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It (1990)

Prompted by the 2017 film adaptation of It, I revisited the 1990 miniseries version for the first time in more than two decades, and it holds up about as well as expected. The kids are decent, the adults are laughably melodramatic, and the finale is pretty embarrassing. Even at a runtime exceeding three hours, this adaptation can barely scratch the surface of King’s sprawling novel, and the questions it leaves unanswered hurt more than they help.

These kids are having a much grayer summer than their counterparts in the new version; the drab look really makes all the blood stand out, and I have to admire how much blood they were able to get away with on network TV by avoiding connecting it to specific human sources. Unfortunately, those visual gains are undercut by flat lighting throughout, and the score is curiously inconsistent, alternating between percussive synths and a more traditional, brass-heavy acoustic arrangement.

The most noticeable music, of course, is the calliope-led carnival waltzes that accompany Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Tim Curry’s Pennywise, both menacing and highly entertaining, is about 90% of what makes this worth watching.