For a lot of horror fans, Tim Curry’s portrayal of the murderous clown Pennywise was a formative moment responsible for a lifelong love of scary movies, a case of night terrors, and perhaps a minor phase of bedwetting. One person who didn’t love the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s It, however, is the director of the new movie version, Andrés Muschietti.
“To be honest,” he admits in an interview for the latest issue of SFX, “I wasn’t a big fan of the miniseries. I was not a child anymore when it came out in 1990. So my attachment was very much to the book and to the world of Stephen King more than the miniseries.”
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“I totally acknowledge how iconic that miniseries was for a generation. But also you have to say that it impacted that generation because they saw it with very young eyes as a TV movie or on VHS,” he explains. “A lot of people don’t remember the whole thing, but they are terrified of the iconic scenes of the clown behind the sheets in the beginning and the storm drain.”
If you weren’t emotionally scarred by the 1990 miniseries you probably had very responsible parents, but missed out on a seminal bit of horror culture. The production was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace – who also directed episodes of The Twilight Zone, Halloween III: Season of the Witch and, um, 1995’s Flipper reboot. Classic ’90s familiar faces like Richard Thomas, John Ritter, and Annette O’Toole played the adult roles, while a very fresh-faced Seth Green and Jonathan Brandis were among the child stars. In a 2015 Yahoo interview, Stephen King said “the series really surprised me by how good it was. It’s a really ambitious adaptation of a really long book. The kid actors were good, and the adult actors were terrific. There’s an earlier generation who remember watching Salem’s Lot on TV, and then there are the kids who remember seeing It. Get ‘em while they’re young, that’s my motto.”
Muschietti’s new adaptation stars Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophia Lillis and will be released on September 8. Promisingly, it’s also received the seal of approval from King himself. “He sent me a personal note,’ Muschietti tells SFX. “When he saw it, we started exchanging emails. He said it exceeded his expectations. He was very moved. He loved it.”
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