Hello, my name is Abigail Gardner, and I want to have sex with a clown. Wait, NO! But do I? Let’s hold that thought for a second though because, that thought, my friends, that specific, gnawing-type of thought is exactly what I love about Stephen King’s work. That one unnatural thought that pesters and clams your vagina up? That’s what drives a story’s momentum, at least for me personally. And to answer your question, no, I’m not attracted to clowns. But I am extremely attracted to the mind of Stephen King and the monstrosities that live there. I’m also strangely attracted to Bill Skarsgard, the actor portraying Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the upcoming Warner Brothers film adaptation of Stephen King’s mammoth horror novel, IT.
Photos of Skarsgard out of makeup and wardrobe confuse me, he’s hauntingly handsome. But having just read the book for the first time, I know that his character haunts the sleeping and waking minds of innocent children and less-than-innocent adults alike and, wait a minute, let me just get into the trailer.
We open, appropriately, on quick shots of little boy-hands folding that infamous paper boat. Georgie’s death device. Rain falls heavy, and if you didn’t know it yet, we’re right smack dab in Derry, fucking Maine. It literally hits George Denbrough over the head ala a protective drain saw-horse labeled “Derry Water Works” as he chases down the street after his brother’s creation.
This was the moment where I got my first boner.
Then it just got better. This trailer is fast, heartfelt, and jesus god thank goodness it’s dark outside. Although it’s endearing, the strips of daylight pouring through neighborhood trees in the ABC miniseries interpretation of the same scene are, pun intended, glaring breaks in reality. Not a why-the-fuck-is-a-clown-in-a-drain break in reality, the other kind. The kind that I think they refer to as “continuity errors” in The Biz. Although props to the miniseries (cause I give props when they are due) for the inclusion of Mrs. Denbrough playing Fur Elise upstairs as Georgie heads out into the sunshine rain. That was right out of the book, super chilling. Two words I can not attribute to the rest of the ABC series. (Fun Fact: I know how to play that song on the piano, it’s actually the only song I know how to play, so I feel a sense of ownership and pride when I hear it.)
But, let’s not live in the past, shall we? Although to be fair, living in the past is exactly what King allows us to do when his writing’s at it’s best. Time travel! Conjuring up uniquely portable magic. That’s the trick that brings us back, right? A chance to dive into the past or the future if we like, either way it’s a vacation from right now. And folks, if we’re talking about time travel let’s address the elephant in the room here- it’s not 1958 in the new movie. This retelling of the tale of the titular nameless, shapeless, mind-beast from beyond outer space takes place in 1989. How do we all feel about that? Will IT take the form of one of the bums from Batman ‘89 and pester Stan Uris for a dollar? Will Stan give it to him?
I hope so. But seriously, does altering the timeline matter?
Not to me. Especially after I say the following two words: Stranger Things. Okay, while I understand that the Duffer brothers are not involved in any way with the film that’s hitting theaters this September, 8th, I do know that this trailer evoked some of the same vibes. How could it not? We all felt like last summer’s Netflix game-changing series was somehow extracted from the brain of Stephen King, right? So, all I’m saying is thank god for Fin Wolfhard, because Richie mother fucking Tozier is my everything. I loved Wolfhard’s portrayal of Mike in Stranger Things! I feel like he can certainly do the most likable and possibly integral character in the story justice. I know he can. He has to, or I will be very upset. Richie Tozier was (I won’t say without question, because Beverly Marsh is a close second) my favorite character from the book. A constant cut-up who wages war against his darkest fears by wielding nothing but his sense of humor in the final act? And he sort of grows up to be Howard Stern? Sign. Me. Up. I was hooked on Richie from the get-go, folks.
All of this goes to say that the casting in this movie feels spot-fucking-on. These kids! I already love them. From Beverly’s cropped curls, to Eddie’s inhaler sucking, to Richie’s thick AF spectacles- they nailed it.
Neibolt Street? Yikes. This was the part of the trailer where my cat, Gizmo, (who is a frightened little man most of the time anyway) did a scramble-dash to get off the kitchen table where my laptop was blaring the trailer for the first time in his tiny, man-ears. Whether it was the full reveal of that Craven-style nightmare house that lead to him literally kicking my computer and knocking my coffee over in an attempt to escape the kitchen, or just my own terrified/excited screams that scared him off, I’ll never know.
I listen to this podcast called The Stephen Kingcast every time I finish reading a King book. It’s a perfect pairing. A nice way to find closure after ending a long relationship with a novel. If you haven’t listened yet, I highly recommend you do. During his episode reviewing Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the host tells a story about how his dog will growl and pace around the room during the opening mountain sequence from the film. Something about that movie is unsettling to animals. This makes me happy. Not because I like to think about pets being upset, or that I want to see them so. Quite the contrary, I love pets! Especially cats and dogs. It’s more…that feeling of rightness. Of successfully capturing an essence of the unnatural, the unspeakable from text and splashing it on screen somehow. It’s a nearly impossible transference when you look at the history of Stephen King book to film adaptations. Wanting to hook up with a clown? That’s what I’m talking about. Stephen King should make you growl and pace, even if you’re just a pup. The fact that my cat, and yes, myself, were this upset by a visual? That’s a great thing in my book.
The IT teaser trailer, much like Stranger Things, tugs on those sweet, sweet nineteen eighties nostalgia strings like a friendly disc jockey spinning all the hits. More than that though, it draws out the very best parts of the book and offers them in a whirring, terrifying, tasteful, display. A savory, unsettling morsel. Just enough to get you hungry to feed. The quick cut montage that starts after the projector goes on autopilot is horrific and thrilling. Seeing the blood shoot out of Beverly’s sink made me squeal. The kids cowering in that derelict, rotten house?! You know that shit’s gonna be insane.
And then we see Georgie again, or do we? Lord knows if you’ve read the book, that ain’t your boy, George. This last sequence, where Pennywise spirals out into full-throttle terror mode makes me jump and claw at whatever surface is near me every single time I watch it. And I have watched this trailer nearly twenty times now. I trust I will watch it many, many more. Dude, I’ll tip-toe back to see if it’s still there just like Bill Denbrough snuck into Georgie’s room to catch another glimpse of that photo album. Because of love. Because I love IT. I love Stephen King and I love everything I’m seeing in this trailer and from this new adaptation so far.
I feel like this reimagining could take the source material in fantastic and skin-crawling new directions. I have high hopes for Beverly Marsh, guys (but let’s not talk about Ch. 21 yet, I still feel weird). For Richie Tozier, too. Hell, for all the Losers! I have the distinct feeling that director Andres Muschietti is going to finally bring this frustratingly-perfect, perplexingly-long novel down from the heavens and hopefully project it through an authentic, tactile lens of terror. I, for one, am ready to join the club.
Stray Observations/Little Nuggets:
- Not one appearance of Bill Denbrough’s ponytail, very disappointed. I was hoping this would be one of the forms IT takes.
- As the trailer goes on there is a progressive scarcity of grown-ups. This mirrors the build towards the final day in the drains in 1958 so well.
- Didn’t see Bev’s anklet, but I bet we will!
- Missing: Patrick Hockstetter. OH FUCK THEY’RE DOING HOCKSTETTER!!!
- Ben in the library with that horizontal float? GIRL.
- Waiting for projector scene to be seamlessly cut with Don Draper’s Kodak carousel presentation from Mad Men. Will someone please do this?
- Speaking of the slide scene, Pennywise’s hair is looking LUSTROUS.
- Dude those hands reaching out towards Mike Hanlon. WTF!?!?
- There’s an entire FAMILY of Skarsgards!? Dang!! Thank you to my new friend, Johann, for pointing this out to me!
- Guys, I’m so pumped.
Follow Abigail Gardner on social media!