IT is here. The wait is over. The feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s classic has finally arrived and it’s getting some pretty stellar reviews. As I still haven’t had the chance to see it, I thought this would be the best opportunity to highlight some of the novel’s most intense and terrifying sequences that would be fantastic to see in the film. As a work of pure horror, it remains one of the scariest thing King has ever written, if not the scariest. There are so many sequences that stand out remarkably well. And even if there are things that don’t ultimately work—like the infamous “sharing of power” between Bev and the rest of the Losers’ Club—they don’t change the fact that there are whole stretches of this book that might be the best horror novel ever written.
With that in mind, we’re going to look back to the book to explore some of its darkest, most uncomfortable, most purely frightening moments. Some of which we have a feeling will probably make it into the adaptation, some of which might be saved for the sequel, some of which might be too much to include at all.
There’s just about every kind of horror in IT, which was very intentional on Stephen King’s part. Accepting being primarily known as a horror author, he considered this novel to be his final dissertation on the subject. That’s why he went with an entity that could take the form of anything, so that he could essentially include any and every kind of monster he saw fit. But true horror is always unknown, which is why it’s smart to make It a cosmic entity without true form at the end of the day. We’ll never really “see” It, only as much of It as we can stand to take.
As I think the movie will prove, though, the root of the horror is in the fact that we truly love these characters and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them. The Losers’ Club form a realistic, earnest friendship and hit so many of the right notes about childhood and what makes that such an important time in life.
Eddie and the Leper
It’s clear that the leper will appear in the film in some capacity, which is great. I’m still left to wonder just how much of him we’ll actually see, though. If it’s a fleeting, momentary scare that’s still better than nothing. But to actually see that chase played out on the big screen would be terrifying, so I’m hopeful to see what happens with it.
This would have to be saved for the sequel, but I’m including it anyway. Adrian Mellon’s death introduces us to the present-day sequences of the book. Adrian and Don Hagarty are an admittedly stereotypical gay couple who don’t feel overly welcome in Derry and dream of getting out. They’re assaulted by a group of local guys, who beat them up and then things take a turn. Adrian is thrown into the river, and the whole scene culminates in Don looking over the side to see a clown on the rocks eating his boyfriend and looking up at him with eyes shining in the moonlight. It’s absolutely haunting.
Richie and Bill Meet the Werewolf
While the werewolf did make it into the 1990 adaptation, the house on Neibolt Street was almost entirely cut out. Bill and Richie going into the house by themselves and encountering It in the form of a werewolf is one of the most tense sequences of the entire book—which is saying something as there are a lot of great scenes and a whole lot of book—and while the trailers seem to show It sprouting claws in that basement, it’s unclear just how much shapeshifting will actually occur. We’ll just have to watch and find out for ourselves.
Dorsey and Eddie Corcoran
The “One of the Missing” segments are some of the most disturbing of the book, because they’re snapshots of some of the horrible things happening in Derry around our core cast. They’re fantastic in raising the stakes and, essentially, telling short, contained scary stories within the narrative. Dorsey and Eddie suffer abuse similar to Beverly Marsh, but their stepfather actually goes as far as accidentally killing one son (Dorsey) leading Eddie to run away from home. While he’s hiding out terrified of his stepfather, It appears to him in the form of his dead brother and when Eddie tries to run It transforms into the Gill Man and takes off his head.
The Fire at the Black Spot
It’s clear that there will be some reference to this in the new movie, but I’m definitely wondering how much. The Black Spot was an important part of conveying the inherent evil within Derry, the town, and whether or not that was simply the place or if it was an extension of the power It held over the town. Either way, this was literally the only bar where black people were welcome in Derry and a local white supremacist group got together to burn it down with everyone inside. It’s a prime example of the very human horror within the novel. Plus, the flashback in the book includes a cameo by a young Dick Hallorann of The Shining, who uses his gifts to get some people to safety.
Clearly, Georgie’s death will be in the movie because it’s the inciting incident of the whole book and it takes up nearly the first half of the trailer. But this is a powerful, powerful scene in the novel, haunting in how gruesome it really is, and I can’t help but wonder how the filmmakers approach it. Even the book only gives a glimpse at exactly what It does to Georgie, tearing one of his arms off before leaving the body to lie face up. It’s the way Pennywise lures in Georgie that’s truly scary, and we didn’t get to see too much of that scene in the original miniseries, only the basic points. I want to see more of that cat-and-mouse conversation in the film.
The Death of Patrick Hocksetter
Patrick Hocksetter will be a part of the film, we know that much for sure. He was a major absence in the original miniseries and is one of the scariest characters in the book apart from It Itself. But how he factors in and how his death will be handled remain to be seen. In the book, he’s a budding serial killer. He captures and tortures and kills stray animals and leaves their bodies in a refrigerator at the dump. He killed his baby brother in the crib because he doesn’t think anything but himself is actually, truly real and was threatened by the fact that he might actual develop feelings toward the infant. He’s about to stock his old refrigerator with another fresh kill when he’s attacked by a swarm of flying leeches in one of the most bizarre and disturbing scenes of the book