Since his literary debut in 1986, and the TV miniseries that made him famous four years later, Stephen King’s Pennywise the Clown has kept the fear of clowns and the supernatural alive in the hearts and minds of horror fans everywhere. But his exact methods of horror are a subject that has fallen by the wayside, eclipsed by his horrific looks. Director Andres Muschietti probably realized that himself, as he’s recently addressed the subject of just how Pennywise has accrued his legacy of terror throughout the pages of It: he knows what scares you, and isn’t afraid to use it against you in the quest for your flesh.
USA Today debuted some new photos today from Muschietti’s two-part remake of Stephen King’s classic novel. With It’s first installment debuting in September, the press campaign is apparently starting up in the wake of the successful trailer debut at SXSW. During his remarks about the film at large, Andres Muschietti took the time to lay out Pennywise’s methodology thusly:
It’s established that Pennywise takes the shape of your worst fear. He doesn’t have a steady behavior, he doesn’t expose how he thinks, and that’s what makes him really unpredictable.
Now before you write off Pennywise as a Freddy Krueger rip-off, there’s a crucial difference that separates It’s clown menace from the clawed kiddie diddler: Pennywise doesn’t depend on you falling asleep. In fact, his specialty is the waking nightmare, as he can appear as anything, or even merely as himself, in any place possible. We saw this a lot in the original miniseries, as the inter-dimensional menace not only shifted into the guise other people, but we learned that his clown form was a disguise as well. Though it’s still to be determined whether or not Andres Muschietti decided to adapt the gigantic space spider of the original miniseries, or to come up with a brand new final form for Pennywise.
Of course, Pennywise’s fearful history isn’t always about the looks, as his deeds also precede him. In particular, his consumption of children helps along his efforts, and this is where the similarities between him and Freddy Krueger come back, as Muschietti commented on just why It depends on his hunger for children:
It’s a tiny bit of information, but that sticks with you so much. Maybe it is real as long as children believe in it. And in a way, Pennywise’s character is motivated by survival. In order to be alive in the imagination of children, he has to keep killing.
With all of this talk about It, we’re really anxious to see how actor Bill Skarsgard will inhabit the role that Tim Curry made so famous back in the 90s. And we’ll more than likely see that soon, as there’s been whispers of the very trailer that took SXSW by storm hitting the internet soon. We’ll be keeping our ears open for any further information pertaining to when It reveals its first footage, and report back once we’ve heard.