All aboard the hype train to Derry, Maine, where a group of 1980s youngins face off against a mysterious shapeshifting clown in the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s 1,000-plus-page horror opus, IT.
There’s been dozens of Stephen King adapted films — some great (The Shining), some atrocious, (The Dark Tower) — but the 2017 adaptation of IT with Bill Skårsgard as the monstrously vicious, child-murdering clown-creature has been almost universally praised with an 85 percent, “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This IT film is the first chapter of a two-part film series. The second movie will follow the same child characters as adults and is scheduled for a 2019 release.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, does the 2017 version lay waste to the 1990 television mini-series famous for Tim Curry’s performance as the creepy (and hilarious) Pennywise? Or is it a horror dud with jump scares galore? Find out — if you dare! — with the Valley Advocate’s reanimation of Scary Movie Club, in which two staffers — horror movie buff Jennifer Levesque and slasher horror hater and Scary Movie Club newcomer Chris Goudreau — talk big-screen gore.
Chris: IT’s basically Stand by Me with a horror monster thrown in.
Jen: I think that’s what the original mini-series was like, too. This one definitely was a little more gruesome.
Chris: Yeah, I didn’t think they’d be THAT graphic [with the opening scene].
Jen: In the beginning of that scene, I looked over at the people I’m at the movies with and I’m like, ‘This is pretty much exactly like the miniseries so far — almost to the T. It’s just going to be one of those modernized [shot-for-shots] or whatever.’ When that scene happened, I was literally like, ‘Holy shit!’ This is going to be different.
Chris: You can’t get more gruesome than ripping a kid’s arm off.
Chris: The way [Pennywise] moves is very animalistic and inhuman. You can sense that it’s clearly not just a clown. It’s some sort of other. Do you remember that scene where he’s tormenting Eddie? That was great because you genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen — Oh, there goes his fingers!
Jen: There’s definitely a lot of taunting and that made it scarier for the audience too like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen?’ And nothing happens. He pops up again and is he going to do something or is he not going to do something.
Chris: At the same time, I felt like IT just popped up just to say, ‘Boo,’ a lot of the times. I did not like the jump scares.
Jen: To me, I wouldn’t necessarily call it scary, but just really creepy.
Chris: It’s very ominous.
Chris: Those child actors were damn good. They were really professional.
Jen: The kid who was in Stranger Things, he was may favorite. Every thing out of his mouth was like, ‘Fuck this, fuck this.’ There were a lot of ‘your mother’ jokes, which was just hilarious.
Jen: That woman coming out the painting was creepy. But it was very computerized. That really turned me off for it.
Chris: There’s something to be said about really good practical effects. Those horror movies of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, they’re still scary. The blood looks a little bit fake, but it’s still scary.
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