They all float down here! If you are a fan of the 1990 mini series, you may or may not get that. The catchphrase of Pennywise the clown does not feature as heavily in that show, nor did many other elements from Stephen King’s novel It. It remained terrifying and It‘s only adaptation still stands strong for many people – mainly because it scared the crap out of them as little kids.
Sadly the mini series has not aged well.Today it feels a bit cheesy, which is a shame. The book is a masterpiece of terror, though not quite as the show portrayed. The latter seemed like an evil clown chasing down kids, but the book was more about the horrors that kids face in the world – a world that adults have little to do with. It can be seen as an examination of childhood and how we as adults forget that growing up isn’t easy, especially when you have to dodge psychotic bullies and interact with disinterested parents.
There is, of course, also the ancient evil that lives under the town and eats people. Or something. I was never quite sure what the malevolent entity in It did with its victims. The book has a rather esoteric side to it, another element the mini series avoided. But we may find out in the new movie version by Cary Fukunaga, who directed True Detective‘s first season. There will actually be two parts: the first focusing on the children and the second as them returning as adults to face the monster again. That is according to producer Seth Grahame-Smith, who added:
I think that if anything, [the new film] will bring back some of the viciousness of the book that they couldn’t do with the miniseries because it was for broadcast.
For those unfamiliar with the book, the mini series left out A LOT, not the least the entity’s shape shifting ability and several of the more gruesome deaths. Tim Curry was great at the evil clown, but he did make it a bit more playful and impish than the book version. The adaptation also largely avoided the bullying narrative and we have to see if it will use the rather controversial ending.
Then there is the matter of it being a Steven King adaptation. A lot of his work has been transferred to other mediums, often with mixed results. That said, there have been a number of great versions as well – The Shining, Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone, etc. If It avoids being the same as the dull, flat and poorly acted Rose Red, it will be awesome. Grahame-Smith has not doubt it will be oozing with atmosphere:
I think it’s going to be very scary, but I also feel like you’ve got Cary who is going to direct these kids—and he’s incredible at casting, incredible at shooting. He’s incredible with tone and atmosphere. One of the things I wanted to do is be a part of one of the really good King adaptations. As we know, there is an echelon of King adaptations that are classics. There are some that are okay. There are some that we’d rather forget.
Last Updated: January 20, 2015