YMMV / It

  • Author Phobia: Stephen King wrote an essay wherein he described the "ten bears" of various common fears. Rats, the dark, squishy things, closed-in spaces, things from outer space, fear for someone else, and a few others were all on the list. He pulls out all the stops with the creation of It, since It is a shapeshifter that takes on the form of the victim's greatest fears.
  • Complete Monster: It, a.k.a. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is without question one of the most horrifying characters ever written. A primordial being as old as time, It awakens from its hibernation every three decades and proceeds to murder and devour the children of the town of Derry, Maine, 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 devoured Patrick Hockstetter alive while in the form of his greatest fear, leeches. It also 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. Cold-hearted, sadistic, and utterly vile, It stands out as one the most wretched characters Stephen King ever wrote.
  • 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 an 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 commit the first on-page murder of the book 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.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Ben, at least in the film. In the books he's described as being quite obese, but he's in good enough shape to keep up with the others because he walks everywhere he goes. The main reason he's fat is that his mother overfeeds him and he has a massive Sweet Tooth.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Henry and Patrick alone in the town dump...
    • In the movie, Eddie mentions that he could never be with anyone he didn't love, and he's never loved anyone but the rest of the Losers. 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.
    • Mike and Richie are holding hands in the smoke-hole:
    Richie held his hand out, and although Mike was on the far side of this enormous room he felt those strong brown fingers close over his wrist. Oh and that was good, that was a good touch - good to find desire in comfort, to find comfort in desire, to find substance in smoke and smoke in substance -
    • 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.
    • 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) and the giant spider in the movie, especially after Nostalgia Critic's review.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Any scene in the TV movie with Pennywise is scary, especially if you are afraid of clowns. Tim Curry did a good job at being a Monster Clown in that movie.
    • 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: Despite being a Monster Clown, Tim Curry's Pennywise is often over-the-top and silly. "Excuse me sir, do you have Prince Albert in a can? You do? Well ya better let the poor guy out! WAHA! WAHA! WAHA! WAHA!"
  • 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."
  • Retroactive Recognition: Seth Green is Young Richie. Also check out young Emily Perkins and Chelan Simmons. Both would have plenty more horror credits as they grew up.
  • 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, particularly in the movie.

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