The premiere of Andres Muschietti's film adaptation of Stephen King's 1986 novel It is just around the corner, and fans are already getting into the clowning spirit with balloon pranks. But the It movie has a scary connection to the 1990 miniseries that you might have missed, and I'm here to tell you all about it, so that you can walk into theaters in full fright mode on Sep. 8.
Stephen King's It centers on the sleepy town of Derry, Maine, under which lurks an ancient evil — called "It" — that awakens in cycles to feed and spawn. Its most infamous face is that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, but It also appears as a werewolf, a leper, a moving statue, and a giant bird, among other guises. In the novel, a group of seven preteens, collectively known as the Losers' Club, do battle with the monster after It kills their leader's younger brother.
Although the Losers manage to end that particular cycle, they don't kill the monster. After their fateful battle, the children drift apart, and eventually most of them forget what happened in Derry during that dreadful year. They all forget about It and Its cycles, except for Mike, who remains in Derry to research It and sound the alarm if It ever comes back. When It returns 27 years years later, Mike calls in the Losers to face their fears once more.
Did you catch that? It terrorizes Derry for a year or so, scaring and eating as many people as It possibly can, but then It sleeps for 27 years, give or take, before starting a new cycle.
What does all of this have to do with the It movie and miniseries?
Well, the miniseries first aired on Nov. 18, 1990. Yep, that's right: 27 years ago. The new It is coming out 27 years after the original. To make it even scarier, Bill Skarsgård, who plays It in the form of Pennywise the clown, just turned 27 earlier this year.
But wait, there's more! The novel features two of Its cycles, which begin in 1957 and 1985. Published in 1986, King's time-sensitive horror novel was always intended to hit a little too close to home, so to speak. Muschietti's film continues that tradition by shifting the timeline forward. His Losers will be growing up in the mid-1980s, a time when the book versions of themselves were already grown up. In the second film, the narrative will move into the present, so that audiences can be terrified of the ancient unknowns that live below their sewer grates.
Andres Muschietti's IT movie hits theaters on Sep. 8.