Luca Azenaro-Acero, News Editor
October 27, 2017
The success of a horror movie is a strange thing. It can be a massive failure, as the recently released film The Snowman, which is being called one of the worst films of the year.
On the flip side, the timidly critically received Happy Death Day has been doing rather well for itself, on a meager budget and no name actors.
Horror is one of the most divisive and subjective genres out there; so what made IT such an absolute hit?
Some attribute it to excellent casting, with Finn Wolfhard from “Stranger Things” being particularly well praised. Others believe the mass appeal of clowns as a terrifying force could have contributed to the film’s success, (anyone remember 2016’s clown incident?), as well as its critical acclaim.
I would like to raise a different candidate for the cause of IT’s continued streak of dominating at the box office; the source material.
I picked up Stephen King’s IT recently, a 1,138 page behemoth of a book that promised hours upon hours of content. It fulfilled that promise, and it was thankfully an extremely enjoyable experience. The book is extensively detailed, almost to a fault, but I’ll elaborate on that topic later. The details that aren’t overwhelming are remarkable in skill level, with Mr. King creating truly vivid and horrifying imagery with only his pen and paper.
The book jumps between two time periods, one set in the fifties and one in the eighties. Both settings cover the same set of characters, known as the Losers Club. The movie only covers the youth sections, although the upcoming sequel will be about the same characters as adults.
The club of troublemaking misfits is excellently characterized and their interactions are heartwarming and endearing, as well as realistic and tragic. Their dialogue varies significantly from one another, and each member is unique and interesting in their own way.
The main event, Pennywise, is far more detailed in the book. The titular creature has its mythology thoroughly delved into, with some fascinating twists and turns filling in the gaps of the character. One might worry that knowing too much about the creature would ruin the mystery, but Stephen King knows how to give us just the right amount of information without over explaining his universe. It, (the creature), is a formidable and terrifying villain, and whenever It showed up, I was engulfed in the ensuing events.
My main gripe with the novel isn’t the length exactly; it’s how that long journey came to be. The book drags on in some points, with an insane amount of excessive description causing padding in the middle of the story.
King likes to envelop the reader in his environments, but having too much description makes it overwhelming and tiring. Thankfully, this is my only real complaint with the book, although there is a very, very weird decision with the children towards the end of the book, which you’ll definitely know it when you read it.
It’s just a shame that such an excellent book becomes a trudging chore on occasion, especially when the highs of the book are exceedingly towering.
Overall, IT is a genuinely amazing book with lovable characters, an engrossing narrative style, a consistently enjoyable story, and some of the best writing I have ever read. It is weighed down by some sections that drone on with menial tasks and meandering plotlines, all overly described and tiring. Regardless, I highly recommend IT to anyone who loves horror…. or just a phenomenal story, from front to back.