Pennywise: The Story of IT (2022)

Director: John Campopiano, Chris Griffiths

Running Time: 126 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Tim Curry, Seth Green, Tommy Lee Wallace, Richard Thomas, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Tim Reid, Bart Mixon, Lawrence D. Cohen, Emily Perkins, Richard Bellis, Brandon Crane, Marlon Taylor, Ben Heller, Jarred Blancard, Frank C. Turner, Adam Faraizl, Gabe Khouth

Opening on archive footage of Stephen King, the author shares a story from his past as he went to collect his car in the dark. As he walks over a bridge, his mind turns to a childhood fear of something reaching up and snatching him, leaving an experience that would become the starting point for his 1986 novel, It.

Adapted as a mini-series for ABC, Lawrence D. Cohen and Tommy Lee Wallace's 1990 adaptation left a considerable impact as it aired across two nights. A timeless story about coming-of-age and facing ones fears, the mini-series left a mark on the children and teens who viewed it at home as Tim Curry's portrayal of Pennywise instilled new fears of clowns.

Through a mixture of archive footage and talking heads, directors John Campopiano and Chris Griffiths have crafted an expansive and in-depth documentary which peeks behind-the-scenes of creating this adaptation. A wealth of stories are recounted, from how the original eight-to-ten-hour length almost enticed George Romero to direct, to the difficulties Television Standards and Guidelines offered for making a Stephen King horror on TV.

When such time is devoted to each element and significant character, there's so much information shared to the point it feels like too much. When a segment appears focusing on filming in Vancouver, it feels like padding within an overlong runtime. Regardless, there's much fun in hearing the actors articulate their experiences and character complexities, while it's always a blast to hear candid discussions about the less-effective elements. Particular criticism is directed at the giant spider, which Tommy Lee Wallace wonderfully describes as the product of "champagne ideas on a beer budget". What's left is an exhaustively nostalgic look at a mini-series which scared a generation.

Pennywise: The Story of IT is available on Digital Download from 3rd October and on Blu-Ray & DVD from 24th October