Still scary after all these years – Stephen King’s It

In celebration of It‘s 25th anniversary on September 15th, 2011 I’m reposting this review I wrote in April 2007. – Chris

I am not what you could call a voracious reader. I can barely make it through an issue of Highlights for Children without getting distracted by something or other. So when I can make it through a 1,000+ page book, it’s quite a feat. When I consciously choose to re-read the same 1,000+ page book, it’s nothing short of a miracle.

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s It for the second time, and I think I enjoyed it even more than the first (which was probably about 15 years ago). I know a lot of literary snobs look down their large and bespectacled noses at King, but let’s face it, the man delivers. I’d read about the Losers and Pennywise the Clown any day over a so-called classic like The Catcher in the Rye, which I couldn’t finish, even clocking in at under 300 pages.

*shudder*For some reason, I still find this book unnerving (scary might be too strong a word) in a major way. And I’m not the type who scares easily – I have jumped at a few scary movie scenes in my day, but have never been really rattled. The first time I read the book, I nearly had to reach for a new pair of tighty whities during the scene with the mummified clown coming to get Ben.

Sure, when King goes on toward the end about the cosmological background of It – as well as the Turtle – I roll my eyes just a bit. But the story is built up so well up to that point that I’m willing to not only suspend disbelief, I can gag it and stuff it in the closet for a few hours.

The novel just works so well on so many levels – visceral horror passages aside, it’s really a book about friendship, childhood (especially not-so-nice childhoods), and the joys and sorrows of growing older. Damn that sounded cheesy.

Anyway, I never experienced any of the crap that Stuttering Bill Denbrough or his friends did growing up, but for a second I think it would’ve been OK to put up with what they did (minus the whole dead brother bit, that’s just nasty business) just to experience that sort of love and friendship as a child. Wow, that was even cheesier than the last paragraph.

And as far as King movie adaptations go, the It miniseries wasn’t all that bad. Of course, Tim Curry as Pennywise owns the whole movie. And hey, who knew that a youthful Seth Green was in it? Last year it was announced that the Sci Fi Channel (the bastards who canned MST3K) would produce a remake. And while the first attempt wasn’t a timeless classic, I don’t really see the point of doing it again. Especially since Tim Curry wouldn’t be around to scare the crap out of people.

So to sum up – It as a book, awesome. It as a movie, decent. It as another movie, no thanks.

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