IT (1990) - Tommy Lee Wallace

IT (1990) (76)

The original Made-For-Television adaptation of Stephen King is unforgettable.

Based on It
by Stephen King

Written by

Lawrence D. Cohen
Tommy Lee Wallace

Directed by

Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring

Harry Anderson
Dennis Christopher
Richard Masur
Annette O'Toole
Tim Reid
John Ritter
Richard Thomas
Tim Curry

Studios

Lorimar Productions
DawnField Entertainment
The Konigsberg & Sanitsky Company
Greeb & Epstein Productions
Warner Bros. Television

November 18 – November 20, 1990

In 1990 Stephen King and Tommy Lee Wallace created an entire generation of kids who would grow up being afraid of clowns. This fear is referred to as coulrophobia, and I'm sure there are several people that could cite this movie as the root of their fear.

Originally aired on ABC as a 2 part mini-series, IT continues to be one of the best to film adaptations of King's work, however, the movie does suffer the same Handicaps as Langoliers and Rose Red; they all run about 45 minuets too long. IT could actually benefit from being re-edited or remade, but the case of the latter you wouldn't be able to get John Ritter so what would be the point?

Let's talk about the cast for a moment. If you aren't familiar with Tim Curry's work then I suggest you pick up this movie along with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Legend; he is absolutely terrifying as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The way he delivers his lines are scary enough but having him dressed as a weird killer clown is absolutely terrifying. I noticed his make-up is very similar to Ronald McDonald's. I wonder if that was on purpose.

Other cast members include Night Court's Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, the late Jonathan Brandis, Robot Chicken's Seth Green, and none other than Three's Company's John Ritter; and all of their performances are questionable to say the least and suffer from over-acting and poor delivery. There are parts that are acted very well but it seems as if the director sacrificed the opportunity for good acting in place of more storyline. A lot of that back-story just isn't needed and its absence would make the movie seem less... stuffy.

The movie has been referred to many times as one of the scariest movies made for television, and Pennywise is right up there as one of the scariest horror movie villains of all time. The way he is portrayed by Curry and the way he seduces children into his grasp is horrifying. The quick shots of Pennywise and his rows of razor sharp teeth are stuck in my mind for good. The effects leave a lot to be desired, but it is understandable (this is a "made for TV" movie). With a decent budget this movie could possibly have been the next Exorcist.

"When you're down here with us, you'll float too!"

  • Tim Curry did such a good job portraying Pennywise that actors actually stayed away from him during filming.
  • Both actors John Ritter and Jonathan Brandis tragically died in 2003. Ritter suffered a fatal aortic dissection while Brandis hung himself.
  • Seth Green was menaced in this film constantly by werewolves. In the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Seth Green plays a Werewolf.