Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Writer(s): Stephen King, Lawrence D. Cohen, Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tim Curry, Jonathan Brandis, Brandon Crane, Emily Perkins,
Bill Denbrough, John Ritter, Annette O’Toole
Here’s where I went wrong in my youth when I was just picking up my stride in my horror movie journey of discovery; I got COCKY. It was a sort of arrogance where the romanticized idea of horror flicks was starting to engrain itself into my brain. Not being a movie snob necessarily, but every movie I was watching was being subconsciously analyzed based on entertainment factor of the types of kills, the special effects and make up quality, the absurdness of the story and/or characters, etc. The funniest part was I was having a blast doing so; it was never a question on whether or not I enjoyed the movie, there were definitely more hits than misses whenever I got my hands on any horror flick but in the midst in my enjoyment I forgot that THESE WERE MEANT TO SCARE PEOPLE!
Apologies, there are still traces of terror from this flick that still linger in my brain. I’m a staunch believer (as you’ve read through previous articles) that horror movies were to entertain and this is still true but with every smile there was meant to be a GASP right before it; a relief followed by appreciation right after the suspenseful moment catches you in its crosshairs or plant a seed of terror that makes everyday life seem surreal.
So there I was, youthful Jamal with my cockitude (cocky attitude or new porn name), when a relative was charged with watching my sister and I. To pass the time, they popped in a movie that would be a stern reminder what these flicks are essentially made for, Stephen King’s IT. The movie follows The Loser’s Club; a group of children in the dreary town of Derry, Maine who come together through the power of friendship in order to stop bullies, build forts and battle an ancient creature of pure evil that comes in the form of a murderous, monstrous, terrifying clown named Pennywise. The story was brilliant; the formation of the Loser’s Club in itself was a treat to watch. Every kid in that club was relatable, from the wisecracking joker (Seth Green!) to the neurotic hypochondriac. When the all the kids in the club realized they were all being terrorized by the same killer clown, they band together in order to destroy the evil. The movie could have ended here and it would have been pretty satisfactory, but that’s only HALF the story. 30 years later pass by and The Loser’s Club is forced to reunite in order to take on the evil they thought was dead.
Great movie right? Sure, but now let’s list the things that were ruined for me for YEARS after watching this flick (I’m probably opening old psychological wounds just writing this article, THANKS GUARD):
Shower drains. Damn you CLOWN.
Storm drains. You sick, sick BASTARD.
Sewer entrances/ sewers in general. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t go into one anyway, but still…STUPID Clown.
Libraries. FOR REAL, for a while there I couldn’t go to one
without thinking how creepy it would be for a clown to pop up and eat my face.
Here is where it gets strange; amidst all the newfound fears from everyday locations, this movie is still one of my favorite horror flicks of all time. I’ve seen my fair share of horror flicks and I couldn’t imagine this movie not making my top ten on most lists. It’s stuck with me; that appreciation that comes after the terror is one I cherish forever. The story is so solid that it becomes and experience. The performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown is remarkable; I can only think of Pennywise when clowns are mentioned in general and scary makeup and teeth are not enough. Mr. Curry’s portrayal of a sadistic killer clown is one that is embedded in horror history.
To you sir, I dub thee as the 2014 and FIRST inductee into my FEARtastic LEGENDS VAULT.
Pennywise the Clown (Tim Curry)
This movie scarred me for life.
And I am forever GRATEFUL.