Hands up who is afraid of clowns? Ah, yes. Everyone.
For some reason, they were once seen as children’s entertainment. Ghoulish grinning guys with white pale make up and smeared red lips would stalk parties with misshapen balloons and an oafish clumsy nature to the wails and screams of children everywhere. Eventually, over time, we began to see the dastardly devils for what they were: Pure evil.
The world of film have monopolised on this usual nightmare by gifting our nightmares contorted figures of horror. American Horror Story’s Twisty the Clown, Bobo in Disney’s Oscar winner Inside Out, and the clown bed from The Simpson’s are memorable demonic red-nosed freaks ready to devour children in their sleep.
The most prominent and infamous creation is Stephen King’s Pennywise. From horror story It, and soon to be immortalised all over again in a recent horror adaptation, Pennywise is one of the creepiest and fucked up things to stalk the screen.
Re-released on DVD & Blu-Ray, the mini-series revolves around a group of children called The Losers. When they discover a supernatural force, dressed up as their worst nightmares, is luring children away and killing them, they decide to kill it once and for all. However, after only wounding the creature, years later as adults, they are called upon once again to rid the world of this evil. But can they save the entire town?
With Tim Curry’s immortal performance of Pennywise grinning maniacally in our minds, it’s safe to say that the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It has plagued us ever since first watch. With bright red hair, a face caked on with pale, and yellowed sharp teeth, it’s Curry’s haunting performance as Pennywise that has made him such a cult figure. Despite the lacking narrative and the stretched out story, the mini-series was made ghoulish by the sheer presence of Curry who is able to transform into a horrifying depiction of childhood, and indeed, adulthood terror. His work captured the fear so well that he is a figure unmatched. In fact, when it was announced that they were remaking It, many lamented that Bill Skarsgard will find it tricky to retrieve the mantle from Curry. It’s hard to imagine anyone tackling this character bar from the great villainous Curry.
There is an air of childhood danger and the dread that grips all the great elements to the mini-series, the overall product has degraded over time. Which is saying something because it wasn’t greatly received on first watch either. Maybe because of the episodic nature of the project, it seems to be anti-climactic; barely holding the chills that it should’ve done if it were a grand and petrifying movie. The characters feel underdeveloped despite the child to adult jump, and the cheesy early nineties effects aren’t as great upon first watch (which was usually behind the cushions of your friend’s bedroom as you snuck a peak as a child.)
Despite this, there is an odd horror-charm to the original Stephen King’s It and part of that is because of Tim Curry’s enormous talent. Frankly, if you ever saw this film, the sheer mention of clowns would have you soiling your pants.
Stephen King’s It is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!