Year: 1990
Production Co: Lorimar Television
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace/Stephen King
Cast: Richard Masur, John Ritter, Seth Green, Tim Curry
Like one of the latter Harry Potter books, there was always going to be far too much of Stephen King's tour de force to fit into a feature film - even an inordinately long one. That's why the most faithful screen version of any book of his was a two part TV miniseries (The Shining).

The story of the parallel lives of the Derry kids as they confront the horrors of a monster in their midst was a triumph in print. King spun a home-style horror story but dropped such real characters and feelings inside it, it was one of his best efforts. Like too many adaptations of his work, there just wasn't room for the subtleties and tiny movements of plot and characters in a movie.

As well as that, King works best by putting the idea in your mind, not having a director put his vision of the idea on a screen. So the monster the heroes meet at the dual ending when they're both kids and adults is terrifying in the book, just ridiculous in the movie.

One thing the film did successfully however was this; along with Poltergeist , it firmly entrenched clowns as horror objects thanks to Tim Curry as Pennywise, the worst kind of monster and killer.

Seven childhood friends in smalltown Maine discover a demonic creature intent on killing them all. At the same time we meet six of them in later life, all but two having left town - one buried there when he realised the horror they faced as kids had returned. They're all successful and travelled, but when they learn of the return of Pennywise they have to fulfil the promise they made years ago to face and defeat him.

Like the book, the movie tells the parallel story of the same people facing the same creature years apart. The difference between the book and the movie however is like enjoying a four-course meal at a beautiful restaurant and making a jam sandwich on your kitchen bench. They're both food, but one is a much fuller experience than the other.

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