My Top Eight Favorite Moments From The ‘IT’ Trailer
If you’re a voracious reader and an avid movie buff like myself, certain literary works are sacred cows. The words “movie adaptation” can generate as much excitement as trepidation. I’m sure fans of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (which I count myself among) experienced the same emotions at the turn of the century when both franchises were in early development. It’s a delicate balancing act where the margin between success and failure is as small as…well…a balloon string. For every Jaws and Silver Linings Playbook, there’s an Eragon or The Great Gatsby.
Personally, my sacred cow (or should I say clown?) is Stephen King’s IT. It’s tied for my favorite novel of all time and I’ve read it often over the last two and a half decades. While I still appreciate the original mini-series from 1990, and although Tim Curry’s brilliant performance as Pennywise still holds up 27 years later, the mini-series isn’t particularly good. So, elated though I may have been when I discovered King’s masterpiece would be adapted into a hard-R film for the big screen, I was decidedly nervous too. Bill Skarsgard looked scary as the new incarnation of Pennywise but most of the production stills didn’t grab me. Also acclaimed young director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation) left the project over creative differences (although he remains credited for the screenplay). Then come to find out that the potential followup film, which would cover the adult portion of the novel, depends upon the financial success of this one. It was disconcerting to say the least.
Then the following trailer popped like a blood filled animal balloon straight from Pennywise himself:
And instantly all my fears were washed away. Well my fears about this movie failing and not getting the adult* section anyway.
Now I know Stephen King has millions of devoted followers and of course horror aficionados are familiar with King’s seminal novel and the mini-series. I knew there would be some level of interest. I just didn’t know how much. In the course of 24 hours, the teaser trailer for IT racked up over 197 MILLION views. It broke the record for most watched on-line movie trailer in a 24 hour period by 48 million, with this week’s release of The Fate of the Furious being number two. Of the other nine in the top ten, one has earned over $2 billion at the box office (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), another earned over $1 billion (Captain America: Civil War), and one is about to cross the $1 billion mark (Beauty and the Beast). Two other films that have yet to release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Transformers: The Last Knight will undoubtedly gross over a billion dollars as well. The lone aberration was 50 Shades Darker, which still managed to make seven times its original budget. Translation: IT is going to make bank at the box office.
Forget about the money aspect for a moment though. The sewer water ice-cold truth is that this was a fucking scary-ass trailer. I’ve watched it at least five times and I never do that. Furthermore, for book lovers there were so many delightful Easter eggs to pick out. With that in mind here are my top eight favorite moments from the IT trailer:
#8 Henry Bowers Gets a “Special Delivery”
All around teenage sociopath Henry Bowers is–at least in a non-supernatural way–the bane of the Losers Club’s existence. Whereas we might consider a marathon session of Game of Thrones a rousing good time, Henry gets equal pleasure from torturing cats. I mean it’s one thing to insult your classmates on social media. It’s another to cut your name into a kid’s stomach with a switch blade. Just ask Ben Hanscom. Fans of the book will no doubt recall the above scene from the novel. Although it gets cut off in the shot, Pennywise leaves a very special gift in Henry’s mailbox, namely a huge knife. Spoiler alert: he’s not going to be cooking a gourmet meal with it or cutting off his mullet, which I’m almost 100% positive he’s sporting in this shot.
#7 Ben Hanscom’s Reading Session Is Interrupted
Who doesn’t like a loveable fat kid? Quiet, bookish, desperately lonely, and with a predilection for Ding-Dongs, Ben is maybe the most kind hearted and empathetic of the Losers Club. He’s a character you really root for. At least I always did. Imagine yourself in his shoes. You’ve just made a key decision in the latest Choose Your Own Adventure book, when” WHAM!” a weird balloon that apparently no one else can see floats across the library. Of course you’re going to follow it even though every horror film you’ve ever seen would argue the opposite. The twangy discordant music at this juncture just makes the moment that much scarier.
#6 The House on Neibolt Street
In the mini-series the only real confrontation between IT and the Loser’s Club happens in the sewers beneath Derry. However, book fans know that before that confrontation, there was another confrontation, a trial run if you will, that came at the house on Neibolt Street. To say the house looks perfect is like saying Trump has bad hair. It’s like they plucked a nightmare haunted house out of every child’s worst dream. Young Eddie Kaspbrak pictured in the right corner was the first of the Loser’s to visit this house, where he encounters a gentleman with skin issues even Oxy-Clean can’t fix.
#5 Beverly Marsh Gets That “Sinking” Sensation
One of the most iconic scenes from both the novel and the mini-series was where IT and the dead children call up to Beverly from her bathroom sink. Immediately afterwards blood violently erupts from said sink. Blood of course, that only she can see. Looks like director Andres Muschietti has upped the stakes here. This isn’t a few rivulets of blood, it’s a tsunami. To quote the late, great Chris Farley, “That’s gonna leave a mark.”
#4 Mike Hanlon, This Club IS ON FIIIIREEEE!!!
Derry and IT are irrevocably intertwined. In fact in the novel, there’s a line where Mike Hanlon asks, “Is it possible for an entire town to be haunted?” In some ways Derry and IT are one and the same. And Derry has a hidden history, a mean history that not a lot of people like to talk about. Here we see what I believe is Mike Hanlon’s first encounter with IT. A recreation of the fire at the Black Spot Club, a “Negro Bar” that Mike’s Dad frequented in the 1930s. Although since the timeline has been updated for the film, it’s more than likely that that portion of Mike’s Dad’s story has been shifted to the 1950s. Either way this little nod, which only got a throwaway mention in the mini-series was a nice surprise.
#3 “Hi-ya Georgie!”
There’s just certain iconic scenes from novels that you can’t leave out and this is one of them. This is the scene that sets in motion a chain of events culminating in a confrontation between IT and the Losers Club. Here we see young Georgie Denbrough (Big Bill’s little brother) in his first and last meeting with Mr. Robert Gray, AKA Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Momentarily, Georgie will have a limb and his sanity ripped asunder. What’s tremendous is that I knew what was coming and it still made me jump.
#2 “Bill, you’ll float too!”
This part is terrifying in its simplicity. The fear comes not from the visage of Bill’s brother George returned from the dead, but Bill’s reaction to seeing his brother. At the outset Georgie appears normal until the creepy smiling repetition of “You’ll float too!” crescendos into a final terrifying scream, and climaxes with Pennywise bursting out of the water.
#1 The Slideshow From Hell
Hey kids remember slideshows? And Slinkys? And swing music? 23 SKA-DOO! I kid. I kid.
However, unlike the novel where the kids portion was set in 1958, the updated kids version is set in 1989, before the advent of Smartphones and Facebook. While VHS tapes were mostly the rage at the time, slideshow projectors weren’t unheard of. Here the Losers Club peruse the Derry sewer schematics rather than view thirty slides of great Aunt Ethel’s visit to see the world’s largest ball of ear wax. Unfortunately, something even more terrifying than earwax rears its ugly clown nose when Pennywise hijacks the slideshow projector. In the novel and the mini-series the instrument of terror for this scene wasn’t a slide projector but an old photo book. The updated choice looks equally scary. I’m already envisioning how this scene plays out.
Although this is only a teaser trailer and we haven’t even heard Pennywise talk yet, my expectations for this movie are sky-high. The two key things Muschietti and company had to worry about were the kids’ chemistry and the tone. It looks like they’ve nailed both. This is going to be a long five months.
IT emerges from the sewers and into the theaters on September 8.
*Speaking of the adult portion, stay tuned as I am currently working on a dream casting call article for who would play the adult versions of the Losers Club!