How many times have you watched a horror movie and delighted in the gruesome kills? It is a common sight in the genre to watch our heroes die incredibly painful deaths, but that is something that Stephen King has always tried to avoid with the IT universe. In fact, while speaking out about the development of The Losers Club on the newly-released IT Blu-ray, the horror icon explained that his goal with The Losers was to make an ensemble of heroes that audiences can actually root for. King said:
One of the things that I wanted to do in the novel, in all of my novels, is to create characters who are fundamentally decent by and large. That way, you don't want them to be spam in a cabin. You want them to live and you want them to win.
As a whole, the horror genre is full of characters whose sole purpose is to die in the most imaginative ways possible. After all, there's a reason why many people view Cabin in the Woods as a comedy; the "spam in a cabin" trope has arguably become worn out. However, with IT, that's exactly what Stephen King wanted the book (and by extension, the movie) to avoid. He wanted us to invest in characters like Bill, Beverly, and Ben so we would root for them to live, and conversely, we would be more afraid of Bill Skarsgaard's Pennywise because we would actually care about what happens to our heroes.
There's a precise rationale behind this type of argument in the horror genre: the more time that we spend getting to know a specific character, the more we care about whether or not he or she survives the film. That is why a character like Halloween's Laurie Strode has become iconic, while her friends (who get far less screen time and die far earlier in the franchise) have arguably made less of a cultural impact. If handled well, familiarity breeds compassion.
Based on the sheer amount of character development packed into the events of the first IT, it seems reasonable to assume that this could continue as the franchise moves forward. IT: Chapter 2 is aiming to hit theaters in September 2019, and the story will reportedly focus on the members of The Losers Club as they grow up and return to Derry, Maine to face off against Pennywise 27 years after the events of the original. Even with older (and possibly more established) actors playing these characters, they will still fundamentally need to feel like the same Losers that we came to empathize with during the events of the original IT.
Andy Muschietti's IT is now available on Digital HD and Blu-ray. However, the horror is not over just yet, as IT: Chapter 2 is currently set to debut in theaters on September 6, 2019. As for upcoming scary movies to watch out for outside of the IT franchise, you can also take a look at our guide to some of 2018's most exciting horror films!