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Has it happened yet?

The It backlash?

I’ve found that each year, the post-success backlash leash gets shorter and shorter. So has it happened yet for It?

I don’t know about you folks. But I think this movie is great. It’s the kind of movie that reminds you of why we go to the movies. Not just to see a bunch of pretty pixels clash, but to meet people, get to know people, have an experience with them, see them overcome things.

I love this message that we’re stronger together than we are apart. As I’ve told you guys before, I believe the best themes are the most universal. “It” proves that.

So all you haterz? Just stop.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk script changes. “It” endured a long development process that saw writers and directors come and go. At one point True Detective director Cary Fukunaga was going to helm the project, and that’s what got the world excited in the first place. The guy who did that fucked up show was in charge of Stephen King’s most fucked up story? Sign me up!

But things got delayed, schedules got screwed up, and away Cary went. So one of the big questions has been, what was Fukunaga planning to do with the property? What was his (and co-writer Chase Palmer’s) script like? Lucky for you guys, I’ve read it. And I’m going to give you the lowdown.

Since this is a screenwriting site, I’m going to focus on the screenwriting changes. And to that I’ll say this: The script didn’t change that much. However, there are a lot of little screenwriting changes that are relevant to geeks like you and me. Are you ready to check them out? Good. Jump on my homemade raft. Don’t worry. You’ll float too.

The first big change I noticed happened in the first scene of Georgie making a paper boat with his brother, floating it down the street, and getting eaten by Pennywise in the gutter. In this early draft, the conversation between Georgie and Pennywise takes only a SINGLE PAGE – just one page of dialogue – before Pennywise kills him.

Gary Dauberman extended that scene waaaaay longer. The onscreen conversation goes on for 3-4 minutes. And that was a much better choice. Whenever you have a great scene setup with a potential dangerous outcome, that’s screenplay gold right there. Those are the situations we wish we could have in every scene. So when you have that, you milk it for as long as possible. And that’s what Dauberman did. And the scene was all the better for it.

The next change I noticed was Stan’s first scare scene. Stan is the young Jewish kid getting ready for his first Bar Mitzvah. He’s going to finally “become a man.” In the movie, his scary scene occurs when he goes into his dad’s library and the weird warped painting dude comes out of the picture and stalks him.

In Fukunaga and Palmer’s draft, Stan goes to the bathroom, and an eerie beautiful naked woman rises from the toilet next to him, asking if he’s ready to become a man. Her lower half still blocked, she tempts Stan with seeing more of her, finally rising up to show that her entire lower half is decrepit and rotting.

This was an interesting dilemma, which of these two scenes to go with, because Fukunaga and Palmer’s scene is more character-based. The woman represents the other side of Stan’s impending manhood. It plays to his eventual transformation. But the painting scene, while having zero thematic connection to anything in the movie, is just scarier.

As screenwriters, we face this dilemma all the time. Do we go with the more entertaining choice or the more relevant choice? It’s never an easy answer and you have to weigh both sides carefully and make the decision you think is best for the script. They probably made the best choice to go with the painting scene.

Next up was the absence, in this early draft, of the New Kids on the Block inside jokes between Beverly and Ben. These jokes played interestingly in my theater and I’m not sure what audiences thought of them as a whole, but here’s why I think Dauberman’s choice to include Donny, Joey, and Marky Mark wins again. In order to convey a bond between characters, you need specificity. You need something beyond “I like you and you like me.” The specificity of that New Kids connection made Beverly and Ben’s friendship more real.

Another change in this draft actually addresses a complaint I brought up in my review of the film. It was there that I questioned if Ben would really follow a trail of spooky flaming eggs into the basement. The point of the scene was to set up the tragedy in Derry 30 years earlier during the Easter Day parade that killed 100 people in a factory fire.

In Fukunaga and Palmer’s draft, this scene doesn’t happen. Instead, the famous fire is set up via the bully character, Henry Bowers. Bowers, after searching for Ben, ends up at the old factory, where he and his cronies search around. They start seeing scary ass shit, including Pennywise.

The reason I think this scene was cut was because we had a ton of main characters to cover. This is the issue you run into whenever you write ensemble scripts (“protagonist as a group”). You have to build depth into each and every character, which takes time. They probably decided that giving a full 5 minutes to the bully character wasn’t time well spent. That as much time as possible should be dedicated to the core group of boys. And so Henry’s factory scene was cut and the Easter spooky scene was shifted over to Ben. Even though it didn’t make sense!

A problem in both drafts seems to be Mike Hanlon (the lone black kid in the group). He has so little to do in the movie that you’re surprised when he actually says anything at all. He gets a little more time here, but not much.

There’s a scene where Mike’s dad tells him about his past and we flash back and we see the KKK and his dad says he saw Pennywise. But obviously none of it made it into the movie. Usually when you’re cutting scenes like that, it’s because you don’t have any confidence in the character.

But there may be a bigger reason, one that more recent readers of It can correct me on if I’m wrong. I seem to remember some HARDCORE exploration of racism in the book. King wrote this back in the 80s, when racism was more rampant. And that sort of defined Mike’s character. I don’t believe today’s audiences wanted to go that deep and the writers recognized that. Which, unfortunately, didn’t leave much for Mike to do but shoot sheep.

Another scene in Fukunaga and Palmer’s script has the kids going to the fireworks show together. Scenes like this are important in group friendship movies because they help solidify the bond in the audience’s eyes. As a writer, you can’t just assume the audience will buy the friendship. You have to SHOW it. However, the scene was erased and I’m guessing it’s because they felt the naked swimming scene was so strong and did such a good job of selling the bonding of these kids that they didn’t need an extra scene to do it.

Aspiring screenwriters everywhere: This is what big time screenwriters get paid for. The people who can do in one scene what it takes others to do in two or three or four – they’re the ones who are going to get the job. Screenwriting is about efficiency. So you have to be able to do a lot inside little spurts of time.

Another big change is how the kids end up in the Neibolt Street haunted house. In the film, they CHOOSE to go in there. In Fukunaga and Palmer’s draft, they get backed in there by Henry Bowers and his goons.

This is the most interesting “It” draft-war debate, in my opinion. Motivating characters to willingly walk towards danger is always tough. So Fukunaga and Palmer made the smart choice of forcing the characters into a place they didn’t want to be in.

On the surface, this seems like the better choice. In the movie, when the kids are in the house, you’re constantly asking, “What are they doing here??” It didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

But I can understand Dauberman’s reasoning for doing so. It makes the characters a lot more active if they CHOOSE to enter the house. It makes them braver. Dauberman just needed a reason to get them there, so he came up with this whole plotline where all the sewers lined up under the house and, therefore, that’s the most likely place Bill’s missing brother Georgie would be.

In the end, I’m not sure which was the better choice. I like the characters willingly going to and having a purpose to be in the house. But had they been pushed into the house, you wouldn’t have had the problem you had in the movie, which was the characters standing around waiting to be scared. They would’ve been trying to escape the bully and move through the house more quickly.

There were other changes here and there. There’s a flashback 1800s Pennywise Old West scene. There’s more bully stuff. But both scripts are working off the same source material so the stories never stray too far from one another. It’s always interesting, though, observing the different choices a writer makes, what they think is important and unimportant.

I was watching some promotional material for the upcoming “Disaster Artist,” James Franco’s adaptation of the making of the worst movie ever made, The Room. Franco asks the weirdo real-life star of the infamous film, Tommy Wiseau, what part of James’s movie Tommy liked best. Tommy replied, “The way the pool was lit.” Franco laughed, because the pool was like 3 seconds of the entire movie and didn’t have anything to do with anything. It’s an extreme example of how every artist prioritizes things differently.

But in the case of “It,” I honestly don’t think any of these changes mattered. It would’ve been a good movie either way. The source material was too damn strong.

  • Poe_Serling

    SCRIPT TO SCREEN

    Thanks for breaking it down, Carson!

    For those that enjoy all the behind-the-scenes stuff in the filmmaking
    process, it’s often quite interesting to see how the big and small
    changes to a story can lead to the pot of gold at the end of the box
    office rainbow or a wrong turn to so-so land.

  • Scott Crawford

    Second.

    Adaptations

  • El_CapitanMorgan

    I do agree the Fukunaga version was a little more savvy with motivations. For example – one of your complaints of the film was Bev locking herself in the bathroom to read the note, when in the Fukunaga she was just in there using the facilities.

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      I can understand why she would lock herself in the bathroom. It makes sense. I don’t know how he was portrayed in the film, but the book has the father as a very controlling and abusive person. If a girl like Beverly found a note from a boy, I can see her locking herself in the bathroom before her father caught her with it.

    • carsonreeves1

      I noticed that too. I was wondering if they just didn’t want to show a young girl using the bathroom. But conversely the film upped the implications of sexual abuse by the dad.

  • Thaddeus Arnold

    I don’t see how racism in 2017 is any less of an issue than it was during the 80s. Honestly, I don’t recall racism back then being more rampant. It was the 80s we’re talking about and not the 50s, which was when the kids’ story took place in the book.

    I expected to see Mike Hanlon further developed in the film, but they seem to have only marginalized his character even more than the book or original miniseries did, even taking away his role as the town historian and giving that role to Ben, who already had a pretty big part.

    • Brainiac138

      It doesn’t make any sense to me to drop the racism angle. I know they said they felt that since the kids story was set in the 50s in the novel, that it worked better, but I feel like they could modernize it completely and still have the same chilling factor as the book.

      • Thaddeus Arnold

        The cynical part of me thinks they removed it because of personal beliefs.

  • Midnight Luck

    Damn!
    Once again I cannot read the article or comments, since I haven’t seen it yet, and too many spoilers.
    I’m hanging in the middle of nowhere for a month with nary a theater near me.

    • Scott Crawford

      Good for you! Be patient. If you don’t comment today, see you tomorrow for Meat!

      • Midnight Luck

        Wait, is there an official SS barbecue?
        Why didn’t I get an invite?
        Will I be voted off the island if I bring veggie dogs and burgers?

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          YES! Vegan food SUCKS! Time to eat real good, girly girl.

          • PQOTD

            I beg to differ! Love vegetarian food, and it’s damned good for you!

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Great, you can have ALL OF IT. Just host in on a separate table far from the real food. Designate the table, CNN food in fine tradition of “fake news”, which is what all tofu “wanna, replacement filer is.

          • Erica

            You know the cow was a vegetarian and look where that got him…

            Bacon wrapped burger….

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1528ed68d810d67c4c9e9ac4b9a1cff444d640279960cb3e220a83032e001818.jpg

          • PQOTD

            Oddly, that doesn’t appeal at all. I do sometimes eat meat, but it’s got to be lean. Corned beef trimmed of the fat, for instance.

          • klmn

            Maybe if you’re a rabbit.

        • PQOTD

          In case you hadn’t remembered, Scott means AOW winner, ‘Meat’.

          And I’m with you on the vego food.

          • Scott Crawford

            And I KNOW Midnight is a passionate veggie, so I’m just having a little joke.

            Will we see Logan Martin’s Meat tomorrow? We shall see.

          • Midnight Luck

            That sounds borderline inappropriate.

            Anybody want to see Logan Martin’s Meat tomorrow?

          • PQOTD

            Um, no – not my demographic, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

            Right in Scott’s wheelhouse though…

          • Midnight Luck

            Yeah, I get ya.
            All in fun; making fun of Scott making fun of me making fun of Scott making fun of me.
            Still, we’re writers, we choose our words wisely.

          • PQOTD

            Yes; the internet never forgets.

          • klmn

            The big question is can C handle Meat without cheese?

            Will he suffer withdrawal symptoms?

            Can he kick his cheese habit for good?

            Or will he go back to his old habits and remain a cheeseburger junkie for life?

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      Spoiler:

      The clown did it.

      • Midnight Luck

        Come on!
        Not cool.

    • PQOTD

      I saw ‘It’ just a few hours ago. It’s GOOD! Creepy, scary good.

    • Erica

      I’m in the same boat. I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t think I will have time in the next little while, work is just too busy this time of year. I do want to see this movie and will get to it one day.

  • Citizen M

    Script link, thanks to Reddit and smish:

    IT-by-Chase-Palmer-Cary-Fukanaga.pdf

    • PQOTD

      Ooh, ta, Citizen!

  • writecraft

    I think the jewish kid scare could have better in Cary’s version, and more character relevant. Could have had a real creepy Shining woman in the bathtub thing going on.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Glad you found a movie you liked Carson. Overall I thought it was an “okay” movie. It’s just been done before, so I wasn’t gung-ho about it. I liked some of the professional touches on the movie, and the scene selection was good. Not really interested in studying the past revs. The filmmakers got the show right, I’m sick of rehash, and I’m most certainly not going to celebrate that.

  • Nick Morris

    “IT” rocks. I wasn’t even that big a fan of the original. Never read the book and don’t share this universal phobia of clowns that everyone seems to have now. But holy hell, “IT” was the most fun I’ve had watching a horror flick at the theater in AGES! And it’s quite refreshing to see a horror movie with a budget over 5 million. My wife jumped and screamed probably a dozen times, and I drag her to a LOT of horror stuff, so she’s pretty desensitized at this point. I think we’re going again this weekend! Total blast.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Yay!! ^^ I re-went yesterday first because we just really wanted to see it again and second because the first time was on a Friday night so the theater was full and well, phone screens, candy wrappers, etc…

      I loved it just as much the second time around – even more than the first time, actually. There’s such a good strong movie in there besides the horror which is demented icing on the cake. That Pennywise o.O His face is such a disturbing mix of a child’s and a woman’s face and then you have the teeth, the lazy eye and the drool for the children’s fear. Just thinking about him, brrr ^^

      Go again, if you can. It’s double worth it :)

  • huckabees

    If I remember correctly: In the novel IT feeds on the evil deeds of the town’s inhabitants (KKK etc.). They are ITs power source. And in return IT incites further mayhem. A vicious circle.

    So it seems like in the movie adaptation IT is a scary-ass demon clown with further shapeshifting abilites who likes to eat kids. Because: yum!

    And in the novel he is the the embodiment of the town’s evil past which can’t be repressed. He represents the collective sins of the inhabitants which are bound to haunt their children.

    The novel’s version has a bit more meat to IT.

    • Nick Morris

      Can’t speak to the novel, but here “it” seemed to feed on fear. That worked fine for me, although, I would have liked if we had gotten more of a sense of “it’s” influence over the town’s inhabitants. That might explain why every adult living in Derry is a total douche rocket. Minor quibble.

      • huckabees

        I haven’t seen the new movie yet. Did they include the fact that scaring the children makes their flesh more tender and delicious for Pennywise? Because I always thought that’s a genius motivation for all the scares.

        In other movies you often have the problem that you must set up a certain amount of scary chase scenes and are often forced to give half-assed explanations why the characters get away so easily (had that problem for example in LIGHTS OUT).

        • PQOTD

          Unless I missed it, I don’t recall any mentions of kids being more tender with the shit frightened out of them.

      • Justin

        I think fear “seasons” their meat. Makes it tastier.

  • UPB13

    Was the orgy in the first script? I know they cut it from the movie. In some ways, it’s gratuitous, but it is one of the most famous scenes from the book.

    • El_CapitanMorgan

      The version I read there was no orgy, but Bev did take each of the boys faces in her hands in a strange sequence before they find their way out. I guess that was their homage to the orgy?

      • hickeyyy

        Wait — all the kids had an orgy in the book?!

        • El_CapitanMorgan

          Apparently so — I haven’t read the book but it happens in the sewer when they’re lost.

        • Brainiac138

          Yes, and it actually makes sense in the context of the story — It isn’t interested in them since they’ve lost their “innocence.”

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          No, they don’t – they’re kids, come on >.<
          Bev makes love to each of them and it is not gratuitous, it is explained.

  • brenkilco

    I think how much you like the movie depends on how much you like King. Really a compendium of all his tropes. The scare scenes were fairly random. And it would have been nice if the town had contained at least one sympathetic adult or if we’d had some explanation for the fear guzzling whatzit. Also at least twenty minutes too long.

    The kids were good though the bully was a bit too psychopathic to credit. Young Sophia Lillis is a reminder that star quality is something an actor either has or not and is often evident very early on.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Agree on the the lack of sympathetic adults. They were caricatures. And agree on the over the top bully (carving his initials into a kid’s abdomen?) And yeah, the girl was a fantastic actress but I also think the boys were extremely well cast, particularly the characters of Bill, Richie (the Stranger Things kid with the giant glasses), and the hypochondriac kid Eddie.

      • RS

        You know what bothered me about that scene, which seemed to be sloppy writing? The kids discover Ben has been wounded, carved into with a knife, and they don’t think to take him to a doctor??? Instead, they concoct this silly plan to steal supplies from the pharmacy. Why? That was really not explained.

        If there was some reason why they are afraid of adult authority or doctors or something, then maybe yes. But I don’t think we’d reached the point in the script where they had all discussed IT. And it’s not like in the TV series where the kids all discuss how the town doesn’t want to see these things. All they see is a wounded Ben and don’t think “Hey, we better get him to a doctor”??? And a few days later he’s still got a bandage on him. Ben’s parents were not shown to be neglectful. Did he hide it from them, and if so why? I think I’d notice if my son had some severe wound like that. Maybe it’s nit-picky but writing wise that seemed to be a very glaring point and it bothered me they just brushed it off.

        But I do agree that as a unit the kids were fun and had good chemistry. When you are very scared those moments of levity are effective, though some might find them unrealistic.

  • hickeyyy

    Spoilers, obviously…

    I think why they changed Stan’s Pennywise scene might be because Bev’s Pennywise scene was also in the bathroom. Those hauntings would’ve been too similar. Wise decision to move one of them into a different room.

    That said, I think the Bev scene makes sense to to be in the bathroom (the tampons at the pharmacy and then getting soaked in blood makes it pretty clear) while Stan’s thematically could’ve evoked the same idea anywhere. I’m not entirely sure why they changed it to just a painting instead of just having the naked woman come from another source, but hey, I thought it still worked.

    One interesting tidbit I read was that they didn’t need to use effects for Pennywise’s eyes; Bill Skaarsgard can make his eye go lazy on command. That’s just him doing it himself. Pretty cool shit.

    • carsonreeves1

      Oh, that’s a good point about the scenes being similar.

      • hickeyyy

        I’m alllllllways thinkin’, Carson!

        In all seriousness, I do think Kirk’s idea above could’ve worked. They could’ve found a way to do the same thing for Bev in another room and had it work well.

        That said, and this is speculation as I didn’t have to go through it, I wonder how many young girls have agonized over their first periods while locking themselves in the bathroom. Might be the reason for the choice.

        • PQOTD

          The latter is a really good point, especially for 1989 when menstruation wasn’t nearly as much talked about publicly and you never saw Tampax ads on tv. Times have really changed.

    • Kirk Diggler

      I thought they overplayed the blood in the bathroom scene. It would have been a lot more daring to have the blood leaking out of the girl (and her desperately trying to stop it) than have it shoot out of the sink like an out of control firehose. They took a scene that should have been personal and made it much less so.

      • hickeyyy

        That could’ve worked well too, actually, and could’ve left Stan in the bathroom. Could’ve happened basically anywhere as well.

    • ScriptChick

      I would love to see the eye go lazy on command! I like the painting because they showed Stan looking away from it beforehand — so if Pennywise is capitalizing on kids’ individual fears then that look away is a big clue. Also, maybe because the painting was in his dad’s office it also relates to a fear of his father who seemed pretty damn demanding/intimidating.

    • HelTek

      The painting is there for more than just a scare. It is thematic and related to characters Jewishness. The painting is in the style of the early 20th Century Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amedeo_Modigliani

      Muschietti even discusses it in a NY Times article.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/movies/it-andy-muschietti-interview.html

      • hickeyyy

        Interesting. That makes more sense to me as a choice now, knowing that.

  • carsonreeves1

    I’m starting to think they’re going to expand this franchise into something bigger. The box office is too big for WB to ignore and their DC universe isn’t doing what they wanted.

    There IS a lot of mythology to play with here. They could go back, for example, each 27 years, to when Pennywise comes out.

    • Midnight Luck

      Everyone and their need to make “universes”.
      I guess you could make a “Pennywise” universe and go all the way back to the founding of America and have a traveling carny Pennywise who attacks new settlers kids, and the jump to Pennywise in Space and Pennywise on a Cruise ship, etc.

      Or have Pennywise VS. Stranger Things kids.
      He can show up in a different TV show and wreak havoc on the characters in all kinds of other shows.

      The Walking Dead VS. Pennywise.

      Ok, I might’ve had too much sugar already today.

      • PQOTD

        Something akin to Justice League v Pennywise…

        • Midnight Luck

          Come on, seriously, JL wouldn’t even have a fighting chance….

          • PQOTD

            Lol. Wonder Woman would kick Pennywise’s ass. She took Ares down, and he was a God.

          • Midnight Luck

            Ok, I’m with you there.
            I’d give WW and DEADPOOL the best odds.

          • PQOTD

            Now, that’d be a cool mash-up.

          • Midnight Luck

            Yep, I think DEADPOOL vs. IT would be a blast.

    • Brainiac138

      Well, It is connected to pretty much every other Stephen King property…

    • PQOTD

      And 27 years after 1989 is – ta-dah! – 2016. Also, the end credits noted “Chapter One”.

      Oh, hell, yeah there’ll be a chapter two, three and probably four.

      They’re gonna milk this cow until it’s just bones in a cowhide sack.

    • brenkilco

      Maybe the It town lies next to Salem’s Lot. Barlow and Pennywise could be uneasy frenemies but when a boundary dispute breaks out as to which town actually contains the Pet Semetary……..

  • Scott Serradell

    A couple of questions, I suppose:

    I think the decision to split the book into two parts was pretty wise (no pun intended.) So, if I’m doing my math correctly, the sequel will take in present day.

    Part of the allure to this one, I believe (and I know some disagree), was due to it being placed in the 1980’s. Nostalgia is a powerful hook because there’s already an emotional draw (usually a good one) from a considerable portion of your perspective audience; there’s built-in comfort factor, and most will likely tune-in out of sheer sentiment.

    But the sequel to “It” cannot provide any that. Additionally, there is also the angle that the protagonists are now grown up, so gone too is the heightened threat of a children in peril; instead of an “innocent death” we are left with the idea of…well…just death.

    So already there seems to be massive tonal shift between the two movies (which stem from one book.) I’m sure it’s already in the process of being hammered out but from a screenwriting perspective this would scare the shit out of me…

    Because the movie has been successful!

    And that’s another problem. In a mere 6 day it’s grossed $200+ million, and will AT LEAST double that by the time it’s done. I’m sure the studio-heads are already leaning into the ears of the producers and muttering that dreaded “T” word:

    “Trilogy”.

    • carsonreeves1

      f&$% trilogy. they’re going to make 4 or 5.

      The adults side was the problem in the TV movie. So you might be right.

      • Scott Serradell

        Maybe some good casting will help; the TV movie had a bunch of C-list actors spouting some of the worst dialogue imaginable. Even at the time I wanted the clown to win…

        It’s also strange that this is also having huge success on the heels of “The Dark Tower” crashing and burning only a few months ago. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I had heard that ALL of King’s works essentially exist in the same universe. It’s a shame they didn’t tap more into that when starting these adaptations.

        • Kirk Diggler

          Hmm, it doesn’t seem strange at all if you look at The Dark Tower for what it is compared to the nostalgic cache that It carries around.

          Dark Tower is a genre mash-up with fantasy and Western elements that has 6 or 7 parts to it, some of the parts considered some of his weakest writing. ‘It’ is the very heart of Stephen King’s wheelhouse and is generally recognized as one of his top 5 novels. It’s like comparing kumquats to dingleberries. They sound like they are of a kind but they really aren’t.

          The Dark Tower trailer sucked. The “It” trailer looked awesome. It was fait accompli from that moment.

          • Scott Serradell

            Only strange in that it was two King movie adaptations in the same summer. Nothing more.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Ah. Gotcha. I thought you were making one of those correlation implies causation fallacies.

    • Scott Crawford

      I remember being given the VHS (ask your parents, kids) of IT and watching it and enjoying it and then… wondering when it would end. I didn’t realize it was a miniseries, see, and after a couple of hours… I do remember it being scary.

      Problem I have with IT is… is this the future of movies? Episodes. Like a TV show.

      I hope not.

    • Midnight Luck

      I hope they don’t TWILIGHT POTTER it and take the second half and arbitrarily divide it into halves with no rhyme or reason, just to milk us money cows out of more money.

      Also, I think you are right, the fact that there’s heavy nostalgia and kids involved, allows the movie to draw in adults and youth to the same movie.
      Part 2(3) won’t have that, it’ll have boring adults and be places in the new millennium instead.
      But, they could make the sequel not only have to do with the adult “kids” from the first one, but have the cycle be repeating itself and their kids are now center focus with all manner of nasty things happening.
      So it can be both about the adults coming to terms with what happened while their kids are experiencing the same thing. Like trauma on top of trauma.

      • Scott Serradell

        That’s not a bad way to go. One difficulty though is you just doubled your pool of protagonists. That’s a lot of meat to chew on…

        Were it me (and thank God it isn’t), I would take a hard look at exploring the fear aspect, not only through the lens of past trauma (which many of the characters would, in their own ways, be dealing with) but also through its evolution. I mean, what frightens us as children is not the same what frightens us as adults, so the question is: What hold does Pennywise have over the children now that they’re grown up? Are the adults merely afraid that he’ll kill again, or is there something more that he’s still tapping into?

        Stuff like that.

        • Midnight Luck

          I think writers need to really analyze what affects us at our core.

          And you are right, what scares us when we are 9 is completely different from what’s terrifying at 35.
          I reflect again on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and how it holds on to a fear everyone has, the possibility you might die in your sleep, while also having a boogyman after you, which is more of a kid oriented fear.
          BUT it’s brilliance is that it not only adds in the scary aspect of the impossibility of trying to stay awake, but the fact that the REAL MONSTERS are the fucking kids’ Parents!
          In the end the “safe” suburbia Mom’s and Dad’s are the truly terrifying creatures.
          When it is revealed that the parents aren’t who the kids believe them to be, that the kids share houses with these scary people, that they are the closest people in the world to them, yet they never truly knew them, and that the whole REASON Freddy Krueger is tracking them down, stalking and killing them is because of their evil psychotic parents?
          That’s f’ng genius.

          So, in my head I think about how to deepen Part 2 of a movie like IT, and I think the key is in lessons from movies like ANOES and a movie like GHOST STORY. (The Koontz book turned into a movie in like 1980 or something)

          In Ghost Story a bunch of high school (college?) boys accidentally kill a girl they are all trying to get with at a party, but in a rather innocent playful way.
          So to hide the evidence they put her in a car and roll her into a lake.
          That’s their big mistake.
          Because she wasn’t dead, and now they all helplessly watch her as they once again inadvertently KILL her by drowning her!
          Fast forward to when these boys are now approaching middle age and this girl comes back to haunt them and kill them one by one.

          I haven’t read the book, but the movie is really interesting in what the story is trying to do.
          The problem is, the adult part of the story doesn’t work for so many reasons. It tries to rectify the ineffective adult story problems by having the lead character go off into religious aspects of taking out this ghost and into possession aspects to rid him and the world of this ghost.
          Honestly the entire second half of the movie is lost at sea and it has no idea what to do with itself or the story and characters.

          So, my point is, IF they take IT into the adult world in Part 2, they have to find the things that terrify the ADULTS, while also keeping things that terrify the kids, and figure out how to meld them together into a cohesive story.

          Adults are terrified of things they cannot control, especially when it affects their kids.
          Kids are terrified of things they don’t understand and things that may not be exactly what they believe them to be (like the forever fear their parents aren’t who they think they are, or might turn on them).

          It also makes me think of the single scariest part of a movie when I was growing up:
          The CLOWN DOLL in POLTERGEIST.
          And it ISN’T when the clown disappears in the kids room, and appears under the bed when she looks under it (though that was definitely scary as shit), no the scariest part was staring at this Clown Doll staring back at us in the dark at the end of the bed, and just KNOWING something was wrong there. Knowing this clown wasn’t what we think it is. KNOWING it was evil, but not knowing what to do or what might happen.
          The old Hitchcock idea of “knowing there’s a bomb under the table when the characters don’t, is more dramatic than the bomb going off” bit.
          To me, that whole Clown Doll was the scariest thing ever. The POSSIBILITY of what might happen, but beyond our control. Tapped into every kids (and possibly adults) fear.

          Then again Dolls have always scared the shit out of me with their fake plastic grins, so it might just be me.

          • Ashley Sanders

            Conversely I’ve read Ghost Story but not seen the movie. I think the novel was by Peter Straub? I kind of liked it but wanted to like it more than I did. It sounds from what you say of the movie that some of the problems you had with the film were also there in the source material. The book struck me as a little long and could have benefited from being condensed for a movie – I should try and watch it some time.

          • Midnight Luck

            Oops, sorry, you are right, don’t know where I came up with Koontz, ive never even read a book of his. I meant Peter Straub (and I Loved SHADOW LANDS by him when I read it as a kid. Haven’t read it since though), thanks for correcting me.

            Anyhow, the movie seriously doesn’t hold up with time, it looks so aged and poor. But the story works even less over time. I watched it again about 6 years ago, hoping it was just my mindset at the time that made me have problems with it. I believe I first watched it in the nineties when some of the greatest indie movies were hitting the scene, and boy did GHOST STORY have issues. Well no, it has issues.
            But…. That said, I like the basic idea behind it a lot, the writer just didn’t know what to do with it in the final 1/3. Like he himself didn’t know if the ghost was a supernatural thing or a religious apparition or a spooky thing, or a boogyman (woman).
            He should’ve just kept it a creepy revenge movie and left it in a vague supernatural world with no explanation.
            But he so dearly seemed to want to have them in character “fix” the pro Lem by eliminating her. Why?
            I would’ve let her kill the fucker in the end.
            Seriously, after all they did to her, none of them seemed to have much remorse and it would’ve worked better as a pure revenge ghost story. Coming back to set the world right.
            Then she would be free and able to move on.

            Oh well, still interesting to compare it to the new movie A GHOST STORY, and see that Straub’s story actually is better. This new movie with Casey Affleck was so painfully slow and dull it made you want to give up movies.

          • Ashley Sanders

            Yeah, I think I agree re the end. Also I can understand the desire to explain everything in a horror but it often works against it in the long run. As long as the writer is absolutely sure it makes sense and isn’t just moving fictional goal posts behind the scenes in an effect to be scary, I think it is fine not to over explain everything.

    • brenkilco

      Yes, without the kids part two has the potential to be a slog. At best King’s adults are broken and frustrated and at worst, well, they’re vampires and zombies and homicidal maniacs.

    • Omoizele Okoawo

      Stephen King Extended Universe?

  • Thaddeus Arnold

    Not that I was personally into that sort of thing but Marky Mark was never part of NKotB.

    • klmn

      And yet you knew that–

      • Thaddeus Arnold

        Yeah! What’s your point, pal?!

  • Thaddeus Arnold

    I noticed the parallels at a young age between IT and Stand By Me, so much so that I thought Stand By Me was just a less supernatural, water-downed version of IT:

    Main character loses his brother and his parents become indifferent towards him.
    Childhood friendships.
    Psychopath bully and his less psycho buddies.
    Kids dealing with death of other local kids.

  • Kirk Diggler

    “It makes the characters a lot more active if they CHOOSE to enter the house. It makes them braver.”

    Bill was the only character who wanted to go inside. He still believed his brother Georgie was alive, The other kids wanted no part of it. To me, this scene was a test of their friendship. The other kids didn’t choose to go inside so much as they chose to support their friend. It was the first step in the ‘we’re stronger together’ theme.

  • ripleyy

    I actually thought Stan, while fleshed-out, was the weakest link and only because he drew the smallest straw and had less time than the others. I think Stan’s character is an interesting one, one conflicted with faith, but he just hadn’t enough time and thus didn’t leave me with an impression that, whenever he was in danger, I wasn’t really rooting for him.

    This was a difficult story to adapt, and even though it wasn’t scary, I really loved the mystery and these characters – and that is something A LOT of people are talking about. Not scary, but man, these characters and the actors really sold it. I wanted to know more about them, to hang out with them, and that – in a horror film – isn’t something I’m used to seeing!

  • Citizen M

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t scary, it’s just sick. I refuse to read further. Page 20. Stan is “STAN URIS (12), a trim and tidy Jewish kid who dresses like a mini-accountant”:

    She looks down towards her privates, still below the water.

    NAKED WOMAN (CONT’D)
    Do you want to see the rest of me?

    Her hands slowly move towards her pussy, touching herself.

    Stanley starts to back away.

    STAN
    I should probably be getting back-

    NAKED WOMAN
    You’re going to be a man soon,
    won’t you? I’ll show you mine if
    you show me yours.

    She starts to get out of water.

    ANGLE FROM BEHIND her as she steps out of the water, towards
    him. The naked woman’s back is full of sores and bleeding,
    her butt shredded and rotten.

    And as she rises from the water, we see that her legs have
    been reduced to bones and gristle.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Heavens to Betsy! Scandalous I tell you!

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Thanks for being the voice of reason here, Captain Kirk. I too sensed this was starting to get out of control!

    • Brainiac138

      Basically took a scene from The Shining, it all comes full circle.

    • PQOTD

      It’s very Adam, Eve and that corrupting apple. It’s always Eve’s fault.

  • Lucid Walk

    Employees at WB have red balloons floating in their offices.

    Finally saw It yesterday. And while I didn’t think it was scary (the trailers spoiled all the good scares), it’s still one of my favorite films this year because, believe it or not, it almost made me cry.

    Bill had one goal, and one goal only: to find his missing little brother. He was doing so out of love, but maybe also out of guilt; if he had gone out with Georgie in the beginning, maybe Georgie would’ve been safe. And the entire time, Bill held onto this false hope that his brother was still alive.

    Cue the waterworks. After the kids beat It, Bill finds Georgie’s raincoat in the trash pile. He breaks down and cries, finally having to accept the fact that his little brother is gone. The tearjerker was when one by one, Bill’s friends hug him.

    Not bad for a movie to make you sad when it’s meant to make you scream.

    Who else is man enough to admit they’ve cried during a movie?

    • Justin

      I saw this movie where these group of thugs were beating on a dog with a baseball bat. It was squealing and yelping.

      Pretty much the closest I came to tears.

      • Lucid Walk

        That’s awful. Please tell me those thugs got their comeuppance.

        • Justin

          From what I remember, yeah. It’s an old Korean film from a while back, so I can’t remember exactly.

          Got their asses kicked, I think.

          • klmn

            You know, dogs are a food item in Korea. Beating ‘em is a way to tenderize ‘em.

          • scriptfeels

            It is a food item, but it’s a hot topic because many are against it. Also, the dogs eaten are more similar to a small sized wolf like wild dog compared to a household dog, although a kid told me a story about how when his dog died, his grandfather cooked it and his father made him eat his dog with the rest of his family as a delicacy even though the kid was coming to terms with the emotional loss of his pet. I haven’t tried dog or seen it on the menu, but i understand that some restaurants will cook it if you provide meat and that there are specialty restaurants reserved for the specific breed or type of dog. from what I understand in the past korea has a food shortage or people couldnt afford food such as today so that’s where i believe the practice started. Some other korean foods started in similar ways such as the kimchi spam vegetable dish because those were the foods that were available.

  • Jack madden

    Watched ‘IT’ on Tuesday, thought it was good, not great. Too much artificial sweetener. ‘IT’ is to Horror what Kenny G was to jazz music.

    In the cinema I noticed how many people after jumping in their seats from a fright, laughed. Most of the audience were laughing after a scare. A fright and then a laugh to release a little nervous energy. This is a little like a roller coaster—a safe fright, which basically constitutes a ball-less horror. Scary = comedy.

    If you take two brilliant Horrors THE OMEN (arguably the greatest horror screenplay ever written) and THE EXORCIST; during these movies, when an audience is terrified by certain shocking moments, their next reaction is not laughter but usually some version of ‘I don’t like it’—this is the desired effect.

    • Nick Morris

      That’s what I love about horror. It can be so many different things. Much more so than any other genre, I think.

      I totally get what you’re saying here, but I wouldn’t compare IT to THE EXORCIST. They’re two completely different animals. THE EXORCIST and THE OMEN have different intentions than IT and take the viewer on different rides altogether.

      Have you ever been to Universal Studios during their “Halloween Horror Nights”? You scream your damn head off and then you laugh about it. Hell, I never laughed so much in my life than the last time I attended one, zombies and maniacs lurking around every corner. It’s an absolute blast! IT is like that. Just the way you described it here. It’s a roller coaster.

      THE EXORCIST has different goal. It’s out to terrify you to your core and it does. That’s why it’s arguably the scariest horror film ever made. It works on another level.

      But IT is a different type of horror. It’s “fun house” horror at it’s best!

      • Jack madden

        Yeah, you’re right. I suppose I was just being a bit anal. I guess it’s because pretty much all horror these days just go for the ‘fright’ as opposed to something that’s disturbing. I’d say the BABADOOK was the closest thing (I can think of) in recent years.

        Not been to Universal studios… although, pulling in at any Motorway service station in England is something similar– like the village of the damned, a feckin freak show! Ha ha.

        Have you seen ‘Sheitan’ (2006)? A French film.

        • Nick Morris

          Haha! Too funny. :) No, haven’t seen that one. Worth checking out? French horror is nuts.

          • Jack madden

            Yeah, it’s a great, fast paced horror. I think you’ll love it.

            Completely random point I’ve just remembered, I replied to you ages ago about a little point on your script, but my comment disappeared and I forgot to re-write. A trivial point: in your script you had a line like ‘his head burns like a head on fire’ or something, and when you told me the line was a piss take—it was supposed to be funny, I re-read it and obviously it made sense and yes it was very funny, although I thought it was still out of keeping with the rest of the tone. Anyway, that was my reply, something like that.

            Incidentally, how’s your script coming on?

          • Nick Morris

            Very good, thanks. Can’t say much just yet but hope to be able to share an update soon. Things are happening with it so I’m pretty pumped. Working on a new one now. Are you working on anything new, Jack?

          • Jack madden

            That’s cool. Was tonnes of great stuff in your script. Yeah, I’m borderline ADD always working on a couple of scripts at same time. Funnily enough, I’ve just started on one about what you were talking about, similar to Universal’s horror house, or whatever. I’m aware of a few movies that cover same subject. Mine’s more about a guy who takes a job there.

          • Nick Morris

            Ah! Sounds intriguing. Good luck with it!

  • Utmk

    You better get used to crawling in the dark for the rest of your days

  • scriptfeels

    I haven’t been able to see it yet, but am really excited for the disaster artost. I read 2 quarters of the book so i want to go back and finish the book before i watch the film, but the trailer looks great.

    I also remember when the it trailer dropped how on various screenwriting forums commenters remarked how they prefered the older draft because it was closer to the source material. I had found a copy of the script carson reviewed today a while back back but wasn’t interested in it or the controversy. Now that the movie has dropped and everyone’s been praising jt i’m more interested though. The scene carson described of the jewish boy seeing the naked woman before his manhood reminded me of room 237 in the shining where the beautiful woman turns into a decaying old woman. That scene terrified me so i’d assume it would have had a similar effect here

  • Poe_Serling

    STEPHEN KING

    I knew that there have been a ton of films/TV movies based on his
    work…

    But I was still a bit surprised when I looked up the actual list of
    projects.

    The TV side of things: 30+.
    The film side of things: I stopped counting after 60.

    Pretty much every year since ’76 … a new flick or miniseries or
    standalone episode on some anthology show featuring King’s
    material has lit up the big or small screen.

    Back in the day…

    Heavyweights King and Spielberg were trying to put together the
    ultimate haunted house project.

    Eventually the two of them parted ways.

    Spielberg ended up producing the CGI heavy The Haunting. King
    went to to do the Rose Red miniseries for television.

  • brenkilco

    “EYES PEER BACK AT HIM — from THE GREASY WHITE FACE OF A CLOWN. Not Bozo, or Ronald McDonald, but something more old world, freakish, like that of a 19th-century acrobat — bald, lithe, almost child-like. Meet PENNYWISE aka BOB GRAY.”

    This is better than a lot of descriptions you get. But I still have problems.

    ‘Not Bozo or Ronald Macdonald.’ Don’t tell me what it isn’t . Tell me precisely what it is.

    ‘something more old world freakish, like that of a 19th century acrobat’ Confused at this point. The word ‘that’ seems to refer to the clown’s facial feature. Unclear since this sentence, which really isn’t a sentence, contains only the word something for a subject, and since the something isn’t Ronald or Bozo I assume it is another sort of clown. And whatever it is that’s being described, a part or the whole of the clown, doesn’t get any more clear when compared to old world freaks. What the hell were those? And how did they differ from good ole American side show oddities? And what is freakish about acrobats? And what makes the writer think that acrobats were bald and childlike?

    Actually, though it’s short this description is a grammatical mess.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Wondered what came first-
    John Wayne Gacy who dressed up as a clown
    (and murdered kids 1972-1978) or IT.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT:
    Steve Bannon is reported to be interested
    in returning to Hollywood and producing westerns.

    (Get those scripts ready.)

  • CJ
  • filmklassik

    Agreed. The Shining is beautifully mounted and exquisitely photographed — just a great-looking movie — but your reservations about the casting of the mother and son are well-founded, as are Stephen King’s about the casting of Jack Nicholson. Jack’s a brilliant actor, and one of the most charismatic stars of his generation, but he exudes danger from the get-go, and the story would have worked better with a more benign-seeming actor making the transition from loving dad to murderous psycho.

    I remember someone (maybe King himself?) saying Richard Dreyfuss would have been perfect casting for the lead, and it’s hard to disagree.

    • brenkilco

      Yeah, Nicholson seems a bit deranged from the jump. He can’t even get his eyebrows under control. And we don’t have much emotional involvement in his disintegration. Even when he picks up the ax it half seems he’s putting us on. An everyman actor like Dreyfuss or Hackman would have worked much better.

      • filmklassik

        Hackman would’ve been great.

  • Devil.Fear.Dark.TRIO.GO

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