it gutter scene image

Andrés Muschietti‘s adaptation It has to impress on several fronts. It has to please the fans of Stephen King‘s original book, which may be the best horror novel ever written. It has to grab those who were traumatized by the TV miniseries adaptation from the early ’90s. It has to be an effective horror movie for those completely unfamiliar with this story. So yeah: no pressure. 

New Line has released a new image from the film and it’s from a moment that will be very familiar to fans of the book and viewers of the original miniseries. Heck, even the newbies may know a thing or two about this one, as it’s probably the most famous scene in It.

Released by Empire, the image finds young Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) kneeling by a storm drain and having a face-to-face encounter with Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård), one guise of the nameless, ageless creature that has been hunting children in Derry, Maine for generations. This is the opening scene of the book and one of the opening scenes in the miniseries and it leaves quite the impression. Let’s just say that things don’t end well for Georgie and that his older brother, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), has a very personal reason to get involved in hunting down this creature. 

It gutter image

While it’s a creepy image at first glance, it’s the second image released from It to suffer from what appears to be poor Photoshop. It’s not as egregious that that “pipe” image (seen above), which is more comical than frightening, but Skarsgård’s head does look like it was just dropped into an existing image. This doesn’t spell doom and gloom (many publicity shots don’t represent the finished film at all!), but it would be nice to see a proper trailer and discover what this movie will actually look and feel like.

This Scene is Vital

If done right, this moment will be a punch to the gut. This scene, set in the ’50s in the original book and miniseries and moved to the ’80s for Muschietti’s film, begins with young Georgie playing outside in the middle of torrential rainstorm. He encounters an odd sight: a clown in the rain gutter. He invites Georgie to come closer, promising rides and games and fun, insisting mysteriously that everything “floats.” And then, from page 15 of my copy of It:

George’s shoulder socked against the cement of the sub and Dave Gardener, who had stayed home from his job at The Shoeboat that day because of the flood, saw only a small boy in a yellow rain slicker, a small boy who was screaming and writhing in the gutter with muddy water surfing over his face and making his screams sound bubbly.

“Everything down here floats,” that chucking, rotten voice whispered, and suddenly there was a ripping noise and a flaring sheet of agony, and George Denbrough knew no more.

The original miniseries isn’t quite as visceral or upsetting – it lacks King’s unsettling prose and has to deal with the television restrictions of 1990 – but it’s still one of the scenes that people of a specific age point toward as the source of countless nightmares. Even book readers like me have a hard time picturing this scene without Tim Curry’s voice:

It’s not surprising to see that this scene is in the movie and it’s definitely not surprising that the marketing is leaning on such familiar imagery. I only hope that Muschietti and Skarsgård, whose more timeless Pennywise is a far cry from the more traditional clown we’ve seen previously, can live up to the previous versions.

It opens on September 8, 2017. Stephen King says he likes the movie, but he also hates Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

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