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By Jamie Suckley • February 6th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Warner Brothers Television

Original air date: November 18th, 1990
Running time: 180 minutes

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace and Lawrence D. Cohen

Cast: Tim Curry, Jonathan Brandis, Seth Green, Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Annette O’Toole


Everybody loves clowns, right? I mean parents pay for them to attend birthday parties and they seem so innocent fooling around at the circus. They’re meant to be entertaining characters but children are generally terrified of them. As for me, I’ve never trusted clowns. I believe they are hiding something behind their face paints and vibrant colours. They remind me of American serial killer, John Wayne Gacy. My first introduction to a clown was with mum, watching Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 TV mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel, IT. You’d have thought she’d have taken me to a circus first wouldn’t you?

In the 1960’s fictional town of Derry, Maine; Bill (Jonathan Brandis), Beverly (Emily Perkins), Richie (Seth Green), Eddie (Adam Faraizi), Ben (Brandon Crane), Stan (Ben Heller), and Mike (Marlon Taylor), are a group of social outcasts dubbed ‘The Lucky Seven’ (or ‘The Losers Club’), they’re not only bullied by the local thugs but also tormented by an evil malevolent creature. Taking the form of Pennywise ‘the dancing’ clown (Tim Curry), IT is a beast, which awakens every 30 years to terrify children with the ability to shape shift into their fears and loved ones in order to isolate them, leading to their demise.

After defeating the clown as kids, IT returns in the 1990s meaner, angrier and deadlier. As adults Bill (Richard Thomas), Ben (John Ritter), Beverly (Annette O’Toole), Richie (Harry Anderson), Mike (Tim Reid), Eddie (Dennis Christopher) and Stan (Richard Masur) must reunite to fulfil their pact to destroy IT once again.


IT is one of those King novels that was destined to be made into a film, not just for the sake of it, but because it had a good story. King said regarding the idea behind his novel: “Sometime in the summer of 1981 I realized that I had to write about the troll under the bridge or leave him-IT- forever. Part of me cried to let it go. But part of me cried for the chance:did more than cry; It demanded” ¹

Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise is unforgettable; everything from the make-up to his sadistic, wise-cracking characteristics. He has similar traits to the legendary The Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading children away from adult supervision where they are vulnerable and this highlights the film’s cautious theme regarding strangers.

IT has a number of memorable moments, but the one which instantly remains in my mind is the death of Bills’ brother. Playing with a paper boat, sailing it down the rain filled street, Georgie (Tony Dakota) loses it down the drain and Pennywise appears. This is the first time we witnesses the creature’s ability to change as his teeth become razor sharp fangs and his eyes turn demonic as he murders Georgie off-screen. To this day I find this scene uncomfortable; it’s the innocence of the child and unpleasant realistation that there really are monsters like that in the world.

“I’m every nightmare you’ve ever had. I’m your worst dream come true. I’m everything you ever were afraid of” – Pennywise

At 180 minutes, the film is divided into two acts. The first act has a coming of age, childhood summer feel that is reminiscent of Stand By Me (1986). It’s has the stereotype kids, each with their own problems, the gang of bullies and the bonding ITbetween the protagonists. Broadly speaking, the underlining themes of growing up, facing our fears and overcoming the monster within us all are present.

The second act is where my love for this film changes slightly. When the remaining losers club (one apparently commits suicide writing IT on the bathroom tiles in blood) reunite in Derry, the story is continually building up for an epic climax. When Pennywise’s true form is revealed to be a giant spider-type monster, the ending feels rushed and loses the tension that had been building up for the duration. It further pays tribute to Stand By Me as a member of the group narrates what everyone does after the events.

What made IT terrifying, as a child was the feeling that the children were defenceless. The parents and adults of the town were either ignoring, or were immune to, what was happening, isolating the children, making them even more alone and scared. Watching it again as a 26 year old, I have to laugh at myself – why did I make my mum check the bath before I got in or check the sink before I brushed my teeth?


  • Spegresi, Stephen J (2003), The Essential Stephen King, New Page Books[1]

That’s ridiculous, although I’m still cautious when walking past a drain for the unlikely appearance of Pennywise.

It’s an entertaining film based on a brilliant novel. If you haven’t already watched it, where have you been? It’s a film many people watched as children – and the root of their fear of clowns. I can’t wait to introduce my younger brother to IT!

Jamie Suckley

Jamie Suckley

Jamie, editor for Cult Movies at Static Mass, is a 24 year old media studies graduate from Sheffield, who likes nothing better than watching films. If he was to star in a horror film he’d like to be the first one killed (think Drew Barrymore in Scream).

He has a keen interest in horror which started when he was a child. Due to his hyperactive behaviour his cousins made him watch films they thought would calm him down- They were wrong! It was watching Hellraiser and Killer Klowns from Outer Space that his passion for horror began. Over the years this developed into a passion for zombies, madmen, mutated animals and all things gore.

When he’s not working, in his dream world, worrying about zombie epidemics or watching films, he can be found on Twitter sharing his thoughts and bringing his dream world into reality.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieSuckley.

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