IT creeps into theaters this weekend, much to the delight of horror fans and lament of coulrophobia-suffering audiences everywhere.
As the first theatrical version of Stephen King’s classic horror novel, it’s hard to follow the 1990 TV mini series starring Tim Curry. But rather than try to mimic what has already been done, marketing from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema has fearlessly presented a re-imagined Pennywise the Dancing Clown while staying faithful to the source material.
Unlike many horror films where an interesting villain is pitted against a group of hapless victims, IT follows the story of seven outcast children who call themselves “The Losers Club.” Together, they uncover an ancient mystery and have to stand together to defeat “IT”—an evil force that preys on children.
Featurettes and behind-the-scenes videos introduce these characters to elicit a sense of empathy and relatability for them.
In order to illustrate the world of IT, a virtual reality experience called Float was presented during San Diego Comic-Con. Shown inside a branded school bus, Float transports users to a stormy night where they encounter the infamous Pennywise and venture into the sewers beneath. The experience is now available to everyone on YouTube.
In case computer-generated graphics weren’t scary enough, a replica of Neibolt House—a key location from the story—has been erected on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. Guests are divided into groups of seven to match the number of children in “The Losers Club” and guided by “Georgie” through the 5,000-square-foot house. Venturing from room to room, guests can see authentic set props and, of course, expect some jump scares along the way.
The IT Experience: Neibolt House is free to the public (18 and over) and will be open through September 10.
If you’re still wondering whether the sewer will play an important role in the film, there is a free 16-bit game called Enter The Sewer. (So . . . yes.) Users must navigate Georgie’s paper boat around obstacles and collect red balloons for points.
Of course, IT would not be a notorious horror novel without its titular villain. Earlier this summer, a fan art contest was held to encourage creativity from the fans and send a lucky winner to the film’s premiere in either New York or California. Naturally, there were a lot of Pennywise portraits.
To set the mood for the film’s premiere in Sydney, Australia, red balloons were tied to sewage drains around town.
Following its successful female-only screenings of Wonder Woman, the Alamo Draft House is hosting a number of clowns-only screenings for IT.
Don't you want a balloon, Austin?🎈
Added Clown Screenings are floating now: https://t.co/7ohk4rz4BN
— Alamo Drafthouse ATX (@drafthouse) August 25, 2017
In IT, an evil force torments the small fictional town of Derry, Maine every 27 years. In a subtle, yet effective nod to the book, New Line Cinema’s IT debuts 27 years after the TV movie (we see what you did there).
Audiences won’t have to wait that long for the sequel, however, as it is already in production.