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Thursday, 11 November 2010


I'd never seen this TV mini-series from 1990 and it's been years since I read the book but the fact that it was showing on one of the satellite channels in a full three hour edit, I thought I'd give it a chance.

I've got to say I quite enjoyed it and I think it was quite faithful to the book - least I remember the scene with the newspaper boat and the storm drain and I'm sure some of Pennywise's lines came straight from the book. The first half concentrates on the characters when they were children and I think this was the best section of the mini-series - it's all that 1950's/60's stuff that Stephen King does so well, kind of like Stand by Me but with psychotic clowns. The second half then deals with the characters as adults and it's here that the thing feels most like a TV movie, especially in the casting - John Ritter and Richard Thomas head up the cast.

Tim Curry is excellent as Pennywise and from watching this film you wonder how he was not cast as The Joker for one or other of the Batman movies.

As it was a TV movie some of the special effects are ropey but overall I think the film works. As  I say it's been many years since I read the book but I do remember King's story was terrifying - mind you I was a lot younger then and homicidal clowns didn't seem so ridiculous.

Still it must be said Tim Curry's performance is remarkable and he dominates every scene he's in, but even his character works better in the first half of the film when pitted against the child actors. Maybe the childish clown is much more sinister in a child's world but when going up against the full grown men and a woman some of it looks comical rather than scary.

Overall though it's an enjoyable enough movie but I think I'll go and read the book again.

Below is an interesting list from the WIKI which shows the timeline of the IT creature as relating to events mentioned in the original novel. The vanishing settlers are also mentioned in the TV movie.

  • 1715–1716: It awoke.
  • 1740–1743: It awoke and started a three-year reign of terror that culminated with the disappearance of over three hundred settlers from Derry Township, much like the Roanoke Island mystery.
  • 1769–1770: It awoke.
  • 1851: It awoke when a man named John Markson poisoned his family, then committed suicide by eating a white-nightshade mushroom, causing an excruciating death.
  • 1876–1879: It awoke, then went back into hibernation after a group of lumberjacks were found murdered near the Kenduskeag.
  • 1904–1906: It awoke when It rampaged through the woods near Derry, incinerating them. Then It came upon a lumberjack named Claude Heroux, who was hiding in the woods at the time, and, sensing his aggressive nature, possessed him. It, in the body of Claude, murdered a number of men in a bar with an axe. In a possible self-insertion, one of the victims is Eddie King, a possible reference to Stephen King himself, whose middle name is Edwin. In the novel, the unfortunate King is hacked into pieces, an even more gruesome death than his fellow victims of Heroux. Heroux was promptly pursued by a mob of townsfolk and hanged. It returned to hibernation when the Kitchener Ironworks exploded, killing one hundred and eight people, eighty-eight of them children engaged in an Easter egg hunt.
  • 1929–1930: It awoke when a group of Derry citizens gunned down a group of gangsters known as the Bradley Gang. It returned to hibernation when the Maine Legion of White Decency, a Northern counterpart to the Ku Klux Klan, burned down an African-American army nightclub called "The Black Spot." One survivor, Dick Halloran, appeared in King's earlier novel, The Shining.
  • 1957–1958: It awoke during a great storm which flooded part of the city, and murdered George Denbrough. It then met its match when the Losers forced It to return to an early hibernation when wounded by the young Bill Denbrough in the first Ritual of Chüd.
  • 1984–1985: It awoke when three young homophobic bullies beat up a young gay couple, Adrian Mellon and Don Hagarty, throwing Mellon off a bridge resulting in It killing Mellon, (which echoed real life events in Maine). It was finally "destroyed" in the second Ritual of Chüd by the adult Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Eddie Kaspbrak and Ben Hanscom.

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