An adaptation of Stephen King's horrifying novel IT is set to debut on the big screen this month, but it won't the first time the IT story is brought to life. The book was adapted into a miniseries on ABC back in 1990, and the series is probably best remembered for Tim Curry's terrifyingly hilarious performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Now, Curry has revealed one thing about the miniseries that disappointed him, saying this:
I was very disappointed by the ending, when I turned into a rather unconvincing spider.
Through the majority of the miniseries, the Losers Club was pitted against It in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and Tim Curry was so effective in the role that there were probably plenty of viewers suddenly afraid of clowns after getting a look at him as Pennywise. Then, in the climax at the end of the series, the adult Losers are down in the lair of It for a final showdown, and It emerges... not as Pennywise, but as a giant spider.
While spiders are obviously terrifying to many people, the quick switch from the menacing clown as villain to a gigantic spider was a bit abrupt. Tim Curry's comments to The Guardian indicate that he would have preferred a different ending. There are plenty of fans of the miniseries who love it from start to finish, but I'm inclined to agree with Curry about the spider. It wouldn't be easy for a TV miniseries even in 2017 to pull off a convincing gigantic spider; back in 1990, the spider didn't really work. Take a look:
Of course, fans of the IT novel can't complain that the reveal of Pennywise's natural form as a giant spider didn't happen on the page. Stephen King wrote the twist into his book, although the miniseries did take some liberties with the other events down in the creature's lair in the climax. At the end of the day, ABC's IT wasn't an exact adaptation of the novel from page to screen. That said, Tim Curry captured what made Pennywise so scary in the source material, and we can be grateful that he was part of the project, even if he's not a fan of the ending.
The upcoming IT movie may go in a whole different direction when it premieres on the big screen. Unlike the miniseries (and the book), all the action of the movie will take place back entirely when the Losers were still kids in Derry. The climax of the film may not feature a giant spider at all. If it does, we can bet that the spider will look a lot better than it did on ABC in 1990.
IT will open in theaters everywhere on September 8. Judging by what we've seen of Bill Skarsgard's version of Pennywise, we're in for plenty of scares. For a blast from the IT past, check out our picks for five things the miniseries got right, and don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule for your small screen viewing options.