Skip to main content

Stephen King’s IT: A Video Essay on Pennywise’s Introduction

It's been 27 years since we first met a screen version of Pennywise, the dancing clown from Stephen King's horror epic novel IT. In the 1990 film, it was Tim Curry who gave a mercurial and menacing turn as the nightmarish clown. To this day, there are hordes of fans who can swear to having their childhoods pretty much fucked by the sight of this unnerving villain.

This weekend at the box office a whole new moviegoing generation will be introduced to an updated screen version of Pennywise, this time played by Bill Skarsgård in the 2017 film adaptation.

And as with everything else worth investigating with cinema and the moving image, we must ask ourselves: How does the new imagery work for us? Does it work for us? Do we shortchange Skarsgård's performance because we have Curry's burned in our memories (or vice versa, for some younger viewers)?

I created this video essay (see below) to begin this discussion. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.