At long last, the clouds broke and the streets cleared; that was all the excuse I needed to escape from the house and head for the theater. On September 8, I decided my nerves needed a little jangling, so I headed for the new version of Stephen King’s “It.” I read the book when it first came out, but I never saw the televised version. I have heard from several people that it was scarier than anything they had ever seen on the networks (except for the evening news).
Many people have reported phobias about clowns, and evil clowns do show up frequently in the popular culture; I remember one very bad one in “Poltergeist.” There are also the “Chucky” movies and others even worse. Pennywhistle, the villain from “It,” preys on small children in a small town that seems to accept the need to sacrifice a few children every 27 years. This is not a film for the impressionable.
Much of the film is derivative. The band of nerdy friends who pursue Pennywhistle to his lair reminded me of “The Goonies” and King’s short story “The Body,” filmed as “Stand by Me.” Pennywhistle’s lair is almost a carbon copy of the Marston House from “Salem’s Lot.” Many of the adults are almost as creepy as Pennywhistle, particularly a father who persistently molests his daughter.
There are many gaps in the story, but we are assured at the end that this is only the first chapter. I am in no hurry for the sequel.