It's been a minute since the new IT remake came out, but we're already ramping up for chapter two. 

Stephen King's novel, IT, has been terrifying generations since back in '86.  A few short years later the hugely successful novel was adapted for the small screen as a two part mini series, airing on November 18th and 20th, 1990.  The mini series was a hit, and has become a staple in the horror and thriller movie scene.  More recently the story has again been adapted for film, but this time for the silver screen.  IT was released in theaters this past September, and has since become the highest ever grossing horror movie at the box office; and with good reason.  The cast selections were fantastic, the effects on point, and the film stayed mostly true to the book, an uncommon feat in the realm of adaptations.  Although Bill Skarsgård wasn't the first choice for the picture, I think we can all agree he was the right choice for Pennywise the Dancing Clown.  Skarsgård certainly wasn't the only star of the movie though, the children provide the audience with an authentically modern take on friendship, all while scaring the shit out of us.  The story lays the groundwork for the second installment, much like the 90's mini series, with the children returning to Derry years later as adults.  Each part is quite in depth and can stand alone.

Don't assume part two as a sequel; the installments make up a duology.   Similar to many of Stephen King's novels, the page count runs well past a thousand, leaving screenwriters with quite a challenge.  

When David Kajganich first contacted Warner Bros to write the screenplay, they informed him that it could be no longer than 120 pages.  Kajganich proceeded to re-read It, attempting to determine how to condense King's many characters and thick plot into little more than a short story.  Kajganich's original vision was to complete the story in a single film.  I think we can all agree, aside from needing to wait anther couple years, it was the right decision. There's just way too much.  The characters development would have been soft, and we wouldn't have had nearly half the Pennywise screen time we were so generously gifted with. 

Three first installment delves right into things.  Providing a layup

However in tandem the underlying theme of stories of the children and the adults they become begins to reveal itself. 

IT (1990) was filmed in its entirety in New Westminster,  BCTim Curry's performance as Pennywise the Clown has been long hailed by critics as masterful. 

The story is initially set in the small 1960's town of Derry, Maine, following a young group of protagonists, self labeled as The Loser's Club. 

The rain outside is pouring down, wrapping on the window pane.  Georgie Denbrough is given a paper boat by his older brother, Bill.  The down sloped hill of the street causes the water to rush along the edge of the road, brushing up against the curb. Perfect weather for paper boats. Georgie hastily puts on his trademark yellow rain jacket and heads out into the rain to make use of the paper boat.  

The water is rushing much faster than Georgie expects and the boat gets away from him, floating down into a sewer grate.  As Georgie approaches the sewer grate, he is greeted by a set of glowing yellow eyes, watching him from within the sewer.  As the eyes move closer to the edge of the grate, the dull daylight bleeding through the storm clouds partially illuminates the tattered clothes of a white powdered faced clown; the paper boat in hand, gently signaling its offering.  Georgie first refuses to retrieve the boat from the clown, whom we come to know as Pennywise, but Georgie's need to save the boat, lest let down his older sibling, is too great.  Georgie approaches, and extends his arm toward the boat.  Pennywise's face  lunges from the sewer grate, severing Georgie's arm, disappearing deep back into the sewer with the severed arm, leaving Georgie laying to parish along the curb.  Raindrops pounding down around his contrasting yellow rain jacket on the soaking asphalt.

Months later,  Bill, still grief stricken by his 7 year old brother's disappearance discovers clues which lead him to believe Georgie may be in an area called The Barrens. Bill convinces his friends, the soon self described Loser's Club, to investigate in hopes Georgie might still be alive.  When the kids serve to the Barrens they discover a shoe of a child who had recently gone missing in their town.  

A new kid in town, Ben Hanscom, is used to moving from town to town.  He studies everything he can find about his new home.  His studies soon reveal the little town of Derry, Maine is like no town he's lived before.  There have been more people go missing in Derry than any other town in the country.  

Ben isn't the most popular kid, and quickly gets himself into some trouble with the local bullies, Henry Bowers and his gang. While facing a fate much worse than just a wedgie,  Ben tumbles into the the Loser's Club's group while feeling from the Bowers Gang.  The kids from the Loser's Club help dust Ben off, and accept him as one of their own. 

Between Georgie's disappearance,  the discovery of the girl's shoe, and the town's history provided by Ben, Bill knows there's something strange going on with Georgie's disappearance; he and the others in The Loser's Club each begin experiencing strange and terrifying realizations of their fears, always paired with an encounter from a terrifying clown.  Once three children discover they all share similar experiences with the clown, they seek out Pennywise and vow to destroy It, whatever the costs.  

The second installment of the two part series (1990 release) resumes the story in then present day 1990, with the Loser's Club returning to Derry as adults after Pennywise resurfaces.  

The modern day remake's first installment takes place in 1988, and very much has a similar feel to Stranger Things and other 80s-esque thriller/horror flicks.   The resurgence of 1980s style culture certainly hadn't hindered IT's massive success.  The setting provides a layup for the second installment to be set in 2015; 27 years after the initial occurrence.  

Although the film's cast is a group of youngsters,  this movie is for anyone but kids. 

Both adaptations were filmed here in Canada. IT (1990) was filmed in its entirety in New Westminster,  BC.  Whilst the new IT movie was filmed across three southern Ontario locations; Toronto, Oshawa and the quaint town of Port Hope, Ontario which was transformed into the dead end horror we have come to know as Derry, Maine.  The Port Hope Municipal hall was turned into the Derry Public Library.  The Port Hope Tourism Centre was made into the City of Derry office.   The storefront of Gould's Shoes was turned into a butcher shop.  The 1930s Port Hope Capital Theatre's screening times read Batman (1989) and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), further confirming the timeline, building plot legitimacy. A statue of Paul Bunyan was erected in Port Hope's Memorial Park.  

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published