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Artwork for the VHS and DVD release
|Genre||Horror, Fantasy, Thriller, Drama|
by Stephen King
|Written by||Lawrence D. Cohen
Tommy Lee Wallace
|Directed by||Tommy Lee Wallace|
|Narrated by||Tim Reid|
|Theme music composer||Richard Bellis|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of episodes||2|
Allen S. Epstein
Robert F. Shugrue
|Running time||187 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Lorimar Productions
The Konigsberg & Sanitsky Company
Greeb & Epstein Productions
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original release||November 18 – November 20, 1990|
It is a 1990 supernatural horror miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to transform itself into its prey's worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the form of a sadistic, wisecracking clown called Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The protagonists are The Losers Club, a group of outcast kids who discover Pennywise and vow to destroy him by any means necessary. The series takes place over two different time periods, the first when the Losers first discover Pennywise as children, and the second when they're called back as adults to defeat Pennywise, who has resurfaced.
It aired over two nights on November 18 and November 20, 1990 on ABC. The miniseries was filmed in New Westminster, British Columbia in mid-1990. The film's cast includes Dennis Christopher, Annette O'Toole, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Richard Masur, Michael Cole, and Tim Curry as Pennywise.
Since its initial television broadcast on ABC in November 1990, the miniseries has received positive reception, proving to have a large cult following in recent years. Critics praised Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise and the performances of the child actors. For his work on the miniseries, Richard Bellis received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special (Dramatic Underscore).
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Part I (1960)
In the town of Derry, Maine, a little boy named Georgie Denbrough (Tony Dakota), aged 6 is lured to a storm drain when his paper boat drops down into it. He encounters a seemingly friendly man (Tim Curry) dressed in a clown costume who calls himself "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". Pennywise tempts Georgie closer with promises of candy and balloons, exclaiming that they all floated down into the sewer. He says that Georgie can float, too, before revealing his true nature. Pennywise seizes him and bites his arm off (this is not shown). His 11-year-old brother, Bill (Jonathan Brandis) is overwhelmed with guilt for inadvertently sending Georgie to his death and is terrorized when his picture comes to life, giving him a much worse stutter from the trauma.
Bill becomes the leader of a group of outcasts, all of whom have their own issues and encounters with Pennywise. Those within this group are Ben Hanscom (Brandon Crane), who is new to the town. He is a loyal, determined, overweight and ingenious builder from a home broken after the death of his military father. He is terrorized by visions of his father trying to goad him into the sewer plant. Another is Eddie Kaspbrak (Adam Faraizi), a hypochondriac, asthmatic boy who is frail and shy. Eddie is taunted and harassed by Pennywise (who shows a strong dislike towards him for being "girly"), while attempting to shower at school.
The group later includes a girl named Beverly Marsh (Emily Perkins), a tomboy with an abusive father (Frank C. Turner) and a deadeye with a slingshot. She believes Bill's stories when her bathroom is destroyed by a geyser of blood (courtesy of Pennywise) that he helps clean up before her father gets home. Richie Tozier (Seth Green) is a comedic redhead who isn't afraid to stand up to the school bully, Henry Bowers (Jarred Blancard), and his friends. He is a movie buff, which prompts Pennywise to attack him as the Wolfman. Stan Uris (Ben Heller), a Jewish boy scout and bird watcher, is the next to see It that summer when he is trapped by a mummy in an abandoned house. Mike Hanlon (Marlon Taylor), an African American student facing a difficult time as a new student and resident of Derry, often finds himself in the crosshairs of the racist Henry Bowers as well. The Losers engage the Bowers gang into a massive rock fight, finally beating Henry and his gang. Mike is last to see Pennywise when his photography book comes to life, showing him and the others Pennywise's history as he threatens the group.
As each of them face their greatest fears (as well as Henry's harassment), they vow to avenge the deaths of George and every other child killed by "It." They reason that since Pennywise feeds off of the imagination of its victims that it may likewise be vulnerable to the weaknesses of the forms it assumes. Beverly trains with a slingshot using silver slugs made from a pair of earrings. The Losers travel into the sewers followed by Henry and his two closest friends, Victor Criss (Gabe Khouth) and Belch Huggins (Drum Garrett), as payback for the rock fight a month prior. They enter in the main sewer hall and discover Stan is missing, as he had been pulled by Henry and Belch. Henry orders Victor to create an ambush on the remaining Losers but Victor is killed by It. Meanwhile, just when Henry is about to kill Stan, a mysterious light bursts through a sewage pipe and both Stan and Henry watch in horror as Belch is dragged through the pipe and eaten. When the light returns, Stan escapes while Henry stands transfixed turning his hair white. Pennywise spares Henry's life and continues searching for Stan.
Stan reunites with the others and tells them the "deadlights" are far worse than Pennywise, and The Losers agree not to stare into the lights. Pennywise catches The Losers and grabs Stan. Pennywise says he is eternal, and eats children. He then says to Stan he is next. Just as Pennywise is about to kill Stan, Eddie wounds Pennywise by spraying him with his inhaler which he imagines to be filled with battery acid and Beverly cracks open the monster's head with her slingshot, revealing the deadlights. Pennywise somersaults in the air and vanishes into the ground. Before he is completely gone, Bill pulls Pennywise's glove and the glove slips off It's hand revealing a monstrous three-fingered claw and then It disappears in the drain. With their job done, the seven vow to return some day if ever It returns. Meanwhile, it is revealed off-screen that Henry escaped the sewers, and was arrested and sentenced to life in an asylum for confessing to the murder of all the children and his gang of friends.
Part II (1990)
Mike (Tim Reid) had become the only member of the Losers Club to remain in Derry after the events of the early 1960s. His memory of the events are still completely intact, and when he hears of the mysterious, unexplained death of a little girl, Laurie Anne Winterbarger (Chelan Simmons) who was brutally and bloodily murdered in her back garden (as shown in the film's prologue), he begins to suspect It (Pennywise) has returned. He calls up each of his friends, who have all become successful in their own right. Bill (Richard Thomas) has become a horror novelist married to a beautiful actress named Audra Phillips (Olivia Hussey); Ben (John Ritter) has become a famous architect as he'd always wanted; Beverly (Annette O'Toole) has become a fashion designer, in an abusive relationship with a man, Tom Rogan (Ryan Michael) who shows similarities to her abusive father; Richie (Harry Anderson) has become a late night TV comedian; Eddie (Dennis Christopher) owns a successful limousine service; and Stan (Richard Masur) has become a real estate broker. Notably, none of the Losers Club members had any children. Having moved on to comfortable lives and having barely a glimmer of the memories of that summer, they are all traumatized by the memories awakened by Mike's phone calls. While they agreed to return as promised, Stan is unable to cope with the fear and commits suicide by slitting his wrists in the bathtub, writing the word "IT" on the bathroom wall with his blood.
Upon the return to Derry, their reunion is lighthearted until terrifying events unfold that test their resolve. Beverly encounters a seemingly kindly old woman named Mrs. Kersh (Florence Patterson) in her old home who tells her that her father is gone, but the woman is a manifestation of It. Pennywise locates Bill at the cemetery where he is paying a visit to Georgie's grave. There, the clown taunts Bill but the latter makes it known that he remembers him and does not fear him anymore. Ben sees the skeleton of his father, which is still trying to get him to return to the sewers; later, the group's reunion dinner comes to life and tries to attack them. Pennywise, unable to kill them because his influence over them as adults is limited, pretends to be Belch's ghost and sends Henry to do the job (after killing the asylum night guard). Henry manages to attack Mike and wound him, which forces Bill and others to consider another direct confrontation with the clown. Eddie and Ben manage to kill Henry in a struggle with his childhood switchblade.
With Henry dead for good, It is prompted with the task of killing The Losers on its own. Meanwhile, Audra follows Bill to Derry but falls under the influence of It's deadlights and becomes catatonic. As the five remaining "Losers" find their way to It's cave they are confronted by his closest representation of his true form; a massive, hideous spider-like creature that mortally wounds Eddie by squeezing his ribs when he steps forward to save Ben, Bill, and Richie's lives. Once again, Beverly is able to use her slingshot on the creature; this time the strike rings true and mortally wounds It. In their rage following Eddie's death, Ben, Richie, Bill and Beverly slaughter and disembowel It. They are able to leave, taking Eddie's corpse and the catatonic Audra with them. They later bury Eddie in the Derry Cemetery.
In the aftermath, Mike marks his own fading memories of the past as a sign that It was truly destroyed that time, and the adult Losers Club can finally return to their normal lives as the memory of the traumatic events fades entirely. Richie gets a part in a movie and he partners up with a man that's exactly like Eddie. Beverly and Ben get married and move West; a few weeks later, Beverly is pregnant with her first baby. Audra, still catatonic from her encounter, is coaxed back to life aboard Bill's old bicycle "Silver" when he takes her to outrun It's fading influence the same way he helped to save a young Stan who was frozen with fear. Now that It is finally gone for good, they realize that they can now move on with their lives. As they leave Derry behind, Pennywise's evil laugh is heard one last time before the credits roll.
It originally aired on ABC in 1990 on the nights of November 18 and November 20. Part 1 was the fifth highest rated program on Sunday nights with an 18.5 rating and watched in 17.5 million households. Part 2 was the second highest rated program on Tuesday nights with a 20.6 rating and watched in 19.2 million households.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2015)|
Stephen King's It received generally positive reviews from critics and television viewers. Tim Curry's performance as "Pennywise" received praise for capturing the novel's interpretation of the character. The film has a 67% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 reviews.
2-CDs release of complete score by Richard Bellis released November 15, 2011 in two parts.
- "Archive for Statesman - www.statesman.com". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- ""It" (1990) - Box office / business". IMDb. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Hastings, Deborah (November 21, 1990). "TV movies score big in Nielsen ratings". The Times-News. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- Hastings, Deborah (November 23, 1990). "ABC posts first ratings win of the season". The Times-News. p. 10. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "It". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- "Stephen King's It". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
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