REVIEW: STEPHEN KING’S IT (1990)

CAST

Tim Curry (Legend)
Harry Anderson (The Escape Artist)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Dennis Christopher (Fade To Black)
Richard Masur (The Burning Bed)
Annette O’ Toole (Smallville)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
Tim Reid (That 70s Show)
John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Richard Thomas (The Waltons)
Jonathan Brandis (Seaquest)
Michael Cole (Chuka)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Steve Makaj (Stargate SG.1)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Megan Leitch (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)

In Derry, Maine, 1960, a young boy named George “Georgie” Denbrough is lured to a storm drain by a strange, yet seemingly kind, man dressed in a clown costume named Pennywise. After a brief conversation, Pennywise reveals his malevolent nature and murders Georgie. Georgie’s older brother Bill is taunted by Pennywise as well. He and six other outcast children, who form a group called the Losers Club, discover they are all being tormented by the ambiguous clown. The rest of the group consists of the overweight but smart Ben Hanscom, asthmatic Eddie Kaspbrak who lives with his overprotective mother, Beverly Marsh who lives with her alcoholic father, comical Richie Tozier, Jewish boy scout Stan Uris, and African-American student Mike Hanlon. In turn, all of them are bullied by the psychotic Henry Bowers and his gang.

The Losers soon theorize that Pennywise is not a human being, he is instead an otherworldly creature that surfaces every thirty years in Derry to murder children and therefore they dub him “It”. To avenge Georgie and others killed by It, the Losers venture into the sewers where the clown lurks. They are followed by Henry and his friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who threaten Stan, only for It to kill Victor and Belch, but spares the terrified Henry, whose hair turns white. It, as Pennywise, catches up to the Losers and grabs Stan, bragging that he is immortal and eats children. Guessing It’s powers are based around imagination, the Losers fight back using the same power, melting Pennywise’s face with imaginary battery acid and Beverly smashes a hole in his head using a silver projectile. Pennywise escapes wounded, and the seven make a promise to return and kill him should It resurface. Henry is arrested and institutionalized when he confesses to murdering his friends and the children It killed.

Thirty years later, in 1990, Pennywise returns and begins murdering children in Derry. Mike, a librarian still living in Derry, summons his six friends back to Derry to fulfil their vow. Bill has become a horror novelist married to actress Audra Phillips, Ben is an architect, Beverly is a fashion designer but in an unhappy relationship, Richie is a late night TV comedian, Eddie runs a limousine service but still lives with his mother, and Stan is a real estate broker. While five of them agree to come, Stan commits suicide in his bath tub and writes “It” on the wall in blood. The remaining six are individually scared by Pennywise, before reuniting for dinner, though Pennywise frightens them there too. They soon learn of Stan’s suicide shortly after.

Elsewhere, an older Henry is visited and befriended by Pennywise who sends him to Derry to kill the Losers. Audra also arrives in town following Bill but falls victim to It’s paralyzing “deadlights” and falls into a catatonic state. Henry wounds Mike, but is killed by his own knife during a scuffle with the other Losers. With Mike hospitalised, the five remaining Losers decide to destroy It for good. They confront It, who now appears as a monstrous spider. Eddie is killed by It, but Beverly mortally wounds It with her slingshot, and the Losers tear the spider apart. They remove the comatose Audra and Eddie’s body from the sewers, burying him in Derry’s cemetery.
The Losers go their separate ways, free from It’s torment forever. Richie is cast in a film, Beverly and Ben get married and are expecting their first child, and Mike recovers. Bill manages to coax Audra out of her catatonia by going on a ride on his childhood bicycle, which had once freed a young Stan from his fear. With It gone, the Losers can move on with their lives and leave Derry behind.Tim Curry is amazing as Pennywise, bringing a truly terrifying dimension to the evil clown. There are incredible performances from the child stars, all of whom are engaging and. The adult versions of the children are also excellent, particularly Tim Reid, Richard Thomas and, of course, the late, great John Ritter.  It’s worth mentioning that the DVD of “Stephen King’s It” contains an excellent commentary by the actors mentioned and the director, Tommy Lee Wallace (who also directed “Halloween 3:Season Of The Witch”). It is full of great trivia and anecdotes and John Ritter’s charisma and genuine love of the project shines through. So if you’re a fan of great horror and don’t mind developing a fear of clowns, then I highly recommend this under-rated gem of a movie!