On this day 33 years ago in 1990, the television network CBS premiered the film It, based on the 1986 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film would no doubt become one of the most influential horror films of all time due to its uniquely imaginative and disturbing psychological take on primal fear and what happens when it is unearthed.
Taking place in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, created by Stephen King, the story of It is centered a group of seven individuals known as “ The Loser’s Club” also nicknamed “The Lucky Seven” and the bond of friendship they carried as a weapon against a mysterious extraterrestrial force referred to as “It”. The Loser’s Club wages war with It upon learning that it is an evil cosmic being that preys on children for consumption under the guise of a charismatic circus clown named Pennywise.
The war between the Loser’s Club and It’s reign of terror takes place over the course of 30 years, as they all battle It as children and then again as adults. In addition to battling It they also struggle with life growing up as social outcast and dealing with a sadistic bully by the name of Henry Bowers.
The film is led by an ensemble cast of 14 lead actors portraying The Loser’s Club as both children and adults, but it was no doubt the performance of Tim Curry as It’s alias of Pennywise the dancing clown that stole the show for everyone who loved the miniseries.
I’ll never forget the first time I ever saw It as a child. I was visiting my dad for the weekend and it came on TV. My dad already loved the film and educated me on what it was as I watched it with him. This movie was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Of course the performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise really gripped my attention because of how charismatic, yet terrifying he was as this being who seemed enjoyingly inviting, but was nothing more than a vicious predator in lighthearted clothing who was looking to destroy the innocence of life. In addition to Curry’s performance it was the performance of the actor’s playing the members of The Loser’s Club that really kept me hooked as well, especially the child actors. As a lifelong movie buff I had never seen a film in any genre where the children had such a powerful sense of leadership with a commanding presence that followed.
If someone were to ask me what is it about this film that really sells so much, I would say it is the psychological terror that really brings it home for this masterpiece. The stigmatization of the fear of clowns is a big component here, that goes without question, but the fact that this villain’s greatest weapon is using your internalized fears of the mind against you was the most horrific trait the film had to offer. After all, no one can run away from their own mind, so another big point of the plot is learning how to face those fears as well.
When It first premiered it garnered nearly 18 million viewers over the course of its duration. With the miniseries being a big hit both critically and ratings wise, It is one of the top most celebrated adaptations of a Stephen King story among the likes of other Stephen King tales like The Shining, Misery, Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Pennywise the Clown would of course become one of the most celebrated icons of the horror genre, as well as one of the most revered performances of Tim Curry’s career. It definitely is one of my favorite films, both in horror and in general. This movie was so great that it inspired me to go read the book which is one of my favorite novels ever. This miniseries is a cinematic masterpiece that really speaks to our humanity and for that impression left on all of us as an audience this film will forever be legendary.
About the Creator
Hi I'm Joe Patterson. I am a writer at heart who is a big geek for film, music, and literature, which have all inspired me to be a writer. I rap, write stories both short and long, and I'm also aspiring to be an author and a filmmaker.
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