Stephen King’s IT (1990) Review

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I realise that most likely everyone has see  IT but when I started this blog the aim was to write about every horror film I watch. I hadn’t seen this for a fair few years so decided to rewatch it, my memory is poor so although I could remember the important things a lot of it was quite fresh.

Trivia – Tim Curry was reluctant to take the role of Pennywise initially because he didn’t relish the thought of being buried under so much makeup. When he played Darkness in Legend (1985), it was a difficult and demanding role, and the hours in makeup was still fresh in his mind. To compromise, Tommy Lee Wallace minimized the amount of makeup on Curry, and a lot wasn’t necessary anyway because Curry’s performance was so strong.

Trivia – The blood oozing over Georgie’s photo was quite unusual to see in a TV movie in 1990.It (1990) paved the way for TV movies and mini-series in the future to push the envelope far more than ever before.

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Always found IT creepy when I watched as a kid

So for those that do not know, Stephens King’s IT is the tale of a terrifying clown that likes killing young children, they’re an easier target as they are more likely to believe in IT’s existence. The tale is split into two halves and I believe it was shown on TV as two episodes per half although I’ve only seen it on DVD where it’s part one and part two.

The story is the tale of a group of loser kids and the school bully generally doing what bullies doing and being a complete dick. Each of the children start to have encounters with IT, the first encounter happens when young innocent Georgie is killed by IT in the rain chasing a boat his brother Billy made for him.

From here all the main characters see IT in some form and eventually confide in each other before taking on the demon. They believe that they have destroyed IT and they all move away from Derry and on with their lives. Out of the blue they receive a phone call from Mike who was the only one of the group who stayed in Derry, the killings had started up again and Pennywise was back.

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This was my favourite scene

The second half of the film focuses on the adults arriving back in Derry and they once again encounter IT, it seems that when they moved on they gradually forgot all about the horrifying experience. Unfortunately the second half of the tale is not as good as the first half, in my opinion some of the casting for the grown up versions of the children we got to know in the first half is way off.

This once again leads to the group trying to kill IT once and for all. All of this based on a promise they made as kids to Billy that if IT came back they would return and unite to kill IT for good.

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The gang agree to help take out Pennywise

The Good

The thing that stands out a mile for me is the way the relationship is built between the kids. We’ve got Billy and Eddie who seem to be the closest friends of the group but they help out the new fat kid Ben when he’s being chased by bullies. From there Beverly is added to the group, we then meet Stan and Ritchie. The bond these kids have is great, on their own they all fall victim to Bowers and his goon bullies but together they have several moments of over coming the bullies. This is especially shown when Mike joins the group after being chased leading to the group standing together against the bullies.

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Everyone practices ready to face off against the ancient terrifying clown

Obviously this wouldn’t be a proper list of the good things if it didn’t mention Tim Curry as Pennywise, he’s scary and brilliantly acted. There’s talk of a remake and it will take some doing to find a Pennywise as good as Tim Curry was but I do believe if they search hard enough they can find someone.

His performance and the film in general hasn’t aged badly sure some of the acting is a bit dodgy but due to the lack of effects throughout it’s still extremely watchable. I really hope the remake doesn’t end up with lots of CGI effects.

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It’s all too much for one of our group who doesn’t make it into the adult stage for very long

The Bad

The adults story just isn’t as entertaining as when they were young, I mean it’s still passable and when they come back to Derry and all meet IT again it’s well done after that however not so much.

The ending is truly terrible, I haven’t read the book but I’ve been told what the ending is in the book and that sounds like it’s even crappier than the ending in this. It just doesn’t feel right, a scary clown that’s lived for hundreds of years turns into something that’s so easily killable, very odd!

As I mentioned earlier I wasn’t keen on some of the casting for the adult versions of the kids, mostly purely based on looks I thought a few were wrong especially Beverly.

This is a must watch if you for some unknown reason have never seen it. Pennywise, thanks to Curry is a horror icon on par with just about any we’ve ever seen in film or TV history. I’ve done an overall rating based on the fact that I rated the first half as a 90 and the second half as an 80.

Overall Score

85

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14 thoughts on “Stephen King’s IT (1990) Review

  1. I read the book when I was 12, and I have to say it’s vastly superior to the TV movie, which I found lacking in several departments. Like you said, the adults aren’t as fun to watch as the kids, but also becasue I just don’t find Tim Curry as Pennywise threatening. I mean, yeah he’s scary to look at, but he doesn’t ever seem to actually threaten the kids, he just sort of stands there and talks about floating. I also thought some of the special effects were crap, and that the way the story was told at times didn’t make for good cinematic storytelling. So for me, a remake is most welcome, though I do admit there is plenty of room to screw up.
    You know, if you’re interested there’s a review by the Nostalgia Critic on Youtube that’s a lot of fun. He goes over the TV movie bit by bit and makes fun of all the flaws in the movie, all the while playing a drinking game involving Stephen King cliches. It’s good for a laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SPOILER ALERT…
    The ending was much better in the book. It was explained how the creature had more telepathic energy than physical prowess and how it created Pennywise to mount fear and terror in the children of the small town. It lived off the energy of fear and without that fear it became weaker…It was difficult to translate that into a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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