Miniseries Review: Stephen King’s It

For my second day of “It Week” I’m here to share another unpopular opinion, this time regarding in the 1990 Mini-series starring Tim Curry.

Tim Curry

This review is fairly spoiler-free. While it does talk about plot structure, it doesn’t go into too many details. Continue reading at your own discretion.

I love the mini-series.

Don’t get me wrong, this adaptation of the novel has a lot of faults and it misses the mark on being truly scary – especially by today’s standards. That being said, it highlights all the things I liked about the novel while leaving out a lot of the more questionable content. It’s entertaining, and having just re-watched it to bring you this review I can say comfortably that it still brings me a very pleasant sense of nostalgia.

The special effects weren’t revolutionary, and a lot of the makeup was a little over-the-top. The script has Pennywise painted as more of a comedian than an other-wordly horror and the explanation for what It is and why It exists was…. rushed at best. The dialogue is over-the top in a lot of places and the formulaic nature of showing a successful person getting a call from Mike Hanlon that causes them to fear for their lives and fade into a childhood flashback seems a lot more repetitive here than it did in the book. A lot of the scares come across more as gags than scares, accompanied with a lot of shots of balloons.

The mini-series stays pretty close to the source material for a lot of little details, but without the proper context as to why these details are relevant, they lack depth and give the impression that there are a lot of half developed subplots and loose ends.

So why do I love the mini-series so much?

Maybe it’s just that this was the first on-screen adaptation of King’s work I’d ever seen, but I think what it boils down to is that the miniseries is genuinely entertaining. The visuals play off of common fears and Tim Curry’s over-the-top portrayal of Pennywise the clown made the cheap effects and obvious plot points seem more campy than outright bad. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s a lot of fun to sit through if you’re keeping that in mind.

If you’re a sucker for cheesy horror, Tim Curry, or long depictions of killer clowns, I would highly recommend the It miniseries.

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