Tag Archive: it


The Smell of Fear. . .

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend saw the release of It starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the deadly clown.

It is a horror movie focusing on a creature that kills children. Then a group of kids, those who are bullied the most, gang together to destroy this thing that they call It.

When I asked my boys if this is a movie I could see, knowing that I have a hard time with horror movies, they said emphatically that I should not see this movie. Both told me that there were a lot of jump scares, in which the movie scene is meant to make you jump out of your seat.

ITThen the older son stated it was a bit gory, that there was some bloody parts and that wouldn’t be good for me at all. Then he reported that the movie has a bit of a psychological element because the creature lives off of fear of the people and that is how he gets his real power although he eats people, too. He also reported that Bill Skarsgard was a great Pennywise, he was creepy and evil in all the right ways.

His description reminded me of how a friend’s daughter once described a frightening roller coaster “It was horrible . . . and great.”

Well, a lot of people must have agreed because the movie broke box office records with an $117+ million opening weekend. Considering the movie was made for $35 million, that is quite the payday. But for horror film wimps and smaller children, I would suggest seeing something else that is lighter and easier to deal with. Even my 20-year-old reported dreaming of clowns and he really wanted to see this movie.

I remember watching the TV Miniseries version of this movie. It made me realize how Tim Curry is such a great actor. Truth is, even in his bad movies Tim Curry makes it better than it should be just be showing up and being snarky.

But when I remember the movie, I remember the scenes in which kids are being bullied or beaten and the adults who witness it do nothing. Yes, there was the terror of something taking kids. But that was a special kind of fear. The worst fear was the everyday sort in which people are picked on or bullied or socially snubbed.

It - KidsThat trend continues in the new movie. One of the story lines in the current movie is how one of the kids in the group lives with an abusive father and, therefore, is not scared by the evil clown. Another is mercilessly bullied for being a fat kid.

The boys said they would watch this movie again and a part of me believes they would. Maybe they would look for all of the little details or maybe it would be so they could be scared just one more time. While I am not a fan of horror movies, I believe their value is in allowing people to deal with their fears in a ‘safe’ setting.

After all, movie scares are nothing like real life scares and there are enough of those to go around.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Killer clowns are wandering the streets, so I’ve heard.

Killer clowns have now replaced zombies as that creature which bring the most fear to one’s heart. I am not a big fan of clowns. Next to caged gorillas, I think they are one of the saddest creatures on earth.

it-pennywiseBut there are plenty of cinematic reasons to fear them. The one that still haunts my dreams on occasion is the clown in the Steven King movie IT. Who wouldn’t be creeped out by that clown that hides in sewers and other places, stealing people to store in a cave.

While that movie was about more than a creepy monster, try the rather open sub plot about anti-whatever behavior we allow in society, it was also about facing fears. To fight that creature, the band of friends had to re-connect and work together to take that gruesome thing down for the final time. They must find strength to confront their biggest fear, a real-life childhood boogieman who must be destroyed for good.

By the way, Tim Curry played the clown and he was fantastically evil. Hard to believe he also voiced the dad for The Wild Thornberries. In 2012, Curry had a stroke that took away his voice and ability to move. He has made great strides in his recovery and I hope that he continues to do so.

killer_klowns_from_outer_space_Another movie that came to mind is Killer Klowns from Outer Space. This is one of those independent movies that became a cult classic. The basic story line is that a group of teenagers are fighting against a groups of flesh eating aliens dressed as clowns. No one believes the teens, of course. All they are left with is an ice cream truck to try and take these Klowns down.

The production values are so bad along with the acting it makes you laugh more than it frightens. I mean, how many times can they shoot their weapons and take down people and no one gets it. Suddenly it makes sense that one of the video games my kids play features a wild ride in an ice cream truck as they fight zombies. Maybe it is not an intentional reference but seems like it to me.

However, the scariest clown was a real one, John Wayne Gacy. This Des Plaines business man, who dressed as a clown for children’s parties, was found guilty of killing over 30 young men and boys. Many of their bodies were found under the foundation of his home. He was eventually convicted and put to death in 1994.

It was a terrifying story played out in real life, Gacy was just charming enough to get

to-catch-a-killer-brian-dennehey

                           To Catch a Killer                               starring Brian Dennehy

these people to trust him. While there are a variety of movies on Gacy and other serial killers, your best bet might be To Catch a Killer starring Brian Dennehy as the serial killer in the 1992 flick. It is a reminder how evil can be next door to you and you may not be able to recognize it.

Who needs fake stalker clowns when real life can be scarier?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.