It was in the year 1996, I can remember it like it was yesterday.
Never had there been a day so nerve wracking, so terrifying and traumatizing, as that godforsaken morning in 1996. It was the day I lost my innocence and gained a fascination for horror movies.
It was the day I first saw the movie adaption of Stephen King’s IT.
In the spirit of Halloween, this blogpost will have a darker theme than usual.
I’d like to take you on a trip down my memory lane and tell you why this particular movie scared the living hell out of me.
And still does…
Kids not allowed
I know what you’re probably thinking: what kinda parents in their right mind
would let their 12 year old watch an R-rated movie about a monstrous clown that
murders and eats children? Well my parents were never aware of this faithful event, neither were my best friend’s parents, when we watched that particular VHS tape at her place.
Oh kids if you’re reading this, a VHS tape is the grandmother of Netflix 😉
We didn’t have online streaming back in the 90’s, we didn’t even have internet. So that’s why every Friday night it was a party
to go downtown to the video store to pick out a movie to watch. This does sound ancient, I feel old LOL. One particular Friday night my friend and I were unsupervised, meaning only her big brother was with us. As we were contemplating which video to
watch, we stumbled upon a disturbing looking cover
of a creepy clown with razorsharp teeth,
staring right into our souls. It was without a doubt that we just had to have that
movie and persuaded big brother to rent it for us, as we were only 12 years old. Don’t ask me why, but I already had a weird thing for horror movies back then, they gave me nightmares, but also intrigued me.
And so it began…
The early bird gets the trauma
While my friend’s brother watched IT the same night, her parents didn’t allow us to watch
it with him, because it would be too scary. We should have listened, if only we had listened.
So we did the exact opposite and snuck out of bed at the crack of dawn, I think it was 5.30 a.m. The tape was lying by the TV,
luring us to put it in the VCR. Oh kids, a VCR is the device you put the VHS in to watch
a movie on TV. Oh 90’s technology, pure nostalgia. So the tape was in, there was no way back now. All we could do now is watch, we watched the whole thing
for 3 hours long. You know how they say, horror movies aren’t as scary
in the morning, as they are at night? Well, they are just as scary in the morning when you’re 12. I was captivated, that horrible clown, those scared children, the eerie music and terrifying images. But most of all, that god awful CLOWN. What the F** was wrong with that clown? Never had I ever seen a clown so scary, so evil.
His image had left a traumatic imprint on my
mind and it would never disappear. I can never unsee that movie. IT (see what I did there)
traumatized me to the core and clowns and balloons were never the same again.
Evil is watching
My friend’s parents and my parents would find out way later what we had watched that morning.
I saw my bestie almost every day. Every time I went to her house, I had to bike.
It was not a very long ride,
but there was a part of the road lying between a cornfield and a cemetery. This had never freaked me out before, but it gave me the creeps after seeing THAT movie. There were also a lot of trees at the side of the road. And after every single tree that went by,
I was so anxious to see IT’s red hair or a red balloon, lurking behind the tree.
That movie messed me up so badly, that my mind and body were in a constant state of unease.
I was permanently on edge. I remember taking a bath with my all of my Barbie dolls and one Barbie accidentally fell into the water, creating a big splash. That freaked me out so much that I screamed at the top
of my lungs, creating panic among my parents. My dad rushed upstairs to see in what kinda
life threatening danger I had to be in, only to find me and my dolls in the bathtub.
It was there and then I told my parents that I was afraid of a demon clown, of whom I was sure he was gonna find me at night and eat me alive.
The damage was done
Of course my parent’s were pretty mad at me,
for watching a horror movie at that age.
But the damage was done. I checked underneath my bed every night, researched every corner of the house,
I kept an eye on every tree, even during daytime. I’m an adult now, this movie is made almost 30 years ago! And I still can’t watch it. I have a weird love/hate relationship with it. I love how scary it is, but I hate how scared it makes me, still.
The 2017 remake of IT was cool, with great special effects and good acting. But nothing will ever come close to the terrifyingly
awesome performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise, The Dancing Clown.
It’s just his face that makes it so scary, without special effects even. Just simple make up, a good old fashioned clown’s suit and his facial expressions. He even creeps me out without being a clown, for example as the jolly bellboy in my favorite Christmas movie Home Alone 2.
I just can’t ever see his face in a normal way again.
Sorry Tim, it’s not you, it’s IT.
Until this day I still hate clowns and red balloons, just like the
entire generation of 90’s kids, secretly
watching horror movies when not allowed. There’s actually an official term for a fear of clowns,
it’s called coulrophobia
and a disturbing 46% of Americans are in some way afraid of clowns. This number increased massively after IT’s release in 1990.
So it’s good to know I’m definitely not the only scaredy-cat with weird clown issues.
I’m so fucked up, that even as I’m writing this, safely behind my computer,
I’m looking behind me whenever I hear a sudden sound.
I’m checking the shadows the flickering candlelight creates on the walls. I was gonna take a bath after (without Barbie dolls) but I think I will postpone it until tomorrow. Just to be sure. (and safe). I’m even dreading the fact that I have to browse the right images and gifs to go with this story. After this blogpost is done, I will probably never look at it again.
So if the IT gifs and images are down, just let me know,
I will probably never fix them anyway. LOL.
Dedicated to the King of Horror
So yeah, a big thanks to Mr. Stephen King!
You wrote something so truly magnificent and horrifying
that it fucked up my entire childhood. And most of my adulthood too. I did buy the book though! It’s still safely lying on a shelf, hidden in my closet, waiting for my trauma to pass,
so I can finally get the courage to read it…
Anyway now you know which movie definitely not to skip this Halloween,
it’s old but it’s worth it.
And if you really want to make it authentic and recreate my experience, watch it on VHS, in the early morning.
I dare you….