Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Horror Classics: I drink and live-blog "Stephen King's It" - Part I

I've never seen this and I already think clowns are creepy, so I'm sure it won't help. It's also three hours long, so we'll see how that goes. Apparently it originally aired as a two-part miniseries in 1990. I've got energy drinks on hand (to mix with vodz, obvs). Jonathan Brandis is in this movie! Eleven year-old me who watched seaQuest exclusively to look at his beautiful face would be all over this shit.* Also, Seth Green. And John Ritter, who I always found to be vaguely menacing, even before that one Buffy episode.

Moral of the story: laundry kills.
Some little girl sings "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and rides her trike around the neighborhood. Her mom has hung up all of the wash outside even though it's about to rain. The girl picks up a doll, then sees/hears a clown in the laundry. Fade to black. Is she gone? Her tricycle wheels are spinning wildly. The mom screams, though we don't see her body until the EMTs take her away, dead. (I think? Either her body is tiny or the gurney is empty, who cares it's not important right now.) The cops do not like that the local librarian is butting his nose in, talking about how six kids are now dead or missing in this town. The librarian is the dad from Sister, Sister.

Some dude in another house, with a stupid ponytail types his horror novel. His hot British wife does not like his moods since he's apparently rewriting one of his books for a movie script and it's not going well maybe? Mike, the librarian, calls him (Bill) and tells him "It's back." There's a flashback of kids by a lake saying something about whether "it's really dead." Apparently Mike found a picture at the crime scene of someone named "Georgie."

More flashbacking. Jonathan Brandis (young Bill) berates his little brother Georgie from his sick bed. Bill has a speech impediment and gives his brother a paper sailboat. Georgie's got to go down into the creepy basement to get the wax to make it water proof. Bill tells his brother to be careful as he goes out to sail his boat in the rain gutter. Georgie loses his boat down the storm drain, where a creepy clown, who introduces himself as "Pennywise, the dancing clown," tries to get him to take a balloon. He knows Georgie's name and taunts him with the boat. He claims there's a circus down in the sewer. Oh, now Pennywise has fangs and pulls the kid into the drain. Next, it continues to rain at Georgie's funeral. It's all '50s and sad.

In a photo album, Bill watches as a photo of Georgie winks at him and then starts bleeding. He screams and his parents come in, scolding him for being in Georgie's room and either not noticing or pretending not to notice the blood everywhere. UN-FLASHBACK. Grown-up Bill apparently "almost forgot" about it all. His wife is pissed he has to leave to go to see Mike. He's stuttering again like when he was a kid. Audra wants to go with him, but he won't let her. He "promised."

He'd better also be wearing Action Jeans!
Now, it's NYC and John Ritter, in his best Chuck Norris costume drunkenly falls out of a limo with some award in hand and a ladyfriend. I guess he's an architect of some kind. His name is Ben, as we see from the cover of Time on his wall. Good expositioning, It. This lady's hair is puffy, but not as puffy as her sleeves. He tells her he used to be fat as they make out, but then the phone rings. Does the phone cord come from the ceiling? Mike, over the phone, asks Ben how much he remembers. He claims "almost nothing," but says he'll come, pushes the lady away, and pours himself a glassful of booze. He goes up to the top of a skyscraper construction site to think about killing himself.

FLASHBACK. Ben moved to their town from Texas. The bullies in the back of the classroom, who are roughly 9 years older than any other students, mock him for being fat. One of the greasers gets sent to the principal's office and threatens Ben. Apparently the town has a 7:00 p.m. curfew. He meets a nice girl named Beverly Marsh and some bitchy ten year-olds mock her for being a janitor's kid. On the way home from school, he runs into the greasers. Henry tries to cut his belly, Ben kicks him, and Henry threatens to kill him and they chase him into a ravine, where Ben hides in a drainage ditch. They greasers find Bill and some other kids playing in the creek and destroy their dam. They steal one kid's asthma inhaler. This Henry kid is a sociopath. He should be in prison. The shorter kid is having an asthma attack, but his inhaler is empty.

Ben stays with him as Bill goes to get more medicine. Eddie, the other kid, is nice to Ben. Bill comes back and they invite him to play with them tomorrow. Ben's dad died in Korea, and Eddie's died of cancer. At home, Ben's cousin comes in, finds a poem he's writing and taunts him. All the boys in this movie are horrible, fucked up bullies. Apparently they live with the aunt and cousin because the aunt refuses to let them be on welfare. Ben runs off to the creek. He thinks he hears his dad calling for him in the swamp. He sees his dad, but it's really the clown, with balloons. A creepy slimy skeleton tries to pull him in the water.

UN-FLASHBACK. Adult Ben cries and drinks more. In Chicago, some dick controls Beverly, won't let her fix her own hair or answer the phone. They've got an important meeting. Apparently she's a designer. They go down to their sweatshop to meet the Japanese investors. The douche, Tom, is douchey. The phone rings at their apartment and it's Mike. She gets to talk to him because Tom went to get more champagne from the kitchen. She is packing her bags for Maine and Tom smacks her. He's going to beat her with a belt. She throws some shit at him and knocks him over. She threatens to kill him if he ever comes near her again.

FLASHBACK. Beverly finds Ben's poem on her doorstep. I'd have been horrified. Her dad demands to see it and tears it up and then starts hitting her. He chases her out of the house. It is terrifying. Ben finds her crying behind a bush. He invites her to come down to the dam-building project. Beverly and Bill clearly already like each other. Seth Green (Richie) and some Boy Scout show up, too. Stan is the Boy Scout and apparently is a Jew. Good to know! The kids get to work using garbage and rocks. Damn dam. Later, Beverly hears somebody ask for help down the drain of the sink. Some kids say a clown brought them there and now they all float. A creepy red balloon comes up out of the sink and explodes red everywhere. Beverly screams and goes to get her dad. He doesn't seem disturbed by all the blood, but yells at Bev for not fixing it, I guess.

UN-FLASHBACK. Next we see grown-up Eddie, who still lives with his mom. He's got a sweet sweater vest and is packing all his meds. His mom is pissed he's going back to Derry, Maine. He yells at his friend to hurry and drive away. I guess he and his friend are limo drivers. FLASHBACK. The kids are all watching a scary movie together at the theater. A werewolf movie. They accidentally, then on purpose, dump food over the balcony at the greasers and run out of the theater. They all stare at the weird castle thing across the marsh/pond thing where Ben saw his dad earlier. They drop Eddie off at his house. Eddie's creepy mom thinks Eddie is sickly and shouldn't have any friends besides his mom. She tells him not to shower with the other boys after P.E. because he might catch their germs, but the P.E. teacher insists.

He's alone in the showers, but all the showerheads turn on by themselves and start coming out of the wall, at him. Those are some long pipes surrounding him. Pennywise says hi from the shower drain, reaching out his gloved hands. Crappy claymation and Pennywise has busted out of the drain. He tells Eddie he'll see him in his dreams. UN-FLASHBACK. Grown Eddie gets on a train and cries.

COMEDY! Image source.
A phone rings backstage somewhere as comedian adult Richie does what looks like a terrible set on a talk show. The phone continues to ring as he's mobbed backstage. It's MIKE. Richie's manager is mad that he's got to leave town suddenly. Richie's got an earring and sweet aviators. Also, a big inflatable Godzilla in his swimming pool. That's a sign of real wealth. He imagines (remembers?) being attacked by a werewolf and has to go throw up.

For Georgie.
FLASHBACK. Bill tells everybody a great story ('cause he's gonna be a writer, see?) around a campfire. They all ramble about what they want to be when they grow up. Bill's about to tell them about Georgie's picture, when a cop comes and yells at them for damming up the creek and tells them another little girl's been murdered. Richie and Stan get pulled aside by the greasers in the cafeteria. Henry wipes potatoes on Richie's glasses. The bullies slip and fall as they run after him. Apparently there are no teachers in this school. Except the one Richie runs into who is played by CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN. Richie gets sent to get a mop from the janitor downstairs. He finds him, and apparently he's a werewolf. Nope, it was Pennywise all along! Richie runs away and everybody laughs at him for claiming there's a werewolf in the basement.

Just  prepping for a friendly neighborhood rock fight!
UN-FLASH. Mike, after an evening of ruining everybody's lives with unwelcome phone calls. The kids were the "Lucky 7." FLASHBACK. Kid Mike gives a presentation on the history of the town, which is filled with disasters and mysterious disappearances. Of course, on the street, Henry and his friends attack him. They call him various racial slurs and are about to put fireworks in his pocket. An adult yells at them and Mike runs away. The other kids, hanging out at an old train car, compare clown stories. Stan keeps claiming it's not empirically possible. Mike runs up to where they are and they decide to throw rocks at the greasers. I think they're at an old quarry or something. Bev gets hit with a rock, so Ben gets mad and attacks Henry. Henry's bros run away. Henry says he'll kill them all, blahblahblah. So Mike joins the "Losers' Club" and takes a picture.

The kids find documentation of Pennywise the Clown in the past, up to 200 years before. They watch as a photo of the circus comes to life. Pennywise does cartwheels down the street in it. Then he sees the kids looking and runs up to threaten to kill them and drive them crazy. Stan doesn't want to believe it. Stan the Empiricist. Bill asks the sky (Georgie?) to help him. He calls out Pennywise. He thinks it's scared of them somehow and he wants to kill it. The other kids say they'll help him and have a group hug. UN-FLASH. Mike wakes to a thunderclap. A balloon pops next to his head, and  there's creepy laughing and muddy footprints IN THE LIBRARY. In Atlanta, Georgia, Richard Masur who apparently is also in this movie and his wife watch Perfect Strangers. (This is my favorite contemporary detail in this movie/miniseries.) They talk about having a kid. The phone rings for Stan (Masur), who doesn't want to promise to come back. Stan goes to take a bath.

FLASHBACK. Stan recites the Boy Scout oath to himself as the kids practice with a slingshot. Bev's really good at it. They think they may be able to kill It with silver chunks like it's a werewolf or something. The kids approach the weird sewer castle in the rain. They all take hits off the asthma inhaler like it's a cigarette or something. I hope Eddie doesn't run out of medicine. The greasers watch them go into the sewer and plan to attack them inside. Giant hooks hang from the ceiling inside the building and they all start climbing down into the drain. The Greasebros watch. Henry sends one of his friends to go down somewhere else and chase the Seven back towards them. He doesn't want to go alone, but they verbally emasculate him so he goes. Inside the sewers, Ben finds a Koosh ball, or maybe it's just a ball thing from the clown outfit.

Totes norms, right?
The lone greaser sees a light coming towards him from a drain and there are lights and apparently he's been attacked. The Seven walk with flashlights. Henry secretly pulls aside Stan and threatens him with a knife. The other six come to some sort of room with lots of drains and realize he's gone. Henry slices off Stan's buttons with his knife. I think he's getting off on this, sexually. A light comes through a pipe and explodes. The other greaser who's not Henry gets pulled into a big pipe with a tractor beam, basically. The light comes back and Stan smartly runs away. Henry's hair is now standing on end, all white. Like, you know, happens.

Stan finds the other kids and some sort of light/spaceship thing flies over them. WTF? The kids wake up and see green lights and dry ice smoke coming out of a pipe. They all grab hands and Bill says they have to resist. The light takes form of various dead family members/their greatest fears to scare them. Stan recites Scout shit to himself to stay strong. The clown grabs Stan somehow. Bev drops the silver chunk. The clown says it's "The Eater of Worlds" and "Ender of Children." Before he can eat Stan, Eddie sprays his inhaler in Pennywise's eye and Bev knocks a hole in its head. Really shitty claymation makes the clown go down a small drain. Bill grabs his hand to keep him from escaping, but then it turns into a claw thing and it gets away. They hope it's dead. Outside, Bill makes them promise to come back if it ever comes back. Stan hesitates, but ultimately swears to.

Image source.
UN-FLASH: Stan's wife comes upstairs to find him in the tub, dead. He's slit his wrists, I think, and written "It" in his blood on the tile wall.


*BTWs, how could I have forgotten that he tragically killed himself in 2003? That is awful and makes me sad. He was so young and so dreamy.

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