Joining Get Out and Split in the unofficial category of 2017 Sleeper Hits, New Line’s R-rated adaptation took the world by storm, and it’s a credit to everyone involved – from director Andy Muschietti to Bill Skarsgård, the man beneath the clown mask – that Pennywise sunk his teeth into the zeitgeist. Hell, one need only look to Sony Pictures and its own Slender Man movie for evidence of It‘s achievement. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the old saying goes.
But thanks to House of Tortured Souls (h/t Bloody Disgusting), Bart Mixon has delivered his own verdict of New Line’s horror masterclass. Who is Mixon, exactly? He’s the prolific makeup artist whose work includes A Nightmare on Elm Street and the original It. Below, he explains how last year’s sleeper hit differs from the 1990 TV mini-series starring Tim Curry.
It was cool. I’m certainly fond of mine, but I thought they did a nice job. There were certainly some similarities to my makeup which probably couldn’t be avoided [with] it being a clown, but I thought it was different enough. I don’t envy [Bill] Skarsgård just having to follow Tim Curry. That must be a pretty daunting task for him, but yeah, I thought it was interesting as a makeup. I’m glad they did their own take on it, that they didn’t just copy mine even though I have friends that thought they copied it a little too much. I guess it has the bulbous head like mine, but that’s where the similarities end.
When asked to compare the two properties, Mixon conceded that he was a little jealous of It‘s R rating in the sense that Andy and Barbara Muschietti were given more freedom to execute their vision:
Just as a movie, I thought they did a pretty good job. Mine was a TV movie from 1990; theirs is an R-rated feature in 2017, so obviously they can do stuff we weren’t allowed to do. For what I did, I think it was about three hours and five minutes long. By the time they do part two, it will probably come into about four and a half hours to cover the same territory, so I am kind of envious that they got another hour and a half to tell the same story and they are not restricted by the 1990 TV censorship as I was. But I’m really looking forward to part two.
Bart Mixon concluded:
Some of the visuals in there I thought were really cool, like the scene with Georgie in the flooded basement and he’s standing in like ankle deep water and Pennywise comes up out of the water, which I thought made a nice supernatural element since obviously the water wasn’t deep enough for him to be completely submerged and yet he was. Or like when he was working Georgie like a hand puppet or when he ripped Georgie’s arm off – which is a scene we could only hint at. In our version, he is missing an arm but you can’t really tell.
And make no mistake, Pennywise will return. Hell, his second coming was subtly hinted at during one of It‘s deleted scenes, in which the shell-shocked Bill Denbrough prepared to embark on a family trip – but not before gazing down at the blood oath etched into the palm of his hand.
Together with the Losers Club, he’s obliged to circle back to the cursed town of Derry, Maine should Pennywise ever return. It’ll take a full 27 years before King’s abomination regenerates, but with a September 2019 release date locked in, It: Chapter Two is already beginning to take shape. Closer to home, the first film is now available on Blu-ray and can be purchased on Amazon.