STEPHEN KING’S ‘IT.’ 1990. DIRECTED BY TOMMY LEE WALLACE. STARRING RICHARD THOMAS AND JOHN RITTER. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
In one of horror maestro Stephen King’s favourite kind of sleepy New England towns, children have been disappearing willy-nilly. Some of them turn up dead or mutilated. Some of them don’t turn up at all. Bill’s little brother Georgie is one of the victims…
Bill and his gang of six friends-for-life, all twelve- and thirteen-year-old kids, normally spend their days somewhat idyllically. They go to the cinema together to watch monster movies and they spend hours in the woods and by the stream doing the things kids used to do before the Age Of The Internet came rushing in.
In the days before the Horror came, their biggest problem used to be Belch and Bowers, the school bullies. Now they have bigger problems in the form of an evil clown called Pennywise, who terrorises the ‘Lucky Seven’ both separately and all together. Pennywise is the one who’s been snatching the children of Derry and dragging them down into his underground sewer kingdom where ‘everybody floats…’
Pennywise is a clever devil. He takes the form of the things the kids fear- or worship- the most in order to entrap or lure them. The kids figure out that he’s also the entity that turns up in the town like clockwork every thirty years to wreak havoc and bring tragedy and disaster down upon the townspeople’s heads.
It’s a very unlucky town. Also, perhaps, not a very smart one. Why else would no-one have figured out before now that every thirty years some really bad s**t goes down in the town and they should all get the hell out of Dodge before it does…? It takes Bill, Mike, Eddie, Richie, Stan, Ben and Beverley- the kids- to work out what the adults have seemingly been unable to.
The little band of buddies manage to get the better of Pennywise this time around, but thirty years later, when they’re all grown-up and away living their lives for better or worse, Pennywise wakes up again and comes out to feed. Kids start disappearing again and the seven amigos are forced by a promise they made to each other three decades ago to return to Derry.
Here, they face off for one final time against the evil clown who’s overshadowed their lives since they were nippers. Does evil prevail, or will the forces of good win the day…? Only by watching the movie will you find the answers.
It’s a hefty three hours long, by the way, on account of its having been shown on television as a two-part show, like THE LANGOLIERS. It made for some mighty good, meaty Saturday night viewing on my part. The whole night was more than pleasantly accounted for.
Pennywise is brilliantly played by Tim Curry and so horrendously evil that it’s no wonder that a lot of people fear clowns. I think I do myself now, after that. There are solid performances too from John Ritter and Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton!), but it’s the kids who deserve all the kudos. They act the grown-ups off the stage in stellar performances that put me in mind of the kids from Stephen King’s other screen adaptation, STAND BY ME.
There’s some gorgeous scenery too and a nice interweaving of flashbacks with the regular scenes. For Stephen King fans, this film is a must for your collection. For fans of horror in general, I’d say you could do a lot worse. Take the phone off the hook and burrow under the duvet for three hours with the popcorn and the remote control. Have a loved one curl up beside you, if you feel so inclined. Just make sure that it is your loved one, though. Remember that Pennywise takes many different forms…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: