Want a balloon? They float. They ALL float...
The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years — if it ever did end — began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.
IT is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King
. The story is about seven children being terrorized by a malevolent monster - known only as IT - that takes the form of their deepest fears but primarily appears in the form of a clown, calling itself "Pennywise the Dancing Clown."
The novel features a nonlinear narrative which alternates between two different time periods (1958 and 1985) and shifts among the different perspectives and stories of its seven protagonists. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma and the ugliness lurking behind a small-town fašade.
One of the most popular Stephen King novels and widely regarded as a horror classic, It
is also one of the darkest and most frightening, its subject matter being a child-killing supernatural monster with Adults Are Useless
in effect for at least half the story. And yet weirdly enough, there are some really uplifting moments. Along with The Stand
it is one of the stories that cemented King's reputation as the premier modern horror writer.
In 1990, the novel was loosely adapted into a television movie featuring John Ritter as Ben Hanscom, Harry Anderson as Richie Tozier, Tim Reid as Mike Hanlon, Annette O'Toole as Beverly Marsh, Richard Thomas as Bill Denbrough and Tim Curry
as Pennywise in a career-defining role.
On March 12th 2009, Warner Bros. announced that the production of a remake of IT had started. Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison are set to produce.
Not to be confused with the 1927 silent film of the same name, which introduced the phrase "It Girl" to the world. Or the Big Bad
of A Wrinkle in Time
. Or the guys down in the sub-basement who run the TV Tropes Server
. We hope.
- Abusive Parents: A short list: Beverly's father, Henry's father, Tom Rogan's mother, Eddie Corcoran's stepfather and Eddie Kaspbrak's mother (even if she didn't mean it that way).
- Adults Are Useless / Invisible to Adults
- Alas, Poor Villain: Patrick Hockstetter and Henry Bowers.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Henry pulling a knife on Ben early in the story. His intentions are made clear in the novel but not in the movie.
- Asshole Victim: Patrick Hockstetter, Henry, and Tom Rogan.
- Axe Crazy: Claude Heroux.
- Batman Gambit: It is vaguely implied that the so-called Other had a hand in bringing the Losers together and infusing them with the courage necessary to face the Spider.
- Big Good: The Turtle. An even higher godlike entity is implied but never explored (except in The Dark Tower novels).
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Many of IT's manifestations, including Mrs. Kersh and Pennywise himself.
- Bitter Sweet Ending
- Bloodless Carnage mixed with Getting Crap Past the Radar: Since the movie version was made for television, most of the actual deaths weren't shown in very graphic detail. Most instances in which the filmmakers were allowed to include blood took place during It's illusions, in which it bursts from balloons, erupts from a sink, and spills from containers, but never leaves a human body or is referred to as such. The idea that it even is blood is up to audience assumption.
- Brown Note: The "deadlights", IT's true form.
- Bystander Syndrome: Invoked deliberately by IT.
- The Cameo: Christine shows up to give Henry Bowers a lift.
- Dick Halloran of The Shining fame also shows up in Will Hanlon's story of how the future cook of the Overlook hotel saved him from the Black Spot fire.
- Camp Gay: Adrian Mellon, IT's first victim in 1985.
- Catch Phrase:
- Beep beep, Richie
- I worry about you Bevvy, sometimes I worry a lot.
- B-B-B-(*beet*)-Billy Boy.
- I'll kill you all.
- Dontcha wanna balloon?
- We/they all float (down here).
- When you're down here (with us/me), YOU'LL FLOAT TOO!
- Child Eater
- Circle of Friendship: The main characters do this to help a hospitalized main character defend himself from a Brainwashed and Crazy nurse.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Losers' use their childlike beliefs as weapons, making it so that IT can be damaged by things such as silver bullets or an aspirator.
- Compressed Adaptation: The movie. It's pretty hard to stuff over a thousand pages of story into a movie. Most agree that Tim Curry was memorable as Pennywise, however.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?
- Doorstopper: The book reportedly killed a chihuahua. By falling on it.
- Dream Sequence
- Eldritch Abomination
- The End... Or Is It?
- The Fellowship Has Ended
- Final Battle: Foreshadowed right from the first page.
- Gilligan Cut: Richie jokes about the futility of fighting IT by sarcastically suggesting bringing a slingshot and sneezing powder. Later in the novel he actually does it. And it works.
- Go Mad from the Revelation
- Growing Up Sucks
- Harsher in Hindsight: "Tell Stan unless he's on his way to Derry, he's a dead man!"
- I'm Not Afraid of You
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: A surprisingly rare example for a Stephen King adaptation, probably because the title on its own is extremely generic.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Subverted. When Bill and Richie are exploring the basement of the house on Neibolt Street, Bill starts to suggest this. Richie cuts him off with a resounding "Fuck that!"
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Cemetery Dance released one for the novel's 25th anniversary.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Eddie averts this in The Movie.
- Mind Rape
- Monster Clown
- N-Word Privileges: It's okay for the Losers to make fun of each other for their various ethnicities. Not so much from outsiders.
- Officer O'Hara: Mr. Nell, who provides the basis for Richie's "Irish Cop" Voice.
- Offing The Mouth: Richie Tozier is a largely involuntary Deadpan Snarker who must mock others whenever he notices something he can mock people for, and this is the reason Henry Bowers is out to get him, and along with the others of the Losers, out to kill him.
- Offstage Villainy: Pennywise in the miniseries for obvious reasons.
- Parental Obliviousness
- Placebo Effect: Eddie's asthma is revealed to be psychosomatic, and his medication is a placebo.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Pennywise himself, along with Henry and Butch Bowers.
- The Power of Friendship
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Spider and the Turtle.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Henry Bowers wears a pink motorcycle jacket in the book. A fourth grader who is foolish enough to laugh at it loses three of his front teeth.
- The Reveal: IT is female, and has laid eggs.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Adrian Mellon's murder was modelled after the murder of Charlie Howard, another Camp Gay man who was thrown off a bridge in Maine; they even landed in the same river. Probably. Also The Brady Gang (changed to Bradley in the text), gunned down by FBI agents in Bangor in 1937.
- Sacrificial Lamb: George Denbrough and Adrian Mellon.
- Say My Name: "BEEEEEEEEEEV!"
- Spooky Photographs: That start moving and threatening you.
- Spooky Silent Library: At least when Mike's working there after hours.
- Survival Mantra: "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts."
- Sympathy for the Devil: Henry Bowers.
- There Are No Therapists
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The execution of the Bradley gang.
- Town with a Dark Secret: More like a dark secret shaped like a town.
- True Companions: The Loser's Club.
- Turtle Power
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: IT usually takes the form of Pennywise the Clown, but often assumes the shape of whatever the victim is most afraid of. Pennywise is something of a neutral form for either dealing with multiple victims or the same victim twice, or just getting around.
- Wham Line : "IT was not male. IT was female. And IT was pregnant"
- Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Parodied - it takes the guy running The Falcon years to realize that his place has become the town's gay bar, but everyone else is convinced there must be orgies going on nightly.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: Mike discovers that despite the children's killings and incidents in which many people die, those news are rarely spoken outside the town of Derry; it's like something doesn't want those to be known outside.
- Would Hurt a Child: It won't just hurt kids, but psychologically torment and eat them too. In fact, Its introduction scene, where It lures little George Denbrough to a sewer grate and rips the poor kid's arm off at the shoulder]] pretty much says everything we need to know about just what kind of a monster It truly is.
- Your Mind Makes It Real
"You don't have to look back to see those children; part of your mind will see them forever, live with them forever, love with them forever. They are not necessarily the best part of you, but they were once the repository of all you could become."