YMMV / It

  • Complete Monster: It, a.k.a. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is without question one of the most horrifying characters ever written. It awakens from its hibernation every three decades and proceeds to murder and devour the children of the town of Derry, often using the avatar of a jovial clown named Pennywise to lure children into its clutches. It prides itself on using its shapeshifting and hallucinogenic powers to torment its victims, preying on their phobias and acquired fears and likening the cultivation of their terror to "salting the meat." From 1740 to 1743, It was responsible for the disappearance of three hundred Derry Township settlers. In 1957, It killed Bill's six-year-old brother, George, and drove Henry Bowers to madness, then killed Bowers' friends after they succeeded in luring the Losers' Club into the sewers. After waking up in 1984, It kills a man named Adrian Mellon before resuming its violent killing spree of children. It proceeds to manipulate Henry Bowers into trying to kill the Losers; drives Bill's wife, Audra, catatonic by exposing her to its deadlights; and manages to kill Eddie before its final defeat. Evil through and through, It enjoyed killing and eating thousands.
  • Critical Research Failure: In the book, the producer of Audra's movie (being shot in England) is stated to have once bowled a century at cricket. "Century" in cricket terminology is an individual score of at least 100 runs, a significant landmark for a batsman. Bowling a century can be used ironically to refer to a bowler who gives up over 100 runs in an innings, but it's obviously not an achievement to brag about in that case.
  • Genius Bonus: When the Losers go into the house on Neibolt Street to have their first confrontation with It as a group, Richie finds a bunch of rats with their tails tangled up together. This what is referred to as a rat king, and it is considered a very bad omen.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Tell Stan unless he's on his way to Derry, he's a dead man!"
    • Also, "Take it from me Spaghetti Man (Eddie), better dead than wed!"
    • Pennywise himself becomes this or Hilarious in Hindsight depending on how you look at it: In 2016, a bunch of "Creepy Clowns" started showing up scare-pranking innocent pedestrians.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The homophobic teens who appear to commit the first on-page murder of the booknote  repeatedly profess their love of Judas Priest. Rob Halford, the band's lead singer, came out in 1998.
    • An In-Universe example: After reading one of Bill's early "horrorbooks" about werewolves, Patty Uris thinks: "Werewolves, shit. What did a man like that know about werewolves?" We find out what Bill knows about werewolves in Chapter 8.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Henry and Patrick alone in the town dump...
    • In the book, Richie is the last person Eddie talks to, and Richie and kisses him goodbye after he dies. There's also several passages where Eddie's hero-worship of Bill is described as love, and on a couple of occasions Eddie muses that his younger self would have died for Big Bill.
    • In the fourth Interlude, Mike chronicles that Claude Heroux loved Davey Hartwell and followed him into unionizing because he would have followed him anywhere.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Mrs. Kaspbrak usually doesn't let Eddie do anything, because she lives in terror of him dying of illness or injury. In the case of the shoe store X-ray machine, however, she was quite correct when she screamed at Eddie that those things give you cancer.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Henry Bowers starts the book as a vicious bully and ends it as an Ax-Crazy psychopath. But it's hard not to feel for him when we see he was raised by an abusive racist, and then It starts warping his mind.
    • Victor Criss was likewise far from a nice kid, but he had far more sense than Henry, and over the course of the book starts realizing how far gone his friend really is. There's even a hint that at one point he tried to talk to the Losers about leaving Henry's gang and joining them (though we don't actually see it depicted). But at the climax of the 1950s story, he and Belch follow Henry down into the sewers only to get killed by It and it's implied that It is temporarily brainwashing them to get them to go along with Henry.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Cemetery Dance released one for the novel's 25th anniversary.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • It crosses the line when it kills and feasts on Bill's brother George Denbrough (who is only 6 years old), tearing his arm off. It has also probably done the same thing to God knows how many other children before him.
    • Henry almost crosses this when he begins to carve his name into Ben's stomach with a switchblade, and eventually crossed it when he stole and poisoned Mike's dog and just For the Evulz and gleefully rubbed it in Mike's face. In the movie, he crosses it when he tries to kill Stan before being interrupted by It.
    • Patrick crosses it when he smothers his baby brother, and that's not even mentioning his animals.
    • Tom crosses it in the book when he beats Beverly's friend Kay nearly to death until she reveals where Beverly went.
  • Never Live It Down: The infamous sex scene in the book (you know the one)
  • Nightmare Fuel: Take a listen to the audiobook for another fantastic performance, this time from Steven Weber. Some of his readings will give you goosebumps, in particular the scene where Beverly confronts the old woman, and his interpretation of Pennywise.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Throughout the book, It transforms into various licensed movie monsters. We see It become the Gillman, Frankenstein's monster, Bruce, The Mummy, and even the Teenage Werewolf. Then Mike is frightened by Rodan, causing Pennywise to take the form of... a lawyer-friendly, generic giant bird. Given Toho's draconian copyright policies, it's impossible not to get the impression that even It is scared of being sued.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Patrick Hockstetter only gets one fairly brief chapter from his POV, but God is it memorable.
  • Production Foreshadowing: In the story "Gray Matter" from his book Night Shift, King tells us about a sewer worker who went down into a pipe one day and allegedly saw "a spider as big as a good-sized dog settin' in a web full of kitties and such all wrapped up in silk thread."
  • The Scrappy: Richie is this for some. Especially in Weber's narration, where his constant vocal imitations and responses from the other Losers of "Beep beep Richie!" begin to grate and wear thin pretty fast.
  • Squick: In the novel, the gang, drained of energy after their first encounter with It in Its lair in the sewers, re-power themselves by losing their virginity with Bev. Is it emotionally significant to the story? Yes, but it's still a bunch of under age children having sex one after the other in a sewer.
  • The Woobie: Every one of the Losers qualifies, with the possible exception of Richie (as he has a good home life and he invites some of Henry & co.'s bullying by being unable to keep from making smartass comments to them).
    • Poor, poor Dorsey Corcoran. And Georgie.

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