Stephen King’s It

Stephen King’s It

Based on the King Of Horror’s 1986 Best Seller, “It” is a jittery, jolting excursion into personal fear. “It” raises goosebumps-and brings out the stars. Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Annette O’Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Tim Curry and Richard Thomas star in this thriller about a malevolent force in a small New England town. Is there anything scarier than clowns? Of course not. And who knows scary better than Stephen King? You see where we’re going. It puts a malevolent clown (given demented life by a powdered, red-nosed Tim Curry) front and center, as King’s fat novel gets the TV-movie treatment. Even at three hours plus, the action is condensed, but an engaging Stand by Me vibe prevails for much of the running time. The seven main characters, as adolescents, conquered a force of pure evil in their Maine hometown. Now, the cackling Pennywise is back, and they must come home to fight him–or, should we say, It–again. Admitting the TV-movie trappings and sometimes hysterical pe

Rating: (out of 429 reviews)

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5 thoughts on “Stephen King’s It

  1. Review by Michael R Gates for Stephen King’s It
    Rating:
    STEPHEN KING’S IT is arguably the best of the TV films based on a Stephen King work. While devoid of countless details from the novel that would have made the plot more understandable to those viewers who don’t actually READ King, the movie is nonetheless engaging and downright SCARY! One reason STEPHEN KING’S IT rises above standard TV-movie fare is the excellent cast. John Ritter, Annette O’Toole, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, and Harry Anderson deliver stellar performances in their roles of adult versions of the story’s protagonists, and Jonathan Brandis (later the teen-heartthrob co-star of TV’s SEAQUEST DSV), Seth Green, and Emily Perkins do an excellent job of evoking childhood crisis and trauma in the flashback segments. But it is Tim Curry (yes, THE Tim Curry of ROCKY HORROR fame), as antagonist Pennywise the Clown, who really chews the scenery and steals the show. If Curry’s marvelously malevolent merry-andrew doesn’t make you develop coulrophobia (fear of clowns), he will at least haunt your nightmares for a night or two after your first viewing.Another reason this flick rates so highly is that it is, simply put, a ripping good horror story. King is a master at realistically recreating the wondrous ambiance of youth and childhood, and in spite of the minor shortcomings in the film’s recreation of King’s plot, the atmosphere of the novel is perfectly translated to the screen. Besides that, King is also keenly aware that the things that scared us when we were kids are probably still lurking deep down in our grown-up psyche, just waiting to find a little mental crack to jump out of and give us a case of goose bumps and chills. The film version of STEPHEN KING’S IT finds that same little crack…then pries it wide open!The long-awaited DVD version of STEPHEN KING’S IT is sparse on frills, but it does have an excellent feature commentary with stars John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Dennis Christopher, and director Tommy Lee Wallace. Of course, the picture quality is beautifully crystal clear, especially when compared to the VHS version, but purists should consider a few caveats before purchasing. First, the picture has been cropped a bit to simulate theatrical widescreen format. In comparison to the VHS version, which offers the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, there are small slivers of image missing from both the top and bottom. (To be fair, it should also be noted that the picture on VHS appears to be scrunched a bit horizontally to fit it into the TV “square,” so it really doesn’t seem as if all that much has been removed to create the faux widescreen on DVD.) Also, gone are the “To be continued” message and the second set of credits, both of which originally appeared between the first half and second half of the original two-part movie (these were included on the VHS).So the new DVD version of this excellent movie should, for the most part, please King fans and general horror fans alike. For the movie alone, STEPHEN KING’S IT would easily rate 5 stars. But taking into account the adulterated aspect ratio and the slightly altered transition from Part 1 to Part 2, this DVD gets an overall rating of 4 stars.

  2. Review by for Stephen King’s It
    Rating:
    I first saw “IT” when I was nine years old. My best friend was having a sleep over with four girls sleeping over and the other five were going to walk home around eight o’clock. When I showed up with “IT” they stayed until nine o’clock and were too scared to walk back to their houses in the dark. As for me, I was afraid too, but when I turned twelve I saw the book and immediately bought “IT”, read “IT”, loved the book. I agree with many people that saw “IT” and have also read the book; the movie is BAD compared to the book, though the movie is good in a way because some parts of the book are hard to follow and the movie is easy to go with (with the exception of the cheesy spider at the end). One of my friends adores clowns and I can’t sleep over at her house anymore because you can see dozens of clown faces in the darkness, dozens of glaring smiles and fluffy hair of red or orange… I CAN’T stay over there after reading and watching “IT”!

  3. Review by Daniel Jolley for Stephen King’s It
    Rating:
    Stephen King’s It is my favorite novel of all time, and even though this miniseries adaptation of the book is done about as well as it could possibly be done, I can only give it four stars. There are several reasons for this, the two most important being time and money. The novel is an immense work, and no adaptation of three hours can even hope to do it true justice; even ten hours would not suffice for getting at the essence of the story, that essence being not horror at all but childhood. The movie only allows the viewer to take in everything from outside, whereas the painstaking detail, insight, and atmosphere of King’s novel make the reader an active participant in events. Thus, a lot of things presented in the movie do not come off overwhelmingly convincingly, and there are more than a few noticeably sudden and seemingly unexplainable transitions even within single scenes alone. The money issue is most evident at the end, as the special effects for the big finale were not very impressive even at the time of the movie’s completion. Special effects are not all-powerful, of course, but the B movie-ish visuals unveiled in the movie’s climactic moments serve to break the spell of the viewer’s suspended disbelief and introduce a touch of camp into a movie that should not really be about the big bad monster in the first place.The setting for this story is a familiar one to King fans, the disquietingly different town of Derry, Maine. Something lives underneath the town, a malevolent force that adults cannot and will not believe in, but which seven outcast kids recognize, fear, and steel themselves to conquer back in 1960. Thirty years later, the monster they hoped they had killed as children returns, and the one character who never left Derry realizes this and calls everyone back to fulfill the promise they all made to return and kill the thing if it ever came back. The movie is, in a sense, two movies in one, as the action shifts between the parallel actions of the characters as children and as adults. The main character, Bill Denbrough, is played by Richard Thomas, a casting decision I did not understand at the time and still fail to comprehend completely. Thomas does a good job, but he is still Johnboy Walton to me, and I just have trouble believing a pony-tailed Johnboy is Bill Denbrough. Harry Anderson and John Ritter are two additional big names lending their talent to the film, but the best adult performance is turned in by Annette O’Toole as Beverly Marsh, the group’s sole female member. As I have said, though, this story is really about childhood, and the child actors are the true stars. Jonathan Brandis is young Bill Denbrough (and like his adult counterpart, just doesn’t quite fit the bill as far as I’m concerned), Seth Green succeeds much more ably in the role of Richie Tozier than his adult counterpart, Brandon Crane (whom Wonder Years fans will immediately recognize as good old Doug Porter) turns in a winning performance, and Emily Perkins shines as young Bev Marsh. Tim Curry, it must be emphasized, was born to play Pennywise the Clown.The monster in It is a conglomeration of everything each individual is afraid of; he is in a very real sense the ultimate monster because he is everything you were ever afraid of. The seven childhood friends who comprise The Losers’ Club represent a cross-section of children everywhere: one stutters, one is a hypochondriac with an overprotective mother, one is the victim of child abuse, one uses comedy to hide his fears and to win acceptance, one is overweight, one is a paragon of logic and duty, and one is a black boy in a white community; all of them are outsiders and are tormented by a bully who ably represents all bullies everywhere. Sadly, the movie does not make it possible for the viewer to really get to know these kids and to relive his/her own childhood alongside them. A big problem with the adult actors is the fact that they oftentimes seem to be over-acting; I understand why this almost has to be so, however. It is merely a sign of the intense emotions they must try to convey in a very limited amount of time and space. It remains one of King’s better film adaptations, despite the problems inherent in its production. No movie can capture the magic of the novel, however. The only unfortunate thing about the movie is the fact that it comes off as primarily a horror movie. Certainly, there is great horror lurking in this film as it progresses, but that is not the original story’s essence and primarily for this reason the movie falls short of rating five stars in my opinion.

  4. Review by Melissa for Stephen King’s It
    Rating:
    This movie I believe was one of the first mini series I have seen by Stephen King. I watched from start to finish I was so interested in the kids in this film. Two who are played by popular actor’s today Seth Green (Young Richie Tozer), and Jonathan Brandis (Young Bill Denbrough). The children band together and call themselves “The Looser’s Club” they face being different from their classmates and they also face their parents. But what they must ultmiately face is the monster who kills children called “Pennywise the Clown.” Together and only together as a team can they defeat the monster.
    In the first half of the film we learn of the Clown (Played by the great Tim Curry) and the history with the town of Derry, Maine. We see the kids meeting for the first time and the fun they all have. But the serious times comes when they band together to stand up for themselves against a few of the classmates namly Henry Bowers who likes to torment the other kids in the school. They then come together to form a circle and defeat the clown/monster. With a promise that if it wasn’t dead they would all come back to destroy it.
    In the second part of the film we see whats happened to them career wise and love life wise. Its a tad slower, but it is definately funny and has its serious moments as well. The kids all grown up are now played by a great cast: Henry Anderson (Richie Tozer), Dennis Christopher (Eddie Kaspbrak), Richard Masur (Stan Uris), Annette O’ Toole (Beverly Marsh), John Ritter (Ben Hascom), Tim Reid (Mike Hanlon), and Richard Thomas as (Bill Denbrough). Again the second part starts off slow. But its fun to see them all come together again. And to try and remember the good and bad times and defeat the “clown.”
    I was very much interested to see Stephen King use children to believe in this monster to where the adults couldn’t. It’s also interesting to see this sort of similarity in some of his other where the children are the key. Which I find really grand in a way. This movie did; however, really turn me off of clowns. So it does have its creep factor in the movie. I would definately recommend it! Athough the book does give more great detail and is better, and the book is different in most parts. But for a mini series this was my first love of Stephen King.

  5. Review by Holly Apollyon for Stephen King’s It
    Rating:
    This movie rules! I’m a huge fan of the book, and I can say that the movie really does it justice. The whole story involves a group of kids, all “losers”, drawn together by a supernatural force to confront an ancient evil that takes the form of a malignant clown.Tim Curry was, I think, born to play Pennywise the Clown. Sadistic, waddling freak with his doughy, grinning white face, red wet lips stetched as wide as his ears. In his clown form, he is able to charm the younger kinds, but he becomes the fears of the older ones, taking them down into his sewer dungeon to feed on them. The kids that finally beat the monster, Big Bill and Haystack and Bev and the rest of the Loser’s Club, manage to force It back into It’s lair, not dead, but nearly mortally wounded….Driven by a feeding cycle, It rises again decades later, and the Loser’s Club, now forgotten in adulthood, is drawn back together to face the monster one final time. This was originally made-for-television, so the movie is only capable of so much, but I think that fact alone gives the movie special merit. The casting was pretty much dead-on (especially in the case of Pennywise) and the special effects were surprisingly good. Probably the fact that the film makers were incapable of going the hack-and-slash rated-R route helped to improve the suspense and the atmosphere. The book was great, and the movie was great. I would recommend them both. I think that the humble perfection of a classic good versus evil story can sometimes be overlooked. The purity of a tale in which you can easily lose yourself. And that’s just what It is. Two big thumbs up from me.

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