I’ve put off reviewing this for a while, for a few reasons. One, it’s arguably King’s most well known adaptation, and I wasn’t going to play that card so early into the feature, and two, I had every intention of reading the book before seeing this again. Well now that I’m 11 reviews into King’s Corner and I finished all 1,200 pages of the novel, I believe it’s a good time as any to share my thoughts on one of the most ambitious King projects ever by writing one of my most ambitious reviews ever.
First published in 1986, IT is the story of seven friends growing up in the fictional town of Derry, Maine and their encounters with an inter-dimensional life form that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. For the most part, it appears to the children as a clown named Pennywise (real name ‘Bob Gray’), but it takes other forms that are specific to each of their fears when It gets them alone. After initially injuring It as children, they all, except one, move on with their lives and eventually re-locate to other cities. But when a large number of children are found brutally slain, the friends, now middle aged, must return to their hometown to defeat the evil once and for all. It was adapted for the screen in 1990 as a TV miniseries, split into two parts with a total run time of 192 minutes.
Bill Denbrough (middle age Bill played by Richard Thomas, child played by Jonathan Brandis)
The leader of the pack. He’s riddled with guilt over the death of his younger brother Georgie, who was killed by It after he took a paper boat that Bill had made for him out into the street. After leaving Derry, he became a bestselling horror writer, and was working on a movie with his wife, Audra, when he received the call asking him to return to Derry. He also suffers from a terrible stutter, which got worse after the death of Georgie.
Mike Hanlon (middle age: Tim Reid. Child: Marlon Taylor)
The only member of ‘The Losers Club’ to stay in Derry his entire life. He met the others as a 12 year old after being chased by the notorious school bullies, led by Henry Bowers, into the quarry where the rest of the group were armed with rocks. He is the narrator of the story, so to speak, and is the one who monitored the activity of It over a number of years. Because of his decision to remain in the town, he was not blessed with the financial fortune that the others enjoyed.
Beverly Marsh (middle age: Annette O’Toole. Child: Emily Perkins)
The only girl of the group, she lives in the poorest part of Derry with her abusive father. She is instantly attracted to Bill, but there are hints that all the others have feelings for her. When practicing with a slingshot, she is the only one who seems to have skill, and is entrusted with the task of shooting It when they first go into the sewers. She became a successful fashion designer, but also ended up dating a man that abused her, just like her father did.
Ben Hanscom (middle aged: John Ritter. Child: Brandon Crane)
Obese as a child, Ben Hanscom lost all his weight and become a world renowned architect. Out of all the others, he was the one who seemed to be most infatuated with Beverly, even writing her a haiku but sending it anonymously. His skills come in handy when molding the silver slugs, although that is not explored in the TV movie.
Eddie Kaspbrak (middle age: Dennis Christoper. Child: Adam Farazial)
A severe hypochondriac who has been led to believe he is asthmatic, Eddie is the weakest (at least physically) in the group. He is also the most altered character from the book, as many key events that happen to or with him are either edited or omitted completely in the TV movie. His fortune came from owning a limousine business.
Richie Tozier (middle age: Harry Anderson. Child: Seth Green)
The joker of the pack, Richie constantly jokes, or does ‘Voices’, a talent that he developed in later life to earn him a lot of money. Due to his frequent comedic nature, he comes across as unperturbed by the events, but more often than not it’s merely a front for his fear of the clown.
Stanley Uris (middle age: Richard Masur. Child: Ben Heller)
Without a doubt the most skeptical about Pennywise/It, it’s not until an encounter whilst bird watching that becomes all too real for Stan. As an adult, he becomes a partner in a law firm, but is the most traumatized out of the lot, possibly due to him remembering the most. Upon receiving the phone call, he commits suicide in the bath by slicing his wrists, and scrawls “IT” in blood on the wall.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown (played by Tim Curry)
The most common form of It, as a clown is believed to be an approachable character to children. It often carries balloons, and occasionally makes bad jokes. It’s real form isn’t revealed until the end, and even then It only shows itself in a way that humans can comprehend. It’s a being that has been around for hundreds of years, and awakens every 30 to feed.
Henry Bowers (middle age: Michael Cole… not that one. Child: Jarred Blanchard)
The crazed bully who terrorizes The Losers Club on an almost daily basis. After the first maiming of It, he is found in the sewers where he confesses to all the killings, and is sent to an insane asylum. He is called upon by It in later life to kill the grown up Losers Club.