Stephen King Wanted ‘IT’ To Avoid This Horror Cliche

Stephen King, prolific author of the the horror classic 'IT' discusses a particular cliche of the genre that he wanted the story to avoid.

It Stephen King Bill Skarsgard Pennywise

One of 2017’s biggest blockbusters was Andy Muschietti’s big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic, IT. The film was a critical and commercial success large in part due to it being character-centric and staying true to the spirit of King’s novel to keep it from being just a pale adaptation and/or a generic horror film.

In a nutshell, given that the horror genre is often guilty of utilizing all of the cliches in the book, IT often uses some of the classic staples of the genre but thanks to remarkable craftsmanship behind the scenes, it is able to standout regardless of the tropes. But even in its terrific craftsmanship, part of what makes IT special is how King’s writing avoids one particular horror cliche.

On the special features for the film’s Blu-ray release, King talks about a certain cliche that he wanted the story to avoid:

“One of the things that I wanted to do in the novel, in all of my novels, is to create characters who are fundamentally decent by and large. That way, you don’t want them to be spam in a cabin. You want them to live and you want them to win.”

King’s sentiment regarding the creation of fundamentally decent characters is one of his signature elements in his books – particularly with IT. Because readers and audiences spend a significant time with the characters, when horrific events occur such as a killer clown ready to devour characters you love, you immediately get concerned for their well-being.

That’s not to say that horror stories shouldn’t have characters that readers and audiences hope receive some sort of comeuppance given their despicable nature. IT thankfully has that character in the form of Henry Bowers.

But by the end of the day, the resonance of King’s IT is in the Losers Club themselves. Because we see them both as children and as adults, we understand their lives in ways that many other stories in the same genre don’t. Hopefully, Muschietti continues that exploration with IT: Chapter Two. 

What do you think of King’s aim in creating great characters within horror stories? Are you excited to reunite with the Losers Club with IT: Chapter Two? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to continue following Heroic Hollywood for all the latest regarding IT and more of King’s stories.

Stephen King’s IT stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris. Here’s the official synopsis:

Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A group of young kids face their biggest fears when they seek answers to the disappearance of children in their hometown of Derry, Maine. They square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

IT is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD.

Source: IT Blu-Ray (via CinemaBlend)

Noah Villaverde

Noah Villaverde

Cinema lover. Saxophone player. Coffee consumer. Chronic complainer. Oh, I also write. #TeamHeroic