In honor of the recent remake of Stephen King’s It, here is a list of why this version trumps the original (in my humble opinion). In order to keep everything fair, I am only including the first half of the original, since part two of the remake has not been released yet.
WARNING: SPOILERS AND HORROR IMAGES AHEAD
1. The Production
Yes, I understand it was the ‘90’s. There is a distinct campy quality to the original that will always be near and dear to my heart. However, you just can’t beat a movie that is as well-made as the remake.
2. The Humor
I have never before seen a movie that made me jump and genuinely laugh all in one scene. The original focuses more on the terror of the kids’ faces, rather than their relationships with each other. A huge element of the story is the coming-of-age element, and Muschietti nailed their interactions with each other. For the first half of the movie, I forgot it was a horror film because he did such a good job building their group dynamic with humor.
3. The Iconic Scene
You know which scene I’m referring to. The pivotal scene that sets the entire movie in motion- the arm-ripping scene. As soon as I heard this version would rated-R, I braced myself for this. Obviously the original couldn’t do it justice, as it was a mini-series on TV. But it cannot even compare to this version. I was completely prepared and could still barely stomach it. Well done, Muschietti.
4. The Clown
Okay. I had nightmares about Tim Curry’s Pennywise as a kid; he terrified me. I obviously got over that fear the second I saw him in a corset and fishnets in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I experienced Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise as a 22-year-old woman and was afraid to drive home alone afterward. He plays the character as Stephen King intended: a dark, ancient evil that enjoys taking the form of a clown. Tim Curry’s Pennywise was just a clown to me, it didn’t have the depth that Skarsgård’s does.
5. The References
All. Of. The. References. As a die-hard fan of the book, this was the final factor that completely won me over. There are so many references to Stephen King’s novel that I’m positive I didn’t catch them all. The “I Heart Derry” balloon. The several mentions of the turtle. The Paul Bunyan statue. The deadlights in Pennywise’s throat. These subtleties were all missing from the original; everything was laid out very clearly without any underlying meanings. It sadly fell flat compared to the remake.
It may seem as though I hate the original and want to steer people away from it, which is not my intention. This movie was a huge part of my childhood and helped shape me into the person I am today. I will always love it and will always remember it as one of my favorites. My only intention is to commend the remake on everything it did to create a more satisfying experience for the fans. I know my opinion is far from a professional one, but I loved this movie, and am very satisfied with the adaptation Muschietti created.