Think Krusty the Clown bitten by a werewolf and you’re nearly there. Give him the moral centre of a serial killing talk show host and we’re done.
Cast Tim Curry and give him a group of kids to freak out and you’ve got IT to a tee.
The 1990 tv movie follows a group of kids, each of them a self confessed outsider or loser, growing up in the sleepy Maine town of Derry. As you would expect the kids form a tight bond and fight back against vicious parents, school bullies and enjoy the simple camaraderie of childhood. Of course, there is a child killing monster stalking them, killing one of the Loser’s brothers. So far, so Stephen King.
The manifestation of the evil monster is, as I’ve said, a clown called Pennywise, personified by TIm Curry with such relish he can barely contain his maniacal glee in tormenting the children. The sight of a red balloon and the sound of a grim, scratchy laugh is enough to send a torrent of shivers through you. There is a scene with a photo album you’ll need to pack extra trousers for, and you’ll never eat a fortune cookie again.
Tim Curry is majestic. Sinking his clowny teeth into every scene and delivering a genuine feeling of terror in what is a tired scary monster cliche. The killings are vicious, the shocks are inventive and the device of splitting the action between the character’s childhood and their present, adult lives, allows a greater depth to the movie.
Childhood is a scary time, yet conversely when we are most looked after, and most safe; as adults we are more aware of our world and our strength in dealing with it. IT takes these contradictions and beats them around the head with a spiky stick.
IT is great, it is terrifying. See it with friends, old friends if you can and revel in the wonder that is Tim Curry.
This is not happy time viewing. If you want a smile on your face watch a Sandra Bullock film. You’ll have more fun, you’ll smile, you’ll laugh, you’ll jump, you’ll feel like you’re walking on air.
You’ll all float.