It (1990) vs. It (2017)

Scott Convery and Leah Geisler

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Stephen King’s best-selling horror novel It terrified readers upon its release in 1986. After much anticipation, a made-for-TV adaptation was created in 1990 to form a two-part miniseries, and became a cult classic of the horror genre.

After the continuous murders of children in the small town of Derry, Maine, the seven members of the Losers’ Club wonder if there is something dark lurking in the shadows. Twenty-odd years later, the gang is reunited to stop the menace once and for all.

The television landscape of the 80’s and 90’s was extremely different from the current age of Game of Thrones and House of Cards. TV then was still viewed as lesser than movies, and high quality productions were rare. It set a precedent for not only made-for-TV movies, but also for the horror genre in general. While I do appreciate how this movie  paved the road for future horror movies, there are some glaring errors that cannot be ignored.

Adapting novels into film has always been risky, especially so with It, which had to face  the daunting task of condensing King’s 1,080-page novel down to a 3-hour movie. This film had to choose whether to be loyal to the source material and include all of the content within it, or cut it down to be in a reasonable timeframe.Unfortunately, it failed to check both boxes. It doesn’t include major parts of the book, and simultaneously has too much filler. It was clear that there was an effort to include parts on the children’s lives, but without the rest of contents of the book in this movie, these scenes just come across as unnecessary and unimportant.

It also didn’t help that the gore was left to a minimum, sometimes horror films add another level of fear by leaving the violence to the imagination, but this is not one of those films.

How, the movie did have its merits. Almost all of the second episode had me on edge. The way in which tension was built and performed leaves it lingering in your head after the scene is finished. Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown is fantastic; the way he plays the role makes it clear why this movie is considered a pillar of the horror genre. But as I stated before, the real value of this movie lies in the groundwork that is sets for the horror genre. It Follows, for example, clearly took many influences from this movie and still stands as one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies of all time. The platform on which this movie was released and the way it was produced didn’t give this movie adequate resources to pull off everything they wanted, but the concepts it set up can be seen in many forms of modern horror.

Overall, the It movie is a watered-down version of what should have been a premium bloodbath. There are still substantial failures in cinematography and editing that aren’t due to a lack of money, rather, a lack of effort and vision.

Although this film is far from perfect, It has its redeeming qualities, so given a couple standout performances and the precedent this film set, It earns a 6 out of 10.


27 years after the TV mini-series, the newest rendition of Stephen King’s It was released this September. Right off the bat, there are many factors  that boost the quality of this film beyond that of the original. First of all, it’s a blockbuster movie with a budget of 35 million dollars, nearly triple the budget of its predecessor. More loyal Stephen King fans may also notice that this version captures the exact same fear of the novel, and departures from in the book in content work well enough to be excused. Since this movie was released as an R-rated movie, the director had the ability to include the more graphic scenes King had depicted in the book.

 

This movie works on so many levels. They subliminal meaning of It is slipped into the movie in such a way where it doesn’t shove a deeper meaning in your face, and rather slips it in for those willing to look for it.  Each member of the iconic Losers Club signifies the battle of overcoming childhood trauma, each unique in their experience. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the physical manifestation of the fear and pain these children live in due to the trauma they’ve each endured, and this conflict throughout the film is one of learning how to cope with your past before it eats you alive.

 

Unlike It’s 1990 counterpart, there are actually good child actors  in this movie. The way in which the kids interact with one another is reminiscent of the

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