One of the most culturally impactful adaptations of Stephen King's work is ABC's 1990 TV miniseries IT. This is primarily due to Tim Curry's iconic performance as Pennywise the Clown, the default form of the shape-shifting titular creature. Able to switch from abjectly horrifying to darkly amusing on a dime, Curry's Pennywise is likely what most people picture when they hear the phrase "creepy clown," and has become the source of a thousand memes.
Realistically, though, the 1990 IT miniseries is by no means a perfect film, or a perfect adaptation of King's gargantuan novel. IT (1990) fell victim to both the technical limits of an early 90s TV budget, and content restrictions that made it impossible to fully capture just how dark and violent the book was in parts. Thus, many IT fans hope that director Andy Muschetti's upcoming R-rated theatrical adaptation will be able to do King's overall story more justice.
Yesterday at SXSW, the first teaser trailer for IT (2017) was unveiled, and Bloody Disgusting has posted a full description of the footage. Check it out below:
The trailer opens with footage of Bill Denbrough making a paper boat for his little brother Georgie. We then move outside, where Georgie is chasing his boat in a rainstorm as it floats next to the curb. Suddenly, Georgie runs right into a street barrier, which knocks him down on the ground. He then watches as his boat sails into a gutter. He runs to the gutter and tries to see if he can see his boat. As he looks deep into the sewers, Pennywise abruptly appears before the screen cuts to black.
Then we are shown the members of the Loser’s Club meeting each other and realizing that they’ve all been seeing the same entity, before one of them finally says “The Clown.” Once that happens, theteaser then moves into its centerpiece, which shows the members of the Loser’s Club looking at pictures on a carousel slide projector that suddenly acquires a life of its own and begins moving through the slides at an increasingly alarming speed. The pictures are of Georgie and his parents, and each slide zooms in on Georgie’s face before cutting to his mother, whose hair is covering her face. As the projector moves from slide to slide, the hair moves out of his mother’s face, and her face is revealed to be that of Pennywise himself.
The trailer then blows through a flurry of shots, as most trailers are wont to do. The most striking image from this succession of shots is the unforgettable moment when blood flows out of Beverly’s sink, only in Muschietti’s film it spews out like a geyser and blasts her in the face. There is also a sublime image of Pennywise approaching two of the children (he has them cornered against a wall), but the shot is framed in a way so that only his long, bony fingers fill the screen. The children are in the background, out of focus but clearly terrified.
The teaser ends with Bill walking down into his flooded basement, where Georgie’s ghost taunts him by repeatedly screaming “We all float down here!” before Pennywise rises from the water and rushes at him, in a moment that had the entire audience screaming. It is at this moment that the screen cuts to black and the word “IT” appears on screen.
Based on the description above, director Muschetti and studio New Line seem to be going out of their way to avoid fully exposing Bill Skarsgard's version of Pennywise just yet, opting to keep him cloaked in shadow and confusion. Part of that may be to avoid too many immediate comparisons to Curry's performance, although it's more likely to ensure the film's terror works without the creepy clown.
Still, what's described sounds very in the spirit of King's book, playing with iconic elements like the chilling "We all float down here", and a lot harder-edged than what was produced in 1990. That's certainly likely to excite those waiting not so patiently for IT's fall release date to arrive.
While it's uncertain how long it'll take for the IT teaser to make its way online, one hopes it's not too far away, so that fans can appraise it for themselves. In the meantime though, bear in mind that King himself has already seen the film, and absolutely loves it.
Source: Bloody Disgusting
- IT (2017) release date: Sep 08, 2017