IT is a story from the fertile mind of the prolific and renowned writer Stephen King. King wrote published the novel in 1986. I turned 10 years old that year. It wasn’t my first encounter with a Stephen King tale. As a kid, I grew up on a rural farm. We didn’t really have a library or at least I was never taken to one. The one at school – we never used it. Thus, I had what few children’s book my mom could scrounge second hand and whatever was in my grandmother’s collection, which include lots of cheap and tawdry Harlequin novels, Stephen King, Bram Stoker Dracula, and Danielle Steele. Needless to say a thirsty and imaginative mind skipped the cheap and tawdry and went straight for the Stephen King. IT wouldn’t be considered appropriate for a 10 year old. If you have read it then you know why. However, let me not deviate because we are here to talk about the theatrical version of IT, which was not the first version of IT.
IT landed on the small screen, ABC to be exact in the Fall of 1990. It featured the magnificent Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue), John Ritter (Three’s Company, Problem Child, Buffy), Harry Anderson (Night Court, Dave’s World), Tim Reid (WKRP in Cinncinatti, Sister Sister), Annette O’Toole (48 Hours, Smallville), Dennis Christopher (Chariots of Fire, Django Unchained), Richard Masur (Risky Business, The Thing), and Richard Thomas (The Waltons, The Americans). The mini-series was contained within 2 parts. While there are many that would complain about the dated nature of the mini-series. I still like it. It was some scary TV watching for those times. You can get away with a lot more on network TV and cable, especially, these days. The acting isn’t Oscar level, but I feel it’s competent. I think there may be some that would say that the acting was hokey but if you analyze the styling of acting on TV around that time period, I think you wouldn’t judge it so harshly. The mini series would be difficult for a newer generation given their exposure to progress of TV shows in terms of writing, acting, and visual quality. It’s a nostalgia piece, and Tim Curry is the definite stand out in the series with his menacing presence.
The new IT movie has the benefits of a big budget and lots of modern technical wizardry to deliver some serious blood curdling imagery. IT was definitely set up to have a sequel. This first film covers the perilous journey of a band of kids terrorized not only at school and home but by a monstrous, pointy-toothed ambidextrous shape-shifting clown.
I am not going to lay out the story, but I am going to dive into what I think makes this movie successful and what hinders it.
- Excellent Production (script selection, coordinating writing, and editing)
- Visually Alluring
- Competent Cinematography
- Atmospheric Score
- Non-score musical selections added to the time frame of the film; nostalgic without
- Good casting and acting, especially by the younger cast members; They had great
- All the Easter Eggs. 😉
- Over reliance on Jump Scares
- Did not succeed at building tension from beginning to end. This lack of tension detracted from the effectiveness of Pennywise. It felt like a roller coaster ride versus a scary fun house. In other words, very short buildups then a dive and the ride is over way to quick. It’s cheap thrills.
- I don’t feel it succeeded in making Derry a character in the movie. That place is evil.
When you watch the trailer you are definitely intrigued by the ode to the 80s and games like Atmosfear and Nightmare. Beyond the Gates cast is lead by preeminent Scream Queen Barbara Crampton and it has a lot of potential to be a highly entertaining film. However, it falls flat. The casting and acting are fine. The sequence of events in the plot flow. However, there are issues that slay the potential of this movie. Those issues are character development and actualization of events.
You are given some basics about the characters – mostly the central character. However, you are not given enough to really care about any of the characters. Honestly, I view myself as highly empathetic, but I felt nothing for these characters. I just wasn’t invested in them and you probably won’t be either.
The events of the film follow a logical path. However, there are only a few scenes which deliver moments that are scary. One particular scene gave me the feeling I had watching “It Follows.” I was sad when the film couldn’t continue this feeling. There wasn’t enough foreshadowing and the actual “beyond the gates” was a snore.
There were moments I liked, but the most consistent think I liked is how freaking creepy Barbara Crampton was. She made the film bearable. It’s a good try, and I have seen some bad horror films or rather misunderstood films. It’s worth a watch but not worth making part of your movie collection.
3 Bloody Fistpumps out of 5
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I have a very deep love affair with KPop. I have been hooked since 1997 and it hasn’t let go. When I come for air, I try to explore other genres and lately Chillhop has been on the menu. Those frosty melodies and brain freezing bursts of bass, cymbal, and brass just make for a delicious eargasm.
Chillhop is often mistaken for Jazz Rap and Trip Hop. However, it’s roots are in Neo Soul and Electronica. According to Wikipedia, the BPM (beats per minute) of Chillhop usually varies from 85 to 95 BPM. Thus, it isn’t as slow as the languid Trip Hop of Tricky but is slower than the jazzy rhymes of Digable Planets.
There are many in this genre that site Japanese musician Nujabes as the father of Chillhop. He was influenced by 1980s Jazz Rap and began creating his own beats circa 1996. He is most recognized along with other similar artists such as Fat Jon for the music in the anime series – Samurai Champloo (2004). Eventually, Adult Swim broadcasted the series and began using Chillhop music in their bumps between programming and commercials.
Sadly, Nujabes left this world on February 26, 2010 (Age 36) due to a car accident in Tokyo. Nujabes is actually an anagram of his real name Jon Seba. Nujabes collaborated with other Japanese artists such as Uyama Hiroto, Shing02 (with whom he created the critically acclaimed “Luv(sic)” hexalogy), Minmi, and was also involved with America’s underground hip hop scene through collaboration with CYNE, Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Fat Jon, and Terry Callier. He released three studio albums (Metaphorical Music in 2003, Modal Soul in 2005, and Spiritual State, released posthumously in 2011) and two collection compilations (Hydeout Productions 1st Collection in 2003 and 2nd Collection in 2007) (Wikipedia).
A hexalogy (from Greek ἑξα- hexa–, “six” and -λογία -logia, “discourse”) is a compound literary or narrative work that is made up of six distinct works. The word apparently first appeared in English as a borrowing from German, in discussions of August Bungert’s Wagnerian opera cycle entitled Homerische Welt based on the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Nujabes influenced individuals around the world. It was not shocking to see the numerous tributes released in his honor.
Chillhop still shines brightly and the genre is full of a wide array of choices.
In Love With A Ghost
Sometimes you have good intentions and then things just don’t fall in the place. This is the sad history of this blog. I got disillusioned and gave up on it. It was always in the back of my mind. After some some jostling of bugs out the ear and an unscrambling of brain matter, I have decided to dust of the cobwebs and start blogging again. I am not going to make any promises. I am just going to say, hope you stop by now and again for a bit of news and conversation. Ciao!