Skip to main content

IT (1990)

Made for television horror is always tricky, because you can't be as graphic on a network as you can in a movie or on cable or streaming. Even the "classics" of made for t.v. horror are a little cheesy if we're being honest. Go watch Trilogy of Terror and you'll see what I mean. It, broadcast in 1990, did push the limits of what you could do, but it was still obviously limited by being a network show. There is more blood than you'd expect, and adult themes are brushed up against. Beverly's father is shown to be a creepy and abusive guy, but is not shown as explicitly to be a sexual predator as in the new movies.



Of course effects are always an issue for made for t.v. movies because they don't the budgets that something like The Thing had to make it's shape shifting creature come to life. Another hurdle is that dialog that seems fine in a book sometimes comes off as forced or crony when you hear an actual person saying it. Despite all this, IT is still a fun movie. The cast is good, but not stellar. Remember this was before it was cool for big names to do television. So the adult cast included John Ritter (Jack from Three's company), Harry Anderson (Judge Harry from Night Court), and Richard Thomas (John-Boy from The Waltons). Most are serviceable if not great, and since Battle of the Network Stars was no longer happening I'm sure they all needed the work. I did find myself wondering if John Ritter hadn't wanted to be in the movie because his performance seems off at times. Turns out he was a big Stephen King fan and was excited to be doing the movie, so now I wonder if maybe he was actually trying too hard.

Of course the giant coup in casting was Tim Curry as Pennywise, which s what will make this miniseries remain in the public consciousness as a classic. Curry is a master at playing over the top characters, and his Pennywise is truly frightening even with the budget and censorship limitations imposed on him. The child cast is also good, and includes an early role for Seth Green. Of course, the children's part of the story is just more compelling. I found the same to be true with both the book and the new movies. Maybe it's just that it's somehow more intense when its a kid in danger than a middle aged man. Maybe it's the nostalgia of going back 30 years for the kids. I don't know, but IT is always better when the Losers are young in every incarnation.

One acknowledged weakness of the mini-series is the ending. They just didn't have the budget to do it the way they wanted. And the spider puppet does look a little cheesy. This is one instance where they may have benefited by deviating from the source material and have the losers fight IT in it's Pennywise form. I think it could only have been made better with more Tim Curry. I will say in it's defense that the ending of the new movie is also cheesy, and budget wasn't n issue there. This version of IT is a fun movie, and is a good stepping up for kids who are old enough to move beyond the Universal monster movies but aren't quite ready for the full on horror of the new IT movies.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nancy Sinatra Gets Nude

Nancy Sinatra was known for her song These Boots are made for Walking. Her musical career didn't  last nearly as long as her famous crooner father's did, but she remained a real looker. In fact, she did a photo shoot for Playboy in her 50's. Another thing that lasted into her 50's, she remained daddy's little princess. This is illustrated by the fact that she got Frank's permission before doing the shoot. The most surprising thing is that the Chairman of the Board agreed to let her show her goods in a nationally published magazine.

The Original Shrek

Chris Farley was originally cast as the voice of Shrek, and even began work on the movie. Unfortunately he passed before finishing recording his dialog. He was replaced by his friend Mike Myers, who took the character in his own direction.

A Salute To Elvira

Cassandra Peterson was born in Kansas in 1951. That is a very bland statement of fact for the arrival into this world as the Queen of Halloween. Of course Peterson wasn't born as the seductive Mistress of the Dark. When she was just a small child, she was scalded by boiling water and had severe burns on 35% of her body. She was teased for the scars this left as she was growing up, She says that as a child she was more interested in horror themed toys than the Barbie dolls the other girls were playing with. It apparently didn't take her long to find at least some of her talents. As a teen she worked as a go-go dancer in a local gay bar. Dancing was to be her gateway to becoming an icon beloved the world over. At 17 she went on a trip to Las Vegas. She convinced her parents to let her see a show, and the story has it that the producers noticed her and approached her about becoming a performer herself. Since she was underage she had to get her parents' permission, but they agr