What’s the first thing you think about when someone ominously whispers the word ‘It’ in your ear? White makeup? A red nose? A horrifying grin twisted a little too much at the corners? Yep, Pennywise is truly squirm-inducing and while Bill Skarsgard reinvented the monster this year, it’s Tim Curry’s version in the 1990 mini series that still haunts the nightmares of an entire generation.
However, while the garishly painted face of It is the most memorable, Stephen King’s monster is far more than just a scary clown. Even if that does feel like quite enough to contend with, the creature that lurks in Derry’s sewers taunting the Loser’s Club has many guises, each as terrifying as the last. Here are the 5 reasons you should be even more afraid of It. Sleep well…
1. Derry is It’s playground
Is there anything more terrifying than a monster in your house? How about one that’s everywhere? It doesn’t just live in the Loser’s Club’s basements, it hunts across the whole town. Every 27 years, Derry starts to lose children as the monster returns to feed once again. Nowhere is safe. Little Eddie Kasprak is hunted by It in the showers at school as Pennywise tunnels effortless through the tiles, while Ben Hanscom sees his dead father waving across the Barrens. This is a monster with no physical limits and there’s no way to escape when the grown ups don’t believe you.
2. It is your own worst nightmare
Even if you don’t have coulrophobia - the official name for that crippling fear of clowns - It can still scare you out of your wits. Like a Boggart from Harry Potter, It shapes itself to your fears. Stephen King has crafted the ultimate Boogeyman. Richie Tozier’s fear of the teenage werewolf from a recent movie manifests itself in the school basement while Bill Denborough is haunted through the photographs of his dead brother Georgie. It is a monster who knows what you are afraid of and creates your own personal worst nightmare like a customised Build a Bear from hell.
3. It has a sense of humour
Normally a sense of humour is a good thing. An indicator of your compatibility with a date, for instance, or whether you get along with your co-workers. It turns out that this just isn’t the case when it comes to monsters. Whether Pennywise is making shower heads dance, somersaulting up to lamp posts or waving merrily across a lake with those far-too-pointy teeth, It having a sense of humour makes it even more terrifying.It knows exactly what it wants. To make you laugh until you die.
4. The grown ups can’t see It
What’s worse than a clown that can take many guises hunting you and your friends across the whole town? How about one that the grown ups can’t see? Making things even more terrifying, adults physically can’t perceive It’s handiwork. The most starkly ominous example of this is Beverley Marsh’s sink incident. A bubble of blood seeps from the drain, exploding all over her and the bathroom. Yet when Al Marsh wants to know what all the fuss is about, an A- spattered Bev has to lie about a spider when she realises he can’t see it. Yep, no-one can help you now.
5. It comes from another dimension
No, seriously. This is no ordinary monster. Stephen King crafted It as an ancient creature from a mystical alternate dimension nicknamed ‘The Deadlights’ by the Loser’s Club. In not great news, those who see the Deadlights go irrevocably mad. Henry Bowers, who follows the Losers into the sewers in 1960, goes insane after catching a glimpse. The bully does return from Derry’s sewers but with claims that he was responsible for the missing children in town. Not only that but Bill’s wife Audra also sees the Deadlights and is only brought back from catatonia when Bill takes her for a ride on his trusty childhood bicycle, Silver. Awww, sometimes there can be happily ever afters after all. Well, kind of.