Our film today was a mainstay for children of the nineties, it scared children and adults alike all across the country. In many ways this two night movie event launched what was to be a horror craze that swept the nation in the 90’s bringing along with it some of the most Iconic creatures and stories to date. I present to you, Stephen King’s IT.
Today’s Key Movie:
A terror has returned to the sleepy town of Derry and it is up to a group of old friends, who faced it once before, to finally put an end to the evil that has returned.
Why this movie?
Originally airing as a two night movie event in November of 1990, this was the talk and fear of every kid in the nation. The movie, an adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name, was an event that everyone participated in and everyone remembers. This was IT and IT was scary.
I vividly remember discussing this mini series with friends after each airing easily pointing out the kids who were not allowed or just too scared to watch Pennywise in all his glory. This was a television event like no other and, although they tried, it could not be replicated with any other mini series save for the incredible King Adaptation The Stand.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
For a nostalgia piece it is terrific. It has all of the dark and frightening memories attached to it but none as much as the evil Pennywise portrayed by the incredible Tim Curry. Curry, as the title creature IT (aka Pennywise) was the most terrifying thing that graced the small screen in the early 90’s. His laughing evil visage would haunt children of the nineties even to this day. The nightmare of a shower scene is still one of the most intense and frightening moments in the movie. Unfortunately this series didn’t age so well.
For new viewers to the movie it starts off well, Introducing the dark and malevolent being known as Pennywise in a scene that has gone down in history as one of the most frightening of all time. The ‘first half’ with the kids is still rather solid, Each of the young actors do a tremendous job being comprised of some of the best of their time. Some of the best child actors of the time, from the late Jonathan Brandis to Seth Green were cast and did an amazing job with their parts.
The actors portraying the kids as adults do a fine job as well but come across as a little forced. Although a tremendous cast featuring such 90’s greats as Harry Anderson, Annette O’Toole, John Ritter and Tim Reid, few of these actors seem to really embrace their roles as much as their child counterparts did. Another issue of the time is the transitions between the past and the present. In the first half it is done well but as the movie progresses the transitions become jarring and somewhat of a distraction.
Also, unfortunately, the special effects for such a memorable show have really come to show their age. I won’t even start on the very contrived Extra-Dimensional Spider Creature but it really didn’t age well.
I wish I could say I recommend this piece as a definitive version of the story and, even though I have fond memories of this miniseries/movie as a child, I can not. It is a novel attempt that is just not the same as it was nearly thirty years ago. My recommendation is, if you want to see a definitive version if Stephen King’s IT, watch the updated adaptation that released in 2017, if you want a fun nostalgic romp in 90’s tv horror, this mini series isn’t terrible, it’s just not great.
That being said, IT still has a place in my heart and, no matter how rough this is, I will always love it.
OK, where do I get this movie?
If I haven’t chased you off and you still want to see this film, or if you remember this one from your childhood and want to see it again, you’ll easily find it in bargain bins in pretty much any place that sells DVD’s. I own a copy simply because I have such fond memories of the film, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered.
You can grab a copy here for with two other King classics for around $10. It’s totally worth it as the miniseries adaptation of The Shining is fantastic.
Of course, the trailer: (this is from the VHS release)
Late To The Game 10/25/2018
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. We also have a fun Retro TV Review series in which we are currently reviewing the entire Star Trek The Next Generation Series, episode by episode.
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