T.J, Tranchell A red balloon floats nearby, looking just a bit too perfect, somehow less real than a normal balloon. There’s something off about the clown offering you the balloon and you don’t want to take it, but you do because this is a nightmare.
And then you wake up, go to work, sit in a meeting and the internet explodes with the release of a trailer for “IT,” the new adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel and an update to the 1989 miniseries.
As I write this, the official trailer has broken viewing records, topping 5 million views in about a week, including the half-dozen times I’ve watched it.
This is a testament to the cultural landmarks the novel and miniseries have become. We live in a time when the only monster that has gotten scarier is Pennywise the Dancing Clown. There is a good chance that anyone who has been alive for as long as Pennywise has been in the public consciousness is at least a little afraid of clowns.
Remember the killer clown craze from last fall? Blame Pennywise. There were rumors that many of those reported incidents were a marketing stunt by the folks behind the new movie.
Watching the trailer – again – reminds me that these filmmakers don’t need anything other than what they are putting on the screen to scare a new generation of viewers. The difference, of course, is that it won’t be on television. The scares will be ramped up, but the chances of a 9-year-old boy staying up later than normal and seeing Pennywise for the first time are slimmer.
I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if a few kids were among the millions who viewed the trailer. And that is frightening.
Have you seen the trailer? If so, you’d know. The images, though brief, are terrifying. There is a gloominess not present in the miniseries. (For fun, you can look that up. Some folks with more time than I have made side-by-side comparisons of moments in the trailer to the same moments from the miniseries.) Children are going to suffer in this film.
The good news is that the main group of kids in the movie survives and get to grow up. How much of that will we see this fall when the movie hits theaters? I don’t know. They may save all of that for the second film.
You read that right. “IT” is a two-parter, like the miniseries. For King fans, even the ones who like the less-than-stellar adaptations, this is gold. Two films of two hours apiece will allow the audience to see much more of the 1,138 pages of the novel.
I know some people who will remain unnamed who could not finish watching the trailer. I could, and will, watch it over and over, awaiting the Sept. 8 release date. The time between now and then will float right by.
Just like a red balloon. Because they all float down here.
Tranchell is a journalism adviser at the University of Idaho. You can listen to him read from his novel “Cry Down Dark” at BookPeople of Moscow on April 22. Please refrain from bringing him balloons. For more Stephen King news, visit Tranchell’s blog at www.warning-signs.net or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.