IT Nearly Featured Appearances By Other ’80s Horror Icons

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Despite being a lifelong lover of horror, not even I could have foreseen the massive amount of success currently being enjoyed by IT. But, then again, I guess living up to all that hype by garnering critical acclaim and having good word of mouth to go along with it certainly helped with achieving an impressive $123 million dollar opening weekend. Seriously, numbers like that are pretty much unheard of for this genre and have breathed new life into a mostly stagnant box office year.

Quite obviously, Pennywise, the film’s chief antagonist, is most notably known to take on the form of a clown, which the marketing was largely centered on. However, it’s also been well established that he’s a shapeshifter able to take on the guise of someone’s specific fears, as was seen in the much lauded remake.

In Stephen King’s original novel, though, Pennywise also morphed into other Hollywood favorites such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and even the shark from Jaws. As it so happens, director Andy Muschietti toyed with the idea of incorporating some 1980’s horror icons, something he touched on in a recent discussion with Ain’t It Cool News:

“Obviously we considered that for a bit, but I wasn’t too interested in bringing Freddy Krueger into the mix. I love the story and I love how Stephen King basically makes a portrait of childhood in the ’50s. He’s very genuine when he brings all the Universal Monsters to the repertoire of incarnation because that’s what kids were afraid of. It would be a natural path to try to recreate that in the ’80s, but I really wasn’t too crazy about bringing stuff like Freddy Krueger into the story. I thought it was a bit too meta with New Line involved in the film. It’s distracting and it didn’t feel right, for some reason.”

He’s right about that. Had Freddy Krueger popped up, odds are that it would’ve divided audiences, with some thinking the cameo was cool and others being taken right out of the movie. So, it’s understandable that the director went deeper and more personal.

“I wanted to bring fears that were a little more layered and related to childhood trauma and more surprising in general. I think that Stephen King was open to that. When he saw the film I basically wrote a letter to him asking him for forgiveness for having taken so many licenses, especially with the many different incarnations of Pennywise. He said ‘Don’t worry about it. All the changes are great!’”

Knowing how protective King can be when it comes it his intellectual property, Muschietti must be on cloud nine knowing the legendary author approves of his IT adaptation. In the past, King himself expressed displeasure with Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining, which while being a classic to the rest of us, deviated very far from the source material. That said, one can only hope the trend continues with the eventual followup.

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