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''It'' (also known as ''Stephen King's It'') is a 1990 American
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
two-part
psychological horror Psychological horror is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category ...
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...
miniseries A miniseries, or mini-series, is a television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT television set ...
directed by
Tommy Lee Wallace Thomas Lee Wallace (born September 6, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing films such as ''Halloween III: Season of the Witch'', ''Fright Night Part ...
and adapted by Lawrence D. Cohen from
Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of , , , , , and novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference to his high standing in pop culture, his books have sold more than 350  ...
's 1986 novel of the same name. The story revolves around a predatory
monster A monster is a type of fictional creature found in horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horr ...

monster
that can transform itself into its prey's worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the humanoid form of Pennywise, a darkly comedic
clown A clown is a person who wears a unique makeup-face and flamboyant costume, performing comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Hum ...

clown
. The protagonists are The Lucky Seven, or The Losers Club, a group of outcast kids who discover Pennywise and vow to kill him by any means necessary. The series takes place over two different time periods, the first when the Losers first confront Pennywise as children in 1960, and the second when they return as adults in 1990 to defeat him a second time after he resurfaces. In order to increase likely viewership, the producers exaggerated the novel's more positive themes of loyalty and friendship and cast performers most well known outside the horror genre. These included Pennywise actor
Tim Curry Timothy James Curry (born 19 April 1946) is an English actor and singer. He rose to prominence for his portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' (1975), reprising the role he had originated in the 1973 London ...
and Losers Club actors Richard Thomas,
John Ritter Jonathan Southworth Ritter (September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003) was an American actor. The son of the singing cowboy A singing cowboy was a subtype of the archetypal cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle Cattle ...

John Ritter
,
Annette O'Toole Annette O'Toole (born April 1, 1952) is an American actress, dancer, and singer-songwriter. She is known for portraying Lisa Bridges in the TV series ''Nash Bridges''; Beverly Marsh in the It (miniseries), ''It'' miniseries; Lana Lang in ''Su ...
,
Harry Anderson Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian and magic (illusion), magician. He is best known for his lead role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–1992 television series ''Night Court''. He ...

Harry Anderson
,
Dennis Christopher Dennis Christopher (born Dennis Carrelli; December 2, 1955) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles in ''Breaking Away'' (1979), ''Fade to Black (1980 film), Fade to Black'' (1980), ''It (miniseries), It'' (1990), ''Chariots of Fir ...
,
Tim Reid Timothy Lee Reid (born December 19, 1944) is an American actor, comedian and film director best known for his roles in prime time American television programs, such as Venus Flytrap (WKRP in Cincinnati), Venus Flytrap on ''WKRP in Cincinnati'' ( ...
and
Richard Masur Richard Masur (born November 20, 1948) is an American character actor, who has appeared in more than 80 films. From 1995 to 1999, he served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Masur currently sits on the Corporate Board of th ...
. The miniseries' child cast includes early roles for
Jonathan Brandis Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor. Beginning his career as a child model, Brandis moved on to acting in commercials and subsequently won television and film roles. Brandis made his acting debut ...
,
Seth Green Seth Benjamin Green (born Seth Benjamin Gesshel-Green, February 8, 1974) is an American actor, producer, writer and director. He is known as a co-creator, executive producer and the most frequent voice on Adult Swim Adult Swim (stylized as ...

Seth Green
,
Emily Perkins Emily Jean Perkins (born May 4, 1977)
is a
,
Gabe Khouth Gabriel Khouth (November 22, 1972 – July 23, 2019) was a Canadian voice and television actor who worked for Ocean Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. Career Khouth had played several roles in anime, most notably Nicol Amalfi in ''Gundam SE ...
,
Laura Harris Laura Elizabeth Harris (born November 20, 1976) is a Canadian actress. Early life Harris was born in Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the List of cit ...

Laura Harris
, and
Chelan Simmons Chelan Lauren Simmons (born October 29, 1982) is a Canadian actress and former professional model. She is best known for her roles in the films ''Final Destination 3'' (2006), ''Good Luck Chuck'' (2007), and ''Tucker & Dale vs. Evil'' (2010). Sh ...
. Produced by Green/Epstein Productions, ''It'' was filmed over a period of three months in
New Westminster, British Columbia New Westminster (colloquially known as New West) is a city in the Lower Mainland The Lower Mainland is a geographic and cultural region of the mainland coast of British Columbia that generally comprises the regional district In the province o ...

New Westminster, British Columbia
in mid-1990 with a budget of $12 million, double the usual television budget. The effects and the designs of the titular antagonist's forms, including Pennywise and the creature's true form of a humanoid spider, were produced on a 12-week deadline by
Gene Warren Gene Warren Sr. (August 12, 1916 – July 17, 1997) was born in Denver, Colorado, and won an Academy Award for the special effects on George Pal's ''The Time Machine (1960 film), The Time Machine'' in 1960. He also contributed to such projects as ' ...
's Fantasy II, who had a previous portfolio in theatrical work before working on ''It''.
Broadcast Standards and Practices In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, sta ...
constricted the amount of blood and gore it could show, resulting in an unusually psychologically-horrific and character-driven horror production for its time. The miniseries was first broadcast during the November sweeps month. Despite the risk factors, mixed pre-airing critical reviews, and coverage of
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer ...

President
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
's foreign trips cutting into the program; ''It'' managed to be ABC's biggest success of 1990, pulling through with 30 million viewers for its two parts. When it came to awards, ''It'' was nominated for two
Emmy Award The Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the television industry. It is considered one of the four major entertainment awards in the United States, the others being the Grammy The Grammy Award (stylized ...
s, one Eddie Award, one award, and a best miniseries recognition from the
People's Choice Awards The People's Choice Awards is an American awards show, recognizing people in entertainment, voted online by the general public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people A people is a plu ...
; it won two of the nominations, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for
Richard BellisRichard Roe Bellis (born April 3, 1946 in Pasadena Pasadena () is a city in Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, is the most populous county in the United States The United States o ...
' score and an Eddie Award for the miniseries' editing. While divided critical perspectives towards ''It'' have continued in later years, the miniseries has become most known for Curry's version of Pennywise. In fact, his portrayal has been considered by several publications to be one of the scariest clown characters in film and television. ''It'' has also spawned an
Indiegogo Indiegogo is an American crowdfunding Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, in modern times typically via the . Crowdfunding is a form of and . In 2015 ...
-funded
documentary film A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional film, motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a Recorded history, historical record". Bill Nichols (film critic), Bi ...
about the miniseries' production, titled ''Pennywise: The Story of IT'' (2020); and an alternate history sequel short named ''Georgie'', also by the producers of the documentary and bringing back original Georgie actor Tony Dakota.


Plot

During a heavy rainstorm in
Derry, Maine Derry is a fictional town in the U.S. state of Maine that has served as the setting for a number of Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fi ...
in the spring of 1960, Georgie Denbrough plays in the streets with a paper sailboat made by his stuttering older brother
Bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote, paper cash (especially in the United States) * Bill (law), a proposed law put before a legislature * Invoice, commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer * Bill, a bird or animal's beak Plac ...
. It goes down a storm drain, where Georgie encounters an eccentric man who introduces himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Pennywise entices Georgie to reach in to retrieve his boat, only to tear his arm off and leave him to bleed to death. A few months later, Bill and asthmatic
Eddie Kaspbrak Eddie or Eddy may refer to: Science and technology *Eddy (fluid dynamics) In fluid dynamics In physics and engineering, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that describes the flow of fluids—liquids and gases. It has several ...
befriend the chubby new kid
Ben Hanscom ''It'' is a 1986 horror fiction, horror novel by American author Stephen King. ''It'' was his 22nd book and his 17th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by an evil entity ...
. They are later joined by
Beverly Marsh Beverly "Bev" Marsh is a fictional character created by Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of , , , , , and novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference to h ...
, who lives with her abusive father, and she and Ben are introduced to Bill and Eddie's other friends: the comical Richie Tozier and Jewish
boy scout A Scout (in some countries a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Pathfinder) is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and Developmental psychology, development span, many Scouti ...
Stan Uris. As they begin to know each other, Ben develops feelings for Beverly but discovers she has feelings for Bill. Besides being bullied by Henry Bowers and his gang, the children all have encounters with Pennywise. In July, the group is joined by Mike Hanlon (Marlon Taylor), an African American kid being pursued by Bowers' gang. The children, dubbing themselves as the Losers Club, chase them off with a rock fight. While looking through Mike's history scrapbook, the Losers realize that Pennywise, whom they refer to as "IT", is not a human being but rather an ancient creature who awakens every thirty years to hunt and eat children. Bill realizes IT killed Georgie, leading the Losers into Derry's sewers to kill the creature. Stan becomes separated from the group and is ambushed by Bowers and his friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, but the latter two are killed by IT. Henry is left traumatized, his hair turned white. Stanley regroups with the Losers but is grabbed by IT. The Losers take advantage of It's ability to access their imaginations and use it against him. Eddie imagines his inhaler is full of battery acid, melting half of the creature's face. Beverly fires silver earrings at IT, the Losers believing it can kill the creature. IT retreats in a drain before grabbing Bill's arm. It's glove rips off and reveals a large three-fingered claw that disappears through the drain. After concluding IT is dead, the group exits the sewers and makes a promise to return if IT should ever resurface. Bowers, driven insane by seeing IT kill his friends, falsely confesses to the killings and is institutionalized. Thirty years later in May 1990, IT reawakens and kills a little girl in her backyard, prompting another child-killing spree. Mike, who was the only one to stay in Derry, contacts his old friends to fulfill their vow after hearing reports of missing children. All of the Losers, who have gone on to have successful careers, return, except Stan, who commits suicide. The other Losers return to Derry and reunite, later learning of Stan's suicide. Upon returning, they are all terrorized by Pennywise. Bowers escapes from the asylum to murder the Losers. Bill's British wife, Audra, travels to Derry but is captured by IT, hypnotized by the monster's "Deadlights". Bowers attacks and stabs Mike, but in return is killed by Eddie. Mike is hospitalized, giving Bill the two silver earrings he retrieved from the sewers. The five remaining Losers return to the sewers to confront IT, and Bill discovers Audra has been taken prisoner. They reach IT's inner sanctum, find the catatonic Audra, and discover IT's true form of a gigantic, otherworldly spider. Bill, Ben, and Richie are entranced by the Deadlights, while Beverly retrieves the silver earrings after misfiring them. Eddie attempts to repeat the wound he inflicted on IT as a child but is mortally wounded. Beverly frees her friends, but Eddie dies. The others chase the injured demon, ripping out its heart and killing IT. They remove Eddie's body and the catatonic Audra from the sewers. The Losers go their separate ways once again, their memories of IT and each other fading over time. Mike recovers in the hospital, Beverly and Ben get married and are expecting their first child, and Richie is cast in a film. Bill is the last to leave Derry, coaxing Audra out of her catatonia by riding down a street on his childhood bike "Silver". Audra recovers and she and Bill kiss in the middle of town.


Cast and characters

''It'''s main ensemble features actors not very well known in horror, such as John Ritter, Tim Reid, Harry Anderson, and Tim Curry. Thomas' only previous horror venture was '' Tales from the Crypt''; and Anderson's experience in the genre included an episode in the series and his magician shows, where he would eat live animals, put a nail up in his nose, and catch a gun bullet with his teeth. This casting was unusual for a horror production at the time, but producer Jim Green reasoned that it was in order to increase eyeballs from more easily frightened casual viewers. The majority of the adult actors in the film, including Ritter,
Dennis Christopher Dennis Christopher (born Dennis Carrelli; December 2, 1955) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles in ''Breaking Away'' (1979), ''Fade to Black (1980 film), Fade to Black'' (1980), ''It (miniseries), It'' (1990), ''Chariots of Fir ...
, Reid and Anderson, were hand-chosen by Wallace and Cohen for their roles.
Emily Perkins Emily Jean Perkins (born May 4, 1977)
is a
and Marlon Taylor, who played the young Beverly Marsh and Mike Hanlon, were cast out of Vancouver, while
Seth Green Seth Benjamin Green (born Seth Benjamin Gesshel-Green, February 8, 1974) is an American actor, producer, writer and director. He is known as a co-creator, executive producer and the most frequent voice on Adult Swim Adult Swim (stylized as ...

Seth Green
and
Jonathan Brandis Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor. Beginning his career as a child model, Brandis moved on to acting in commercials and subsequently won television and film roles. Brandis made his acting debut ...
were cast out of
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
for the parts of young Richie and Bill.


It

It is the titular shapeshifting antagonist of the miniseries whose primary form is a wisecracking clown named Pennywise, played by
Tim Curry Timothy James Curry (born 19 April 1946) is an English actor and singer. He rose to prominence for his portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' (1975), reprising the role he had originated in the 1973 London ...
. Curry used
Robin Williams Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951August 11, 2014) was an American actor and comedian. Known for his improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Impro ...

Robin Williams
-esque natural improvisation when playing Pennywise, giving the character a
Bronx accent The phonology, sound system of New York City English is popularly known as a New York accent. The New York metropolitan area, New York metropolitan accent is one of the most recognizable accent (sociolinguistics), accents of the United States, la ...
in order to sound like, as Curry put it, "an old-time Catskills comic." While the original novel showcased It taking on many other incarnations, the miniseries only features four of them (not counting the forms of Georgie, Stan, and Al Marsh): an elderly lady Beverly meets named Mrs. Kersh, portrayed by Florence Paterson; Ben's dead father Captain Hanscom, played by Steve Makaj; a werewolf Richie encounters after viewing ''
I Was a Teenage Werewolf ''I Was a Teenage Werewolf'' is a 1957 horror film starring Michael Landon as a troubled teenager, Yvonne Lime and Whit Bissell. It was co-written and produced by cult film producer Herman Cohen and was one of the most successful films released b ...
'' (1957) played by an unknown actor (A 1991 ''
Fangoria ''Fangoria'' is an internationally distributed American horror film fan magazine, in publication since 1979. It is published four times a year by Fangoria Publishing, LLC and is edited by Phil Nobile Jr. The magazine was originally released in ...

Fangoria
'' feature states an actor played the werewolf, but it did not specify who and the actor is not credited in the miniseries); and It's true spiderlike form, portrayed by Brent Baker. According to writer Lawrence D. Cohen, he had written the script for the series without a specific actor in mind for the role of Pennywise.
Malcolm McDowell Malcolm McDowell (born Malcolm John Taylor; 13 June 1943) is an English actor. He is best known for his boisterous, charismatic and villainous roles. He was born in the Horsforth suburb of Leeds and raised in Liverpool. He later trained at the L ...

Malcolm McDowell
,
Roddy McDowall Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall (17 September 1928 – 3 October 1998) was a British-born American actor, film director and photographer. He is best known for portraying Cornelius and Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC ...
, and
Alice Cooper Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier, February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With a raspy voice and a stage show that features numerous props, including pyrotechnics, guillotines, e ...

Alice Cooper
were in consideration to play Pennywise, but director Tommy Lee Wallace wanted Curry for the role. King recalled that there was doubt from the crew about Curry playing Pennywise, perhaps due to the actor previously being known for comic roles in films like ''
The Rocky Horror Picture Show ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' is a 1975 musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General ...
'' (1975) and ''
Clue Clue may refer to: People with the name * DJ Clue? (born 1975), mixtape DJ * Arthur Clues (1924–1998), Australian rugby league footballer * Ivan Clues * Tim Cluess Arts, entertainment, and media ''Clue'' entertainment franchise * ''Cluedo' ...
'' (1985). However, Wallace wasn't a fan of the other choices, particularly McDowall, as Wallace found him to have too much "sweetness" to play a part like Pennywise. Curry took the role for the clown's "subversive nature," being "both beguiling and murderous" and "a smile gone bad." He was also originally planned to play all of It's forms, not just the clown; however, the crew thought it was more efficient to have different actors play the other forms so they did not have to take up so much time dealing with makeup changes. Because of the amount of makeup Curry's character required, he had the earliest call time of all the actors. On each shooting day, it took at least three hours for him to take off his make-up and get out of his costume. Curry's performance unnerved the cast and crew so much they avoided him as much as possible while on set. While waiting between shots, Curry would be chain-smoking and showing his sharp teeth if one of the child actors got too close to him; as Perkins recalled, "He really tried to intimidate us, because he wanted the fear to be real in our performances." However, Wallace recalled having a pleasant time working with Curry: "Tim was always well-prepared, easy on set, patient and low-key." In a 2015 interview with ''
Moviefone Moviefone is an United States, American-based moving pictures listing and information service. Moviegoers can obtain local showtimes, cinema information, film reviews, and advance tickets, as well as TV content and a comprehensive search tool tha ...
'', Curry called the role of Pennywise "a wonderful part", giving his blessing to would-be successor
Will Poulter William Jack Poulter (born 28 January 1993) is an English actor. He first gained recognition for his role as Eustace Scrubb in the fantasy adventure film ''The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader'' (2010). Poulter received furth ...
, who ultimately dropped out. replaced him, and while being interviewed at Fan Expo Canada, Curry gave his approval, saying that "I like
ill Ill or ill may refer to: * Ill (France) The Ill (; ) is a river in Alsace, in north-eastern France, and a left-bank, or western, tributary of the Rhine. It is long. It starts down from its source near the village of Winkel, Haut-Rhin, Winke ...
Skarsgård. I think he's very clever. It'll be interesting to see what sort of clown face he puts on. because it's not an obvious clown face at all. .So I'm fascinated to see it."


The Losers

* Richard Thomas portrays
Bill Denbrough William "Bill" Denbrough is a fictional character created by Stephen King and the main protagonist of his 1986 novel ''It (novel), It''. The character is considered to be the leader of "The Losers Club" and initiates finding and killing It (char ...
, the stuttering founder of the Losers Club whose desire to kill Pennywise is heavily influenced by the death of his younger brother Georgie. As an adult, he is a bestselling horror writer who lives in the United Kingdom before returning to Derry to face It in the present time.
Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of , , , , , and novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference to his high standing in pop culture, his books have sold more than 350  ...
fan himself, Thomas easily related with the character he portrayed, as he was an easily frightened kid and had an imagination "so vivid that I could scare myself about just about anything. And I've never been particularly fond of snakes."
Jonathan Brandis Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor. Beginning his career as a child model, Brandis moved on to acting in commercials and subsequently won television and film roles. Brandis made his acting debut ...
, who played young Bill, described his role the hardest he had ever done, especially when it came to performing the stuttering. *
Annette O'Toole Annette O'Toole (born April 1, 1952) is an American actress, dancer, and singer-songwriter. She is known for portraying Lisa Bridges in the TV series ''Nash Bridges''; Beverly Marsh in the It (miniseries), ''It'' miniseries; Lana Lang in ''Su ...
portrays
Beverly Marsh Beverly "Bev" Marsh is a fictional character created by Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of , , , , , and novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference to h ...
, the only female member of the Losers Club, and a fashion designer who has lived both in an abusive family and an abusive relationship. O'Toole was cast in the film at the suggestion of Ritter, with whom she had recently shot ''The Dreamer of Oz'', and she recalled the process happening very quickly. As O'Toole described the character, What I loved about the character was the way she dealt with this terrible, lonely and abusive childhood she had and the way she found a family with these other kids. She kind of gets into this club, and it doesn't really matter that she's a girl. They accept her, and she finds a group of really kindred souls." As Ritter explained the experience of being with O'Toole between breaks, "It was fun to refer to Annette as the 'it' girl when we went to restaurants together. She was the only woman with us and people thought it was kind of strange for six men to be out with one woman."
Emily Perkins Emily Jean Perkins (born May 4, 1977)
is a
portrays young Beverly Marsh. *
John Ritter Jonathan Southworth Ritter (September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003) was an American actor. The son of the singing cowboy A singing cowboy was a subtype of the archetypal cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle Cattle ...

John Ritter
portrays
Ben Hanscom ''It'' is a 1986 horror fiction, horror novel by American author Stephen King. ''It'' was his 22nd book and his 17th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by an evil entity ...
, an architect who also became a
bodybuilder Bodybuilding is the use of Weight training, progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one's Muscle, musculature (muscle building) by muscle hypertrophy for aesthetic purposes. It is distinct from similar activities such as powerl ...

bodybuilder
after being obese as a child. Ritter had previously worked with Thomas on ''
The Waltons ''The Waltons'' is an American historical drama A historical drama (also period drama, costume drama, and period piece) is a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. Historical drama includes historic ...

The Waltons
''. Ritter related to the role of Ben; as a child, he also called his friends "losers" during his most depressed moments. This was Ritter's first horror production, which excited him: "The thing I like about horror is you have to ask: Can I take it? It's like going on a roller-coaster ride. How far can you hang over the edge before you have to pull back? It's the idea that there is this dark side." A huge King fan after the novel ''Carrie'' was released, Ritter made multiple attempts to appear in a King screen adaptation before ''It'', all of which failed; his most recent of these was trying to get in touch with
George A. Romero George Andrew Romero (; February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States o ...
to star in a later-rejected theatrical version of ''
The Stand ''The Stand'' is a post-apocalyptic up Joseph Pennell's 1918 prophetic Liberty bond poster calls up the pictorial image of a bombed New York City">Liberty_bond.html" ;"title="Joseph Pennell's 1918 prophetic Liberty bond">Joseph Pennell's ...
'' Romero was planned to direct. Ritter then heard about a feature-length version of ''It'' in development and asked his manager, "Tell them BCI'll play any part they want me to. I'll play the girl." Initially, Ritter was unable to appear in the miniseries as casting began just as he started filming '' The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story'' (1990). However, the casting was postponed following Romero's leave of the ''It'' project (see
Development Development or developing may refer to: Arts *Development hell Development hell, development purgatory, development limbo, or production hell, is a media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tool ...

Development
), which opened space for him to get the part of Ben. The young version of Ben is played by Brandon Crane, who, like Ritter, also connected with the character he played; he was raised without a dad and bullied for being fat at school in real life. Crane would later cameo in ''
It Chapter Two ''It Chapter Two'' is a 2019 American supernatural horror film and the second installment of the ''It'' film series based on the 1986 It (novel), novel by Stephen King. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti, returning from the first film, wi ...
'' (2019) as a working assistant for the adult Ben Hanscom, who was played by Jay Ryan in the film. *
Harry Anderson Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian and magic (illusion), magician. He is best known for his lead role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–1992 television series ''Night Court''. He ...

Harry Anderson
portrays
Richie Tozier Richard "Richie" Tozier is a fictional character created by Stephen King Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of , , , , , and novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference ...
, the
comedic relief Comic Relief is an operating British charity, founded in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia, famine in Ethiopia. The concept of Comic Relief was to get Brit ...
of the group who works as a late night television comedian and did funny impressions of real-life figures as a child. Anderson used improvisation with delivering one-liners for his character, and even made a directing suggestion to Wallace for a moment where all the Losers Club members hug Bill except for Richie; Wallace wasn't sure about the decision at first, but Anderson's idea was executed in the final cut as Richie was the only cynical member of the group after Stan's death.
Seth Green Seth Benjamin Green (born Seth Benjamin Gesshel-Green, February 8, 1974) is an American actor, producer, writer and director. He is known as a co-creator, executive producer and the most frequent voice on Adult Swim Adult Swim (stylized as ...

Seth Green
plays young Richie. *
Dennis Christopher Dennis Christopher (born Dennis Carrelli; December 2, 1955) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles in ''Breaking Away'' (1979), ''Fade to Black (1980 film), Fade to Black'' (1980), ''It (miniseries), It'' (1990), ''Chariots of Fir ...
portrays
Eddie Kaspbrak Eddie or Eddy may refer to: Science and technology *Eddy (fluid dynamics) In fluid dynamics In physics and engineering, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that describes the flow of fluids—liquids and gases. It has several ...
, an asthmatic limousine service runner who has lived with his overbearing mother into his adult life.
Jim Carrey James Eugene Carrey (born January 17, 1962) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. Known for his energetic slapstick Slapstick is a style of humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English la ...

Jim Carrey
was originally considered for the character before Christoper was chosen. Adam Faraizl plays Young Eddie. *
Tim Reid Timothy Lee Reid (born December 19, 1944) is an American actor, comedian and film director best known for his roles in prime time American television programs, such as Venus Flytrap (WKRP in Cincinnati), Venus Flytrap on ''WKRP in Cincinnati'' ( ...
portrays Mike Hanlon, the only black person in the Losers Club, as well as the only one to remain in Derry following the Losers Club's first defeat of It in 1960. Working as a librarian in the town, he calls all of the Losers to return to Derry 30 years later.
David Alan Grier David Alan Grier (born June 30, 1956) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his work on the sketch comedy television show ''In Living Color'', as Bernard on ''Damon (TV series), Damon'' (1998), as David Bellows on ''Life with B ...

David Alan Grier
was initially considered for the role of Mike before Reid was cast. The young version of Mike is portrayed by Marlon Taylor, who recalled going through "two auditions and three or four callbacks before I was told that I had the part of young Mike." *
Richard Masur Richard Masur (born November 20, 1948) is an American character actor, who has appeared in more than 80 films. From 1995 to 1999, he served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Masur currently sits on the Corporate Board of th ...
portrays Stanley Uris, a real estate broker who was a Jewish
Boy Scout A Scout (in some countries a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Pathfinder) is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and Developmental psychology, development span, many Scouti ...
as a kid. Due to the character's early death, Masur has far less screen time than the other Loser actors. Ben Heller, who played young Stan, only had local theatre experience, small parts in ''
21 Jump Street ''21 Jump Street'' is an American police procedural The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of procedural drama and detective fiction that emphasizes the investigative procedure of a police officer or department as the pro ...

21 Jump Street
'' and ''
Wiseguy Wise guy or Wiseguy may refer to: Film and TV * Wiseguy (TV series), ''Wiseguy'' (TV series), a US television series * ''The Wise Guy'', a 1926 silent crime drama film directed by Frank Lloyd * ''The Wise Guys'', a 1965 French comedy film directed ...
'', and no commercial or modeling experience before auditioning for ''It''. He got the role after his third read to the casting director, receiving the call claiming he got the part just after his seventeenth birthday. Given that the shooting entailed an adult cast with child counterparts, Wallace sought to have the adult actors meet with the children playing the younger versions of their characters: "We made a point of bringing the adult and children actors together for a couple of days, even though it was costly, since the adults and the kids have no scenes together." For Ritter and Crane, the two looked very different, which meant they had to make similar the young and adult versions of Ben through actions and facial expressions.


Supporting cast

Because ''It'' was filmed in Vancouver, most of the supporting cast consists of actors well known in Canadian media and theater; exceptions include British actress
Olivia Hussey Olivia Hussey (née Osuna; 17 April 1951) is an English film, stage, and television actress. Her accolades include a Golden Globe Awards, Golden Globe Award and a David di Donatello, David di Donatello Award. The daughter of Argentine opera sin ...
as Bill's wife Audra, Tony Dakota as his brother
Georgie Denbrough George Elmer Denbrough is a fictional character created by Stephen King from his 1986 horror novel ''It (novel), It''. Georgie is the younger brother of Bill Denbrough, and falls prey to It (character), Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He is used by ...
, and Michael Cole as Henry Bowers. Jarred Blancard played the young version of Henry; he hated having to call the character Mike Hanlon the n word, often apologizing to the actor playing young Mike, Marlon Taylor, for repeatedly using the word during practice. The two actors remained friends after filming had wrapped. The number of the Bowers Gang are reduced from seven in the novel to five for the miniseries:
Gabe Khouth Gabriel Khouth (November 22, 1972 – July 23, 2019) was a Canadian voice and television actor who worked for Ocean Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. Career Khouth had played several roles in anime, most notably Nicol Amalfi in ''Gundam SE ...
as Victor Criss and Chris Eastman as Belch Huggins, while the actors of Peter Gordon and Moose Sadler go uncredited. Other relatives of members of the Loser Clubs include Sheila Moore as Eddie's mother Ms. Kaspbrak; Michael Ryan as Beverly's abusive boyfriend Tom Rogan;
Frank C. Turner Francis Charles Turner (born June 2, 1951) is a Canadian actor An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance (also actress; #The term actress, see below). The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the th ...
as her just-as-abusive father Alvin Marsh; Caitlin Hicks as Stanley's wife Patti; Steven Hilton and Sheelah Megill as Bill's parents Zack and Sharon respectively; Noel Geer as Cousin Bradley; Susan Astley as Aunt Jean; and Claire Vardiel as Ben's girlfriend Arlene Hanscom.
Chelan Simmons Chelan Lauren Simmons (born October 29, 1982) is a Canadian actress and former professional model. She is best known for her roles in the films ''Final Destination 3'' (2006), ''Good Luck Chuck'' (2007), and ''Tucker & Dale vs. Evil'' (2010). Sh ...
, who played Pennywise's first victim Laurie Ann Winterbarger, had her first non-commercial experience with ''It''; she would later be known for appearing in several 21st-century budget horror films and a 2002 telefilm version of ''Carrie''. Due to her fear of clowns, she has admitted to never seeing the miniseries or reading the original novel. The girl's mother is portrayed by Merrilyn Gann. Two
Gemini Award The Gemini Awards were awards given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is a Canada, Canadian non-profit organization created in 1979 to recognize the achievements of the over 4,000 Canadia ...
winners,
Nicola Cavendish Nicola Cavendish (born 11 November 1952) is an English-born Canadians, Canadian theatre and film actress. Early life Cavendish was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England and brought up in British Columbia, Canada. She began her acting ...
and
Venus Terzo Venus Terzo is a Canadian actress who played Detective Angela Kosmo in ''Da Vinci's Inquest'' and its spinoff, ''Da Vinci's City Hall''. She was nominated in 2002 for the Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dra ...
, appear as a desk clerk and a woman named Lyndi respectively. Terence Kelly, who portrays officer Nell, was nominated for a Gemini for another role as an officer in '' Reg Serge''. Two veterans of ''
The X-Files ''The X-Files'' is an American science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and ...
'' appear in ''It'': William B. Davis as Mr. Gedreau, and
Megan Leitch Megan Leitch is a Canadian actress probably best known for playing Samantha Mulder on ''The X-Files''. Filmography Film *Sister Yvonne / Felicity in ''Omen IV: The Awakening'' (1991) *Eliza in ''The Resurrected'' (1991) *Mother in ''Knight Mov ...
as a library aide Richie talks to while being taunted by Pennywise. Other well-known Canadian actors in the miniseries include
Laura Harris Laura Elizabeth Harris (born November 20, 1976) is a Canadian actress. Early life Harris was born in Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the List of cit ...

Laura Harris
as Loni;
Garry Chalk Garry Chalk is a British-born Canadian actor. He has provided the voices for Optimus Primal of ''Beast Wars: Transformers'' and ''Beast Machines'', as well as Optimus Prime in the anime English dubs of ''Transformers: Armada'', ''Transformers E ...
, most known for voice acting, as Eddie's gym class coach;
Jay Brazeau Jay Brazeau (born December 22, 1953) is a Canadian actor, best known for his role as Sam Fisher in ''Cold Squad'', as Harlan in ''Stargate SG-1'' (1997-2007), and for voicing Uncle Quigley in ''Sabrina: The Animated Series''. and as Bobby in ''Do ...
as a taxi driver; Paul Batten as Eddie's pharmacist; Donna Peerless and Tom Heaton as teachers Miss Douglas and Mr. Keene; and Kim Kondrashoff, Helena Yea, and Charles Siegel as the Losers' classmates, Joey, Rose, and Nat respectively.


Context

There was only one television version of a Stephen King story before ''It'', that being the 1979 adaptation of ''
'Salem's Lot ''Salem's Lot'' is a 1975 horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Hor ...
'' (1975), directed by
Tobe Hooper Willard Tobe Hooper (; January 25, 1943 – August 26, 2017) was an American director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his work in the horror film, horror genre. The British Film Institute cited Hooper as one of the most influenti ...
. Although critically acclaimed, it did not change King's negative view on horror television as he still believed that the format was "too institutionally fainthearted and unimaginative to handle real horror" in 1983. This skepticism continued in the mid-1980s when he wrote and published '' It'' (1986), and he never thought a television version of the book would happen despite its success. His reason was that it was a censorship rule not to show children in jeopardy, a major theme in ''It''. ''It'' was written over four years by King with inspirations from the story "
Three Billy Goats Gruff "Three Billy Goats Gruff" ( no, De tre bukkene Bruse) is a Norwegian folklore, Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in their ''Norwegian Folktales, Norske Folkeeventyr'', first published between 1841 and 1844 ...
" and legends about
Bangor, Maine Bangor () is a city in the U.S. state of Maine and the county seat of Penobscot County, Maine, Penobscot County. The city proper has a population of 33,039, making it the state's 3rd-largest settlement, behind Portland, Maine, Portland (66,882) ...
's sewer system. Despite garnering a polarized critical response for its huge number of pages and bizarre sexual sequences, ''It'' was the best-selling hardcover fiction book in the United States in 1986, according to ''
Publishers Weekly ''Publishers Weekly'' (''PW'') is an American weekly trade news magazine '' 2512'', a monthly news magazine published in Réunion. A news magazine is a typed, printed, and published magazine, radio or television program, usually published wee ...
''; and a
British Fantasy Award The British Fantasy Awards are awarded annually by the British Fantasy Society The British Fantasy Society (BFS) was founded in 1971 as the British Weird Fantasy Society, an offshoot of the British Science Fiction Association. The society is de ...
winner. King's predictions about a TV version of the book not happening, while false, were also justified according to newspaper critic Matt Roush. At the end of the 1980s, a horror product of any kind was an unlikely gamble for a network. The television market was dominated by sitcoms,
soap opera A soap opera or ''soap'' for short is a radio or television serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), p ...
s, and fictional presentations of real life events; there were series like ''
Freddy's Nightmares ''Freddy's Nightmares'' (also known as ''A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series'') is an American Horror fiction, horror Anthology series, anthology television series, which aired in Broadcast syndication, syndication from October 1988 until March ...
'' (1988–90) and '' Friday the 13th: The Series'' (1987–90), but they were often hampered by network censorship, commercial breaks, low budgets, and "cheesy execution." Other factors increased the risk of a network doing a film or miniseries version of a King story in the late 1980s to 1990; theatrical King screen transfers were performing poorly at the
box office A box office or ticket office is a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event. Patrons may perform the transaction at a countertopImage:Kitchen 050918 154652.jpg, A stainless steel countertop A countertop, also count ...

box office
, and big TV events like miniseries or films were becoming far less important to viewers due to a rise in VCR ownership by 20 percent from 1985 to 1990. This resulted in channels like
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
taking several cost-cutting measures, such as adding more regular series to its lineup. Some critics also questioned the airing of a horror film like ''It'' on television, a format much easier for children to access than theaters due to less parental and government restrictions. King described his expectations of the miniseries being "in the basement. Here was a book that sprawled over 1,000 pages, and they were going to cram it into four hours, with commercials."


Pre-production


Motive

Hollywood significantly increased their interest in screen adaptations of King's work after the box office success of ''
Pet Sematary ''Pet Sematary'' is a 1983 horror novel Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, or disgust. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length. ...
'' (1989), and several of went into development; around this time, ABC had acquired the rights to a television miniseries of ''It'' and green-lit it to be an eight-to-ten-hour miniseries. One reason, according to Lawrence D. Cohen, was that it was "the heyday of networks adapting lengthy novels for TV." ABC film chief Allen Sabinson explained that they chose to produce ''It'' as a previous film based on a King story about children, '' Stand by Me'' (1986), was a success. The producers were also focused on the story's
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...
aspects, likely due to most viewers leaning towards drama productions in 1990. ''It'' was also being made in a time when the television landscape was making a slight change into unusual styles, as indicated by the popularity of shows like
David Lynch David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker, painter, visual artist, musician, and writer. A recipient of an Academy Honorary Award The Academy Honorary Award – instituted in 1950 for the 23rd Academy Awards (previo ...

David Lynch
's ''
Twin Peaks ''Twin Peaks'' is an American mystery Mystery, The Mystery, Mysteries or The Mysteries may refer to: People * Mystery (pickup artist) Erik von Markovik (born September 24, 1971), more popularly known by his stage name, Mystery, is a Canadi ...

Twin Peaks
'' (1990–91) and '' Tales from the Crypt'' (1989–96). In fact, ''Twin Peaks'' was constantly referenced in discussions between the cast and crew of ''It'' during shooting. As
Tommy Lee Wallace Thomas Lee Wallace (born September 6, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing films such as ''Halloween III: Season of the Witch'', ''Fright Night Part ...
recalled, "It brought everyone's attention to the fact that it doesn't have to be like and look like and act like everything else to succeed. You can break new ground – not with hard-core violence or nudity, necessarily – but just by being different and strange, which I certainly am trying to bring to ''It''." At the same time,
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
was taking similar chances with the horror film '' Psycho IV: The Beginning'' (1990), which aired in the same month as ''It'' and also featured
Olivia Hussey Olivia Hussey (née Osuna; 17 April 1951) is an English film, stage, and television actress. Her accolades include a Golden Globe Awards, Golden Globe Award and a David di Donatello, David di Donatello Award. The daughter of Argentine opera sin ...
, who played Audra in ''It''.


Development

George A. Romero George Andrew Romero (; February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States o ...
had originally been signed on to direct the project, which at the time ABC had planned for an eight-to-ten-hour series that would run over four two-hour blocks. On June 1, 1989, ABC announced that the miniseries would be six hours and directed by Romero, with no cast planned. A July 1989 announcement published in the ''
Houston Chronicle The ''Houston Chronicle'' is the largest daily newspaper in Houston, Texas Houston ( ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classif ...
'' indicates that the miniseries was originally planned to be set in "small-town Massachusetts" instead of Derry. In an interview published in January 1990, ABC's Dan Doran described ''It'' as a "long-range development project, and it's not even a firm, 100% commitment yet." He also revealed Romero's involvement to be "tentative." However, Romero described himself as being incredibly involved in the project: "I worked with the effects guys. I did
tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
boards. I must have thousands of pages of scripts and notes." However, a scheduling conflict with his 1990 remake of ''
Night of the Living Dead ''Night of the Living Dead'' is a 1968 American Independent film, independent horror film written, directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero, co-written by John A. Russo, John Russo, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea. The st ...
'' (1968) resulted in him having to leave the project just after ABC decreased the length of the miniseries to four hours. His exit initially upset him because it reminded him of his time being dropped from ''Pet Sematary''. However, he stated in 1993 that he appreciated his leave, feeling that the length decrease lessened the likely "impact" of the miniseries' final product. The producers were also worried about Romero making the miniseries too graphic for television. The producers "lost their nerve" from how much work they could be faced doing an eight-to-ten hour miniseries. Thus, ABC condensed it to a three-part series, before shortly after making it a two-part miniseries once
Tommy Lee Wallace Thomas Lee Wallace (born September 6, 1949) is an American film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror genre, directing films such as ''Halloween III: Season of the Witch'', ''Fright Night Part ...
was signed on to direct after reading a draft of the first part of Cohen's script.


Writing

Cohen, who had previously written the
film adaptation A film adaptation is the transfer of a work or story, in whole or in part, to a feature film. Although often considered a type of derivative work In copyright law Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclu ...
of ''
Carrie Carrie may refer to: People * Carrie (name), a female given name and occasionally a surname Places in the United States * Carrie, Kentucky, an unincorporated community * Carrie, Virginia, an unincorporated community * Carrie Glacier, Olympic Na ...
'' in 1976, was hired to write ''It'', receiving a manuscript of the novel that was sent to his New York apartment in 1986 before the book was published. Although King had multiple drafts of the script sent to him by Cohen, he had little to no involvement in the writing of the miniseries. Cohen's early drafts rejected the flashback format of the book, where the first night would show the Losers as kids and the second part as adults. He originally planned for the spider form to be hinted at in part one when Pennywise was hit by the rock, but the idea was scrapped. Cohen also initially wrote the second episode as, according to Wallace, "a very interior melodrama" that differed heavily from the novel and where Tom Rogan played a much bigger role in the plot. In reading Cohen's draft, Wallace initially avoided reading the book to get an objective view of it: "I knew I was dealing with people who had been intimately involved with the book for years." After noticing many issues in the script, especially in the second part, Wallace give Cohen an offer to rewrite his drafts; however, that would have required Cohen to take a three-week trip to the miniseries' Vancouver production location, which his schedule would not permit as he was involved in other projects. This led Wallace to have to re-write the script himself and use the book as reference, which turned out to fix all of the original drafts' issues. As Wallace explained, "One of the things I believe I contributed in my rewrite was just packing in as much of what was memorable about the book." He added the flashback structuring from the book into the script and made sure the screenplay for the second part "maintainsome of the rhythm" of the first.


Changes from the novel

Given the length of the King novel, which runs 1,138 pages, a great deal of material was left out of Cohen's 215-page screenplay, including subplots concerning the personal lives of the adult characters, one of which had the main male characters each losing their
virginity Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is a sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner i ...
to Beverly. Cohen, while upset about the material that did not make it in the final cut, also opined, "the best moments from the book made the cut and the rest are casualties of war." Themes of friendship and loyalty were distorted in the miniseries in order to appeal to non-horror TV viewers. O'Toole has admitted to disliking the removal of the Losers' orgy scene: "This was their greatest attachment to one another – she thought they were all going to die, and this was a gift she was giving to each one of them, and I thought it was the most beautiful, generous love-filled gift, and it tied them all together in such an amazing way." Cohen retrospectively admitted that he wished he was permitted to write an ending different from the novel's: "If I had to do it over again, my instinct would be to find a way to have the adults confront Pennywise in another way, in all his shapeshifting glory." One major change King disliked but had to deal with was the decreased amount of depth of the main characters, particularly Richie Tozier, who was altered from a Los Angeles DJ into a television show comedian. He found the miniseries' version of Richie to have only two dimensions: "scumbag" and "sort of a kindhearted
Buddy Hackett Buddy Hackett (born Leonard Hacker; August 31, 1924 – June 30, 2003) was an American actor and comedian. His best remembered roles include Marcellus Washburn in ''The Music Man ''The Music Man'' is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by ...
." However, Wallace and Cohen retained the centrality of Pennywise in the source novel; as noted by film scholar
Tony Magistrale Anthony Samuel Magistrale is a professor in English at the University of Vermont The University of Vermont (UVM), officially The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, is a public In public relations Public relations ...
in ''Hollywood's Stephen King'', the made-for-television movie retains the "association between the adult world of Derry and ''It''
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hich
is further established in the masterful choice of a carnival clown as a unifying symbol for the various creatures representing the monster."


Production


Filming

''It'' was shot over a three-month summer period in
Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada Western Canada, also referred to as the Western Provinces and more commonly known as the West, is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth desc ...

Vancouver
, British Columbia, Canada. Green set the budget at $12 million, double the usual television film, to give ''It'' a major motion picture feel. Filming locations in Vancouver included
Stanley Park Stanley Park is a public park An urban park or metropolitan park, also known as a municipal park (North America) or a public park, public open space, or municipal gardens (UK), is a park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural o ...

Stanley Park
, Beaver Lake and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School Convent in North Vancouver. The
Buntzen Lake Buntzen Lake is a 4.8 kilometres (3 mi) long lake in Anmore, British Columbia, Canada, in the Greater Vancouver area. It is named after the first general manager of the British Columbia Electric Railway, B.C. Electric Co., Johannes ...
Hydro Plant, in particular, was used as the miniseries' sewer plant. For the opening scene where Laurie Winterbarger is murdered by Pennywise, Simmons' shots were done while Curry wasn't on set; Wallace stood at the laundry area of the backyard giving her simple directions for emotions. However, she still met Curry via read-throughs and while in her trailer after the shot: "while walking down the sidewalk Tim walked by in the full clown costume—make up and all. He turned to me and said "Hi!" in a very friendly voice, but it still scared me half to death!" Similarly, the scene where Patti Uris finds her husband dead in the tub (done on the first shooting day) involved Uris not being on set for shots of Caitlin Hicks' reaction. The Captain Hanscom sequence in the first part was shot at the
Lost Lagoon Lost Lagoon is an artificial, captive 16.6-hectare (41 acre) body of water, west of Georgia Street, near the entrance to Stanley Park in Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Surrounding the lake is a trail. The lake features a lit ...

Lost Lagoon
, which involved Makaj on a platform just below the water surface to give the illusion of the character standing on water. The shots of the captain's corpse were done when Crane wasn't on set. Filming ''It'' was not without difficult sequences. The scene where the blood-filled balloon explodes in Beverly's bathroom required multiple takes due to how difficult it was to get the timing of the explosion right. The theater scene took many retakes and much waiting, so Curry went on the stage and entertained the child extras with
singalong Sing-along, also called community singing or group singing, is an event of singing Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers per ...
s, all unaware he was playing a monster character in the miniseries. Shooting the last sewer scene was tough for the adult actors, as they had to deal with walking in an area filled with rust likely infected with
tetanus Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection Pathogenic bacteria are bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), do ...
. The final scene with Bill and Audra Denbrough took days to rehearse, a library scene with all the adult actors involved some slight injuries due to the number of objects randomly flying around the place, while the photo album scene where Pennywise comes to life was the hardest scene to shoot for Wallace.


Directing

In explaining why directing a screen version of a King story was difficult, Wallace summarized, "Stephen King is so good with language that he can make almost anything sound incredibly scary. Some of King's images translate to film. Some are simply ethereal, like smoke." A lot of Wallace's directing was influenced by films he worked on with
John Carpenter John Howard Carpenter (born January 16, 1948) is an American filmmaker, actor and composer. Although Carpenter has worked with various film genre A film genre is a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures A film, also ...
, such as ''
Halloween Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' evening"), less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast o ...
'' (1978) and ''
The Fog ''The Fog'' is a 1980 American supernatural horror film Supernatural horror film is a film genre that combines aspects of horror film and supernatural film. Supernatural occurrences in such films often include ghosts and demons, and many super ...

The Fog
'' (1980). He made several technical and staging decisions just to make each scene scarier or weird. These included interesting camera tricks, such as the Chinese restaurant scene being shot with a handheld camera; and shots where It goes through pipes filmed as if they were from It's point of view, a decision inspired by Wallace's past experiences working with Carpenter. The Chinese restaurant sequence was shot in only one take and involved the actors not being aware what was going to happen so that "our expressions were all real," explained Reid. As Wallace explained, "The fortune cookie scene is an example of how to get great scare-power out of fairly humble, low-budget special effects. A trick table, puppeteers underneath, a handful of creepy little cookie models, a group of characters taken by surprise. So much depended on the details." When it came to the Ms. Kersh scene, Wallace place several incidental details, such as Mrs. Kersh's teeth being rotten like Pennywise's, to give the audience a clue something was up; the scene also ends with Beverly Marsh in the middle of the street, with intentionally no extras around to add to the creep factor. Wallace also chose to make the furniture in Stanley Uris' house odd to signify something being wrong with the character.


Special effects

Gene Warren Gene Warren Sr. (August 12, 1916 – July 17, 1997) was born in Denver, Colorado, and won an Academy Award for the special effects on George Pal's ''The Time Machine (1960 film), The Time Machine'' in 1960. He also contributed to such projects as ' ...
's effects company Fantasy II were in the middle of working on ''
Predator 2 ''Predator 2'' is a 1990 American science fiction film, science fiction action film, action horror film written by brothers Jim Thomas (screenwriter), Jim and John Thomas (screenwriter), John Thomas, directed by Stephen Hopkins (director), Step ...

Predator 2
'' (1990) when ABC assigned the company to work on ''It'' with a deadline of 12 weeks. The effects team of ''It'' included Warren, who handled the visual effects; Bart Mixon, who coordinated the makeup effects and Pennywise's animated deadlights; Jo-Anne Smith, who previously worked on Curry's make-up for his role in ''
Legend A legend is a Folklore genre, genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions, believed or perceived, both by teller and listeners, to have taken place in human history. Narratives in this genre may demonstrate human valu ...
'' (1985); Salty Ray; J.C. Matalon; and the Fantasy II effects team run by Warren's son, Gene Warren Jr., and including Jim McLoughlln, Aaron Sim, Brent Baker, Norman Cabrera, and Joey Orosco. Fantasy II previously worked on a feature also directed by Wallace named ''
Fright Night Part 2 ''Fright Night Part 2'' is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and starring William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall, Traci Lind, and Julie Carmen. It is the sequel to the 1985 film ''Fright Night'', with Ragsdale and McDowall repr ...
'' (1988) and another King adaptation named ''
Pet Sematary ''Pet Sematary'' is a 1983 horror novel Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, or disgust. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length. ...
'' (1989). The majority of the special effects were done practically without digital alteration, such as puppeteers being used to animate the fortune cookies in the Chinese restaurant scene. Some scenes were done with replacement
animation Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from musical motif *Noise figure, in telecommunication ...

animation
, an animation technique similar to
stop motion Stop motion is an animation, animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion or change when the series ...

stop motion
animation. Replacement animation was used for when Pennywise came out of the drain, killed Belch in the sewers, and did a somersault in the air. A lot of the effects Wallace planned to use while storyboarding did not make it into the final version for budget reasons, such as the roots writhing around Pennywise in his ghostly encounter with the adult Losers in the sewer. Lindsay Craig, an artist who made a living doing prop work in film and television, created some of the blood for ''It'' using
food coloring Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye A dye is a color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categor ...

food coloring
, water, and methacyl. While It's lair features many
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cocoon
ed humans, Sally Ray and J.C. Matalon sculpted only six of them, four children and two adults, for close-up shots. To work with the deadline, Mixon divided the design team of each It creature into four artists: "Each artist was given a considerable amount of freedom with his creations, with occasional input from Warren or myself to make sure we were adhering to Wallace's vision."


Pennywise

When designing Pennywise, Mixon focused on making him look as "friendly" as possible: "This creature is trying to lure children in, so he's not going to be a monster at first." He began drawing concepts for how Pennywise would look before Curry was cast, researching the looks of most other clowns in the process. Original storyboards for Pennywise featured exaggerated cheekbones, a sharp chin, and bulbous forehead. Mixon began working on a head cast for the Pennywise character after Curry was cast in the role; he also designed three clay molds for testing. According to Mixon, he based the shape of Pennywise's head on
Lon Chaney Leonidas Frank "Lon" Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930) was an American stage and film actor, make-up artist, director and screenwriter. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of cinema, renowned for hi ...

Lon Chaney
in ''
The Phantom of the Opera ''The Phantom of the Opera'' (French: ''Le Fantôme de l'Opéra''), is a novel by French author Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serial in ''Le Gaulois'' from 23 September 1909 to 8 January 1910, and was released in volume form in late ...

The Phantom of the Opera
'' (1925), "stylized into a clown." Three different versions of the clown's face were created, one of which resembled a , another that was "a little meaner," and the final one seen in the series. Mixon then worked with Curry on the makeup and tested two concepts: one with just a nose, headpiece, and a make-up pattern Curry suggested; and another one that was closer to the original designs. The former was chosen, although the other make-up choice is featured in the final cut when Pennywise is sprayed with battery acid. Instead of traditional clown make-up, PAX paint was used for makeup that made Pennywise look "almost like a living cartoon." According to director Wallace, "Tim urryobjected strongly to all the rubber. He had recently been in several movies which covered him in prosthetics and I'm sure he felt all the glue and latex would just get in his way. He was right, of course. With those eyes, and that mouth, and his crazy, sardonic sense of humor, less turned out to be more in the makeup department." However, the bulbous forehead was kept to give the character "a supernatural aspect without getting in the way." Getting the clown faces right also depended on some of the actor's own efforts, to the point where he had to do a day of training of not only getting into the character but also practicing the faces. Small adjustments to Pennywise's face, such as on his mouth and the eyebrows ("the hardest thing to get right" according to Curry), were still being made in the first five days of shooting. In the scenes when the clown became vicious, Curry wore yellow lenses and two sets of sharp teeth throughout shooting: a smaller set he could talk while wearing, and a less flexible but far bigger set for more horrifying shots. The teeth were designed by Jim McLoughlin. Wallace originally did not want Pennywise to switch into a "horror" look but rather maintain the "nice" clown look throughout the miniseries, but this idea was dropped. Dan Platt sculpted a puppet replication of Pennywise specifically for the stop motion scenes, with painting done by Mixon and the hair by Jack Bricker. Rotoscoping was used for Pennywise's "dead light" effects in the first part of the miniseries.


Werewolf

Norman Cabrera sculpted the design of the werewolf. Because Wallace did not want it to look like a usual "Howling type of creature," Mixon instructed Cabrera to make "a slicker, '90s version" of the wolf from the 1950s film Richie viewed. The makeup used for the werewolf character was kept simple, consisting only of a spandex hood mask, gloves, and hair tied around the neck all put together through KY Jelly; this was done to suit the limited application time and "the nature of the shots." Jack Bricker created the wolf's hair, and Mimi Cabrera made stylistic additions. Aaron Sims painted three sets of false eyes for the wolf; a "beauty pair" for close-up shots, a "stunt pair" that had the pupils "drilled out," and a set of glowing eyes. Only the "stunt" and "beauty" pairs are seen in the final miniseries.


Mrs. Kersh

For the part when Mrs. Kersh is revealed to be Alvin Marsh's corpse, Florence Peterson was still playing the character. Cabrera was responsible for the Marsh part of Kersh's make-up, composed of two face pieces, one teeth piece, false fingernail pieces, one neck piece, two pieces on the back of the hands, and an "empty eyesocket" piece. Mixon handled a PAX paint layer of the makeup. As Mixon explained, "Director Wallace wanted an empty eyesocket look for Al, so Cabrera sculpted rot inside the sockets and then burned tiny holes through the foam for the actor to see through."


Stanley's refrigerator head

The scene when the Losers find Stanley's decapitated head in the refrigerator was done via a split screen (video production), split screen effect; it consists of one shot of Masur wearing a Jim-McLoughlin-designed "severed neck" with black areas filled in by another shot of the refrigerator without the actor. McLoughlin also created a dummy head of Stan used for wide shots.


The spider

Producing and shooting It's final spider form required a budget of $200,000 and 13 weeks of time. It began with Mixon coming up with the idea of a "soft and fleshy" spiderlike creature. Joey Orosco, with some help from Henry Mayo, used his idea to create a design that included the abdomen and multiple limb (anatomy), limbs of a spider; and shoulders, hips, and torso-attaching legs of a human; the body parts went through more than 16 concept sculptures. In addition to painting the entire creature, Orsco mold the torso, arms, and head; while the spider's legs and abdomen were sculpted by Sims. Sims also molded a Stop motion, stop-motion replica of the spider, with an armature (electrical), armature built by Mike Joyce, used for nine Split screen (video production), split-screen, Rear projection effect, rear projection, and tabletop shots supervised by Warren. As Wallace explained, the spider was far less "beefy and muscular" and more "lean and mean" then what was in the concept drawings; its face was also not suppose to be as visible as it was in the final cut, although he blames himself for letting that happen. As Mixon described the 500-pound, 250-foot radio-controlled spider, "They've had some other creatures on TV but I can't think of anything just this big or this neat." Its odd design and unusually large size caught the attention of Canadian customs officials when it reached the US-Canada border of White Rock, British Columbia, White Rock during its relocation from Los Angeles to a sound stage at The Bridge Studios; the officials delayed the operation. Brent Baker was inside the spider, previously going through three months of training in using it, where there was a video monitor showing him how the spider was moving: "It got a little stuffy, but they had a place where they could stick in a little hose if I wanted water or some fresh air." Baker got really uncomfortable when the spider had to do multiple shots of the roll-over movement, as he would have to lay on his side while the crew set up another shot. Dave Kindlon's mechanics of the spider required control by various operators for different body parts; the head was radio-controlled by three people, the legs were operated by six people, one person operated the arms, one handled the deadlights, and others handled the movement of the entire spider. As Mixon described controlling the spider, "We used a certain amount of animatronics for the head, and the body had some of my crew members inside it. Once we got it into place, we couldn't move it around too much, because it was pretty unwieldy. For some reason, they shot it in super slow motion, so it's no wonder it looks like it's not moving! It was capable of more than what you saw onscreen." The final spider figure disappointed both the cast and Wallace.''It'' DVD Commentary (2003). On set, Thomas called the spider a "diva," Ritter mocked it as a "muppet from hell," and O'Toole recalled most of the cast calling it the "Alaskan king crab." King also disliked the spider, mocking it as "three Chevy headlights on the bottom of a wheelbarrow." The effects artists made touches after King revealed his disappointment during production. As the producers were about to throw away the spider, Bart's father Tom rushed to Fantasy II to obtain it; as of January 1993, the spider resided in a Houston, Texas warehouse owned by Bart's parents Tom and Barbara.


Music

''It'' was composer
Richard BellisRichard Roe Bellis (born April 3, 1946 in Pasadena Pasadena () is a city in Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, is the most populous county in the United States The United States o ...
' first score since his career "came to a screeching halt for some unknown reason" in 1984. He was in the fourth year of owning a woodwork business when getting the call to score the miniseries. The score took five weeks to compose and produce. Bellis recorded four-days worth of orchestra parts performed by various ensembles that had 55 players at most, and the electronic instruments were tracked at Ray Colcord's home studio. Bellis' use of motif (music), motifs and ostinatos in ''It'' were inspired by the works of Bernard Herrmann. The music features motifs of not only each Loser and Pennywise but also themes of nostalgia and the difference between the past and the present. In presenting the story's varied tone, the score mixes together adventurous orchestra motifs (especially so for the music of the last showdown between It and the Losers), horror synthesizer pieces, circus music, big band jazz, creepy sound design touches, and trumpet-heavy music accompanying the setting of Derry. Bellis took a long time figuring out the first interval (music), interval of the title theme, since he considered the use of a tritone overused in horror. Then, one day, he spontaneously chose the interval to be a major seventh after he heard it on the hairdryer he was using. The scrapbook seen in the title sequence influenced how he composed the theme: "I do remember being struck by the fact that it was not like other scrapbooks, filled with happy memories. The pages were sparse and the sequence mostly in black & white." The producers and Wallace initially intended The Impressions' cover of "The Way You Do the Things You Do" to be the title song, but it is instead played in the sequence where the Losers build a dam in the final cut. The choice of calliope (music), calliope, drums, and bells for Pennywise's circus theme was obvious to Bellis; however, how he would use the bright-toned circus instruments was challenging in composing the theme for an evil clown. As Bellis described his thinking process, "Does the music have to be evil too? Besides, calliope music is usually very busy— I use this instrument as a scoring instrument or will that just be distracting? Maybe I can use it in a register lower than an actual calliope is capable of playing and just with single notes. And what about a sort of "demented" carousel? Maybe I can create something that uses my major seventh interval?" In the beginning of ''It'', Winterbarger sings "Itsy Bitsy Spider" while riding on a bike, which foreshadows the titular antagonist's spider form. Wallace and the producers disliked the score (particularly the title music) according to Bellis. The first release of the score was in February 1996, but only as a 16-minute suite on the album ''Richard Bellis: Film Music Volume 1''. Then, a 2-CD release of the TV movie's complete score by Richard Bellis was released on November 15, 2011, by Intrada Records, and is volume 184 of the label's special collection. On October 31, 2016, Warner Brothers, as part of their Archive Collection Series, issued the score in a shorter, one-tracklist version on CD and Spotify. In 2017, Waxwork Records issued the entire score for the first time on Phonograph record, vinyl. A six-minute suite of the score, along with a six-minute outtake recording of an orchestra session, can be heard on Bellis' website. On October 18, 2016, guitarist Eric Calderone released his electric guitar cover of Bellis' circus theme for ''It''.


Track listing


''It'''s content in relation to television restrictions

AllMovie suggested ''It'' pushed the television barriers not only with its amount of blood, but also with its themes of child endangerment. As ''It'' was a television production, its content had to follow
Broadcast Standards and Practices In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, sta ...
. This limited the amount of violence, gore, and blood displayed, and how it was presented. For instance, since blood could not come out of body orifices, blood instead had to come out of physical objects such as sinks and photo books. Mixon re-called that, when designing the skeleton Ben encountered, ABC did not want the skeleton to be wet and have muscles hanging off of it. However, the skeleton was supposed to be wet as it had just emerged from a river. To get around the problem, Mixon decided to replace the skeleton meat with seaweed. As Mixon explained, "They just didn't want any [wet] gore, although rot and decay was okay." The biggest broadcast rule the makers of ''It'' had to loophole around was not to show kids in jeopardy, which was a major issue as kids facing deadly situations was a prominent theme of the story. An example of this is Georgie's death; he could not have his arm shown to be ripped off, so it had to only be implied through dialogue. The censorship ''It'' dealt with made it more of a psychological horror, psychological horror product, something different from most popular horror productions at the time. Most of this horror is executed through the titular villain and the scared expressions of the Loser Clubs actors. Philip Rosenthal wrote that in order to be scared of ''It'', "it is necessary to embrace the fantasy that such an evil entity could exist and cloud minds the way It does." The lack of graphic content ''It'' could display also resulted its story to be very character-orientated for its genre. Like the original novel, ''It'' deals with multiple themes related to childhood: children's safety issues, trauma adults unconsciously place on kids, the importance of friendship, and childhood fears that continue into adulthood. The Losers face problems of bullying, abusive parenting, racism, and lack of adult attention to the sudden increase of child deaths. They are connected as outsiders dealing with similar levels of traumatic situations, and they work together to overcome those traumatic feelings by defeating "It," a symbol of their inner fears. ''It'' also features comic touches to its otherwise scary plot and was labeled by a 2019 retrospective review as being a Camp (style), campy production for its "fake-looking" It forms, the over-the-top performances of the main cast, and bizarre story elements, such as adults being terrified by balloons. Curry's performance of Pennywise is also cited as a reason for unintentional hilarity, as it combines horror, black comedy, and cheeriness. In addition to his odd methods of transportation, such as popping out of sinks, storm drains, and shower heads, Pennywise appears and acts like a regular circus clown, instead of a malevolent extraterrestrial being. However, this very appearance in combination with his evil acts is recognized as the major element of terror in the miniseries.


Reception


Broadcast

ABC originally did not want King seeing the footage of ''It'' until after it was broadcast; however, the author threatened the network that he would not do any promotional interviews if he did not see it first. King explained in a September 1990 ''Fangoria'' interview that he had seen the first hour of the miniseries, and that the rest was currently being edited. His reasoning for checking on the miniseries' progress was, "It's my damn book and I worked on it for three years." ''It'' was initially planned to air on ABC in May 1990 before being moved to the "Nielsen ratings, sweeps month" of November, specifically the nights of November 18 and November 20. That weekend, ''It'' and other network programs had to contend with many cut-ins of coverage of president
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
's European trips, such as meetings with Václav Havel and Helmut Kohl; and his visit with troops in the Persian Gulf. Just before the broadcast, a variety of predictions were made by television writers about how big ''It'''s ratings would be. Journalist Janos D. Froelich analyzed the final product of ''It'' as looking cheaper than ABC's previous sweeps month big events, which made her less faithful about it being successful. Mike Drew suggested that while the star power could increase the miniseries' chances of succeeding, its content was "probably too tamed-down by TV requirements" to gain its primary target horror demographic. However, Joan Hanauer suggested the program would be "a natural ratings grabber" for its "good clean horror fun," and Greg Paeth forecasted that it could bring in curious King fans. ''It'' turned out to be the biggest success of 1990 for Capital Cities/ABC Inc., Capital Cities, owner of ABC, garnering nearly 30 million viewers over its two-night premiere. Part 1 was the fifth highest rated program of the week with an 18.5/29 rating/share, and being watched in 17.5 million households. Part 2 was the second highest rated program of the week with a 20.6/33 rating/share, and watched in 19.2 million households. During a time when recording television programs on tape with VCR was becoming a commonly-practiced activity in family homes, the second part of ''It'' was the most taped program of the month of November, with 1.96 million tape machines detected by A.C. Nielsen to be recording it. In a year where traditional television films like ''Decoration Day (film), Decoration Day'' (1990) and ''The Incident (1990 film), The Incident'' (1990) garnered the most viewers, ''It'' was the only non-safe fare on 1990 to obtain the high ratings it received. In France, the miniseries aired on M6 (TV channel), M6 on October 16, 1993, under the title ''Il est revenu'', French for ''He Came Back''. When it aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom in 1994, part one garnered 6.6 million viewers; and the second part became the eleventh-most viewed program of the period of May 29 to August 14, 1994, by attracting 7.6 million watchers.


Pre-broadcast reviews

Television experts reported "rave" and not-so-fond reviews of ''It'' from television critics. Farrell Peter ''The Oregonian'' honored ''It'' as "the best horror show ever made for network television, and among the better miniseries of any genre offered this year," praising its multi-layered story and performances. Some critics called it one of the far better King films. ''The Cincinnati Post'' labeled it "one of the creepiest productions put together for broadcast TV" (although opined it to be nothing more than for "thrills and chills"), and the ''St. Louis Post-Dispatch'' writer Eric Mink cherished it as "a gripping, bloody horror romp that will leave most of your major muscle groups aching from long stretches of constant tension." Matt Roush of ''USA Today'' categorized ''It'' as "the mini-series equivalent of those Saturday matinee shockers that merrily warped a generation before Freddy Krueger, Freddy and Jason Voorhees, Jason began stalking their more graphic turf." Both David Zurawik of ''The Baltimore Sun'' and Ron Miller of the ''Press-Telegram'' enjoyed ''It'' for working both as a straightforward scary miniseries and a very deep story, Zurawik highlighting its many "finely crafted" mythic and religious undertones. Some critics highlighted its priority on character development over the typical horror traits of blood and gore, Richmond elaborating it was "all the more disturbing and believable by the fact that we are forced to care about these people as individuals." Many reviewers spotlighted some of the scare moments of the miniseries, often using the Chinese restaurant sequence as an example. A couple reviews particularly appreciated the miniseries' horrification of everyday objects and scenarios, such as shower heads and photo galleries. ''Times Union (Albany), Times Union'' writer Steve Bornfeld recommended it for its freaky visuals and "effective cast," particularly Curry: "With his razor-sharp teeth and bloody balloons, Curry delicately balances clown-like cheer and pure evil, exploiting the freak show side of clowns that can terrify children." Julia Keller of ''The Columbus Dispatch'' applauded the "solid production values" and "crisp direction," where "each moment is crafted and distinct as, layer upon chilly layer, an edifice of terror is painstakingly created." Reviewers also described the special effects as "exceptionally effective," "jaw-dropping," and "rival[ing] anything you've seen on the big screen." However, many writers also panned ''It'''s long length and padding, ''The Washington Times'' writer Rick Martin criticizing its lack of scary moments over a four-hour running time. ''The Miami Herald'' critic Hal Boedeker wrote that ''It'' was padded with the leads dickering around with confronting It, as if it was "a monster movie without the heroes confronting "the thing;"" and "trite" and "tasteless" dialogue, such as slurs targeted toward the black Mike and the Jewish Stan. Virginia Mann of ''The Record (North Jersey), The Record'' attributed the long length to the story's repetitive structure, where there are multiple scenes involving one Loser encountering the same villain: "After a while, even the scary stuff starts to seem silly." Some reviewers also criticized its out-of-nowhere undeveloped subplots and unexplained concepts, such as the lack of explanation for why only the Loser Clubs and none of the other adults see It's incarnations. Martin noted one plot error in particular: "
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still feels responsible for his kid brother's being snatched by Ronald McDeath, and though he wasn't there at the time manages a detailed flashback of his brother's last moments." Some reviewers felt the miniseries failed to capture King's horror style, one of them included Dusty Saunders; he wrote that its terror wasn't "unrelenting" enough, as some of "the scenes and the special effects come across as routine, familiar work from predictable monster movies." He also was an outlier in dismissing the character of Pennywise, writing that he "comes across as a berserk, somewhat laughable circus character."


Part one

The most praise came towards ''It'''s first part, a common highlight being the performances of the child actors and its development of the Losers. Jonathan Storm described Crane as "awkward but adorable" and Perkins as having "a subtlety to the role that belies her years; her sidelong stare can be full of fear one second, contempt the next." The part had the most "impact" of the miniseries because it focused on children, a very "vulnerable" demographic of people, analyzed ''The San Diego Union'' writer Robert P. Laurence. Ed Bark of ''The Dallas Morning News'' wrote that, "We yearn to recapture what they had, and we also wince at the indignities they endured as members of their self-proclaimed "Losers' Club.'" Tim Funk of ''The Charlotte Observer'' explained, "Watching them, we can't help but recall our own childhood hurts and fears. But we're also reminded what a soothing salve friendship was." Keller wrote the Losers' bonding "never lurch into the sentimental, but are deeply, powerfully moving all the same," also finding the back-and-forth flashback technique to be the miniseries' "most effective" aspect. However, Bodeker was less favorable towards the story's presentation of juvenile endangerment, made only more "distasteful" by its "hack filmmaking." Mink also called the introduction to the adult losers in the first part "ridiculously trite" and Bodeker a "monotonous" setup.


Part two

The second part garnered more criticism, a recurring con being the adult actors. Laurence opined the adult actors were "more willing to accept the story on its own terms," thus making the second half less interesting. Storm explained that the adult characters' "foolish" and "spoiled" behavior made their problems look more "trivial" than their younger counterparts, and called their activities less "interesting" as well: "The adults just sit around and eat Chinese food or whine through strange attempts at romance." Mal Vincent felt the adult characters unintentionally looked like "psychopaths" seeing It's mind images, but also liked the performers of the grown-ups more than most other critics: "they do manage, just as importantly, to suggest camaraderie and friendship which, considering they are mostly stars of competing TV series, is an achievement in itself." He also called the premise of adults keeping to a vow they held for thirty years to kill a monster "silly." Chapman called Christopher's performance of Eddie "embarrassing," while Tucker panned Thomas' performance for being more like his character for ''The Waltons'' than a horror novelist. Funk opined the miniseries' final half to be somewhat inferior for being "a bit silly at key points," and Tucker disfavored the second part's predictable plot. The ending of the miniseries garnered the most disappointment with critics, even those most favorable toward the miniseries. Bark dismissed it as a "hokey, feel-good" resolution, Keller called it "trite," and Chapman described it as a "cop-out" as it ruined the "epic mind game" notion of It being in the characters' heads. It's spider form was particularly derided, called by Chapman a "cheap ''Aliens (1986 film), Alien'' imitation," described by Mann "as if it crawled out of a low-budget Japanese monster movie," and by the ''Richmond Times-Dispatch'' "more laughable than frightening."


Accolades

''It'' was ranked the tenth best television miniseries/film in 1990 by ''The Orange County Register''; and ''USA Today'' honored Pennywise the best television clown of 1990, alongside Homey the Clown from ''In Living Color''. Bellis won an award for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a mini-series or a Special for his score for ''It'', the first time a composer won the award for a horror production. David Blangsted and Robert F. Shugrue was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie, Emmy for Outstanding Editing for a Single-Camera Miniseries or Special, losing to the Hallmark film ''Sarah, Plain and Tall (film), Sarah, Plain and Tall'' (1991). Blangsted and Shugrue did, however, win an Eddie Award for Best Edited Television Work on a Miniseries. Crane was nominated for a 12th Youth in Film Awards, Youth in Film award for "Best Young Actor Starring in a TV Movie, Pilot, or Special," but lost to Stephen Dorff in ''Always Remember I Love You''. ''It'' was nominated for a 17th People's Choice Awards, People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Mini-Series, being defeated by ''The Civil War (miniseries), The Civil War'' (1990).


Later years


Home media

''It'' was released on VHS and LaserDisc in 1991. Warner Home Video released the VHS version in the United Kingdom on August 22, 1991; ''Samhain'', Britain's longest running horror magazine, promoted it with a five-copy giveaway for readers who sent in when the original novel was published. In January 1992, a high-quality, digital-stereo LaserDisc version of ''It'' was released in Japan. On February 10, 1993, Warner Home Video released two VHS versions of ''It'': a standard-play-speed set consisting of two tapes, as 193 minutes was too much time for a standard play tape to hold; and a one-tape, lower-quality, extended play-speed version. ''Houston Chronicle'' writer Bruce Westbrook considered this a questionable business decision for Warner: The versions were being sold at a high rental price ($79.99); and many retailers were un-equipped to display "cumbersome two-tape" products or worried about customers not wanting to rent a long two-tape set for just one night. The VHS and LaserDisc releases feature ''It'' as originally aired. In 1998, ''It'' was re-released on VHS on a single cassette tape and was altered, removing the end credits from part 1 and the opening credits of part 2. These edits carried over to all future releases of the miniseries.


Retrospective opinion and legacy

, on Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries holds an approval rating of 67% based on , with a weighted average rating of 5.59/10. The site's consensus reads, "Though hampered by an uneven second half, ''It'' supplies a wealth of funhouse thrills and an idelible turn from Tim Curry as Pennywise." It topped ''The New York Observer'''s 2014 list of the best Stephen King miniseries; the source explained that while it was "two hours too long," it was still the scariest King miniseries of all time. ''Complex (magazine), Complex'' called it the scariest horror film of 1990, noting its "manipulative" horror as well the relationships of the Losers: "The camaraderie and shared history of ''It''s protagonists stir feelings of warm nostalgia in viewers—which makes it all the more horrifying every time Pennywhistle pops up." Many retrospective pieces have spotlighted Curry's version of Pennywise, being called by several publications and scholars as one of the most terrifying clown characters in film and television. In fact, it is "widely considered the archetype of the [evil clown] genre," wrote Jessica Glenza. As ''The Atlantic'' summarized the terror of the performance and character, "He speaks in a kind of singsongy, guttural growl, his teeth are sharp fangs, and the contrast between his comical yellow dungarees and his penchant for ripping off children's limbs is fairly stark." ''Rolling Stone'' writer Sean T. Collins described it as "the stuff sleepless nights are made of. He gloats, he giggles, he taunts, he devours the scenery like the monster himself devours middle-schoolers – and he generally sears his way right into the brain of the viewer." Collins and James Smythe of ''The Guardian'' claimed the miniseries to have a cult film, cult status, Smythe using Curry's portrayal as the main reason: "To this day, it's Pennywise that people turn to if you ask them to picture a scary clown. Far more people than ever read the book have seen pictures of Curry's Pennywise, or have watched clips, or remember their siblings forcing them to watch it with them." Curry's portrayal of the character turned him into a horror icon. As ''Bloody Disgusting'' explained, "His mixture of pleasant charm with gleeful terror has cemented the character in our minds, filling our slumbers with nightmares." In 2015, the source ranked his version of the clown the best Stephen King villain. Perkins recalled being at Hal-Con "and a lot of people wanted to talk about ''It'' with me, especially women who really loved Beverly and wanted to be her because they felt like an outcast, and saw her as a character with a lot of strength." However, the other parts of the miniseries have faced more divided opinions. Smythe, while finding the miniseries enjoyable overall, also found the writing to be "clunky" and the other performances to be "soapy." Sandra Harris of ''Moviepilot'' noted the miniseries' "gorgeous scenery" and "nice interweaving of flashbacks with the regular scenes," while Ian Jane of ''DVD Talk'' and John Campopiano of ''Bloody Disgusting'' praised the combination of childhood nostalgia with horror elements. Dan Stephens from the United Kingdom, UK website ''Top 10 Films'' praised the first part of the miniseries for its story, character development, and suspense. However, he found the second part disappointing, disliking the lack of "friendship and togetherness" of the main characters that was present during the first part as well as the clichéd ending. ''The Mary Sue'' critic Kate Gardner appreciated ''It'' for its camp value, but was disappointed with how the miniseries rejected the "character study" aspects of the novel to fit the three-hour running time. Rozsa was also one of the few reviewers to dislike the child performers, describing their line delivery as "unconvincing." Jonathan Barkin, in a 2016 review, wrote that the first part, while the best of the miniseries, suffered from "awkward attempts to tie everything together," where what is only shown is "the smallest of snippets and there aren't really any solid connecting lines." He also panned the second part for padding it with uninteresting presentations of the adult Losers. His overall criticisms includes its flashback structure and cheap television look, especially when it came to the spider and the "lazy" choice of close-up shots for Pennywise's scary faces. There have been several internet memes using gifs of the scene where Pennywise meets Georgie. While King has admitted to enjoying the miniseries, calling it a "really ambitious adaptation of a really long book;" Wallace, who only read the novel years after finishing ''It'', stated in 2003 that he found the miniseries to be inferior to its source material. In 2015, however, he stated that he "was, and am, very, very proud of ''It''." ''It''s commercial success began a wave of miniseries adaptations of Stephen King works, such as ''The Tommyknockers (miniseries), The Tommyknockers'' (1993), another miniseries where Cohen wrote the script; ''Rose Red (miniseries), Rose Red'' (2002), and ''11.22.63'' (2016). It also was a heavy part of ABC's later decisions of allowing King to write screenplays of miniseries versions of his works, such as ''The Stand (1994 miniseries), The Stand'' (1994) and ''The Shining (miniseries), The Shining'' (1997).


In other media

In 2013, Pennywise made an appearance in an advertisement for organic food company Herbaria that was produced by Andreas Roth with Jung von Matt/Neckar and Tempomedia. The two-part late 2010s film version of ''It'' (''It (2017 film), Chapter One'' and ''It Chapter Two, Chapter Two'') feature references to the miniseries. A doll replica of Curry's Pennywise is seen in ''Chapter One'' in the scene where Richie encounters a room of clown dolls in the house on Neibolt Street; the doll was also included in the film's trailer. ''Chapter Two'' not only features a cameo from Crane, but also Pennywise (portrayed by ) reiterating the miniseries line "Kiss me, fat boy" and the designs of the clownhouse's clown bags having the same pattern as the attire of Curry's Pennywise. Skarsgård stated in an interview about the miniseries, "I watched the whole thing, and...it's cute. It's very dated, you know?" The 2017 film's Henry Bowers actor Nicholas Hamilton and editor Jason Ballantine admitted to using the miniseries as reference when working on the 2017 version.


Documentary and short film

In May 2017, an
Indiegogo Indiegogo is an American crowdfunding Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, in modern times typically via the . Crowdfunding is a form of and . In 2015 ...
campaign was created for ', an Independent film, independent
documentary film A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional film, motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a Recorded history, historical record". Bill Nichols (film critic), Bi ...
about the production and lasting impact of the ''It'' miniseries. The project met its crowdfunding goal in June 2017, with production beginning the following month. The film, directed by Chris Griffiths and produced by John Campopiano and Gary Smart, will feature interviews with members of the miniseries' cast and crew, including Tim Curry, Tommy Lee Wallace, Bart Mixon, Seth Green, Richard Thomas, and Emily Perkins. From October 27 to October 28, 2018, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre's 2018 Frightmare in the Falls event, Campopiano held an exhibit of the props, costumes, memorabilia, and behind-the-scenes of ''It'' to promote the documentary. On February 22, 2019, an extended trailer for the film was uploaded to YouTube. In August 2018, it was announced that ''Pennywise: The Story of IT'' co-producer Campopiano was producing a Short film, short alternate history sequel film to the miniseries titled '. The short, directed by Ryan Grulich, features Tony Dakota reprising his role as Georgie Denbrough from the ''It'' miniseries, and centers on the idea of how the narrative could have continued had Georgie not been killed by Pennywise. The short also features Ben Heller, who portrayed young Stanley Uris in the miniseries. On August 27, 2018, a teaser trailer for ''Georgie'' was uploaded to YouTube. The short premiered at the Boston Underground Film Festival on March 22, 2019, and made its debut online on June 10, 2019, on the ''
Fangoria ''Fangoria'' is an internationally distributed American horror film fan magazine, in publication since 1979. It is published four times a year by Fangoria Publishing, LLC and is edited by Phil Nobile Jr. The magazine was originally released in ...

Fangoria
'' Facebook page.


Merchandise

From May 22 to May 29, 2015, the company Horror Decor sold Pennywise dolls as part of their ''Killer Carnival Punks'' collection that also featured doll versions of the clown from ''Poltergeist (1982 film), Poltergeist'' (1982) and Gunther from ''The Funhouse'' (1981). Factory Entertainment has released several products based on the miniseries: a lunchbox, a 15" Premium Motion Statue of Pennywise with an audio card playing some of Curry's lines, and a plush doll of the clown. The company's Pennywise figure and lunchbox was previewed at the 2017 American International Toy Fair. As part of Mezco Toyz' Living Dead Dolls line, the company sold copies of a 10" doll replication of Pennywise from November 2017 to January 2018. On July 25, 2017, HalloweenCostumes.com, in collaboration with Hollywood effects company Immortal Masks, produced and released a 100%-silicone mask of the 1990 version of Pennywise, selling it at a very high price of $899.99. On February 16, 2018, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association released various toys of the miniseries' Pennywise, such as a 2" tall scaler mini of Pennywise, an 8" bobble head of the character, a 6.5" battery-powered Pennywise that moves when exposed to light. The next day (per customer requests), it released a 7" "ultimate" action figure of Pennywise that featured interchangeable hands and four heads as well as balloons and a paper boat for the character to hold. Two more Pennywise figures were released exactly a year later: a second version of the figure that added three new interchangeable heads, a three-dimensional "emerging hand" book object, and a balloon featuring text saying "Turn Back Now;" and a 6" figure of a Saturday morning cartoon-style design of the clown, included as part of a collection that included similar-looking cartoon figures of Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, and the 2017 film version of Pennywise. In January 2020, NECA released an 8" "clothed action figure" of Pennywise where he'll wear a sewed version of his costume; it had two interchangeable heads and interchangeable hands that includes glove and monster hands. In March 2020, Japanese company Kotobukiya, as the first product of their ''Dokodemo'' horror statue series, released a 3" ARTFX figure that replicates ''It'''s shower scene, specifically the part when Pennywise comes out of the drain.


Remakes

In 1998, a 52-episode Indian television adaptation of the miniseries, ''Woh'', was broadcast. In September 2004, The WB announced a two-hour telefilm remake of the ''It'' miniseries written by Peter Filardi and produced by Mark Wolper, both of whom previously worked on Salem's Lot (2004 miniseries), the 2004 version of ''Salem's Lot''. On June 7, 2006, the plan for the project changed into a four-hour miniseries remake of the 1990 adaptation that would air on Syfy, The Sci-Fi Channel. There were no further announcements.


See also

* ''Gingerclown'' (2013), another production starring Curry as an evil clown * ''The Steadfast Tin Soldier,'' which the 1992 adaptation of the story by Hanna-Barbera also featured Curry in a clown role


References


Citations


Bibliography

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External links

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Pictures of Mixon's effects for ''It''
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