Traditionally, horror movies don’t appeal to mainstream audiences. These films feature everything from extreme gore to terrifying life-or-death scenarios and can turn off fans from the trailers alone. While movies like Saw franchise and Hostel continue this gruesome narrative, the horror genre has begun to evolve.
This year featured Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a box office and critical success, all while being considered a “horror” movie. Get Out was seen by mainstream audiences, not just traditional horror fans. Andy Muschietti’s film adaption of Stephen King’s IT is likely to follow in the footsteps of Get Out and continue the evolution and expansion of the horror genre.
Stephen King’s IT is known around the world as a terrifying story featuring the iconic demonic clown, Pennywise. King is a literary legend, selling over $350 million copies of his novels. This will be the first time that IT will be on the big screen. A TV mini-series was created with Tim Curry playing Pennywise but this didn’t fully capture the tone and depth of King’s novel. IT as a novel is haunting, but it also explores what it’s like to be growing up as a child, in addition to, how impactful bullying can be on a child. Muschietti has said that he wants this on-screen adaption to be true to the novel in tone and with storytelling.
The themes of IT address issues that resonate with today’s audience, and audiences are already showing interest. The trailers have broken records around the world. Interest in this movie continues to build. There is curiosity surrounding this project, just how scary will be it? How will Pennywise be represented on screen? The marketing is capturing this excitement and leaving audiences wanting more, very similar to the marketing of Peele’s Get Out.
Positive momentum from marketing and name recognition will not be enough to continue the evolution of the horror genre; audiences must know that IT is about exploring fear, not always about gore or jump scares. It’s about a group of friends trying to survive school hallways and a terrifying clown. IT will be scary without a doubt, audiences will be jumping out of their seats, but IT has the chance to explore different themes and tones within the template of a classic horror story which would leave a larger impression on cinema as a whole.
IT will be released on September 8, 2017. Will you float too?