“Time to Float”
Like many of his big screen adaptations, Stephen King’s IT (Part’s I & II) was released with a great deal of anticipation and praise. And like many of his works, the story of IT revolves around a small American town where bad things happen to a small group of close friends.
The film’s titular villain, the inter dimensional monster Pennywise, is easily one of the more recognizable of horror villains, first for the original actor who donned the clown costume (Tim Curry) in the ’90s television series and for the more recent, revamped and immensely more creepy 2017/19 portrayal by Bill Skarsgård.
In the town of Derby, a monster who likes to appear as a clown and calls itself Pennywise, feasts on the fears of its residents, taking particular glee in the dread of children. When a group of pre-teen Losers (their self-chosen moniker) become the latest prey to this extraterrestrial menace, they band together to fight back against IT – first as children then 27 years later as adults. IT has the ability to read minds and assume any form its chooses, often adorning the embodiment of a victim’s most terrifying memory. But by banding together, in their youth then in their adulthoods, the Losers are able to defeat IT and send it back into a deep slumber.
It’s a straightforward enough plot, infamous for one particular scene left out in the film remake, overall the movies feel grounded in their ’80’s roots, but updated for modern audiences. Unfortunately I have to be in the minority and say that I wasn’t a fan of the films, one or two and I had a rather tough time just getting through each watch. Maybe it’s the small town vibe that much of King’s work has to it, which is radically different from my own experiences, but I find much of his film’s are hit or miss – I liked Doctor Sleep and The Mist, but IT felt both like a heavy-handed fairy-tale. Perhaps when IT first came out, this may have been fresh, but combined with its special effects and the excessive fear-factor scenes, there wasn’t much for me to cling to in the film – but that’s probably just me.
From a monster stand point however- oh boy. A classic: Pennywise the one and only. As far as D&D adversaries, Pennywise is a great threat to throw at your players, a creepy suite of abilities and more than a few layers of subterfuge should make any campaign with Pennywise a deadly and compelling encounter. He fits nicely in a menagerie where hags, dragons and other shapeshifting humanoid-looking threats can easily mask his true nature, long enough to single out a character or two and score himself a nice, tasty morsel.
What is IT?