So Hollywood is set to remake a classic movie. Again.
Will they ruin It?
Will I once again be terrified of man holes, sewers, tv’s, dark rooms, shower drains, and yes, clowns?
Will Pennywise have the same impact on modern day kids as it did on me growing up watching it on VHS in my friends dark living room?
I’m not sure of any of these answers…though I suppose it’s highly likely that the film will blow asshole and ruin yet another classic horror film (I’m looking at you, Thing). And it’s very likely that I will regress to my fear of all things that drain. But I don’t think Pennywise can have the same impact it did on us on this generation for a few reasons.
One, in the 80’s, clowns didn’t quite yet have the fear factor. Sure, John Wayne Gacy helped our parents fear clowns, but we were too young to really know about it. Pennywise, for most of us, was the first foray into terrifying men with painted faces and red hair that juggled and also wanted to murder us. We saw clowns at the circus, we saw them at birthday parties – but we didn’t know they could be so goddamned scary until Pennywise jumped through the tv.
The first movie captured the imaginations of kids and took off running – it confirmed our worst fears and made us believe that no one is going to help you but yourself. That horror that happens in your youth will surely catch up to you later. Growing up we didn’t have to worry about the world, as with most 10y olds or younger. Life was about whatever our parents told us and then we went outside and played for a while. Imaginary games. My backyard was constantly turned into a Transformers battlefield with my ‘accidentally’ blowing up and making my brothers super cute best friend carry me to the picnic table for repairs.
Kids today grow up with the internet. They can use computers better than their parents. They might not understand a whole lot, but they certainly know more, or hear more, about what’s going on in the world than we ever did.
And I’m focusing on kids for a specific reason: this movie was made to scare the shit out of kids. It was like a right of passage. “You haven’t seen It yet?! Dude!”. Followed by 4.5 hours of horror and a giant spider. Most of our parents didn’t want us to watch it because in the 80’s it was a pretty scary movie anyway. But will we see the remake? eh. I wouldn’t. Not in a theatre anyway. No. It’s going to be the kids that didn’t grow up with it. Sure they may be in their teens now, but I’m recently an ‘old’, so everyone seems young to me.
That and no one will ever top Tim Curry. So, yeah.
The only hope this film has is the director, Cary Fukunaga, who did the beautiful Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre. It is possible that this film turns into a subtlety terrifying piece of cinematic brilliance, shocking us with it’s serious approach to storytelling. Possible. But knowing Hollywood’s track record for fucking up everything good in the world, it’s a stretch.