Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY TOM DEADY
In 1986, Stephen King released his self-proclaimed “final exam” on horror: IT. The story features a recurring evil that visits the small town of Derry, Maine every twenty-seven years. IT preys on people’s fear, especially fear in children, calling it “akin to salting the meat.” The creature is, among other things, a shape-shifter. In many cases, IT appears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. King’s Pennywise is one of horror’s greatest and most terrifying villains.
In 1990, an ABC mini-series adaption of IT aired, introducing Pennywise and the Losers Club to a wider audience. The film included a cast of fairly well known actors as the Losers Club grown up: Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Harry Anderson and Annette O’Toole. The kids were mostly unknown, and Tim Curry starred as Pennywise. The broadcast received mixed reviews, leaning toward more positive. Over the years, Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise has gained a huge cult following for its brilliance. And this, folks, is where a lot of us part ways.
Overall, I found the mini-series to be mediocre. The children were great as the young Losers Club, the adult versions, not so great. The film was primetime network television, so the “scares” were pretty mild, and the mounting dread so prevalent in the novel was never achieved. To be fair, it’s not easy to condense a thousand-plus page novel into a few hours on screen. My biggest criticism, however, of the adaption remains Tim Curry’s Pennywise.
King’s Pennywise is a nightmare. From the opening scene with Georgie Denbrough’s paper boat in the storm drain, he is terrifying. Relentlessly so. Television’s Pennywise is toothless in comparison, a wise-cracking goofball that resorts to bad insults over fear and intimidation. The television adaption took King’s scariest antagonist and made him, well…clownish. Curry’s performance is over-the-top and packs all the punch of a balloon-twisting birthday party clown.
Fast forward twenty-seven years (coincidence?) and King fans anxiously await the remake of IT. Unlike the mini-series which switched back and forth between time periods, the big screen version of IT will be done in two full-length movies. The first, due out in September, tells the story of the Losers Club’s first encounter with Pennywise when they were twelve. The second film will be the story of the adults returning to Derry to finish what they started, there is no date set for part two. I’m personally excited for the reboot to finally see a Pennywise as scary as the one on King’s pages.
Anyone that has read my work knows it is heavily influenced by Stephen King (among others). Of all his great stories, IT is my favorite and one that I go back and visit often. I would love a movie that captures all the magic, and all the scares, that the novel contained. Not a lot has been leaked about the new film, with the exception of some pictures of the new Pennywise. If the make-up is any indication of the amped-up scares, I won’t be disappointed.
READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH TOM DEADY HERE
SOMEONE HAS MOVED INTO THE OLD BREWSTER PLACE
Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack knew the stories about Old Man Brewster, what happened to his wife . . . and the flies. They had no idea why anybody would want to live there, but then they met Greg Lupescu, the new kid who had moved in. He looked strange, his father was never around, and he had this creepy butler named Karl. Soon, however, he became their close friend.
SOMETHING IS KILLING PEOPLE
First, a young boy goes missing . . .
Soon after, the boy’s abusive deadbeat father is slaughtered . . .
And his grieving mother burns to death in an unnatural fire . . .
People are dying all over Bristol, Massachusetts and the boys are beginning to realize that it all started when the Lupescus moved to town.
SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T FIGHT YOUR DESTINY
Ben and little sister Eve can sense that a dark storm looms on the horizon threatening to engulf Bristol, and at its center stands his new friend. Can they all help Greg resist the sinister forces against him, or in the end will he choose to succumb and embrace an Eternal Darkness?