Although the '90s are sometimes chastised for their lack of admirable contribution to the horror genre, my scarred teenage memory would beg to differ.
One of the first horror movies I ever watched triggered a bad case of Coulrophobia that lingered has into adulthood. This film has remained one of my favorite horror movies of all time... Stephen King's IT.
Check out these 9 insane facts about the movie:
1. Pennywise inspired by Real Life Serial Killer
Stephen King's 'Pennywise the Clown' was based on real life serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
The murderer and rapist who sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Chicago dressed up and worked as "Pogo the Clown" at various fundraisers and children's parties.
He buried 26 of the corpses in the crawl space of his home, and spread three others out elsewhere on his property. He was executed in May, 1994.
Knowing the true story makes the 1990 production all the more nightmarish.
2. Pride and Unprejudiced
Jarred Blancard (Henry Bowers), the onscreen bully, was anything but a bully in real life!
Apparently, he was so uncomfortable that his character had to use the N-word in scenes with Marlon Taylor (Mike Hanlon) he would often apologize to him before and after filming.
3. Beverly Marsh has the answer to PTSD!
At the end of Stephen King's novel, Beverly suggests that the "Lucky Seven" all lose their virginities together in what can only be described as a grade-school gang bang. The controversial plot progression was apparently Beverly's bid to help the group get back together after enduring a nightmare.
Tommy Lee Wallace omitted it from the movie because it was just something that didn't ring true to him. Probably for the best.
4. Tim Curry almost passed because of makeup!
Tim Curry was the top pick to play Pennywise the clown, however he was reluctant to take the role initially because he didn't like the idea of being buried under layers and layers of makeup!
When he played Darkness in Legend, he was the first on set before all other actors because of the 5.5 hours in makeup he had to endure before stepping in front of the camera. It was a difficult and demanding role and Curry was apprehensive about repeating the effort for IT.
As a compromise, Tommy Lee Wallace agreed to minimize the amount of makeup. This by no means lessened the affect of the clown on audiences, with Curry's performance proving so strong that he terrified us anyway.
5. Don't Touch Anything!
Apparently the sewer scenes were anything but pleasant to film. The place was so dirty and rusty that the actors were advised to avoid touching anything as there was a real danger of tetanus infection! Perks of the job...
6. Too Much to Handle
Reportedly, there are many scenes that could not be translated from book to movie because of their cruel and abusive nature towards children.
The production also left out a few highly gory deaths, including a gnarly beheading.
7. Stephen King pays homage to... himself
There are several instances when the characters in the movie are reading books entitled "The Glowing." Many believe that this is a tribute to Stephen King's hugely successful horror novel The Shining (1977).
Remember the 'kiss me, fat boy' scene? Ben Hanscom thinks he is holding Beverly in his arms only to look at their reflection in the mirror and realize he was embracing his nightmare!
You may never have noticed that a similar scene features in Kubrick's The Shining (based on Stephen King's novel) when Jack thinks he is holding a beautiful woman only to see the horrifying truth reflected back at him.
Third time's the charm...
The cover art for IT the movie is surprisingly similar to Tommyknockers, Stephen King's 1987 science fiction novel.
8. 'Girly Boy'
In addition to presenting themes of racism in the bullying scenes with Marlon Taylor, the movie's antagonist controversially hinted at being homophobic when he referred to Eddie Kaspbrak, an effeminate and delicate character as 'Girly Boy.' Obviously, Pennywise is a pretty nasty character anyway!
9. The final showdown... a let-down?
Apparently the director and cast members were unhappy with the giant spider showdown at the end of the movie. Tommy Lee Wallace expressed disappointment that the budget didn't allow for the ending to be fully realized, whereas John Ritter's main objection was that the battle was not with Tim Curry's Pennywise!
To relive old nightmares, check out this classic IT clip...
"They ALL float down here. When you're down here with us, you'll float too!"