The recent release of this mini-series/TV event film from 1990 was celebrated by it's fans. I have never considered myself much of a fan of it or, indeed, many of the various television adaptations of Stephen King stories. They have always struck me a neutered versions of tales that really need a blast of subversive ultra-violence or darker-than-allowed characterizations to become the full blooded horror efforts that they were on the page. The only one that seemed to find a way to craft visceral thrills that actually crept under my skin was
SALEM'S LOT (1979) but it appears to be the only one with any real
dark power and the ability to hold up over the years.
So, I picked up the cheap Blu-Ray of IT (1990) to see if my memory of it as 'not bad' held up twenty-seven years later. The good news is that I think it is actually better than my dim memories led me to believe. The bad news is that it's flaws are still IT's downfall and they come in the expected spots.
I expected some of the acting to be less than great - this is, after all, a TV production with a huge cast of mostly television stars and a large number of child performers. But I was surprised to note that the young actors are mostly very good. There are some flubs and it's easy to spot some careful editing to get around particular actors not being able to successfully bring off certain emotional notes as well as might be wished for, but overall they are solid. The adult versions of these characters are played by an assortment of familiar 1980's TV faces and other than Harry Anderson, who is way out of his depth, they are quite good. In fact. Dennis Christopher, John Ritter and Richard Thomas turn in strong work and Ritter plays well off of Annette O'Toole in an emotional scene in the final hour that is very affecting. It speaks to the talent of the cast that they managed to accomplish what they do in a story with so many characters.