After 27 years, a new iteration of pop culture’s most terrifying villain with a button red nose has reappeared in cinemas and absolutely dominated the box-office. Floating to the top spot in its opening weekend and on a blood-soaked road to being one of the most successful horrors in recent years, director Andy Muschietti’s It has done a great job in scaring the living crap out of cinema goers following its arrival, but there’s even some elements of the Stephen King tale the film is based on that couldn’t make it to the big screen.
No doubt as we wait to hear on Chapter 2, those unfamiliar with Pennywise the Dancing Clown outside of Bill Skarsgård’s impeccable interpretation will be picking up the 31-year old book to learn more about him. They’ll also discover that that particular shelf-dweller from King’s back catalogue racks up a hefty 1,800-something pages - enough to knock someone out, let alone terrify them. Amongst those pages though, is a hefty collection of moments that didn’t make the final cut of the film and may have been better off not doing so. From a moment between The Losers Club that any reader may find uncomfortable reading, to inhabitants of Derry that are just as unnerving as than its own child-killing clown, here’s a list of 15 Things From The Book They Can’t Show In The Movie.
15 A Giant Turtle Saves The Day
It the movie has a great message about the power of childhood friends defeating evil, but in It the book, the Losers are aided by a greater presence to endure and face the evil that plagues their town. Bill comes face to face with the creature during the Ritual of Chuud (more on that later). He is greeted by a giant turtle in another world.
Totally chilled about the whole thing, the turtle-like being known as Maturin advises Bill on how to kill It through riddles and Jedi-like tips which our hero eventually uses in battle. The film, however, keeps the shelled assistant on the side-lines, only giving reference to him when the kids are swimming in the quarry and see a turtle beneath the water, and Bill finding a Lego turtle in Georgie’s room when his younger brother makes a return visit.
Keeping the movie adaptation concise and grounded-feeling would be a struggle while finding space for Maturin, which makes it understandable that he stays on another plain of existence for the big screen adaptation.
14 The Loser’s Club "Group Love"
Okay, let’s get down to It. If you haven’t heard this by now, brace yourself: there’s a moment from King’s classic that is easily more unsettling than a creepy clown.
After defeating Pennywise in their first of two major battles, The Losers find themselves lost down in the sewers of Derry as the bond they’ve forged begins to break. In an effort to reunite the group, Beverly makes the completely illogical choice to rebuild said bond by having sex with the other Losers to rekindle their friendship. Apparently chalking arrows on the walls never made the suggestion box.
There’s a lot of utterly bonkers moments in King’s original book (many of which are on this list) that fit perfectly in this tale of good vs. evil, but a child orgy definitely wasn’t one of them.
Stands to reason then that this particular WTF moment from an otherwise horror classic didn’t make it into the film. Instead, Muschetti makes the creative choice to just fade to an exterior shot of the kids safe and sound above ground and their childhood trauma quota capped off nicely.
13 Patrick Hockstetter Is The Real Monster
Last seen cowering in fear after being chased by It in the sewer mazes of Derry, it’s almost a blessing that we didn’t get to see the original version of Patrick Hockstetter that King brought to life on a count of him being certifiably insane.
Henry Bowers may have been leader of the bullies bent on making the lives of Bill and co. utter hell, but Patrick was created far more horrific moments in the book.
Easily one of King’s most effed up characters ever, Patrick works his evil from a young age when, at the age of five he killed his newborn baby brother. With the deed never discovered, folks instead had to go off other signs this kid was mad as a balloon, like keeping a pencil case full of dead flies.
The height of Patrick’s insanity is also his undoing, as we learn of an abandoned refrigerator that he visits to store stray animals, checking on a regular basis until they’ve taken their last breath. Admittedly, he holds very little value to the narrative structure of the book, but reading about his final visit to the fridge only to be engorged by giant flying leeches is rather rewarding.
12 The Ritual of Chuud
Among the handful of out-there elements of King’s It, among them is their method of defence against the creature, known as The Ritual of Chuud.
In the book, the Losers realize that their bravery against their fear-absorbing foe is their weapon, and leads Bill to enter a different dimension to face It alone - with his wits as his weapon.
This outer body experience leads Bill to see It’s true form and use his will and courage against the creature to defeat It. Strands of this make it into the film through the Losers' unified front in the final act, Richie and Bill reopening the "Not Scary At All" door, and Bills’s stammer reducing quote of "he thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts."
11 Mike Hanlon’s Family, Alive
Even though he is one of the first characters introduced in the film, Mike Hanlon seems to get a raw deal when it comes to character background. Easily one of the most integral members of the Club in the book, Mike is the bookworm who uncovers the history of Derry and its most hostile inhabitant, rather than Ben. He’s also the only member of the Lucky Seven who stays behind and calls the group back to battle the evil Pennywise 27 years later.
Mike suffered far more in the movie, as his parents are still alive and well in the book. That being said, he still has a lot more to endure than some of the rest of the Losers, being one of the few black inhabitants of Derry, and having a major issue with Henry Bowers.
In the book, Bowers’ father isn’t a police officer but a farmer who loses work and blames Will Hanlon, Mike’s father. This sparks a feud between the families and their sons. Admittedly, some details could be overlooked when it comes to the adaptation but brushing off some of Mike’s story reduces his importance in the movie.
10 It’s True Origins
Chapter 1 left many newcomers to It's murderous antics with more questions than answers to what the film's villain truly was, or where it came from. As it falls into the darkness weakened by its battle, so too does it leave an air of mystery that only Chapter 2 will be able to answer, or you know by reading the actual book the film is based on.
Besides the creature actually resembling a giant spider, the origin of It stretches back thousands of years and King goes into great detail of how It came to be. In the book, through some questionable smoke inhalation, the kids endure a vision of It crashing to earth from another world. It then makes itself a home beneath the land that would become Derry and continues to feed every 27 years, until Bill Denborough and his pals decided to put a hold on that.
How much of this will make its way into Chapter 2 is unknown, but a sliver of this origin story would be nice to see.
9 The Shining Connection
As explained by researcher and New Kids on the Block fan, Ben, numerous tragedies have befallen Derry over the years, one of which was The Black Spot night club burning down. Though, only briefly mentioned in the film, King's book elaborates that this was a popular club for African-American army men before it was set alight by a chapter of the Klu-Klux Klan, almost taking the life of Mike’s father, if not for a future employee of The Overlook Hotel.
Here is where King’s tendency to link most of his works comes into play, as Will Hanlon tells his son the story of the Black Spot fire and mentions the name of a chef, Dick Hallorann. For fans The Shining, you’ll recognise this name as the chef at the Overlook Hotel who deduces that young Danny Torrence is blessed with the same gift he possesses.
With the fate of Mike’s parents changing dramatically in the movie, it completely removed any mention of this incident and erased the King connection, as a result. Would it have been cool to see this Easter egg? Sure. Was it necessary? Not at all.
8 The Different Forms of It
It appears to its victims in various forms in the movie - the lady in the painting, the leper, Pennywise. We see these apparitions appear to each individual Loser before they realize the truth. As the Losers make their final stand it slips between each fear kid's fear as they attack him, but this terrifying transformation is a little different in the book.
When The Losers see It at the same time in the book, something happens that may have proved to be difficult to capture on film. The creature appears as a manifestation of each kid's fear - all at once. This is shown when Richie encounters the monster and sees a werewolf, and Bill still sees a clown. Trying to contain this ruse however, leads It to overlap in its ruse, with the werewolf’s jacket having huge clown buttons attached to it.
It’s an interesting trait that may have been very difficult to film but at least we get to see it to a degree when The Losers finally face their fear and "kill this f***ing clown," as Richie Tozier so eloquently puts it.
7 Richie vs. The Teenage Werewolf
He might have had his fear of clowns tested in the film, but this wasn’t what originally chilled Richie Tozier’s spine in the book. Instead of the convenient case of Coulrophobia, Richie’s nightmares were of a Lycanthrope in a varsity jacket, spawned from the film I Was A Teenage Werewolf.
Another incident that takes place in that creepy old house sees Richie attacked by the same werewolf from the movie he saw days before. A snarling beast with a jacket that has Richie’s name stitched into it, this detail makes its way into the film slightly when Richie comes across his own missing poster.
Thankfully, he narrowly escapes the creature that is really It with fangs and heavy facial hair before it can get to him, but not before discovering an a detail in the monster’s methods, allowing the Losers to gain a stronger understanding of their opponent.
6 The Leper From 23 Neibolt Street
There were a number of tweaks to the original terrors that befell The Loser’s Club in Muschetti’s take, one in particular being the pustule-covered leper that plagued Eddie Kaspbrak. Feeding on Eddie’s fear of illness and infection brought about by his mother, Pennywise conjures up the diseased stranger that chases the young lad onto the Neibolt property. If you think he wasn’t disgusting enough, King’s original version is much, much worse.
Eddie’s fear of leprosy spawns from an actual leper that he encountered near the old abandoned house you see in the film. Hiding under the foundations of Neibolt Street’s scariest establishment, the leper approaches Eddie, offering him sexual favours in exchange for money. This nightmare fuel is something that It abuses when he has Eddie alone, appearing as the leper himself only more intense in both his appearance and his offers to Eddie.
It’s another gross moment that really had no place in Muschetti’s adaptation. These might be young kids laughing at dick jokes and jabs about their mothers, but introducing a sexual element to the film would have shifted the tone entirely.
5 The Attack Of Paul Bunyan
One massive tip of the cap from Muschetti to King appears when The Losers Club, finally formed with the addition of home-schooled kid, Mike, discuss tactics under the watchful eye of an enormous Paul Bunyan statue. For outsiders, it could easily go unnoticed but fans of King’s book will recall that this statue plays a big part in that story.
Besides appearing as a balloon-wielding clown or a predatory leper, It also catches loud-mouthed Richie Tozier alone and takes an axe to him as one of America’s most famous folk-heroes. With It stepping off the monument and chasing Tozier down the street, it’s understandable that the creative choice was made to avoid such an altercation. Richie being stalked by a giant lumberjack wouldn't have had nearly the same chilling effect as the other attacks in It.
4 Mike vs. The Giant Bird
Paul Bunyan isn’t the only big bad that the Loser’s face in King’s classic, either. Another unnatural encounter that would certainly have flopped in its transfer to the big screen is Mike Hanlon’s lone battle with an enormous bird of prey. Sometime before he meets the rest of The Losers, Mike is attacked by a crow-like creature that corners him at the abandoned Ironworks, where the Easter Egg tragedy occurred.
Mike managed to fend the bird off by injuring its eyes and feet, but this thing is like a Zapdos from hell, and would have no place for the same reasons as Paul Bunyan. Considering that one of the weakest scares in the film comes from Stan’s CGI flute lady, it would make sense that a giant crow would suffer the same faults. The replacement scene of the charred arms reaching out for Mike from behind a door in the film works far better.
3 Hi, Ho Silver!
On the occasions Bill and the rest dump their bikes in the middle of the street, you may recall that his particular mode of transport had the name Silver emblazoned on the side. In the book, this is named after the same trusty steed ridden by The Lone Ranger and has a valuable part to play in It's closing chapters.
In the book, Bill gets the bike at a young age and then encounters it again as an adult, 27 years later. It acts as a trigger for our leader; the one comforting thing in his dark childhood that provided that little bit of freedom. It also proved an invaluable tool in saving one of Pennywise’s final victims, but we won't spoil further details here.
The 2017 take does acknowledge Bill’s ride, even making space for him yelling the Ranger’s famous line as he goes tearing past Ben in the library. With that said, it stands to reason that a kid from the 80s may not have as much love for the serialized masked hero as one from the '50s, when the It book is set.
2 Beverly & The Slingshot
There’s so much from Beverly’s character in It that transfers wonderfully into its latest adaptation. Her courage against the horrors she endures both from Pennywise and her homelife make her one of The Loser’s toughest members. One thing that was missing from the film however, is how lethal she is with a slingshot.
In the book, the Losers believe that silver can be used as a weapon against It, melting down the metal to use as ammo against the enemy, and Beverly turning out to be the best one to handle it. It’s her winning shot that helps send the beast back down to the depths, unlike the film where Bill takes aim with the cattle gun. Narratively, this has more impact considering that Bill has suffered the greatest loss at the hands of Pennywise.
There’s still time for Bev to do some damage when Chapter 2 comes around, though.
1 Henry Bowers - Derry's Serial Killer
Much like Mike Hanlon, one character that was greatly changed was knife-wielding school bully Henry Bowers. Last seen taking a tumble down the well after trying to interrupt the Loser’s quest to kill It (which the creature itself orchestrated), Bowers fate has been left a mystery, which begs the question of if he’ll be as crucial to Chapter 2 as he is in the book.
Originally, Bowers caused more problems for the Losers in the book; not only did he have his carving session with Ben as in the film, he also killed Mike’s dog and was responsible for breaking Eddie’s arm. He wasn’t alone in disrupting the Losers' first battle against It , either. Originally, he and his cronies followed our heroes down into the sewer, only for the bullies to encounter the creature in a Frankenstein form. It tore the gang apart, leaving only Bowers to escape. He was eventually found and falsely imprisoned for the Derry child murders.
King originally reunited us with Bowers 27 years later, held at an insane asylum only for Pennywise to bust him loose, acting as the monsters puppet in the final battle. It remains to be seen if he will appear in Chapter 2.
Have you read It the novel? How did you think it compared to the movie? Let us know in the comments!