Stephen King's classic novel IT is one of his most enduring works, as well as one of the most iconic horror stories in book, television, and film media. Andy Muschietti's recent adaptations of the first and second halves of the book did not let down the source material. IT and IT: Chapter Two are some of the most successful horror films of all time, and it's not difficult to understand why.
With the recent release of IT Chapter Two, this particular adaptation of IT has come to its end, but it was certainly a fun ride all the way through both films. Chapter One and Chapter Two were both astonishingly effective horror films chock full of very legitimate scares. We have managed to narrow down the scariest of the scary, though, so here are the ten most frightening moments in IT Chapter One and Chapter Two, ranked by pure nightmare fuel factor. Needless to say, there are huge spoilers throughout, so watch out if you haven't seen both movies!
10 January Embers
Pennywise is a creature that thrives on terror and pain, so it's easy to understand why he's just so good at scaring people and making them feel awful. In IT Chapter Two there is a flashback to young Ben and Beverly alone in a classroom, and although Bev starts off being her normal and sweet self, she turns brutally unkind at the drop of a hat.
Then, her entire head bursts into flame and it becomes apparent that it's actually Pennywise. What makes this such a scary moment is not just the horror of demonic Bev chasing Ben, but that IT crushes Ben's heart just before.
9 The Bloody Bathroom
Rooms filled with blood seem to be a recurring shock and horror element in Stephen King's works, and although it's tough to match something like the elevator filled with blood in The Shining, Beverly's bloody bathroom does come pretty close.
IT Chapter One does a great job of building the suspense here, starting off with Beverly hearing Pennywise in the pipes of her bathroom sink, followed by Beverly nearly getting pulled into the sink by her own hair. It's unclear just what the climax of this horror scene is going to be, until it actually happens and a literal fountain of blood explodes out of the sink and covers the entire room.
8 The Firefly
IT is such an effective horror story partly because Pennywise specifically goes after children. That kind of horror element will understandably terrify children, and it is still terrifying to adults because every adult knows what it's like to be a scared child and understands what easy targets children really are.
So, when Pennywise uses a firefly to draw the adorable little Vicki into his trap, appeals to her sympathy and then tempts her with the thought of being rid of her conspicuous birthmark before literally eating her alive, it's easily one of the most tense and terrifying moments in the entire IT series.
7 Pick Your Door
Just a little hint about Pennywise and his typical methods of operation: although, obviously, none of the Losers know what exactly is behind the three doors both times they run across this little trick, it's a pretty safe bet that everything behind each door will be scary.
The doors are only opened three times in IT Chapter One and Chapter Two, and behind one door is Betty Ripscom's torso, behind another is Betty Ripscom's legs, and behind the third is the cutest Pomeranian you've ever seen. Until it transforms into a giant demonic dog that would scare even the most hardened horror fan.
6 The Hypochondriac's Worst Nightmare
You know how sometimes you might meet someone who is a raging hypochondriac and you think, please, just chill out with the hand sanitizer, but then you see something exceptionally disgusting and realize that you totally get why hypochondriacs are like that? Well, that's pretty much what happened for everyone in the audience of IT, when certified health and safety nut Eddie Kaspbrak came face to face with his worst nightmare.
This deformed, oozing, pus-riddled creature is one of the grossest and most grotesque special effects make up jobs in the history of cinema, and is guaranteed to make you want to take a shower ASAP.
5 Georgie Denbrough's Death
What is it about IT finding the cutest little kids to play murder victims? It's certainly an effective way of making the audience cringe and cry at the very same time, and using Georgie Denbrough's death as the introduction of the narrative (as well as to Pennywise) really got the ball rolling for IT fast.
Little did Pennywise know he was really making the biggest mistake of his infinitely long life when he first crossed paths with the Losers Club, but that doesn't make Georgie's death any less painful or shocking. In most movies, they'd leave out the more gruesome aspects of the scene, but IT Chapter One captured it in all of its terror.
4 Mrs. Kersh Gone Wild
There should be some kind of written law in Derry: if you see someone or something that seems to be too cute and sweet to be Pennywise, you must assume that it's Pennywise. Mrs. Kersh is the current occupant of Beverly Marsh's old apartment, and she is an incredibly hospitable hostess.
However, her odd behavior should have been a tip to Bev that it's time to cut this walk down memory lane short. Of course, Bev does what every horror movie character does and waits around until stuff hits the fan. Mrs. Kersh winds up transforming into something that... well, if you've seen the movie, you know.
3 Henry Attacks Eddie
Within a story that is as fantastical and horrifying as IT, it's hard to explain what about Henry Bowers is quite so terrifying. Perhaps he's scary because he feels like someone you could really meet, or perhaps he's scary because pretty much everyone has the same visceral reaction to watching a person getting stabbed in the face.
Henry Bowers always loved to torment the Losers Club with his trusty knife, so when he makes his grand return and stabs Eddie Kaspbrak in the cheek, it shouldn't be a big surprise. Except it really is. The shock factor alone is enough to make it one of the scariest moments in the films.
2 The Slideshow
Every horror movie wants to come up with ideas that are unlike anything the audience has ever seen before, because it's one of the best ways to effectively scare the audience. The plot device of the out-of-control slideshow was definitely a creative way of introducing Pennywise to the entire Losers Club.
Watching these family photos transform into Pennywise while the Losers try to stop it was definitely scary enough, but no one was expecting a giant Pennywise to actually burst out from the screen and terrorize the Losers Club in real life. That face? That FACE.
1 Stan The Spider
There are a lot of elements of IT Chapter One and Chapter Two that are scary, both to the characters that are experiencing them and to the audience that is watching them. The grotesquerie that is Stanley Uris' partially decomposed child head on the body of a spider, however, was the most effective scare in the movie.
It's the kind of movie monster that most people couldn't even conceive of, and it's a perfect blend of Pennywise's genuinely scary monster horror and his very personalized, individually-targeted horror. Since the audience itself already loved and lost Stan, it was easy to relate to the horror that the Losers Club experienced in that moment.