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Pennywise is a movie monster who is single-handedly responsible for an entire generation's fear of clowns. You'd think a villain with that sort of power is something special, and the director of the new movie would agree. So many horror films try to build suspense by leaving the monster off screen for as long as possible but don't expect that to happen when you see the first part of It this fall. Director Andrés Muschietti says you're going to see Pennywise from the beginning, and that's going to scare the hell out of you. Here's how he put it.
There's supposed to be a less-is-more thing in horror. It's like you're not really meant to show the monster. But Pennywise is different. With Pennywise, it's like, 'This is the monster, I'm showing it to you... and you're going to shit a brick.
It's certainly true that much of what makes Pennywise a terrifying monster is his look. The otherwise perfectly fun look of a circus clown that is going to rip your arm off is exactly what makes him scary. If you leave Pennywise off screen then he could look like anything, While that leaves a lot to the imagination, which can be the right thing in many situations, Andrés Muschietti comments to Empire Magazine show that he understands something like that simply wouldn't work here.
The "less-is-more" idea seemed to gain a lot of traction in thrillers in the late 1970s after Steven Spielberg directed Jaws. The fact that the shark was rarely seen was famously due to technical problems with the mechanical shark, however, the situation forced the director to make the idea of the shark scary, which may have terrified the audience more than seeing the actual shark. Since then, many horror films have been focused on nebulous villains that aren't revealed until near the end of the story, and sometimes are never seen at all.
Interestingly, the idea of showing off your monster seems to be a new trend in Hollywood. The recent Kong: Skull Island also introduced their giant ape at the very beginning of the movie, a move that put it in stark contrast to Godzilla, a film that's part of the same cinematic universe, and yet, the film decided to hold off showing viewers the title character until much later.
Based on the early images we've seen of Pennywise, like the one above, we're guessing that Andrés Muschietti has made the right call. His Pennywise looks equal parts hilarious and terrifying. That look is something you simply need to see in order to get the full impact of the horror. We can't wait to see the monster in action when It: Part 1 - The Losers Club, hits screens this September.