Can the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It possibly be better than the 1990 miniseries based on the same book? It is an extremely hotly debated question online, and the two sides of the argument could not be more distinct.
Many people, such as one of the 1990 It cast members who was interviewed yesterday, insist the It miniseries was essentially perfect and cannot realistically be improved upon. Is it true, though? Let’s first go over the positives of the upcoming release.
The new movie adaptation of Stephen King’s popular horror fiction masterpiece It is set to release just over six months from now, but it has already taken the internet by storm and may have inspired the rash of criminals-dressed-as-clowns sightings in the U.S. this past Summer — an incident on which, The Guardian reports, King himself has commented.
Despite all the hype for the Stephen King-inspired project, though, not much is known about it. There has not yet been a trailer for the film released, and director/Stephen King megafan Andres Muschietti is keeping a fairly tight lid on the film’s details.
We do know that the movie version will be grittier, scarier, and more faithful to Stephen King’s work than the miniseries was. This is supported partially by the fact that, as reported by the Inquisitr, leaked photos have depicted darker scenes from the Stephen King novel the miniseries would not touch, partly because the film is to be rated R instead of the miniseries’ TV-14, partly because it is almost three decades later and on-screen horror needs to be more brutal to scare audiences.
All this may be true, but was the miniseries just too great to beat?
Some people are of the opinion that, although it took many liberties from Stephen King’s take on the story, the 1990 retelling is indeed unbeatable. Anette O’Toole, the cast member mentioned above who played the adult Beverly Marsh in the miniseries, said as much in her interview on Friday with Sechrest Things.
“I don’t think they need to remake anything that was good the first time,” O’Toole states bluntly.
Other sources, such as horror blog Emerald Gore Society voice the same opinion.
“You are remaking what is considered to be a classic film,” it writes.
“The fact that this one is a classic means they got it right the last time. It does not need to be done again.”
Is it really that great, though, or are those who were spooked by the made-for-TV version of Stephen King’s horror/coming-of-age tale as kids simply remembering it through nostalgic rose-colored glasses?
Steve Barton, founder of internet horror hub Dread Central, thinks that, other than the much-praised performance of Tim Curry as Stephen King’s main antagonist, this is definitely the case.
“Let’s face it,” Barton says in an interview with Hitfix, “aside from Tim Curry, who gave such a brilliant performance as Pennywise, the first adaptation wasn’t exactly the greatest movie in the world… it’s good, it holds up kind of well, but if it wasn’t for what Tim Curry as Pennywise had brought to It, it might as well have been Rose Red or the lesser-known Stephen King tales that just kind of went by the wayside.”
The very active Stephen King fan community on Reddit tends to agree with Barton that the 1990 miniseries hardly did the book justice and could definitely be improved.
“Arguably, the best/scariest parts of the book are not in the miniseries at all,” notes commenter Mceese.
“The miniseries is to the original book what Kidz Bop is to the original music,” another user named VaclavehaveIsmustache added frankly.
“To me the miniseries was a very PG version of what I would consider to be an R rated book,” wrote Tbharber.
All of these instances, especially the last one, clearly indicate that another adaptation of Stephen King’s It is very much in order and would only have to adhere more stringently to King’s rather more mature source material to be better than the 1990 version.
A bit of wisdom from Stephen King's IT: "We lie best when we lie to ourselves." pic.twitter.com/OqMaXM88tV— Peter Laws (@revpeterlaws) February 13, 2017
The first part of Stephen King’s It will come out on September 8, 2017, and we will have to wait until the reviews start pouring in to get a really good idea of whether it can trump the original adaptation. Until then, it is unlikely the internet will become any less divided on the issue.
What’s your opinion? Was the original adaptation of Stephen King’s It any good, or was it just Curry that gave it some charm? Will the upcoming version be better? Make yourself heard in the comments below.