Horror Marathon: IT (Miniseries 1990)

It’s time for another Stephen King adaptation! We’re finally looking at the 1990 miniseries IT which I’ve never seen before today. Perhaps a good way to justify why I haven’t is that I have a GIGANTIC fear of clowns. I can remember exact moments of being a little girl and the clowns that scared the heck out of me. However, I watched this one to have a comparison with the new IT movie that had hit theatres earlier this October and that review will be up tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’m still working on the book.

Let’s check this out!

IT (1990)

IT miniseries

Cast: Richard Thomas, Tim Curry, John Ritter, Tim Reid, Annette O’Toole, Richard Masur, Dennis Christopher, Harry Anderson, Jonathan Brandis, Brandon Crane, Adam Faraizi, Seth Green, Ben Heller, Emily Perkins

In 1960, seven pre-teen outcasts fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once and for all when it returns to their hometown. – IMDB

This miniseries turned out to be quite a lot less scary than I imagined it. Its probably because it didn’t age well and Tim Curry brings that very comedic clown feeling even when he gets his sharp fangs out. It originally aired in two episodes. The first part was focused on the kids and the adults heading back to Derry on a promise after their friend calls them back and the second part focuses on the adults who now need to face the reality of the reoccurence of the terror that has struck Derry again and how they plan on dealing with it. This is a long piece with the two episodes combined of over 3 hours. I guess that isn’t so bad considering we frequently get 3 hours blockbusters (close to it) so its doable to just watch the whole thing in one sitting. IT is a pretty good time to be honest. The ending is a little lackluster and I’m wondering if the actual book ends the same way.

IT

Part 1 is definitely the highlight of the movie where we focus on the kids and shape how they’ve turned out as adults as we take a peek into their lives. All the actors are quite good and there are a few familiar faces. Since this was made for TV, there are some parts that were taken out and modified which makes sense to me and for the most part, it still flows pretty well. What makes the first part intriguing is its familiar structure to the source material which helps us not to only see how the story started for each of The Losers but also how they became friends and also to see their characters at the same time. The Losers each had skills and added individually to the story and the group. The kids here are very believable and they hold a naive sense to them despite their struggles.

IT 1990

Its length here has its pros and cons. For one, it allows it to stay more faithful to the source barring the moments that may be too much for general TV audience. The con however is that when the story isn’t moving, it feels like a bit of a drag. However, those are fairly rare moments. IT also uses its length to give more substance and create more of the moments. The effects are definitely dated but it is to be expected in a 1990 film however, it still is quite entertaining.

IT 1990

Tim Curry has taken on a lot of daring roles and some not so much. It really depends on what tone wanted to be created here. Pennywise is what will bring in those creeps as he is the villain. While Pennywise is quite entertaining and  clown-like with a slight darker edge, he or the tone of the mini series never manages to get into the horror elements well. Perhaps it is the first viewing being now that I feel this way and that if I saw it back in 1990 (unlikely since I was 4 and all I watched was Mr. Dressup and Ghibli films) that it would have scared me a lot more. The scenes had its intentions of being scary and creepy but it never sinks in.

Overall, there are some great elements here however, to say this was a scary movie experience would be inaccurate however, it is still very entertaining and has its moments. Tim Curry’s Pennywise also delivers a good performance.

Fantasia Festival 2016: We Go On (2016)

It has been a few days since the last Fantasia Festival film. I was tempted to add in a movie in between but decided that it was better to rest up. The last stretch after this one is going to be intense. You will see soon enough. Next up is We Go On hosted by co-director Andy Mitton and actor Jay Dunn.

We Go On (2016)

Director: Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton

Cast: Clark Freeman, Jay Dunn, Annette O’Toole, Laura Heisler, John Glover, Giovanna Zacarias

We Go On carries a great premise of defining the point where skepticism and curiosity and belief in the afterlife collide. Miles has an immaculate fear of death. It is so severe that he fears everything. In a desperate moment, he determines that the way to not be scared anymore is to find someone who can show him that there is more after death. It isn’t lights out but rather we go on. Do you not time to time, even momentarily wonder if there is more? Perhaps it is why this movie resounds even more to those who wonder. (Myself included.)

We Go On is unique because of how it sets up the story. It sets an unsettling atmosphere. At the same time, this year’s films have been about heart and detail and this one is no exception.  We Go On takes the experts that Miles (played by Clark Freeman) chooses to visit with his extremely skeptical mother (played by Annette O’Toole) and leaves us pieces of clues and it all comes in use in the end. It reminds us of the details.  At the same time, while it keeps us at the edge of our seat wondering if whatever exists in the afterlife does or doesn’t, it allows us time to not only breathe but laugh. Humor, drama and horror is all wrapped in We Go On.

We Go On

With its few characters that revolves around our main character Miles, our focus never leaves Miles and his movements and little expressions that suggest much more. We can see his fear, doubts, and equally his hope and disappointments. Among the stellar cast, Miles’ character truly grasps the uneasy and desperate feeling. There is fear, tension and so much more.On this journey as mentioned before is his reluctant but protectively caring mother played by Annette O’Toole who captures the role perfectly and it is her that makes us laugh the most with her disbelief and sarcastic/snarky interjections. Alongside this unexpected horror duo focused on the relationship of this mother and son relationship trying to get through this is an unexpected visitor Nelson that comes into the story. He is played by Jay Dunn and he truly takes Nelson to a place where its an area of uneasy and something incredibly mysterious about this character in the beginning before diving straight into some really creepy bits.

There are a lot of aspects done right from getting good locations and a tight knit story and the pacing, despite it being slow, is still engaging. However, where this seems to fall apart a little is in its final act. The story seemed to get lost in finding its way out to wrap up this entire ordeal. The way it ended felt a little underwhelming and didn’t have quite the shock value it may have meant to have. However, any further would be entering spoiler territory.

For those who can appreciate a slow burning movie, We Go On has a lot to offer. However, this is a quiet film. One that takes the time to develop and build a connection with Miles and the few characters like his mother and his eventual “buddy”, Nelson. A lot is not in dialogue but reaction and expressions.  Despite its lackluster finale, the sum of everything especially the atmosphere and the stellar performances makes up sufficiently to create a genuine and natural supernatural film filled with dread and humor.