Just going to put this out there, but how come US network channels no longer make miniseries? Sure there are exceptions to this rule (I mean, there has to be right?), but after finishing Roots and It in the space of less than a week it got me to thinking: other than the NBC biennial live musical “extravaganzas” have the likes of Showtime and HBO killed the network miniseries? Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time.
It is one of those made-for-TV movies/miniseries that has truly ascended the pantheon of cult TV classics. This is in a very large part due to Tim Curry and his menacing portrayal of the titular It in his Pennywise the Clown garb. As a straight up clown he isn’t that scary compared a lot of real life clowns I have seen… but then those real life clowns don’t have even an ounce of the intensity that Tim Curry brings to the role. Yes the teeth and the claws help, but the most creepy part of Pennywise are those looks he is able to give.
Note that throughout this I am only going to refer to this as creepy. At no point during the three hours of It did I feel remotely scared or properly creeped out. Don’t get me wrong though – It is a fantastically well done horror thriller, just more on the gentler side of things. Then again, this is rated as an 18 (somehow) so I guess it is just my strange baseline for terror talking (high for film and TV, ridiculously low for video games).
Despite the fact that there are no real scares in this there was still a palpable amount of tension. Complete credit has to be given to the acting by both the adult and child ensemble who play the same characters some 30 years apart. There is a substantial amount of chemistry between the two ensembles (to the point that I would expect the child cast would play together and the adult cast would get drunk together).
Amongst the child cast is a 15-16 year old Seth Green looking adorable (as always) and there is Jame Ritter as one of the adult versions. Apart from that I could not recognise any of the other actors (it had been too long since I have seen Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet to recognise Olivia Hussey).
Anyway, let’s get to the thing I missed the most – back story about the titular monster. The big bad is never really explained in any real detail other than him being an evil entity that emerges every 30 or so years. I know that in the 1100 page Steven King book he goes into substantial detail about the origins of the monster and why he specifically targets children. Honestly, this was something that I felt was lacking in what was otherwise a fantastic monster.
Also (and this is a problem of time) there was some special effects issue with the big bad in the final scene. Forgivable when you consider this is nearly 27 years old and made for TV, still it shattered the illusion somewhat.
On the whole this is one of those things I know will be watched on a future Halloween. Sure it isn’t scary, but it’s got a creepy killer clown in it. What else do you need?