Ever been lost before? In this day and age, it's easy to find your way home thanks to modern technology, but back in the '50s, mobile phones weren't readily accessible. Instead, children who became lost in that era were forced to rely on compasses, star-gazing or even the occasional gang-bang in order to find their way to safety. Well, that's what Stephen King led us to believe anyway in his classic book that was simply titled IT.
Long story short, The Losers' Club struggled to escape the sewer system underneath Derry after they first defeated Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Without a map to guide them, the young teens could have been lost forever in those labyrinthine tunnels, dying before they could celebrate their temporary victory above ground. Realizing that the unique bond that had helped them defeat IT was waning, a young Beverley Marsh suggested that each of the boys take turns having sex with her, bonding them once more through the power of the turtle and therefore enabling them to finally escape the sewers.
Fans of IT may still hold Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise in the highest regard, but Andrés Muschietti's biggest obstacle directing this movie adaptation was always going to revolve around that sex scene. Keep it in and you court serious controversy, but take it out, and you risk the wrath of Stephen King's most ardent fans.
So, What Did Andrés Muschietti Decide?
The children's narrative has been shifted forward to the '80s in Muschietti's adaptation of IT, but that leap still doesn't bring mobile technology into the picture, so will the Losers' Club be forced to canoodle again to escape the sewers of Derry?
During a recent interview with Collider, Andrés Muschietti finally revealed the fate of the controversial sex scene, explaining that:
"... The group sex episode in the book is a bit of a metaphor of the end of childhood and into adulthood. And I don’t think it was really needed in the movie, apart that it was very hard to allow us to shoot an orgy in the movie so, I didn’t think it was necessary, because the story itself is a bit of a journey, and it illustrates that."
As Muschietti himself notes however, the themes that the teenage sex scene explore are still pivotal to the story, which is why he decided to incorporate them into another iconic moment from the book instead:
"And in the end, the replacement for it is the scene with the blood oath, where everyone sort of says goodbye. Spoiler. The blood oath scene is there and it’s the last time they see each other as a group. It’s unspoken. And they don’t know it, but it’s a bit of a foreboding that this is the last time, and being together was a bit of a necessity to beat the monster. Now that the monster recedes, they don’t need to be together. And also because their childhood is ending, and their adulthood is starting. And that’s the bittersweet moment of that sequence."
Despite removing the sewer love-fest from the final cut, Muschietti mentions during the interview that sexual themes will still come into play. Love and burgeoning sexuality are key themes in Stephen King's magnum opus, so it makes sense that the issues won't be ignored completely — especially given the film's R rating — but how this will play out remains unclear.
But Should The Sex Scene Appear In Muschietti's Adaptation Of IT?
On the one hand, it's easy to see why some fans would balk at the idea of including this mass cherry-popping ordeal. Those who haven't read the book probably imagine the very worst and quotes such as, "You have to put your thing in me," probably don't help matters much either.
In fact, those who have finished Stephen King's classic novel may also object to the idea of seeing children engage in sexual intercourse on screen, even if the numerous pages dedicated to this are actually written in a rather loving way that avoids sleazier connotations for the most part.
On the other hand though, it's hard to deny the symbolic significance of this scene. Sure, Muschietti acknowledges this with his own take on the blood oath sequence at the end of the film, but what could possibly connect the bridge between childhood and adulthood better than a sexual awakening?
Speaking to StephenKing.com, the King of Horror himself explained how the scene bridged the gap between the two time periods explored in the book's 1000+ pages:
"I wasn't really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood --1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don't remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children--we think we do, but we don't remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. It's another version of the glass tunnel that connects the children's library and the adult library. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues."
Yes, King is right in suggesting that this modern "sensitivity" needs to be taken into account, but couldn't Muschietti have explored a tamer form of this scene without removing it entirely? A simple kiss between Beverley and Bill Denbrough would have also highlighted the children's sexual awakening without them having to prong each other in the dank sewer water.
Whether you agree or not with Muschietti's decision to cut the sex scene out completely, this new adaptation of #IT still manages to make the most of its R rating, including instances of child abuse and racial discrimination that are integral to #StephenKing's story. Other plot changes that Muschietti has made arguably improve upon the book's original story, so perhaps this one will too. After all, no one wants to see that crummy spider from the '90s TV adaptation float back onto our screens anytime soon.
Should the new IT movie include the book's controversial sex scene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!