This week, the trailer for the theatrical version of Stephen King’s IT was released. And it looks as dark and creepy as we dreamed of in our worst nightmares.
For those familiar with the book, this movie covers the kid’s parts of the book (the movie is subtititled The Losers’ Club). If all goes well, a follow-up movie will soon follow.
Most of you know this is not the first adaptation of King’s killer clown classic. There was a 1990 television mini-series most memorable for Tim “Sweet Transvestite” Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown.
The kids part of the story was fairly well done, the adult, not so much. Perhaps because it was strange having sitcom actors like John Ritter and Harry Anderson in a horror show. I’m not sure if it even stands up today, because to be honest, I haven’t seen IT since it aired. Yes, I’m that old.
Which brings me to the book. That I did re-read recently. And I found myself liking it even more this time. It seemed almost fitting to read IT again as an adult. King did a great job capturing both ages of these characters. As an adult, the clown and other creepy, ghostly things did not scare me as much as the abusive humans.
I have a good feeling that the theatrical adaption of IT is going to stick close to the book and tap into our childhood fears. I know, that’s a bold prediction seeing that most of Stephen King’s books do not translate well on to screen. While it seems more of his serious work like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile make for great films, his horror films like Christine, Pet Semetery and Children of the Corn get a little cheesy. Yes, these movies hold a special place in my heart as well but they do not have the style as say, Carrie, The Shining and Misery.
And even then, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is nowhere as terrifying as the novel. That’s another one I re-read recently. King made the hotel itself one of the most terrifying characters. And oh, the topiary!
There’s also the debate of post and pre automobile accident Stephen King. For those who don’t know, in 1999, King was hit by a car and badly injured. He did announce he was quitting writing a few years later (feeling his productivity is not up to par). But he continues a steady output to this day. But some say that his new century books are nothing compared to his earlier works. I, for one, gave up reading him on a regular basis after Needful Things. I’ve read some here and there, but sadly they are no longer a guaranteed thrill like his older works.
If you’re a bookworm like myself, you’d prefer to read the books, if not instead of, at least in addition to seeing the film and TV adaptations. If you’ve not read Stephen King’s early works, I encourage you to do so. You’ll be surprised to see Cujo is less about a rabid dog and more about surviving in corporate culture. And Carrie has a terrifying history.
Hands down, his best novel is The Stand. The epic tale of the end of the world and good versus evil has the scope of War & Peace. It transcends horror, and I’ll be bold enough to call it… literature. What are some of your favorite Stephen King books and adaptations? Let me know in the comments below.
Meanwhile, I’ve dug up some Stephen King T-shirts to honor the King of horror.