It has been over three decades since the ‘IT’ miniseries and its iconic villain first premiered on TV screens worldwide. Finally, for the first time, ‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ examines the spark that ‘IT’ created upon its initial release and the lasting impact it has had on an entire generation and the horror genre at large.
After several years in the making, co-directors John Campopiano (Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary) and Christopher Griffiths (Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser) have managed to uncover a wealth of insight into the production of the unforgettable miniseries, including rare archival materials and never-before-seen footage, which is being presented for the first time in the Screambox original documentary ‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’.
The documentary opens with Stephen King sharing a story about how a late-night stroll over a bridge led to him envisioning the premise of a monster hiding under the very bridge he was crossing and how easy it would be for this creature to reach up and pull him down.
It was this spark of an idea that would lead to King writing the novel IT. The novel became the basis for the 1990 horror miniseries that scared a generation and forever changed the way the world views clowns.
‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ is broken down into chapters, with the first covering the horror miniseries’ early stages of development, including how Lawrence D. Cohen began to develop the script and how George A. Romero was originally attached to direct.
We learn in this chapter that the original pitch would have been eight hours long and would have included a much more graphic version of the story. We also learn what led to Cohen stepping away from the project, which left director Tommy Lee Wallace then being tasked with rewriting the screenplay for the second night of the miniseries.
The documentary then looks at what it took to bring the character of Pennywise to life, including the basis behind the character and the original casting choices for the role, before finally landing on Tim Curry.
We Learn about how it was Curry’s performance in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ that led to him being cast in the role.
Next, ‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ looks at the work that went into casting each character and the challenges the casting directors were faced with when it came time to find the perfect child actors to match the adult versions of “The Losers Club,” as well as the process that went into casting the film’s other lead antagonist, Henry Bowers.
‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ then examines the work that went into creating the make-up effects for the film, precisely what it took to transform Tim Curry into the killer clown, and the process that went into bringing all of the nightmarish creatures onto the screen.
The documentary then focuses on all the labor that went into building the film’s elaborate sets and the detail that went into creating all the film’s practical effects. Specifically, the work that went into bringing the giant spider to life.
‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ is entertaining from start to finish. As the viewer, you are treated to so much exclusive content and have the opportunity to learn about what it took to bring this iconic miniseries to TV.
You get to hear exclusive interviews with many of the miniseries’s key players, including Pennywise himself, Tim Curry, cast members Richard Thomas, Seth Green, Emily Perkins, Dennis Christopher, Tim Reid, Brandon Crane, director Tommy Lee Wallace, writer Lawrence D. Cohen, special effects make-up artist Bart Mixon, and more.
You can hear in their own words how each individual came to be involved with the film and the experiences they remember from making the movie. You learn about what went on behind the camera, including stories about the hijinks that the younger actors would get into while filming the movie.
The documentary also pays tribute to original cast members Jonathan Brandis and John Ritter.
‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ is a must-see for fans of the original ‘IT’ miniseries. This documentary is the most comprehensive look into the world of ‘IT’ and reveals to horror fans the complete process that went into bringing King’s novel to the screen.
‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ does for ‘IT’ what ‘Camp Crystal Lake Memories” did for the Friday the 13th franchise and ‘Never Sleep Again’ did for the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
Enjoy ‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ with a 30-day free trial of Screambox, available on iOS, Android, Prime Video, YouTube TV, Comcast, and Screambox.com.
I have come here to chew bubblegum and write horror, and I’m all out of bubblegum.