monster that King has ever created. I also think It’s appeal has to do with its blend of childhood nostalgia and cosmic horror. I don’t even know that nostalgia is the right word. Childhood is rough for the Losers Club, beset by abusive or indifferent adults, and psychopathic bullies, not to mention getting eaten by a monster. But there’s also a certain magic to that time, something the book explores as being lost when you become an adult. It’s sad, yet inevitable. I also love the idea of a band of misfits working together to fight evil, whether that be human or inhuman evil. At 1,138 pages, sure it’s a bit bloated, but the rich characters and monster stuff holds your attention most of the time. 10/10

    The 90s mini-series is fun, if a bit hokey, especially some of the dialogue and attempts at being scary (Pennywise coming out of a shower drain to scare Eddie, appearing as Ben’s dad to taunt him, etc.). It has a silly and adventurous tone, and they don’t really play upon It’s multiple forms much. Worth a watch but I’d always hoped for a darker, more serious version. 6/10

    The new film definitely gave us that version. Pennywise is truly frightening in this film. Although I still have to say Curry’s performance in the 1990 version is more memorable – his charisma just leaps off the screen in certain moments – overall, Skarsgard’s was creepier. The kids have great chemistry together. And I was happy that we got more versions of It besides the clown.

    That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have flaws. I don’t like what they did with Bev and Mike’s characters. Mike has little to do for most of the movie. Bev is sexualized and, although you see hints of her strength, they really undercut that at the end. Speaking of the end…this part really disappointed me. Not just because of the Bev thing – the whole logic of it just doesn’t make sense, and It comes off as feeling much weaker than It should be. I actually prefer the 90 version of the battle between the Losers and It.

    Overall, though, I was very happy with 2017 It. I hope they pull off the next chapter as well – or even better. 8/10

    • Thanks for the Stephen King quote, AnDread.

      I hope some studio’s (particularly, ahem, Universal) will be influenced by the success of IT. This is the type of monster movie I want to see.

  14. This was a great episode. I watched the miniseries version of IT a few days before watching the 2017 IT. I love them both for different reasons, but I won’t get into that right now. Jay brought up the different colored balloons in the 1990s IT vs. the 2017 IT. I had noticed this difference when watching the movies, but hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought until now. My theory is that the balloon color changed because of the different focuses of the two versions of the movie.

    In the 1990 version, the main focus was Bill and Georgie, so naturally, the color of the balloon was yellow, the color of Georgie’s raincoat. Bill was obviously very traumatized by Georgie’s death, and the raincoat is the last thing that he saw his little brother wearing. IT often appeared to Bill as Georgie and the Loser’s Club ultimately decided to go into the sewers because of Georgie. Bill led them down because Pennywise killed his brother and they wanted to stop that from happening to other children.

    In the 2017 version of IT, the main focus was on Beverly. She is a very strong character, but very vulnerable as well because of the abuse from her father. I would argue that her greatest fear is of her own womanhood, which was represented by blood. This is shown by the bathroom scene, by her fear of her father seeing the tampons she had bought at the store, and her father’s repeated question, “Are you still my little girl, Bevy?” Because of Bev’s fear, the balloons in the 2017 IT are red, like blood. To further my point that Beverly is the focus of this version, she is eventually the reason why the Losers Club go into the sewers to fight Pennywise. Beverly had been kidnapped during a moment of weakness and they went to save her.

    • Interesting thoughts on the balloon colors. I just figured they chose red because it reminded the audience of blood. Symbolism. In the original they use yellow, but they also have him holding a large grouping of balloons of various colors.

  15. I’m glad you included All Hallow’s Eve in your recommendations. I really like some of the parts (even the alien one which REALLY freaked me out!). You can’t escape that clown. 😉

  16. Jay, you shouldn’t go around killing spiders lest some great Lovecraftian being comes out of the ether and decides that you are insignificant enough to swat without mercy or remorse.

    Just get a glass and a postcard.

  17. Loved this review! I’m not a big fan of Stephen King and the 1990 “IT” doesn’t hold any real nostalgic value for me so I went into the movie not really expecting too much.

    I enjoyed the new “IT” but it won’t be making any top 10 lists for me. I am, as you are, thrilled though to see an “R” rated horror film doing so well. That’s good for horror fans everywhere.

    My one big critique of the new “IT” that I don’t *think* you all touched on was that I felt that there was too much humor in it. They obviously wanted this Pennywise to be more menacing than the Tim Curry’s version – and he was. But I felt like they kind of counteracted themselves by having so much comedy in it.

    Then again, I never read the book so I don’t know how comical the book is either.

    Terrific episode! Highly anticipating your thoughts on “Mother!”. That *is* a film that will make a top 10 list for me for sure.

  18. Considering what a monster hit IT has been, what are the chances that all we’re getting is one sequel? I realize all they can in terms of the book is one sequel, but considering Pennywise popped up several times in history, there seems to be room for some IT prequels. In this day where studios are constantly trying to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to possibly series, I feel as if most haven’t realized that IT’s success should, in theory, be the start of something far bigger than just IT Chapter 2.

  19. I have two more clown movie to mentions, though they aren’t really “killer clowns.”

    The legendary Lon Chaney played a clown in Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) and things don’t go well for him. He definitely is a sad clown. This film is more drama and not really horror. Clowns remind me of court jester’s who are always being abused by the kings in films.

    The second film is Night of the Demon (1957) which is the inspiration for Drag Me to Hell (2009). In it the antagonist, who is a practitioner of black magic, has a Halloween party for the town’s children. He dresses as a clown and does magic tricks for the kids.

  20. Solid review, fellas. It for me is an 8.5/10 for me after my initial viewing, but I could see that rating going up over time. For now, it’s that because there were three issues I had with the film…

    ********SPOILERS FOR IT**********

    Issue #1: I was thrilled with some of the stylistic choices, which includes some of the CGI. The CGI I had most of my issues with were the moments when Pennywise opened up real wide… I would have preferred that been done using more practical methods. Still, not a big deal. Stylistically, though, I had bigger issues with some of the camera work and editing. Namely, the moments of “shaky cam” when Pennywise was dancing, or when he was running at the camera. I did not love those decisions.

    Issue #2: The pacing, both in the overall structure of the film and within individual scenes. For the overall structure, I loved how the movie was a virtual rollercoaster with scary set piece after scary set piece. But the movie seems to stall a bit just past the mid-way point, after the kids go into Pennywise’s house for the first time. I like that it slowed down for some character building, but the overall effect for me felt a bit uneven. My bigger issue with pacing, though, had to do with the pacing within those scary set pieces. I wish Muschietti had shown a bit more patience in building up the tension before jumping to the payoff. For me, this really only successfully happens in three scenes: the opening scene with Georgie, the library scene with Ben, and the garage scene with all of them. Those scenes were executed masterfully and had me legitimately uptight in suspense, but the rest of the scare scenes seemed to blow their load a little too quickly. They were still fun and effective in their own way, but I feel like there was a lot of potential tension left on the table.

    Issue #3: Turning Bev into the damsel in distress at the end. This is my first exposure to any version of “It” – I have not read the Stephen King novel, nor have I seen the 1990 mini-series. So I’m not sure if this is how it played out in the source material or not (my understanding is that it’s different in the book), but I literally rolled my eyes at Bev’s fate. Not necessarily that she’s the one who was taken by Pennywise… after all, he feeds on fear and she certainly had the most to fear in her life than any of the rest of the Loser’s Club… but the fact that the boys suddenly muster up the bravery to go rescue the girl. AND THEN, what ultimately snaps her back into reality is a kiss from a boy… and not just any boy, but the boy who has a secret-but-not-so-secret crush on her. Never mind the fact that she was the one of them all who was the bravest, strongest and least afraid of Pennywise for the entire rest of the film.

    **************END SPOILERS************

    Those were my three issues, which is what brought my rating down to an 8.5/10. That said, the stuff the film gets right it gets REALLY RIGHT, and this is the movie I most want to re-watch over and over and over again so far this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if I loosen up a bit on my three issues above upon re-watch and my rating goes up.

    Anyway, awesome movie… absolutely loved it.

    • I just realized I didn’t mention any of the things I loved! I’ll be brief because most of those things have already been discussed either on the podcast or on here…

      First, I loved the coming of age story of the Loser’s Club. This is probably the best element of the film… their performances, chemistry, all of it was so good. I just wish we had more of it, though I don’t think we missed out with what we get.

      Second, I loved the setting of Derry, Maine. Excellent world-building and atmosphere.

      Third, Pennywise and the “It” monster. Yes! The performance, character design… all of it.

      Fourth, I loved how the film juxtaposed a common childhood fear of adults with Pennywise. Both threats seemed equally dangerous at times. And while all the adults of Derry seemed to either be awful humans or indifferent, I wonder if that was always the reality or if that was partially the kids’ perception. Alternatively, I wonder if this is part of Pennywise’s “attack” on children, having a direct affect on the behavior of the adults in Derry. Whatever the reason, it really adds to the thematic complexity of the film.

      Fifth, I loved the care that was given to the little details, whether it be a movie theater marque advertising ANOES part 5, or the creepily threatening librarian lurking behind Ben during the library scene (so subtle, but one of my absolute favorite moments in the entire movie), this film was filled to the brim with wonderful little details.

      And, finally, I loved how they just went for it.

      Job well done.

    • ********SPOILERS FOR IT**********

      Was Bev truly a damsel in distress though? Up until her capture, she had basically been the savior of the Losers Club, always being the one to save the gang, particularly in the house the first time and being the one to slow Pennywise down. Sure, she was put in a Pennywise based coma, but you’re also looking at possibly the only child that ever dealt with Pennywise that due to her not being afraid, she was captured yet not actually dead. I’d compare it to what happens to Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She may have been petrified, but she helped save the day thanks to everything she did. Same thing applies here. In order to allow the other members of the Losers Club to look as if they’re actually contributing, you needed to take out the MVP of the Losers Club to stand up.

      Due to their age and the overall innocence of all of their relationships, I didn’t find Ben’s kiss to be insulting or dated, although admittedly, a bit creepy especially if Bev wouldn’t have woken up. I simply saw the kiss as a reminder of Bev’s most important relationship to help her regain her strength and likely the result would have been the same had any of the members of the Losers Club kissed her. Perhaps even a group hug would have helped brought her back too.

      Considering all she had been through throughout her life, being captured by Pennywise and needing some help didn’t hurt her in my eyes. With all of the abuse from her family, I would have expected her to be a bit of a pathetic individual who struggles to have any form of backbone or social skills. Yet, not only is she still strong enough to hold herself together, but she conquered her own personal demon. Quite the difference in comparison to Eddie just standing up to his mother.

      **************END SPOILERS************

      • *****SPOILERS*****

        I feel like we’re saying the same thing, just reacting to it differently. I agree, she was the bravest and strongest of the group through the entire movie, which is why I sort of rolled my eyes when it turned out that she was “in need of rescuing” by the boys at the end. She was turned from a brave, take the bull by the horns kind of girl through most of the movie into a damsel in distress at the end. And, again, it makes sense that she would be most affected by Pennywise because of the true horrors she’s had to deal with in her life. Maybe if the “rescue operation” had played out a little differently, or if it wasn’t a kiss by her secret crush that brought her back to reality, then it wouldn’t have bothered me as much.

        And, I don’t know, it’s entirely possible that this whole thing bothers me less on re-watch. We’ll see.

        *******END SPOILERS*******

        • Yeah, I thought Pennywise was taking her out of commission because she was the least scared and bolstered the rest of the group’s courage. I just thought he was being strategic, but now you’ve got me thinking and they probably could have done that differently.

          That kiss was weird, but mostly because it had an 80’s kid’s movie innocence to it.

  21. Quick and incomplete thoughts on IT 2017:
    *MILD/MODERATE SPOILERS AHEAD*
    I went into IT consciously divorced from my intimate history with the miniseries and, to a lesser extent, the novel. I saw IT when I was about nine, and it basically ruined my life. While some found the humor in Tim Curry’s over-the-top antics, all I saw was a malevolent entity that could haunt me whenever it pleased while hiding itself from my parents. As a child already plagued (and I don’t use that word lightly) by nightmares, IT felt way too real. But going into the theater, I forgot all that history and met this new movie on its own terms.

    IT, as if you didn’t already know, is about a group of social outcasts called The Losers Club who are pursued by, and later pursue, the malevolent clown creature responsible for a slew of murders in the town of Derry.

    Directed by Andy Muschietti, IT does a fantastic job of allowing us to join The Losers Club. We become invested early on, mostly due to the group’s authentic chemistry. The set design works, the cinematography is often inspired, the pacing is mostly consistent–people cared about the final product, and it shows. This balances out the handful of poorly executed aspects of the film.

    Tonally, IT feels like an 80s adventure/coming-of-age story blanketed by an ever-present sense of dread. We come close to pure horror a handful of times, but we never fully enter into a truly terrifying movie; IT doesn’t scare us enough for that. There are ample amounts of levity throughout to ensure even the biggest babies among us are assuaged. We even get an unexpected Boyz 2 Men tribute, complete with music clip.

    The writing by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman is smart and funny for the most part. We do, however, get some pretty awkward exposition from Ben (played otherwise well by Jeremy Ray Taylor) that takes us right out of the movie. Can’t blame him for this since the dialogue he had to utter would have been a tough sell for even a seasoned veteran.

    Everyone is giving one-hundred percent here and there’s not a lot to complain about acting wise. Jack Dylan Grazer is possibly the best of the bunch as the hypochondriac, Eddie. Eddie could have been reduced to an annoying whiner in the hands of a lessor actor, but Jack makes us care deeply about him.

    The stiffest performance comes from Chosen Jacobs (Mike). He seems a little nervous, a little unsure of himself as an actor. Then again, it could just be that the movie doesn’t give him much to do. He joins our team in dramatic fashion and then slowly fades away. Also, not to sound like too much of a social justice warrior, but the black kid is the one with the gun? I’m breaking my “on its own terms rule” here, but it’s worth mentioning that Mike is a shadow of his former novel and miniseries selves. They destroyed him. While we’re at it, what’s up with the decision to cheapen the character of Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) by falling back on the maiden in distress trope at the end? Not only did it cause a major eye-roll, but IT doesn’t seem like the abducting for bait sort.

    Bill Skarsgård as IT does some good work here… when he’s not busy falling back on somewhat cheap jump scares. The (very) few scenes he gets to show a little personality are entertaining and creepy. One thing I don’t fully understand about his look: if IT presumably took on the clown form to disarm its prey with a fun and friendly face, then why would it choose to appear so demonic? I can’t imagine there are many kids who would happily approach this thing.

    IT suffers from a moderate case of “walk off” syndrome–a syndrome in which characters, especially in horror movies, tend to walk off alone with little to no regard for their own safety or that of their friends/loved ones/etc. We are asked to suspend our disbelief one too many times as we see our heroes head straight towards danger by themselves, even after a number of hard-learned lessons teaching them to do the exact opposite.

    The CGI, while not terrible, is uneven. There are times when it’s so clear CGI is being utilized that it sucks the fear right out of us like a deflating balloon. You could almost hear the whine of air escaping as we’re reminded that, yes, this is just a movie, nothing to be afraid of. The most egregious examples of this occur in the first scene of the film, which was otherwise effective, and when IT uses the image of a distorted woman from a painting. They looked pretty bad, and they will poorly age in a very short time.

    The end of the film drops any horror pretense, replacing it with beat’em up style action. Still not sure how I feel about that. I’ll know more after a second viewing.
    Issues aside, and there are a few I didn’t mention, IT has enough redeemable qualities to make it worth the watch. Would recommend.

  22. As for when the next version of It will begin filming, I will keep an eye out. The current version had a lot of its filming in Oshawa Ontario (30 mins east of Toronto in suburbia) and is close to where I live. The It house was easily accessible to take pictures there, and the cast/crew was easily accessible at the local Tim Horton’s coffee shop. Pennywise, though, was kept under guard and was not seen by the general public.

    • My understanding is they already filmed some of the “flashback” scenes with the younger kids from Chapter One to make sure there were no issues with aging/changing appearances. Probably also helps from a budgeting standpoint, too, to do it while they’re already there.

      This could be inaccurate, but I remember hearing and/or reading this somewhere… and it certainly seems to make sense, too.

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