With the remake of Stephen King’s It just around the corner (it’ll be in cinemas from September 8 in the US) let’s take a closer look at the movie’s villain, the iconic, malevolent, malicious, Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
5. Pennywise isn’t really an evil clown
Though we know him best as one of the most famous evil clowns in pop culture, Pennywise isn’t actually a clown at all. No, that’s just the form that the evil shapeshifting entity that haunts Derry, Maine, preying on innocent children in particular. The entity is just that, an ‘It’, a mysterious and malevolent being/entity/force of destruction from another realm or dimension.
4. It has many names…
Pennywise is just one of the names or titles that ‘It’ has inherited among many others, including Consumption, The Eater of Worlds, or Robert “Bob” Grey. In fact, we don’t even really know if ‘It’ is really even male, female, both, or neither. ‘It’ is unknowable.
3. Pennywise haunts other Stephen King works
That’s right. The sinister clown is referenced in Stephen King’s short story Gray Matter, as well as in novels Insomnia, 11/22/63, Dreamcatcher, and The Tommyknockers, in which a character travelling through Derry actually sees a clown down a storm drain.
2. Pennywise was inspired by Ronald McDonald
Naturally, most people would assume that Pennywise the evil clown would have been inspired by notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who liked to dress as a clown for children’s birthday parties and community events (when he wasn’t killing a bunch of people). But Stephen King himself has gone on the record saying that Ronald McDonald, famous TV clown Bozo, and Clarabell from Howdy Doody were his main inspirations.
1. Pennywise is really freakin’ scary!
Okay, you didn’t need me to tell you that. Everyone knows Pennywise is a scary clown, especially as played by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries. He was so scary in that, that IGN ranked Pennywise as eighth on the list of top 25 horror movie villains, sufferers of coulrophobia (a phobia of clowns) often cite Pennywise as their worst nightmare, and has been linked numerous times with creepy clown hauntings all over the world (probably just jackasses dressing up in clown costumes, right? Please tell me Pennywise isn’t real!).