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March 29, 2017 11:32 AM   Subscribe

It [YouTube] [Teaser Trailer] “The evil clown named Pennywise returns in this first look at New Line Cinema's horror thriller It, based on the classic Stephen King novel. Starring Finn Wolfhard, Javier Botet, Nicholas Hamilton, Megan Charpentier and Bill Skarsgård”

• Stephen King’s ‘It’ – Official Movie Poster [Variety]
posted by Fizz (135 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
So is the movie only using the first half of the story? Do we get to see the Losers Club reunite as adults or no?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:36 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


True story: When the original mini-series aired on TV. My sister was far too young to have been watching that film. My parents had already gone to bed and so I sneaked out to watch more tv on a school night. She must have heard me because a few minutes after I had the TV on, she was sitting beside me with a blanket.

I was old enough to be watching something like that, but I should NOT have allowed her to watch that film at her age. She has a full on fear of clowns now. Cannot stand the sight of them. So yeah, that's all my fault.
posted by Fizz at 11:37 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


So is the movie only using the first half of the story? Do we get to see the Losers Club reunite as adults or no?

It's being split into TWO parts.
posted by Fizz at 11:41 AM on March 29


I have SUCH a fondness for "IT". I was in LOVE with the original Tim Curry film (after initially being so petrified that I couldn't sleep!) and still have it on DVD and watch it regularly. (ah Jonathan Brandis!)

I just had laser eye surgery and couldn't do anything for a week so I listened to the Audiobook version of "IT" and that was absolutely amazing, simply unforgettable. Stephen King is a genius in my book...

This cannot come at a better time for me and I think this looks awesome. Can't wait for this but wish it was complete, how long do we have to wait for the Adult part of the story I wonder? It doesn't look as if it's even been cast yet!

Also, where is Bill's stutter?
posted by JenThePro at 11:41 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I was really skeptical about this. I loved loved loved the Tim Curry version even though I probably lost a fair amount of sleep and maybe avoided the bathroom too much after watching it but I barely made it through that trailer. It looks terrifying.
posted by Bacon Bit at 11:44 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


If you read IT and liked it and wanted more, and are ok with settling with a bit of a different story that's quite slow to start, you should check out INSOMNIA which is, as I find it anyway, a much overlooked story of King's. It's set in Derry and is tied to King's Juipiter (aka The Dark Tower) more strongly than IT, but still, give it a shot maybe? Then give The Dark Tower a shot and join me as I await what I hope isn't a most disappointing cinematic appearance of that take.

Bill was a gunslinger though, through and through. Mike too. I miss those guys, maybe I'll rerereread IT for the first time in a long time.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:46 AM on March 29 [18 favorites]


IT was I think the last Stephen King book I read. He was really big in the 1980's, so reading Stephen King back then was a rite of passage as a teen, really.

Anyway, watching this trailer is causing me to reflect as a middle-aged adult on Stephen King, and what his "horror" is really all about.

The Mike Hanlon character and subplot really is about a truly horrible part of history, but it's not something I picked up on when I read IT as a 16-year-old.

Or the fact that so many people go missing in Derry. In the part of Canada where I lived, a serial killer named Clifford Olson was active in the early 1980's, as was the Green River Killer south of the border. However, at the same time there were other murders being committed against a transient population of First Nations women in Vancouver.

So it wasn't fantasy at all, really.
posted by My Dad at 11:56 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


God, I've read IT so many times... the first was when I was 11 and found a copy in an unlabeled box full of paperbacks in the basement of the house my family had just moved into in southern New Hampshire. The most recent time was maybe two months ago in SoCal, while I was trying to avoid studying for midterms.

IT is a book from which I've been able to take something new every time I've read it, at each different stage of my life. That first read-thru, it was just the scary-as-shit book about an evil clown, with a dollop of the scary mysteriousness of the onset of puberty and becoming an adult. Then the part that resonated most deeply with me was the friendship between the Losers, and how it faded/was reinforced by their meeting again as adults, and how terrible it was that their friendship was erased by time (and other things). Now I see it as a meditation on growing older, how the strange awesomeness of youth disappears so slowly that you'd never notice it, until one day you realized it's been gone for so long. (This all was still tempered with the evil clown, of course.)

The new movie seems like much more of a straightforward horror flick, which I am completely down with. The coming-of-age part seems more difficult to capture, and I won't begrudge them if it doesn't make much of an appearance in either of the two films. But for me, that was definitely the most critical feature of the novel, the one which turns it into a masterpiece.
posted by miltthetank at 12:02 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


I have a terrible attitude about the original miniseries because it came out at I time when I was (a) a precocious Stephen King superfan and (b) a budding cinephile, and so I took exception twice over for everything in the film that felt cheaply done or selling the book's visuals and narrative short. I wanted it to be lush and perfect and match my 11-year-old imagination, and I'd found the book good and scary besides. I'd been watching things like Alien and expecting that caliber of terror and seriousness.

And so I watched the miniseries with family and friends at our next door neighbors' house, and...I was just sort of insufferable about it, if hopefully quietly so. Because everybody else was terrified! They were watching this unconvincing, hacky simulacrum of my beloved brick shithouse of a horror novel, and they were totally hooked while I was rolling my eyes and marking off a checklist of all the shit that wasn't scary, wasn't right, wasn't up to snuff. I was legitimately a little bit offended and angry as a horror fan that people older and presumably wiser than me couldn't tell that they were being fed what I regarded as a telecinematic shit sandwich.

The big downside of which—aside from the opportunity to confront how obnoxious my internal world was at times when I was a kid, I guess—is that I've never shared the gut appreciation of Tim-Curry-As-Horrifying-Cultural-Clown-Touchstone that so many people have. I probably didn't really know who Tim Curry was at the time; have since come to love him but too little too late.

It's a weird little cultural blindspot, and my dislike of IT extended in equal parts to a lot of other cinematic and TV treatments of King's work (for which King's often partly to blame, go figure!), so basically I'm having some weird feels today but long story short I guess I'm kinda interested in this new one.
posted by cortex at 12:05 PM on March 29 [13 favorites]


This looks pretty darn great! The original was OK for a TV movie, but the book has always deserved a proper adaptation.

Now, Hollywood, please re-make the following:
Salem's Lot
The Stand
Pet Sematary
Desperation

posted by Atom Eyes at 12:06 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Please, Hollywood, do not re-make:

The Dead Zone
Misery


They are fine as-is.
posted by SPrintF at 12:12 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


Yeah, we really need a mini-series for The Stand, hopefully on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, because that's where the good stuff lives these days. TAKE MY MONEY!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:14 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


I'm cautiously optimistic for this. I was less cautiously optimistic when Cary Fukunaga was on board as director, but he dropped out and now it's Andrés Muschietti, best known for Mama (which maybe explains the shambling blurry camera-rush at the end of the trailer). Still, I'll check it out.

on preview: yeah I think we're good on Dead Zone and Misery. Also Shining. Everything else is fair game.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:15 PM on March 29


Okay, so ... I haven't read IT. I really enjoy King's more tightly-edited stuff (basically everything from the 70s) but the lengthier 80s-and-beyond stuff really, really drags for me. I've always avoided IT because I assumed it was in the latter category ... am I really missing something here?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:15 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I remember liking IT when I read it way back in the day. But now, thinking on it, the orgy ending just seems so... dumb now and I can't imagine watching it in a film.
posted by papercake at 12:16 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


am I really missing something here?

Yes.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:16 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Anyway, watching this trailer is causing me to reflect as a middle-aged adult on Stephen King, and what his "horror" is really all about.

His 'horror' certainly shifts when he hit late-middle age (or so?) as well, so be prepared for that since you mentioned that IT was the last thing of his that you read. I've basically signed off on reading his newer stuff (yes, yes, I know, 11/222/63 is a great book you say, I hear you, I just have no time/interest in it) because of that shift from grisly, existential but.... grounded in a place/setting I guess, type of horror into a more thriller type pseudo-horror-but-not-really seen in Under the Dome, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and others as compared to his earlier stuff.

Things just took a twist in the early-late nineties (which as I best recall, was when he got hit by a van but the shift maybe started when he got clean?) Don't get me wrong, I still love the guy but it's more for the exceptions rather than the majority of his work that I'm sticking with him at all these days.


am I really missing something here?

I mean, without knowing more specifics I hate to presume to recomend but I'd say IT is up there among SK's best works. But that said, I do get what you're saying about some of his stuff being shorter and sweeter (Salem's Lot, The Gunslinger, The Long Walk, his various short stories/novellas, etc) as opposed to longer and (as he even admits himself) overly verbose and involved (The Stand [Uncut/Unabridged even], IT, Insomnia, The Talisman) works. If you loathe the latter and love the former then no, IT is not for you most likely. But if you want to read one of his longer works that really is a great tale, then I'd say give it a shot.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:20 PM on March 29


I read IT when I was 16 and liked it but one scene made me got WTF ? I'm betting that scene won't be in the movie.
posted by Pendragon at 12:30 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


But if you want to read one of his longer works that really is a great tale, then I'd say give it a shot.

Thanks. Yeah, I think it's not actually the length that bothers me, it's the lack of focus and general meandering he tends to do when given a long leash. Even short works like Misery suffer from it, in my opinion. Maybe I'll read a couple of hundred pages finally.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:33 PM on March 29


Yeah, we really need a mini-series for The Stand, hopefully on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, because that's where the good stuff lives these days.

There actually has been a mini-series of The Stand, but it was less-than-great and I'm assuming that's why you maybe blocked it out of your head, for which I don't blame you. (Although that mini-series did include the one throwaway character that creeped me right the hell out - the doctor in the CDC who was out of his mind with delerium and grabbed Stu when he was trying to escape, and babbled "Come down here and eat chicken with me, beautiful, it's so dark....")

I read IT when I was 16 and liked it but one scene made me go WTF ? I'm betting that scene won't be in the movie.

Every time I've been in a group of people and It comes up, it's always because someone has just been rereading it and is mentioning that they'd forgotten about that part - and there's also always someone else in the group who hasn't read it and didn't know that it was in there. It's amusing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


My one misgiving is that from the brief glimpses of Pennywise, it looks like his design is more Evil. Clown. in the shitty Rob Zombie mold, rather than my memory of him from the book, which was just a regular looking clown who oh-by-the-way also happened to be the personification of Pure Evil.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:35 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


I read IT when I was 16 and liked it but one scene made me got WTF ? I'm betting that scene won't be in the movie.

Yea, people already spoiler-ed that scene and I agree with your take. I'm fairly 'meh' on the idea of that scene, it's not like SK didn't push boundaries and such, hell look at the Bachman books.

it's the lack of focus and general meandering he tends to do

Fair enough. Never tough the unabridged/uncut The Stand then. I'm the type that, if I'm digging the book, I never want it to end and, for whatever reason, SK tends to fall into that category with some of his books right there alongside LOTR or Dune or various other mainstays on my shelf. If it makes you feel any better, I feel like this one wanders a bit less than some, but I could be off with my recall since it has been a few years.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:37 PM on March 29


When I first read IT, I was the age of the Losers' Club when they were kids.
I'll probably re-read it soon - today, I'm the age of the Losers' Club when they were adults.

"I loved you guys. I loved you guys, so much."
posted by bitteroldman at 12:37 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


"I loved you guys. I loved you guys, so much."
posted by bitteroldman


epony-sentimental?
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:39 PM on March 29 [9 favorites]


> hell look at the Bachman books

I can't think of anything in the Bachman Books that's quite at the level of that scene in IT. I was only 12 when the book came out, were there any news articles or protests about that particular content?

Then again, I'm weird, I rather enjoyed Rage and The Long Walk.

I think it's about time for a modern remake of The Stand. Maybe Netflix could do a decent job? I remember the rather weak version done around '93 or so.
posted by mrbill at 12:41 PM on March 29


Never tough the unabridged/uncut The Stand then

Ha, I read it as a young teen, probably not long after the unabridged version came out (I remember being bombarded with TV commercials about it). I had no idea what to make of it at the time, but yeah, it's generally soured me on reading the thick King books.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:42 PM on March 29


It's been a long time since I re-read IT, but per RolandOfEld's comments I feel like I remember it doing better with it's narrative strands than some of his other stuff; there's a lot going on with the parallel stories of the kids and then their decades-later adult selves interacting with Derry and the supernatural stuff, and so it does jump around, but I remember feeling like it does so well.

That said, I also really loved King's narrative mixing and random dalliances in Misery and felt like that was some of his strongest experimental literary structure stuff, so if you found that kind of annoying that may not make my pitch for IT all that great.
posted by cortex at 12:44 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


"I loved you guys. I loved you guys, so much."

And because you reminded me... Isn't this, the reason why Hanlon is writing this phrase I mean (readers of the book will know why he's writing it) the darkest part of the story in a way? I mean... damn that's dark.

In the same vein I recommend SK's short story The End of the Whole Mess which, for that very reason, strikes me to the core.

I can't think of anything in the Bachman Books that's quite at the level of that scene in IT.


You're not squicked out by society's take on things in The Long Walk or The Running Man or the ending of either? Not to mention, as you say, the events in Rage? I dunno, I guess I see where he was going with the whole sweatlodge vibe so don't judge overmuch.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:45 PM on March 29


Yes.

To expand: I found it a genuinely scary book. I also think it's a book fundamentally about childhood: about how childhood experiences and fears often feel to kids like something that they experience separately to adults, and which they can't talk to adults about because they simply won't understand. The monster that they see is terrifying, and more so because the adults don't see it; but so is the bullying that they experience.

my memory of him from the book, which was just a regular looking clown who oh-by-the-way also happened to be the personification of Pure Evil.

...and which personifies to each of its victims as that-which-they-fear-most so usually isn't a clown anyway. I always found the description of Mike being terrorized by the giant bird much more scary. I would love to see that done cinematically instead of IT always being a creepy-guy-in-a-clown-suit.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:45 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


In the same vein I recommend SK's short story The End of the Whole Mess which, for that very reason, strikes me to the core.

Christ, yeah. That one was I think second only to The Long Walk in pretty effectively fucking me up as a kid.

BUT I TURNED OUT FINE
posted by cortex at 12:47 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I also think it's a book fundamentally about childhood:

I agree wholeheartedly, and to go further: I think this also explains that scene we're all talking about and justifies the attempt that SK made as well, to me at least. Childhood into adulthood, something, something, motive, theme, something.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:47 PM on March 29


Please, Hollywood, do not re-make:

The Dead Zone
Misery

They are fine as-is.


Also Maximum Overdrive.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:52 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


I also really loved King's narrative mixing and random dalliances in Misery and felt like that was some of his strongest experimental literary structure stuff

Well, to backpedal a little bit, I enjoyed Misery, mostly, including the more experimental bits, but what irked me mostly was that the "action" sequences felt overlong (coupled with a few digressions in their midst) and there were some unusual phrases that repeated unnecessarily throughout the book (all of which could have been corrected by an editor with a will to fix them).

In any case, yeah, I guess I'll give IT a try. I read fast enough, and I have no problem dropping a book if it's not working for me (even though I will occasionally hate-read something that I loathe from the first... Dark Matter, I'm looking in your direction).
posted by uncleozzy at 12:55 PM on March 29


Now I see it as a meditation on growing older, how the strange awesomeness of youth disappears so slowly that you'd never notice it, until one day you realized it's been gone for so long. (This all was still tempered with the evil clown, of course.)

I'm ready to re-read It now that I'm the age of the grown-up gang, and already I'm dreading the grown-up Stan scene in the beginning. As I grow older, I've found that so many of my friends are still in thrall and in terror of childhood fears and traumas, and live stunted lives because of that. What happens if they decide they can't face their fears? What happens if I decide that?

Stephen King wrote in Danse Macabre that horror is fundamentally concerned with telling people that They are Okay, as in "well, my life isn't perfect, but at least I'm not a Teenage Werewolf or being stalked by The Creature From The Black Lagoon." As I grow older, I have found that so many people aren't okay, and they're being stalked by themselves. Not many happy endings there.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:58 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Mike Hanlon's interlude into the violent history of Derry is one of the finest parts of that book, to me. It really delves into the history of violence that humans do to one another, and how that can live on in communities while unremarked.

This trailer does a good job of getting the town and the kids better fleshed out and humanized, but it feels like they forgot that the terror is not the clown per se, but what's behind the clown. This trailer had jump scares without actually revealing Pennywise. The power in the original miniseries was that you'd just see Pennywise wandering around like a normal clown, knowing what he was and what he pretended to be, and just waiting for the teeth. Hell, most of the horrible stuff came from his other glamours, the wolf or the dead kids or the bird or the leeches.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:02 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


"Things just took a twist in the early-late nineties (which as I best recall, was when he got hit by a van but the shift maybe started when he got clean?) Don't get me wrong, I still love the guy"

I was an avid King reader as a teen (hence me choosing to include your last sentence there because it's true for me too) and it was only looking back in hindsight and rating his books chronologically that I realized that - for me - the magic disappeared when he sobered up. See: Tommyknockers and onward in his bibliography.

Which is a really shitty thing to say, I think! I mean, it's true - for me - but shitty. Still, I would 100 times rather have the guy around and sober than to have him ravaged by drink and drug and missing out on his family, whether or not he's even writing at all.

Anyway, IT remains a high point in my reading and growing experience[*], and I mean that in the sense of a book that really messed me up for a while, as it did for so many others. I haven't re-read it in years but I think I'm going to do so as soon as I finish what I'm working on now.

Today I did something I never do: I made it a point to shut myself off from anyone else for a few minutes there, and put in my headphones, and watch this trailer with my full attention. It literally gave me goosebumps. I haven't been this excited for a movie in a long, long time.

[*] which led to me actually getting a tattoo commemorating the book back when I was ... let's see ... 21 years old? And I loved that tattoo up until I read Under the Dome and I'll MeMail you a dollar if you understand why that is.
posted by komara at 1:03 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I was also really offput by the aesthetics of the previous miniseries, though I get why it is why it is (which is an essay of its own, re: the age of filmmakers - director of this version, Andrés Muschietti, is one year younger than me, and the success of Stand By Me, and other factors including boring old budgetary).

This trailer gave me chills because the lighting feels so right.

I think this story resonates with a lot of people in my genx sub-age cohort (b. 1972) in a bunch of complicated ways, so it's not just that it's a compelling coming of age story or scary as shit horror story, but those things and more. (I have long believed that IT is a minor contributing factor to me not wanting kids. I was 14 when I read it for the first time and I think it made me think about things that broke me, in certain ways.)

Aaaanyway I guess I should just set aside a weekend and make some snacks and reread this thing now that I'm middle-aged.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:03 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


This trailer does a good job of getting the town and the kids better fleshed out and humanized, but it feels like they forgot that the terror is not the clown per se, but what's behind the clown.

This is the aspect of the trailer that worries me the most. The world has generally turned on clowns (and I'm not innocent there -- probably at least in part from It, but still, I find clowns creepy to the degree that my relatives know this and mess with me about it). Consequently, the Pennywise glamour takes on a very different tone in 2017 than it did in the '80s. Instead of it being just a clown -- creepy to the audience's more privileged vantage point, but charming to the child in the movie -- it's instead OMG CLOWN, GET AWAY!

In that setting, I feel like there's a real danger that the more deeply terrifying aspect of the monster gets lost.
posted by tocts at 1:11 PM on March 29


Barely tangentially related:
I think there should be adult film stars with the screen names Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.
posted by plinth at 1:11 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


if I had better photoshop skills and was feeling only slightly more petty about the non-Tim Curry Pennywise I'd shop in the Joker from Suicide Squad. I'm.....not too fond of this or this.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:12 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Finn Wolfhard is the best name ever.

FINN WOLFHARD
HARDWOLF FINN
FINNHARD WOLF
WOLFIN' HARD
posted by Sebmojo at 1:15 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


"the magic disappeared when he sobered up"

I think part of the problem was that as he accumulated the momentum of literary success, his work got bloated.

But there's something to your point. One of his strongest works to me has always been The Shining, which is a very different work than the film. After seeing it again a couple years ago, I also reread the book, and was struck by the contrast. I wrote a longish blog post about this, but the difference can be boiled down to this excerpt:
It’s worth noting that King has had his own well-documented battles with drugs and alcohol and anger. Jack wrestles with the demon that King himself was fighting, and the horror King ends up writing of is, once divorced from the supernatural forces of the hotel, the one that he feared most: losing control and harming his family. Turn that up to 11, add evil ghosts and an isolated hotel, and simmer.

The horror of the film is being trapped in a haunted hotel with a lunatic. The horror of the book is becoming the lunatic, which is much more personal, internal and, to me, horrifying.
Absent his struggles with addiction and poor behavior, you wonder if he'd have written it at all.
posted by uberchet at 1:15 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


the magic disappeared when he sobered up. See: Tommyknockers and onward in his bibliography.

Isn't The Tommyknockers canonically his "wrote it on coke, remember nothing about it" book? I think it falls just before he got clean, not just after.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:20 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


To continue the what to remake/what not to remake of King's material:

Eradicate all traces of "The Running Man."
Make a movie of "The Long Walk."
posted by prepmonkey at 1:23 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Aww. I dunno, I love both the book and the movie of The Running Man, even though they basically have nothing to do with one another. The movie is practically peak '80s Ahnold, and they got Richard Dawson to be the evil gameshow host!
posted by tocts at 1:26 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Eradicate all traces of "The Running Man."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Are you kidding me? Any movie with both Arnold and Jesse Ventura is a corny classic. Hell, it had Mick Fleetwood, Jim Brown, and Dweezil Zappa!
posted by Existential Dread at 1:27 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Some of you really seem bent out of shape this already doesn't track with the TV movie. If you want the TV movie, watch that and let the movie find its own way. This fanatical need for new things to exactly match the old things we grew up because they share the same name with is how we end up with boring new things.

yeesh.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:29 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


There actually has been a mini-series of The Stand, but it was less-than-great and I'm assuming that's why you maybe blocked it out of your head, for which I don't blame you.

I have it on DVD and am of mixed feelings on it.
Some of the casting was SPOT ON (Ruby Dee as Mother Abagail, Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man, Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen). Some was SURPRISINGLY GOOD (Rob Lowe as Nick Andros) and some JUST DANG AWFUL (Corin Nemic as Harold Lauder, Jamey Sheridan as Randall Flagg).

There are more names that you can fit into each of the above three categories, but those are the ones that stand out most in my mind.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:38 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The Tommyknockers is a novel about being addicted to cocaine and all of the shit that brings with it. Once you understand that, it takes on a new level of horror.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:39 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


"Isn't The Tommyknockers canonically his "wrote it on coke, remember nothing about it" book? I think it falls just before he got clean, not just after."

Oops, yeah. It's been a while since I've trotted out this particular rant and I just remembered the Tommyknockers being a pivot point. Looks like I placed it on the wrong side.
posted by komara at 1:42 PM on March 29


the magic disappeared when he sobered up. See: Tommyknockers and onward in his bibliography.

Isn't The Tommyknockers canonically his "wrote it on coke, remember nothing about it" book? I think it falls just before he got clean, not just after.


Yep. I think he's said that The Tommyknockers (which has both a literal alcoholic as one of the protagonists and a very strong and obvious metaphor for addiction with the transforming townspeople pursuing their mania for inventing things at all costs) should be about half as long, and having done a recent re-read, I strongly agree. I've also never particularly liked IT for much the same reason: there's a good story in there, but it's always seemed a bit of a chore to get to it, something that's absolutely not true of the bulk of his work, even longer books such as The Stand.

This is an old comment I made about the different phases of Stephen King's career that still holds up, I think, with the addition of his Post-Post-Accident phase; for some time after getting hit by the van, he was on heavy doses of painkillers, which affected his work. I'm not sure when he came out of that, exactly, but his more recent work is more focused. I certainly don't agree that "the magic disappeared when he sobered up"; you like what you like, and you might well have a favorite book or phase of his career, and that's fine, but as far as I'm concerned, he's still got it, and is simply applying it in somewhat different directions.

I have [The Stand] on DVD and am of mixed feelings on it.

Agreed. I think that it did pretty well overall for a miniseries that seems to have had a budget of somewhere between jack and shit, and there were some pleasant surprises (Kathy Bates as the talk show radio host near the beginning, for example), and I don't even mind Jamey Sheridan as Flagg that much even though there are better people for the role (Matthew McConaughey, say), but having Flagg "transform" by putting the actor in a rubber monster mask that makes the cheapest rubber-forehead makeup on Star Trek look good by comparison was an awful idea that pulled me right out of the story every time it happened.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:48 PM on March 29


I'd watch the hell out of Needful Things - that was a formative book for me, informing my idea of the Devil and my shadowpuppet skills.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:49 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Can someone rot13 or MeMail me whatever that scene is that you're referring to? Because I can think of a few that it might be, but everyone else seems to be on the same page as to exactly which scene you're talking about.
posted by tzikeh at 1:50 PM on March 29


The preteen orgy scene (emphatically not the name of my new band), I think. Although the gay panic scene should also have been trashed by the author and/or editors IMO
posted by Existential Dread at 1:54 PM on March 29


I'd watch the hell out of Needful Things

You can. (But you probably shouldn't; it's not great, even though Max von Sydow.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:58 PM on March 29


I'd watch the hell out of Needful Things - that was a formative book for me, informing my idea of the Devil and my shadowpuppet skills.

Did you ever see the film with Ed Harris? I remember it being made with an actual budget and basically being just sort of precisely competent but missing any real sense of the weird apocalyptic magic the book hung on.
posted by cortex at 1:59 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]




I always thought that scene was a little lecture-by-way-of-illustration about why you do not ever want to be the one girl accepted into the friend group of boys, either in literature or in life. all you'd need is just one other girl -- just one! the girls can still be a minority! and the weird conceit falls apart and at least a couple of the boys have to have that scene with each other directly, not with each other through you as an all-purpose conduit and proxy. and then at least one of them will have a moment of re-evaluation. or if not re-evaluation, doubt. or if not doubt, bewilderment.
posted by queenofbithynia at 2:16 PM on March 29 [9 favorites]


miltthetank nailed for me what the book is about. There's a line in it: "There's something in Derry and it's killing kids."

You're damn right, it's called "growing up
posted by marxchivist at 2:17 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


I've probably said this before, but I started reading IT when I was maybe 10-11 and I got about halfway through it before I got so scared I stuck the book in the freezer. My mom left it in there, maybe because she knew I would get back to it. But I pulled it out of the freezer a year later and finally finished it. Definitely time to pull out that old freezer-burned copy and give it a re-read.
posted by tmt at 2:26 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Some of you really seem bent out of shape this already doesn't track with the TV movie.

Huh? I think you might have been reading a different thread.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:41 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The trailer does not fill me with hope, Pennywise wasn't frightening based on his looks and I have a feeling that they are going down that path.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:41 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I haven't read It since the year it was released. Now I'm tempted to reread it but all our old SK paperbacks are gone. And of course, King's books command full price for a ones-and-zeros copy. Not gonna happen. But oh, I will be seeing this movie. Cast looks pretty decent and that opening scene is chilling/perfect. And please, crossing my fingers that they're found a way around including the preteen orgy. I still have no idea what meds King was spiking when he thought it was OK to do that.
posted by Ber at 3:14 PM on March 29


Isn't The Tommyknockers canonically his "wrote it on coke, remember nothing about it" book?

I thought that was Cujo, but maybe Cujo was booze-blackout.

I should maybe give IT another go; I really enjoy King's short stories, but novel-wise I've only gotten through and enjoyed The Shining and The Stand. He writes 'small-town folks' as though they all have some sort of cognitive impairment. I know it's not malicious, and it's not for lack of interaction with people from that sphere, maybe people in Maine in the fifties and sixties were like that?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:21 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


epony-sentimental?

Ha - i wish! Or more specifically, maybe I'm being anti-sentimental, or it's negative sentimentality...
Long story short, one of the reasons IT resonated with me was because it was the story of a bunch outcasts who found each other and found solace and happiness for one summer, at least.

As an outcast myself, I longed to find my own Losers' club (though i'm not sure I was willing to sacrifice my younger brother in the process) - it never happened, FWIW.

Anyway, when I read it the first time, and each time I re-read it, the idea that they were together for only 2 brief moments in time, only to each go back to their lives, saddened me deeply. At that time in my life, friendship was everything, and to have achieved the ultimate dream only to have it wilt away was too much to bear.

That line - i assume that Mike Hanlon said it with great agony - grieving a lost childhood, remembering good times long, long gone, and lamentably predicting that such wonderful emotions associated with camaraderie, acceptance and belonging, would never, ever come his way ever again.
posted by bitteroldman at 3:23 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The trailer does not fill me with hope, Pennywise wasn't frightening based on his looks and I have a feeling that they are going down that path.

Yeah, if you look at the photos on imdb he looks a little bit like Chucky crossed with Helena Bonham Carter's Queen of Hearts.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:27 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I haven't read a physical copy of "It" since I was in 8th grade. It was, coincidentally, the last King novel I read and one of the last mass market, non-literary fiction novels I read until some combination of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Harry Potter" and chronic depression made me feel okay about indulging the occasional genre novel some twelve years later. I remember loving it and I remember, at times, using it to defend King as hardly the worst, and certainly better than a lot of the shit we read in fiction workshop when I'd find myself in some epic literary snob-off in college.

A few years ago, I was training for a 15 mile race and ended up downloading a bunch of King novelsI hadn't thought about for years. "It" held up, still scary, but far more wistful and sad than I remember. I was mostly mesmerized, even though I wish the scene and indeed pretty much the entire character of Beverly had been handled with better and with more nuance. Still, though, the notion that we can, as adults, access our childhood selves, in all their imagination and vulnerability is as intoxicating as it is terrifying when circumstances (personal or psychological or creative) demand that we must. I could probably get drunk and make a solid argument for "It" as a piece of metafiction--King writes about writing even when he's not writing about writing--but I think the better point is that it's a vastly entertaining, often terrifying, bittersweet book that does what it does very well.
posted by thivaia at 3:37 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I thought "IT" was ok after I'd remembered to speed read over the crap, but hated the ending perhaps more than I hated the deus ex machina bullshit cop-out ending of The Stand. Talked with a female friend about the 11 year old fuck fest and she said, "At 11 years old?? No fucking way that would've happened ONCE let alone SIX times - 11 year old vaginas don't work that way, King, you asshole. Absolute bullshit."
posted by Zack_Replica at 3:44 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


I'm looking forward to this so hard, even though Pennywise loses scariness by being a self-consciously evil clown, instead of the big merry colorful Tim Curry with his booming voice. We will have to suspend disbelief and transport ourselves to a time when clowns were not ipso facto terrifying. If this book had never been written and an author were writing it today, IT would probably appear as a Disney princess, or an Avenger.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:46 PM on March 29


Unfortunately I never read King when I was a teenager, when I think he would have made a huge impression on me. Even short books seemed long then, and a book like "It" would have been like actually living that story in real time. And I might have been scared. Instead, I read "It" as an adult and found it long. I could parse the technique of "scariness" and therefore I wasn't really scared. My favorite Kings are "The Shining" and "Cujo", which are the books I read when I was the youngest.
posted by acrasis at 4:09 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Now I'm tempted to reread it but all our old SK paperbacks are gone. And of course, King's books command full price for a ones-and-zeros copy. Not gonna happen

Go to your local thrift/second hand store and all your problems will be solved. Cookbooks, Creighton, M for Murder, and King make up 95% of the shelves in those places, paperback too. For very cheap.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:54 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


11 year old vaginas don't work that way

11 year old penises are exactly working that way either.
posted by Ber at 4:54 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I got "It" for Christmas in 1986. So I still remember that Christmas. In fact, I always associate Christmas with reading books on Boxing Day.
posted by My Dad at 5:01 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Can someone rot13 or MeMail me whatever that scene is that you're referring to?

The book has been published for 30 years, and it's been 27 years since the original miniseries. So I don't think a spoiler warning is needed.

Anyway, as a plot device King has the boys have sex with the one girl. It happens when they're in the sewers under Derry, on their way to the lair of It. It's intended to be an act of communion or something? I don't know what King was getting at.

As mentioned, "It" was the last King book I read the whole way through. I enjoyed it, except for the group sex part. But his writing, for a little while as far as I know, got more and more self-indulgent and crappy after that.

I did see the movie "Misery."
posted by My Dad at 5:09 PM on March 29


I thought that was Cujo, but maybe Cujo was booze-blackout.

Cujo was the book King said he didn't remember writing, when he was writing On Writing after his injury.

But The Onion had kind of predicted it a month and a half before the crash, when they ran an article about how he didn't remember the Tommyknockers.
posted by thecaddy at 5:12 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


11 year old penises are exactly working that way either.

Posted in haste. shit. 11 year old peni DON'T work that way either. Fuck. It's been a long day.
posted by Ber at 5:40 PM on March 29


I read IT in high school, but appear to have blanked on the yikes-inducing sex scene.

Visual horror is a big NOPE NOT HAPPENING for me, but I do like a fair amount of King's short fiction, the Different Seasons novellas, and, among the novels, Carrie and The Shining; I suspect that short(er) King will hold up for future generations in much the same way that the major Victorian ghost story writers have. King tends to lose me once he hits real doorstopper territory, though.

I really should get "The Doctor's Case" into my Sherlock Holmes course when I teach it next semester--it's such an atypically warm, affectionate story for King (although the crime isn't...).

Incidentally, Joyce Carol Oates' Jack of Spades (a Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde rewrite) is about a horror novelist who is, among other things, obsessed with King, and whose career emulates King's in some respects.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:01 PM on March 29


A complaint I heard today was that they should have cast it as an all woman Losers club.

it'd be nice to someday see the Dark Tower and related pieces all in one large movie format. That's what billionaire SV dudebros should be spending their money on tbqh.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:11 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


someday see the Dark Tower and related pieces all in one large movie format

I can't tell if you are serious or if you are commenting cynically about the production hell that the current movie languished in, but in case it is the former: the dark tower movie numero uno comes out in a few short months, if ka wills it.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:14 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Why is it Thinner never comes up in these conversations?

Watch it. But not alone in the dark. You will believe weight loss can be terrifying.
posted by Naberius at 6:32 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah that scene casts a pall over the entire thing for me, even though I love IT and still find it the scariest thing ever, book or movie. Like dude really they are 11. No 11 year old girl is gonna want to have sex, probably at all, definitely not in a fucking sewer, in no planet with multiple partners are you fucking serious right now. Everything about that scene is so gross and weird and out of left field. When I'm reading it I always just elide it and guess what, entire book is fine without it, suggesting once again it is a shite piece of writing.
posted by supercrayon at 6:36 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Did you ever see the film with Ed Harris?

I did! I even bought the soundtrack twice because that was one awesome version of In The Hall of the Mountain King and the music box track worked real well for Call of Cthulhu gaming.

The movie itself? It was... okay. DEMON CAR was the best character, apologies to Mr von Sydow.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:41 PM on March 29


In mild fairness to King, IT also includes some pretty weird-ass sexual shit going on with Henry Bowers.

So ... uh ... at least he's bad at writing young sexual activity across the board?
posted by tocts at 6:43 PM on March 29


Also, good lord, all the stuff going on with Trashcan Man and The Kid in the unabridged The Stand is ... OK maybe King should just not write about sex. I read that way, way too young.
posted by tocts at 6:44 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I wonder if therapists have ever written about the percentage of their patients who report having read King too young because it is just endemic in this country. I snuck IT when I was nine or so. I was twelve when I read The Stand, which was even more formative than Carrie was at that age - possibly because I knew my rage could not make me telekinetic, else it would have already, but there might somewhere be a Captain Trips.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:05 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


might

Ah, an optimist.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:57 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I wonder if therapists have ever written about the percentage of their patients who report having read King too young because it is just endemic in this country

I read The Shining when I was too young when I was too young when I spent two weeks at my grandparents at their house in the middle of nowhere on the top of a hill and it was the only book my aunt had left behind when she moved out. Recently I relayed this story to a cousin who mentioned reading it for the first time on social media and it caused a multi-generation family freakout (my dad's the oldest of 8 so it was a whole lot people who know how scary that house was).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:05 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]




I think the first Stephen King book I would have read was either 'Salem's Lot or Pet Semetary when I was 12, and I read most of my Stephen King at 13, 14 and 15. I don't think that stuff affected me.

I was more surprised at age 13 when classmates were going to see Rambo: First Blood Part II. Very violent. I saw Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the theater that year (1984) at the age of 12 or 13, and man, watching that show now... I would hope my son would never have watched that when he was 12 or 13.

However, I tend to think entertainment reflects the culture, rather than influencing the culture.
posted by My Dad at 8:39 PM on March 29


It's been a while since I read IT, but I recall that Pennywise was creepy-looking, in a subtly-off kind of way. Sort of like how the kids in the illustrations with Charlie the Choo Choo looked like they could either be laughing or screaming. And that was Pennywise's most innocuous appearance--not all the times where he looked like he had a bloody mouth or horrible teeth and so on.

I also thought the mini-series from the '90s was garbage. I think the new version of Pennywise is a lot truer to my personal mental image.

But okay, aside from that scene, there's also a whole lot in that book that brings up, "Are they really gonna show that?"

The opening scene where George Denbrough is killed quite violently
For that matter, all the adult-on-child violence, particularly Beverly's dad
The fire at the Black Spot
The scene between Patrick Hockstetter and Henry Bowers

I think that one of the reasons IT is such a groundbreaking novel is that it really paints a picture about the world from a child's point of view, and although that scene is definitely WTF from an adult perspective, I first read this book when I was about 12 and it didn't seem WTF to me at all (kids were having sex in my grade at that age, and even if they weren't, they were certainly becoming sexually aware of their peers because puberty).

I also think that if the novel and the cheesy miniseries was enough to make a generation scared of clowns, then I suspect we're about to make another generation utterly terrified of drains.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:43 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I'm so excited for this movie - I read the book when I was a kid, and I've been re-reading it periodically ever since. Part of it is the mood and the sense of place and time, but part of it is just the way he builds and fleshes out the characters. One of which is Derry itself. It's had a huge influence on me - more even than The Stand, which was my first horror novel, my first Stephen King novel, and my first "oh my god this is really good writing" novel all at once. I think Stephen King is personally responsible for my lifelong love of fiction, actually.

And the TV miniseries was so, so terrible in so many ways - it was just heartbreaking. The Stand was better, and it wasn't great. (Though it did somehow manage to cast Gary Sinise as Stu Redman, which was 100% perfect.) (I would lay down great wads of cash for a binge-worthy remake of that miniseries, by the way - Netflix, canyou hear me!?)

Regarding SK remakes, Salem's Lot has already had that treatment - the original with David Soul, which you just about can't find anymore, had a super terrifying version of vampires with neither glitter nor glamour that gave me nightmares as a kid. The newer and weirder version with Rob Lowe, who was no Nick Andros in this version of the film, had a weird vibe that never quite matched the original's spookiness, and a very weird ending.

Another surprisingly fun film that shouldn't have been re-made was the original Children of the Corn (1984) with Linda Hamilton - why they chose to re-do it with an angry un-awesome couple, when it had already been done so well with a hilarious couple-team and a hilarious pair of moppet kids, is beyond me.

Based on the trailer, this remake has the potential to be not just good for a Stephen King movie, but for a horror movie period. Seriously looking forward.

Also, from Autumnheart: I think that one of the reasons IT is such a groundbreaking novel is that it really paints a picture about the world from a child's point of view

Yes, absolutely. The world of these kids is just shockingly dangerous, and at times the danger comes from oblivious, fucked up, or actually villainous adults as much as it does from Pennywise. I think part of why it gets to me is that I grew up this way - mostly out of adults' sight for a huge percentage of my time, "out playing" wherever the hell I wanted to be. In my hometown, in my region of the US, this was just what kids did during the summer when they weren't in school and weren't necessarily wanted underfoot. I didn't feel endangered at the time - it was just "going out to play." It was only when I re-read IT later on that I understood why that theme really resonated with me.
posted by invincible summer at 8:54 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I can't tell if you are serious or if you are commenting cynically about the production hell that the current movie languished in, but in case it is the former: the dark tower movie numero uno comes out in a few short months, if ka wills it.

Quite serious. I wanna see books 1-8 and all ( even retconned, Salem's Lot lookin at you ) books in a huge neverending ( see what I did there ) movie.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:55 PM on March 29


Also I really want to know how they deal with Roland being played by Idris Elba and all the scenes of Susannah in the Drawing of the Three.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:01 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Regarding SK remakes, Salem's Lot has already had that treatment - the original with David Soul, which you just about can't find anymore, had a super terrifying version of vampires with neither glitter nor glamour that gave me nightmares as a kid.

The vampires are based on Nosferatu, I think, which, in those pre-Internet and even pre-VCR days would have been way way less of a cultural touchstone 35 years ago when the original 'Salem's Lot was produced.
posted by My Dad at 9:14 PM on March 29


This is interesting:

I wrote 'Salem's Lot during the period when the Ervin committee was sitting. That was also the period when we first learned of the Ellsberg break-in, the White House tapes, the connection between Gordon Liddy and the CIA, the news of enemies lists, and other fearful intelligence. During the spring, summer and fall of 1973, it seemed that the Federal Government had been involved in so much subterfuge and so many covert operations that, like the bodies of the faceless wetbacks that Juan Corona was convicted of slaughtering in California, the horror would never end... Every novel is to some extent an inadvertent psychological portrait of the novelist, and I think that the unspeakable obscenity in 'Salem's Lot has to do with my own disillusionment and consequent fear for the future. In a way, it is more closely related to Invasion of the Body Snatchers than it is to Dracula. The fear behind 'Salem's Lot seems to be that the Government has invaded everybody.
posted by My Dad at 9:21 PM on March 29


I hated the deus ex machina bullshit cop-out ending of The Stand.

If you're talking about the Trashcan Man and his little gift, you may be missing one of the central points of the book. If the Las Vegas group are the alt-right group, and Flagg is Hitler, then Trashy is Rudolf Hess, only instead of trying to redeem himself by flying to the other side to sue for peace, he tries to redeem himself by giving Flagg a nuke. Far from being a deus ex machina, King saw it as an inevitable consequence of someone who's really good at gaining power but doesn't really know what to do with it, especially near the end when he's starting to lose it. (Compare Flagg's tantrum when he fails to prevent either Dayna or Nadine from committing suicide to the oft-parodied scene from Downfall.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


I never saw it as a deus ex machina, since the entire post-superflu story is a God vs. Devil confrontation. Mother Abagail's walk in the wilderness because of her sin of pride, her coming back and telling Stu & Co. to journey to Vegas under strict conditions because that was God's directive, Flagg crucifying people as punishment...all of that was quite plain. The ending wasn't a cop-out, it was the conclusion of a literal hands-on divine intervention that had been going on since they started dreaming about Mother Abagail telling them to come to Nebraska.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:55 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Ooh. Just remembered:

Also, where is Bill's stutter?

IIRC, Bill stuttered infrequently before Georgie's death, and almost never when he was with Georgie and/or engrossed in an activity. It was only after Georgie died that his stutter became prominent. Where's his red hair, though?

Clearly, I'm gonna need to re-read this book. God, I think it's been over 10 years, maybe 15. That's going to be interesting.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:59 PM on March 29


Not to post-spam, but the movie Poltergeist came out in 1982 and also had a creepy clown in it. So the generational fear of clowns can't be laid entirely at Pennywise's feet.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:04 PM on March 29


I grew up reading King, probably from around the age of 9 to about 15, and I think Needful Things was the last one I read. I always loved the short stories, especially Mrs. Todd's Shortcut, but It really stood out to me, and I remember crying at the end of it, several times, due to the 'happy' ending having the characters forgetting each other, and their past. The line about how it was the last time all seven kids would ever be together, that sometimes they'd hang out, but there would always be one or two that were busy, it gutted me, more than any of the rest of the book.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:43 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


His Name Was Bob Gray
posted by mannequito at 12:24 AM on March 30


Is the fear of clowns truly generational? I have no particular fear of clowns but the one person I know in meatspace who does is over 70.

It has never been my favorite King work because of some sloppiness with adult characterizations and the manic pixie dream girl nature of Beverly Marsh, which is a trope that had no name at the time but was something that annoyed me even then. The tv miniseries was only so-so. Something about defeating evil with the weapons of childhood works pretty well in a literary context but no so much in a visual one.

But this trailer, man. It's delightfully creepy and atmospheric, reminding me of The Ring in texture and tone. Pennywise is horrifying. I'm a little disappointed in the jump scares, but hopefully that's a trailer thing and not a movie thing.
posted by xyzzy at 1:22 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Please, Hollywood, do not re-make:

The Dead Zone


I dunno, post-Trump the ending is entirely implausible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:17 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Yesterday, I was listening to XTC's Dear Madam Barnum, and started wondering about the corpus of clown rock songs. I can think of a couple of others - two by Elvis Costello! - and there must be more. Maybe I'll make an AskMe.
posted by thelonius at 4:20 AM on March 30


Is Beverly a MPDG, though? She smokes, she's indifferent about school, she has schoolgirl crushes, she rolls her eyes or gives the others crap about their behavior. She's also an abused child who ends up in an abusive marriage, and then escapes it in a pretty terrific scene where she just plain snaps and goes ballistic on her husband. (I'm not forgetting about the subplot where Tom follows her to Derry.) She mentally acknowledges the fears and emotional/mental ruts that got her into such a marriage in the first place. She has a successful career in which her authority and expertise become something she has to make up for in her personal life. Even the fact that she's beautiful tends to be used as a visible reminder of her being trapped in such harmful relationships. She doesn't exist as a means for other characters to find themselves, although they certainly interact with her and have their own thoughts about her. She's one of the group.

There was an interesting thread on Reddit yesterday about how girls in stories all seem to be Girls Alone, or the token girl in a group of boys. The thread noted how there were tons of stories about groups of boys who went on adventures and made their way through pluck and determination, but almost none about girls--unless they were the token girl (like Beverly) or a Girl Alone (like Alice in Wonderland).
posted by Autumnheart at 5:03 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Dropping into this thread to mention that I've been very much enjoying Joe Hill's fiction lately. He's Stephen King's son, and aside from being a solid horror writer he portrays the wreckage of addiction in a sympathetic and accessible manner. NOS4A2 and his comic series Locke and Key work both as supernatural and personal horror.
posted by xthlc at 5:40 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


> "I think we're good on Dead Zone and Misery. Also Shining. Everything else is fair game."

Gotta admit, I'm a little bit shocked that no one has argued for The Shawshank Redemption to get left off the remake list yet.
posted by kyrademon at 5:41 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


There's a TV series of the Dead Zone starring Anthony Michael Hall, which I personally think is quite enjoyable.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:05 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]




Also I really want to know how they deal with Roland being played by Idris Elba and all the scenes of Susannah in the Drawing of the Three.

Well, this is a different roll of the wheel of ka, my bet is that it's removed altogether although I am very sad at the possibility that Eddie and Suz won't show up at all. I honestly don't blame them because I think modern audiences wouldn't have been able to grok the dynamic of Detta/Odetta's situation/appearance/history. Sad but true, but I'll not continue a possible divergence into DT land much father lest I well and truly derail things.

The fire at the Black Spot

Pretty sure this was in the actual trailer no? So they may be dealing with that one head on. Kudos if they do.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:38 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


the manic pixie dream girl nature of Beverly Marsh

That is absolutely the last thought I would ever have about Beverly Marsh. She was her own seriously fucked up self with issues and an inner life that had nothing to do with the boys in the Loser's Club. Hooking up with grown-up Ben was far more of a reward for her, for overcoming the coping mechanisms she learned in childhood, her anxieties and struggles, and the darkness of her marriage, than it was for Ben.
posted by invincible summer at 6:56 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


In the same vein I recommend SK's short story The End of the Whole Mess which, for that very reason, strikes me to the core.

Oh, man, that story. In seventh grade, (why did we all read King fiction in seventh grade?) I ripped off the concept and repackaged it with a slightly more Flowers for Algernon sensibility, and decided it was a good idea to turn it in as a graded English class assignment. No one has ever directly confirmed the connection, but I'm like 85% certain that single event was what fast-tracked me into the exciting world of mental health professionals.
posted by Mayor West at 7:09 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I used to read every Stephen King book as it came out, but "It" kind of ended that. Reading these comments, it may be that I read it at the wrong age, and the bits that annoyed me got in the way. My favorite books are ones that came later, starting with "The Tommyknockers". "From a Buick 8" which is a bit of a follow-on to Tommyknockers and "Bag of Bones".

When he's really on, King is a righteous man in the best sense of the word. There's a minor book called "Gerald's Game" that I didn't find particularly enjoyable, but seemingly out of nowhere in the middle of it King unleashes a Jonathan Edwards level scorched earth diatribe against people who abandon their pets. Those kinds of things are always going to make him worthwhile.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:16 AM on March 30


I stopped reading It when I got to the fridged dog. I guess I missed the orgy.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:18 AM on March 30


pxe2000, that is why I deeply resented the Needful Things movie and can't go near Cujo. Wipe out 4/5 of the world's population, fine, but I have my standards -
posted by Countess Elena at 9:25 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite moments from the book is when they all realize they have to enter the solid waste pipes, and the fastidious Stan is particularly unhappy about it, because he hates to be dirty. (As if risking your life chasing a horrible monster isn't asking enough.) But he finally steels himself and says, "Well...shit washes off." I've thought of that every time I have to do an unpleasant or disgusting chore.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:32 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


I think it's about time for a modern remake of The Stand. Maybe Netflix could do a decent job?

I still have a lot of affection for the old TV mini-series, but I'd be delighted to see Netflix or Amazon take this up. It's one of my favorite King novels and the idea behind the story is so much scarier than the kind of hippie Tolkien of the original.

But, really, if there's any King story that's in tune with the current zeitgeist, it's Apt Pupil.

(I read It when it came out and I had entirely forgotten that scene. Lucky me.)
posted by octobersurprise at 10:36 AM on March 30


I've read most of Stephen King's short story collections. I personally believe that this is where he shines best. I've read half of the Dark Tower series, Wolves of the Callah is where I last left off.

But based on this post slightly derailing away from the adaptation and more into more of his fiction, I just downloaded It. I'm liking it thus far. Very pumped for this adaptation.
posted by Fizz at 11:16 AM on March 30


I think "The Mist" is one of his better pieces of writing. The movie, however, was depressing as hell, especially the ending.
posted by My Dad at 11:25 AM on March 30


Yeah, somehow they made the movie MORE bleak. Sheesh, that ending!
posted by uberchet at 11:58 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I wonder why in the post-MCU landscape of film production, no movie studio has grandly announced that they are working on a vast interconnected shared universe of all of Stephen King's works. I can only imagine the rights are scattered across a dozen studios but characters are perpetually showing up in tiny roles in other books (don't two members of the Losers' Club appear briefly in 11/22/63, a book written some thirty years after It?)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:21 PM on March 30


Richie and Beverly do, yes.

I imagine the rights of ownership are all over the place.

Speaking of "like father, like son", Joe Hill published a hilarious tweet about submission letters.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:32 PM on March 30


I can only imagine the rights are scattered across a dozen studios

I would suspect they mostly remain firmly under King's control. He's very savvy about his film deals.

(For example [Twitter self-link]: his deal with Castle Rock gives him full approval and 5% of the gross.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:39 PM on March 30


no movie studio has grandly announced that they are working on a vast interconnected shared universe of all of Stephen King's works

Given that at least 2/3 of King screen adaptations have been expensive turds, nobody'd put that kind of money in. Studio execs seem to be unable to not fuck with them until they're garbage, assuming they started from one of the better works in the first place. I mean, when one lands (Shawshank), it absolutely sticks the landing (Misery, Stand By Me), but when it doesn't, it's dire (Lawnmower Man, Maximum Overdrive, most of the others).
posted by Lyn Never at 1:30 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Given that at least 2/3 of King screen adaptations have been expensive turds, nobody'd put that kind of money in.

OTOH, I give you (a) the Star Wars prequels and (b) the figure $4.05 billion.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:56 PM on March 30


The Maximum Overdrive episode of the How Did This Get Made podcast is pretty funny.
posted by My Dad at 2:54 PM on March 30


I stopped reading It when I got to the fridged dog. I guess I missed the orgy.
posted by pxe2000


pxe2000, I dogeared the page just before, and just after, that scene, so I just blithely skip right over it. I think there is maybe one other scene I glide over, but the sex scene I actually kind of understood the point, so it doesn't offend/shock/or confuse me.
posted by annieb at 3:53 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


the MPDG speaks to the queasy inner cores of a generation of men who came of age long, long after King did, and I don't think he could write one to save his life. Beverly is a SKDG, a Stephen King dream girl, and a generic one of those is a smoking and/or drinking mother of a young boy, with an abuse history and a taste for alcoholic self-absorbed men who somehow, some way, always turn out to be the creative artist of the two if they are part of a couple where one of them is.

I do not care for them taken as a type, and King is plenty sexist in a way that is harder to recognize instantly for readers much younger than him because it's getting on in years now and is also highly personal as well as generational, which makes it more appealing. but they are nothing like MPDGs at all. he could as easily write one of those as he could write a character the young Zach Braff could play. imagine that, if you want some nightmares.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:31 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I'm a lifelong King fan. I credit his writing with helping me love reading. I also think he's had huge bombs as a writer.

Our public school librarian read "Trucks" aloud to my grade 7 or 8 class but "bleeped" out the swear words. I immediately checked out that copy of Night Shift.

But man, Maximum Overdrive. Awful, even though it combined two things I looooved: AC/DC and Stephen King. I mean, I still like those things, but that movie was such a letdown.

Lawnmower Man

WHAT WAS THAT EVEN. IT MAKES MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE LOOK LIKE THE GODFATHER.

Anyway, back to the topic of the post, here's a local footnote on the shooting of certain scenes for this adaptation of "It":


Film crew for Stephen King movie It creates horror show for Riverdale resident


Filming of Stephen King’s horror classic ‘It’ becoming nightmare for some residents

Here's the house where those scenes were shot:

Aging Riverdale mansion listed for sale for $1

And I just gotta say: those are some weak-ass headlines given the depth of material they could have worked with.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:19 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


But he finally steels himself and says, "Well...shit washes off." I've thought of that every time I have to do an unpleasant or disgusting chore.

That line pops up in Christine, as well. The state cop is investigating the deaths of Arnie's high school tormentors, and even though Arnie has alibis (Christine is taking care of them, of course), he interrogates Arnie after finding out that his car was vandalized, with one of the vandals taking a shit on the dashboard. Arnie tells him a story about how, as a very young child, he'd marked up his mother's favorite dresser with a fork, and later in his life, said that she wished that he'd smeared shit all over it instead, because shit washes off. The book is one from King's Later Drugs period, and another one that is a bit overwritten--the John Carpenter movie adaptation is much better, leaner and getting to the point of the thing, which is about having a car that does remote-control road rage--but I liked that bit quite a lot. (I even thought about it myself later in life when I was working personal-care-type jobs that frequently involved cleaning up feces.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:02 PM on March 30


I've never read IT or seen the miniseries (which I just found out is a miniseries, could've swore it was just a movie). Should I check it out? I've never read any Stephen King.
posted by gucci mane at 5:19 PM on March 31


I've never read IT or seen the miniseries (which I just found out is a miniseries, could've swore it was just a movie). Should I check it out? I've never read any Stephen King.

To dip your toe in, might I recommend The Bachman Books and Night Shift? Short story collections, so you can take or leave as you please.

Also, I really have a thing for 'Salem's Lot as a King novel.

But by all means give IT a try.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:28 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I finished re-reading the book in anticipation of this movie and figured why not make a FanFare post about the book itself since I know several of you have read it and will have Opinions.
posted by komara at 7:54 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Ha, I was just wondering if there was a FanFare post last night. I started reading last week after the exhortations in this thread, and I'm glad I did. I'm a little shy of the halfway mark, according to the Kindle, and this is absolutely King at his best. I'm on record many times about my distaste for his digressions and meanderings in his longer works, but this feels like a tight, cohesive story where every word has a job to do. I'm looking forward to joining the FanFare when I'm done.

(I actually picked up The Gunslinger before It became available from my library, and had to put it down because of all the dawdling and go-nowhere, do-nothing prose. It is tight as a drum, in comparison.)
posted by uncleozzy at 8:24 AM on April 19


Oh, cool. I'll reread too.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:07 AM on April 19


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