Stephen King’s It movie remake — an update of the 1990 mini-series and the earlier 1,000-plus page novel — will drop on Sept. 8, 2017, after much hype and anticipation. But fans of previous outings are likely to be disappointed going by what is known so far.
The original novel unleashed Pennywise the Clown on the world, ripping open the scabs of the real-life John Wayne Gacy serial murders and the natural creepiness that comes with an entity shrouding its true identity through a painted-on smile.
Fear of clowns is so prevalent among the target audience for them that there is a name for it — Coulrophobia — and it’s a fear that generally doesn’t leave as one passes from childhood to adulthood.
For all practical purposes, the new It movie should be a smashing success. However, it won’t be, and here are the reasons.
New Image From Stephen King’s IT Features Pennywise About to Tear Georgie’s Arm Off
“Oh, yes.. They float, Georgie.” pic.twitter.com/nKdyzocau9
— Drunk Superman™ (@DrunkSuperman_) March 23, 2017
1. Director Andres Muschietti doesn’t get it (pardon the pun).
In recent comments to Empire magazine — reported online by Bloody-Disgusting — Muschietti shared some cringeworthy information about his new It movie (and not in a good way).
“There’s supposed to be a less-is-more thing in horror. It’s like you’re not really meant to show the monster. But Pennywise is different. With Pennywise, it’s like, ‘This is the monster, I’m showing it to you… and you’re going to sh*t a brick.'”
While Muschietti is right to point out the “less-is-more” thing in horror, he demonstrates with the subtlety of an eighth grader why that rule should exist in the genre.
It makes for a better film, and it’s not even an issue of toning things down in the blood and gore department.
As monster movie after monster movie in the post-Alien world has discovered, the drive to overplay one’s hand regarding what works about a horror movie gets the viewer desensitized, quickly losing the overall effect.
Ridley Scott’s 1979 original Alien kept the monster mostly in shadows. Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Jaws did the same.
Both are inarguable classics of the horror genre, and they’re in pretty good company with other less-is-more-believing films… The Babadook, Session 9, Halloween, to name a few.
And no critic worth his salt is going to look at you straight-faced and say that the rest of the Alien and Jaws franchises were superior to their original films.
An argument could be made in support of Aliens, but even there, you don’t see nearly as much of the full-bodied creatures as you later would in Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, and those terrible Alien vs. Predator films.
Unfortunately, the new It movie seems doomed because its director appears to be the type of individual, who would rather stream Jaws: The Revenge than its initial predecessor.
Not a good sign for where this is heading.
2. The new Pennywise design plays into Muschietti’s not-so-subtle brand of horror.
Clowns are creepy not because they look that way, but because they appear to be hiding something under a mask of paint and makeup.
People tend to conceal the things they don’t want seen. Since the clown is a charade of color and happiness, the natural deduction is that he (or she) is hiding something horrible.
You get none of that disturbing psychological subtlety with Pennywise from the new It movie. Actor Bill Skarsgard might as well be wearing a barrel over his whole body with the words, “I’m Evil” painted across the chest.
— Twisted Jenius (@TwistedJenius) March 22, 2017
3. Stephen King actually likes the new It movie.
Yes, King has already praised the cast, crew, and film update to one of his most terrifying novels. Shouldn’t that be a good thing?
Oh, you mean the same guy, who made Maximum Overdrive? The same one who hates director Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece adaptation of The Shining, preferring his own lame mini-series remake to it?
Look, King’s a great writer of novels. Film critique? Not so much.
4. First rule in spotting bad horror movies: they try overselling how scary it is.
After a lifetime of watching horror movie television spots with screaming audiences and shill interviews after actual screenings only to end up with not-scary-at-all movies like The Blair Witch Project, Child’s Play, and Paranormal Activity, the hype machine for this new It movie just tanks any hope a horror fan can have for it.
But what do you think, readers? Is the new It movie a must-see? Are you hyped or unimpressed? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by New Line Cinema]