Abused by his father and manipulated by Pennywise, the character of Henry Bowers cuts a surprisingly sympathetic figure in IT, despite also cutting letters into the stomachs of innocent little boys. Bowers and his gang are arguably even more monstrous than the Dancing Clown in some ways, representing the very real evil that lies dormant in every small town, but what makes Henry so scary is that we also empathize with his plight.
In Andrés Muschietti's version of IT, the young bully is admirably brought to life by actor Nicholas Hamilton, who successfully embodies the psychopathic intricacies of his character from the source material. Unfortunately though, Henry Bowers's life is literally cut short in the translation from page to screen, both in terms of time spent on screen and his eventual fate in the house on Neibolt Street.
Channeling Henry's racial prejudice from Stephen King's book, Bowers and Mike Hanlon fight one on one while the rest of the Losers' Club remain trapped in the well. After the pair struggle with a knife, Mike manages to push Bowers down the well where he seemingly plummets to his death. Morally, this may be the fate that Henry Bowers deserves for his heinous crimes, but if he truly is dead, then this change from the source material could pose some problems for IT: Chapter 2.
How The Story Of Henry Bowers Unfolds In The Source Material
Henry survives his childhood encounter with Pennywise in Stephen King's original novel, but suffers from horrendous guilt after witnessing the deaths of his friends at the hands of IT. More time is given to developing his back-story and at the end of the book's childhood segment, Pennywise frames Bowers for the murders that he committed.
Locked up in Juniper Hill Asylum, Bowers remains dormant for 27 years or so, until Pennywise awakens and manipulates Henry to do his bidding once again. Unable to defeat the Losers' Club alone, IT tries to divide them by sending Bowers to attack them individually, weakening the group by destroying the bond that helped them emerge victorious as children.
Accompanied by a re-animated version of his friend Belch Huggins, Henry attacks Mike in the Derry library, stabbing his femoral artery and almost killing him in the process. Pennywise then guides Bowers to the Derry Town House to murder the rest of the Losers in their sleep. First up is Eddie Kaspbrak, who surprisingly manages to overcome his physical weakness and actually kill Henry Bowers in a near fatal struggle, empowering him to join the others and help defeat IT once and for all.
Why Henry Bowers Is Integral To The 'IT' Sequel
Yes, Bowers doesn't play a part in the Losers' final confrontation with #Pennywise as adults and yes, director Andrés Muschietti has made some changes which arguably improve upon the original story, but killing Henry at the end of IT: Chapter One isn't one of them.
The reason why IT succeeds as a #horror where so many others fail is precisely because of the human element that #StephenKing prioritizes throughout the book's 1,100+ pages. The evil that lurks within Derry may be personified by Pennywise, but the likes of Henry Bowers and the abusive parents of the Losers' Club lend this evil a frightening human face, one that is far easier to relate to. After all, Pennywise is a child-eating monster by its very nature, whereas Henry is a regular teenage boy whose morality falters in the face of parental abuse.
In the adult section of the book, Pennywise's manipulation of Bowers provides a vital counter-point to the supernatural trappings of the Dancing Clown. While Muschietti maintained this balance in the first #IT movie, this may be harder to achieve in the sequel if Bowers is well and truly dead, rotting down in the bottom of the well. Of course, it's also likely that Muschietti may resurrect Bowers and pit an undead version of him against the adult Losers, literally bringing the trauma of their childhood bullying to life, but this remains just conjecture for now.
Either way though, Nicholas Hamilton will also return in the form of flashbacks along with the rest of the young cast from the first movie. What remains unclear though is how much Bowers will appear in these flashbacks and whether his character will ever grow to become an adult in Chapter Two. While it arguably made sense for Muschietti to remove the child-centric orgy and another gay sex scene featuring Bowers, potentially pulling Bowers out of the equation could be the most controversial omission of all. Saying that though, we never did see Henry's body float at the end of IT: Chapter One...
Do you think Henry Bowers is dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!