This just in from Bloody Disgusting: the Andres Muschietti adaptation of Stephen King’s IT coming out on September 8 has officially received an R rating! That definitely bodes well for people who want to see something close in tone to the legendary source material, because, as Screen Rant points out, It is definitely not a family-friendly adventure. The miniseries had to leave out pretty much all of the edgy bits (which many fans consider to be the most intense and/or compelling parts of the story), and it looks like the IT movie is being freed up to leave them in. The best aspects of IT that the R rating means we will probably be seeing include:
1. Henry Bowers’ Bullying
In the book, Henry Bowers is a very scary dude. He does not hesitate to exploit his classmates’ emotional vulnerabilities, carve his initials into their bellies with a switch blade, poison their pets, hurl racial slurs, or threaten to murder people. He may not be a monster in the same sense as Pennywise, but instead an even scarier kind: the kind we actually have to worry about in real life.
In the miniseries, Bowers was not the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with, but he was more along the lines of a typical school bully than the evil threat he is in Stephen King’s book. That was probably because network TV restrictions did not allow the director to push the envelope, but hopefully, the IT movie’s R rating will nullify any similar restrictions.
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2. Racism/The Black Spot
Racism is an important theme in IT, as it helps develop a few of the characters — most notably African American Losers’ Club member Mike Hanlon. It is mainly displayed as part of Henry Bowers’ aforementioned bullying, but it is present elsewhere in the book.
Among most Stephen King fans’ favorite scenes from It, for example, is a flashback in which Mike Hanlon’s father has to escape an African American nightclub called The Black Spot while it is being burned to the ground by a group that is essentially the Ku Klux Klan. The scene is horrible and vivid, it really helps define the omnipresent evil in Derry, Maine, and it was far too edgy to include in the miniseries.
The first IT movie trailer showed us that the incident at The Black Spot is at least touched upon, noted a previous Inquisitr article, and the R rating hopefully means the topical themes of racism are fleshed out to an even further degree.
3. Patrick Hockstetter
Widely thought of as the most disturbing character in IT, Patrick Hocksetter is a psychopathic gay boy who sometimes hangs out with Henry and his group of bullies. Patrick killed his baby brother, he has a fridge full of dead animals, and his death (which involves leeches) is downright uncomfortable. The miniseries left Hocksetter out completely, and hopefully, the movie can now do him justice.
4. Thrilling Pennywise Encounters
In a Reddit thread concerning scenes from the book that should be in the IT movie, user Draculasaurus_Rex makes a great point about Pennywise the Clown in the 1990 ABC miniseries.
“One of the big drawbacks in the TV movie is that Pennywise feels very toothless,” writes Stephen King junkie Draculasaurus_Rex on the Reddit thread.
“He often just taunts the kids instead of attacking them, or they escape him very easily, but we also get almost no scenes that establish just how dangerous he really is. All the bits in the book where Pennywise is described killing other people are there to set the stakes, to establish what could happen to the protagonists. Without that, he just seems incompetent and non-threatening.”
It is true that most of Pennywise’s encounters with children in the book were brutal and horrific, and much of that was vetted for the TV retelling. The R-rated movie should really take the opportunity to reverse that trend.
Oddly, the single change that fans of the book seem most intent on is the addition of swearing to the vernacular of the Losers’ Club (the name given to the main group of child protagonists). Like Pennywise, the children in the miniseries had most of the edge taken out of them, and it really detracted from the overall effectiveness.
Obviously, 1990 network TV did not allow for a lot of swearing. An R-rated movie released in 2017 is a different story.
6. Bonus: NOT Bev’s Sex Scene
The IT movie may be rated R, but even that is not a mature enough rating to allow the inclusion of one scene: the one near the end of the book where each of the six male members of the Losers’ Club take turns having sex with Beverly Marsh, the one female member in order to solidify their bond.
Luckily, virtually no one will miss the scene when the IT movie rolls around. The Stephen King fan community generally agrees it is uncomfortable and feels out of place, and even King himself says that, in retrospect, he wished he had not included it.
If you’ve read the book, do you have any additional suggestions of what you’d like to see included in the IT movie this time around? Make yourself heard in the comments section below; when you’re down there, you’ll float too…
[Featured Image by SickJoe/Deviant Art]