The character of Pennywise has transcended Stephen King’s novel, It and effectively become its own entity. One of the reasons the monstrous clown achieved this infamy is because of Tim Curry’s gnarly performance in the 1990 TV mini-series adaptation of King’s book. It was a seminal moment for television horror and became the gateway to a million nightmares for a whole generation of children.
Filmmakers John Campopiano and Chris Griffiths’s feature length documentary, Pennywise: The Story Of Itlooks at the production of the now iconic mini-series, bringing together many of the key figures from behind and in front of the camera. It’s an excellent retrospective piece which offers some wonderful insight into how they made a two-part movie from King’s epic tome.
Contributions from director Tommy Lee Wallace and cast members like Tim Curry, Seth Green, Richard Thomas and others make the film feel complete. The lack of input from Stephen King (save for archive footage) is disappointing, but expected and it’s not enough to make the film feel like it’s missing an integral part.
The talking heads interviews sit side by side with a wealth of behind the scenes footage and photographs to deliver a comprehensive insight into the making of the film. The thirty year gap between production of the mini-series and this documentary means that everyone is willing to look at what helped make it such a success -and also understand how certain aspects weren’t so successful (the ending!)
Campopiano and Griffiths also spend some looking into the creation of the now iconic Pennywise, offering up theories as to why the killer clown has become such an iconic horror character. And it’s clear that one of these reasons is the casting of Tim Curry as well as some very clever make-up effects. If you have an interest in any incarnation of Stephen King’s It, then I highly recommend Pennywise: The Story Of It. It’s a great look at the making of the iconic 1990 TV miniseries.