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I first saw It (1990) in the early ‘90s, and there was a certain appeal to it. “It certainly doesn’t live up to the book. It wasn’t scary,” said my neighbor whose bookshelves were crammed with those mammoth books by It’s author, the master of suspense and horror, Stephen King.
I remember one of the opening scenes. A boy, Georgie, wearing a yellow raincoat, was chasing his paper boat down the street until it falls into the sewer. When Georgie goes looking for it, he meets Pennywise the Clown.
When Pennywise offers Georgie his boat back, he grabs Georgie’s hand and the camera zooms to a close-up of the clown’s razor-sharp teeth. The scene fades away.
In the modern remake, there’s the same scene. But the clown sticks his teeth into Georgie’s arm and . . . .
I’m not going to spoil it for you.
Andy Muschietti’s (Mama 2013) latest adaptation is violent, gory, horrifying – multi layered; everything you would want from a modern horror movie. It (2017) is nothing like the It of the ’90s, which was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace as a TV miniseries that found itself as a movie in the video rental shop in Finland.
It (2017) is basically about a group of bullied kids with some of the worst parents in movie history. They team up together, and soon Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) starts appearing in their worst fears with his face white with greasepaint and his mouth bleeding with lipstick in a killer’s grin, holding a red balloon in hand with his shrieking laugh. Ready to eat them.
The leading group of child actors are mostly unknown. This is their moment to make their mark. And they do.
After the screening in the men’s room I heard a group of colleagues talk about the film being very loyal to the book. I still haven’t read it, only browsed it and I recognized many parts from the film.
It will surely scare my neighbor, too.
‘It’ premieres in cinemas September 8.