For those of us who experienced our formative years in the late '80s/early '90s, Stephen King's It is our eternal nightmare barometer. With the remake's release, we decided to take a trip back to Derry, Ind. and examine just what was so terrifying about its predecessor.
And...well...not a lot. Don't get me wrong--the original made-for-TV miniseries has some well-crafted scares and fine performances, chiefly Tim Curry's Pennywise the Dancing Clown. But there's a lot of ridiculous poured in, like fake corn syrup blood into a balloon.
Speaking of balloons...
The original miniseries uses balloons as scares every chance it gets, sometimes to much creeping terror. But, often, not so much. Because they're balloons. And the film knows this, hammering each colorful bit of floating latex with maximum force as though to say, "We know they're balloons, but they're, like, SUPER SCARY BALLOONS THOUGH."
And then as though to say, "OK, you're not scared of balloons, we get it. But what about REALLY LONG SHOWER HEADS?"
Of course what is actually kind of a pretty neat and accessibility-friendly shower invention is made much scarier but also deeply lolz-ier by the appearance of our favorite clown friend bursting through like a floor-based Kool-Aid man.
And lest we forget the movie attmpted to make fortune cookies the world's most terrifying dessert, filling one wtih an eyeball...
One with a cockroach...
One with a chicken fetus...
And one serving as a pretty adorable hermit crab shell.
The film's ridiculousity isn't limited to its attempts to frighten the audience. The seemingly totally normal stuff is anything but normal.
Like how John Ritter has a phone just hanging from his ceiling like that's no big deal.
Or Richard Thomas's tragic ponytail tied back with a super casual leather cord.
Or the film's endless efforts to seamlessly transition between the child and adult versions of characters making the same gesture to unilaterally hilarious results.
There was also the second funniest fake Time Magazine cover.
But the scares truly reign supreme in terms of hilarity. A personal favorite will always be the judgmental head of Richard Masur in a mini-fridge, which we recently addressed at length.
And when Tim Curry lived briefly inside the moon.
Or, preciously, the first time Seth Green came face-to-face with a werewolf until his face was the werewolf face.
But nothing and no one was more delightfully disquieting as Pennywise himself.
And for that, we will always celebrate the original film.