Slurktan

Stephen King's IT

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I will say I think It is one of his few books that has a great ending. Coincidently 11/23/66 (67?) has one of the better ones too,

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5 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

I will say I think It is one of his few books that has a great ending. Coincidently 11/23/66 (67?) has one of the better ones too,

He credits his son for that one.

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38 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

He credits his son for that one.

Yeah but even the original ending he wrote was pretty good. Of course, the other Derry book is Dreamcatcher and ugh.

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Just now, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah but even the original ending he wrote was pretty good. Of course, the other Derry book is Dreamcatcher and ugh.

I don't think I've heard about the original ending. He was thinking of making it a happy one, no?

Dreamcatcher was a bit of a mess, but I do think there was a good story in there somewhere. Was there a Pennywise reference in it? I don't recall.

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32 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I don't think I've heard about the original ending. He was thinking of making it a happy one, no?

Dreamcatcher was a bit of a mess, but I do think there was a good story in there somewhere. Was there a Pennywise reference in it? I don't recall.

It's online somewhere, basically

Spoiler

He goes to see the love interest and she's married with a family and he's like bummer. It's not that dissimilar to the actual ending.

As for Dreamcatcher

Spoiler

Yeah they find a statue with "pennywise lives" written on it at one point.

 

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Anyway back to the film, I liked how, to me at least, they didn't run your face in al the 80s nostalgia. It was mostly soundtrack choices and stuff in the background.

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There are some allusions to IT still being alive in The Tommyknockers as well. There is a character who sees a clown with silver eyes looking out of a sewer drain (but IIRC they're tripping on space radiation or something at the time), and I think there is another character who hears laughter coming out of a sewer drain.

My theory has always been that IT just left some residual evil behind that seeped into Derry after sleeping there all those years.

I wouldn't be opposed to an IT sequel in and of itself, but I wouldn't want King to do it just to explain why the Losers were able to best the godlike Pennywise. Honestly, I think the worst thing that you can do with horror is to explain it. That's why I hated the last act of Slade House so much. Once you understand the mechanics of the monster, it stops being scary. Look at what the final Dark Tower book did to Flagg.

IT isn't a fantasy novel, and King isn't Martin or Rothfuss or Bakker. We don't need to know the exact mechanics of how the Losers beat Pennywise.

Like the Turtle said, "once you get into cosmological shit like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual."

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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Man, I haven't read The Tommkockers since like 92. Also it was the second King book I ever read so any allusions probably went past me

Also any book pre Needful Things was written while he was high as fuck, so there's also that.

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Ha, I know exactly what It would appear to me as. Fucking Zuul.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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On 10.9.2017 at 8:06 PM, Let's Get Kraken said:

That was a big part of what made the rest of the novel special. The horror of what the Losers experience while fighting IT is intermingled with the magic of the friendships that they formed and the adventures that they went on together. Ultimately it's a story about the wonder and fantastical elements of childhood. The frightening and the amazing things that you experience when looking at the world through youthful eyes. The older narrative is about trying to recapture that, and how ultimately it's impossible to do so.

The fact that the Losers all forget in the end is about taking the good with the bad when growing up. It's about the fear we all have of saying goodbye forever to our childhood wonder and innocence. That part of us that believes anything is possible. Because while the world is a frightening place to children, it can also be a very magical one. The novel is as much about friendship as it is about horror, and the aspects of each that are only possible when young. Recall the last lines of The Body, “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, did you?” This is something that I feel the movie captured on an almost meta level, given how steeped it was in 90s nostalgia.

When you phrase it that way it actually makes some sense. But I'd have preferred it if just the memories relating to the monster would have gone, resulting in the Losers losing their special bond and reducing their friendship to mundane children friendships. They wouldn't have forgotten each other but rather lost everything that kept them together. If they chanced into each at one point those - like Richie, Eddie, Bill - who actually were friends independent of the Pennywise thing might chat half an hour or so, talking about other school mates, old teachers, etc. but they wouldn't have anything in common.

And Ben, Mike, Stan, etc. who only were drawn into the larger circle because of the monster might not really remember each other at all.

The way it is now we have to believe that Ben and Bev no longer really know why and how they got together. That is a very odd scenario. Not to mention the fact that many victims of the creatures are now literally forgotten for good, which is also very strange.

Quote

There is a sense of relief in finally closing the door on IT once and for all, but it's coupled with the sense of tragedy in saying goodbye to childhood as well.

In a sense, yes, but I actually find the gang too interesting to never want to see them again. And there is little else but Derry and that dreadful clown that could get them back together.

13 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

There are some allusions to IT still being alive in The Tommyknockers as well. There is a character who sees a clown with silver eyes looking out of a sewer drain (but IIRC they're tripping on space radiation or something at the time), and I think there is another character who hears laughter coming out of a sewer drain.

I'm not sure whether we talked about that already somewhere, presumably in the King thread, but I'm not sure The Tommyknockers takes place before Pennywise's final death. Isn't it possible that the guy saw the clown shortly before the Losers finally kicked his ass, during his last killing spree?

But the graffiti about Pennywise being still alive clearly takes place after his (alleged?) death.

13 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

I wouldn't be opposed to an IT sequel in and of itself, but I wouldn't want King to do it just to explain why the Losers were able to best the godlike Pennywise. Honestly, I think the worst thing that you can do with horror is to explain it. That's why I hated the last act of Slade House so much. Once you understand the mechanics of the monster, it stops being scary. Look at what the final Dark Tower book did to Flagg.

Well, King usually ruins his villains. One really wonders what he was thinking when he did what he did to both Flagg and the Crimson King in TDT. Did anyone ever ask him about that? Even Mordred turned out to be a joke.

But Pennywise is also a joke as soon as we get his POV. I mean, the guy actually fears a bunch of mortals.

And we actually (sort of) get the mechanics of the victory over the monster. They are helped by 'god', are they not? That other positive power that's stronger than both the thing and the Turtle.

13 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

Like the Turtle said, "once you get into cosmological shit like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual."

There was an instruction manual and they pretty much followed it. It makes sense if we imagine the thing being a trickster or a minor demon bound by some magical rules but such an Old Ones thing should be above this kind of thing. And it is very odd that a thing as powerful as Pennywise must be would restrict itself to feeding off the denizens of Maine town - and previously off the poor fellows who happened to explore that wooded backwater country - rather than actively working towards feeding of all of humanity. And why on earth does the thing has to go to sleep so long? That makes sense for a minor demon - more animal than sentient being - but not for a deity-like thing.

If you take the Gaunt thing as another example of a King demon then there are rules there, too. You can reject the poisonous merchandise and you can break the contract if you are strong enough.

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Oh, back to the movie:

I can only watch it late in September but I could watch the entire Georgie scene and I must say I'm pretty impressed there. They kept a lot of the dialogue and the eye color of the clown actually changed. That was a great since it is a very subtle thing. I'm pretty sure quite a few people are going to miss it the first time around.

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That was the point though. It was basically a cosmic Galactus that eats universes in a multiverse created by the turtle. 

Then one day it realized it could get the same nourishment and satisfaction by eating a few humans and by harvesting their emotion of fear they would be as delicious too him. He basically got lazy. So he created a corporeal form and set up a haunt in one town where he could sleep and only get up once every summer every three decades to scare up a few kids and eat. 

The downside was he created a physical form that 

a) had to follow some set of rules and not be completely omnipotent (IE yes he can use the children's fear and beliefs to create forms and scenarios they fear, but they can believe something can hurt IT and it will) 

b ) It now has a form thatbin the correct circumstances can be killed. 

It just correctly gambled that it was so far above humanity that they would never defeat him because he could manipulate things however he saw fit. He just happened to run into seven kids who were guided by fate and essentially god to figure out his flaws. And they didn't even kill it then. They had to go back much weaker as adults to finish It. 

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1 hour ago, lancerman said:

That was the point though. It was basically a cosmic Galactus that eats universes in a multiverse created by the turtle. 

I'm not sure about that. There is no explanation given in the book as to why the thing came to earth nor to that god-forsaken Derry place. In fact, considering the topic of the evil town the story could have been more effective if there had been always some sort of permanent settlement. After all, we have no idea on what the thing fed for tens of thousands of years before people permanently lived in the region.

But the idea that it once had grander plans and abandoned them isn't given. It is just played up as this huge and nearly omnipotent ancient being that can be killed rather easily.

1 hour ago, lancerman said:

Then one day it realized it could get the same nourishment and satisfaction by eating a few humans and by harvesting their emotion of fear they would be as delicious too him. He basically got lazy. So he created a corporeal form and set up a haunt in one town where he could sleep and only get up once every summer every three decades to scare up a few kids and eat. 

There is a lot of inconsistency there - we have that scene where the Losers are watched by the creature in the Barrens using its huge spider eyes, indicating that it was the spider at that point and it being it's 'normal form'. But during the Hockstetter story we learn that it essentially wears some sort of glamor or magical mask, allowing it to take the shape of the thing its victim fears most. Since Hockstetter fears nothing the thing isn't exactly impressive there

And the episode about the boy with the abusive father - who Mike nearly ran into - reinforces that plot point and strengthen it since the creature is essentially forced into a shape by the boy and then loses this shape after the boy is dead.

The procreation subplot in spider form only makes sense if the spider is *really* its true bodily form - but if that was the case (as the spider eyes scene in the Barrens indicates) then there is no way this thing could move around through the sewers considering the massive size of the spider. 

1 hour ago, lancerman said:

The downside was he created a physical form that 

a) had to follow some set of rules and not be completely omnipotent (IE yes he can use the children's fear and beliefs to create forms and scenarios they fear, but they can believe something can hurt IT and it will).

Yeah, that part of the story does make sense. However, what's more trouble is the whole Ritual of Chüd thing - that's something for a small trickster or demon, nor some creature that's older than the universe. The very concept that creatures older than the universe can *die* doesn't make a lot of sense. For such beings the denizens of the universe should be about as real as computer game characters are to us.

I mean, Jesus could only be killed because he allowed himself to be killed, right? The thing did nothing of that sort. It didn't came to the world to die.

1 hour ago, lancerman said:

b ) It now has a form thatbin the correct circumstances can be killed.

Well, but shouldn't it be able to abandon that body again, or to take a shape that is immortal? And if those weirdo dead lights are outside of the universe then why is the part of the thing that's there, and always there (where the thing tries to throw Bill during their fight) not safe from any harm?

1 hour ago, lancerman said:

It just correctly gambled that it was so far above humanity that they would never defeat him because he could manipulate things however he saw fit. He just happened to run into seven kids who were guided by fate and essentially god to figure out his flaws. And they didn't even kill it then. They had to go back much weaker as adults to finish It. 

But there are hints that this isn't everything. Or not part of the whole thing. Those historic pieces give us the other killing sprees of the monster, and what you realize there is that the earlier incidents didn't primarily focus on children but on killing various groups and it also always included the denizens of Derry into the madness in a very active role - the attack on the club run by the blacks, the shooting of those outlaws who fled from the West, the completely mysterious incident in the factory that killed over a hundred people, etc. In combination that there is always a ritualistic aspect to the whole thing - a thing that sets off the killing spree (the incident with the gay couple, the abusive father killing his younger stepson, etc.) - indicates that Pennywise was originally supposed to be much more connected to the town than he actually seems to be.

The good denizens of Derry do not only look the other way they actually join Pennywise in his murders, and that's what seems to give him the greatest kick. That's why he is there, participating and relishing in the shooting, the fire at the club, the murders at the bar, etc. He doesn't kill children there, he just enjoys the sport others do in his town.

Now, that kind of thing fits much better with some sort of local evil deity or demon. The thing is very territorial and does not venture far beyond the confines of Derry. One could even imagine it has made some sort of blood pact with the townsfolk - give me my due and I let your live (and prosper). That also fits very nice with the sleeping cycle for which there is no explanation given at all. I mean, a truly powerful creature could be active all the time, right?

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I think you're confusing immortal with indestructible here. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. 

To me, I think its' achilles heel is really hard to figure out, especially when you're considering that it is a group of kids that are confronting it. IT can effectively change forms under those conditions, depending upon whose fear IT is feeding off of. 

The circle of friends is only truly able to kill IT (and make it take it's "actual" form) by performing a fairly bizarre ritual. The odds of them figuring out that this is the key to defeating it seems pretty long. 

Edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane

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I think Red Letter Media was dead on in their review of this one. It had a nice coming of age, kids hanging out story, a la Stranger Things. Well acted, even if some kids were short changed. It was, however, mingled with one of the most generic, jump scare reliant, dull modern horror movies in recent memory. The guy playing Pennywise was pretty good, but I still hate the look, somewhere between ICP and deviantart "crazy clown" memes.

I don't have high hopes for part 2. I think most would agree that the kid's story is more interesting on it's own. The adult story mostly acts as a frame narrative in the book, mostly setting up the characters to have flashbacks to their youth as they recover memories. 

Edited by Morpheus

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3 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I think you're confusing immortal with indestructible here. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

Well, I honestly have problems imagining creatures that (are supposed to) have divine or quasi-divine powers can be killed by people who don't have those powers. That is just odd, never mind the setting you are in. It is the same with the Crimson King in the Dark Tower series. A creature who tries to destroy the universe or multiverse itself cannot be brought down easily - at least not if the threat to universe/multiverse this creature supposedly posed was ever real. Yet that was the case with the Crimson King, which makes little sense. Not to mention the whole Walter/Flagg thing.

3 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

To me, I think it's achilles heel is really hard to figure out, especially when you're considering that it is a group of kids that are confronting it. IT can effectively change forms under those conditions, depending upon whose fear IT is feeding off of. 

That is true, and it is especially difficult considering that fear doesn't go away just because you know you shouldn't be afraid. That part was always convincing. Or at least insofar as Pennywise's mask were illusions and tricks. If what kills you is your fear and your belief that what you see and feel is real and can kill you then this same thing can also hurt the creature. That's the risk it is taking.

But that can be circumvented rather easily. The thing could just take the form of an invincible monster, no? Or become a collective threat like it did with the leeches that killed Hockstatter or the dead boys that tried to kill Stan. It is rather convenient that it is some (rather easily) killable huge spider in the end, no?

I mean, sure, it seems to be more profitable for the thing to use whatever the children fear most but once the thing itself got afraid of the children it shouldn't have taken any chances in that regard.

3 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

The circle of friends is only truly able to kill IT (and make it take it's "actual" form) by performing a fairly bizarre ritual. The odds of them figuring out that this is the key to defeating it seems pretty long. 

You are right there - which is why the fact that they sort of arbitrarily decided that the whole ritual thing one of them read in a book - was it Ben or Bill, I don't recall - is going to do the trick doesn't make a lot of sense. That is a point where a properly worked out back story for the thing would have been in order. Something they could have seen in their vision of the past, perhaps. Or via the historical back story. Derry is a very young town but if the thing is there for tens or hundreds of thousands of years some native Americans might have chanced on the thing earlier, and they could have found out a way to deal with it.

Hell, that could even have helped explain why it was so territorial and had this odd hibernation cycle. It could have been bound to the region by some ritual or it could have been nearly killed by (a couple of) people who figured out how its magical masks worked.

It is not just lazy for a nearly omnipotent creature but also very cowardly by usually targeting people only when they are alone and wearing the clown mask to not appear threatening (at first).

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I don't really mind the mechanics of the creature. I don't know if you've ever played the Role-playing game Champions, but they had a fairly cool rule or mechanic for this that worked really well. It was a superhero RPG wherein you build your character by buying stats/skills and powers with a point system. Every point you spent over 100 you had to spend an equal amount in weaknesses and disadvantages. In other words, the more powerful you made your character, the more acute its' weaknesses were.

 As you said, it's one thing to know its' weakness, but it is another thing all together to achieve the sort of zen state necessary to not be afraid of it any more. Given the creatures power, I think it fair that it is almost powerless once you manage the trick of exploiting its' weakness. Otherwise IT would be effectively indestructible. And that's no fun.

One thing about Derry and the surrounding environs that I'm not sure was ever made clear was did Pennywise subvert it, or is this just another darkspot on the map, much like the Overlook Hotel. Just a shitty, negative place that draws evil people to it, or did Pennywise taint it to be such? I tend to think it is meant to be like the Overlook.

 I don't really have a problem with Pennywise's motivations. Think of a really clever serial killer. Someone like Ted Bundy maybe, only with a much deeper skill/power set. It gets off on killing. Period. That's what it lives for. It just wants to fuck with your head as deeply as it can, eat your fear then kill you. It is not concerned with running things. It just wants to kill and then sleep.It's an intergalactic predatory animal of sorts. That's it. 

Edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane

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32 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I don't really mind the mechanics of the creature. I don't know if you've ever played the Role-playing game Champions, but they had a fairly cool rule or mechanic for this that worked really well. It was a superhero RPG wherein you build your character by buying stats/skills and powers with a point system. Every point you spent over 100 you had to spend an equal amount in weaknesses and disadvantages. In other words, the more powerful you made your character, the more acute its' weaknesses were.

Well, that's fine for a roleplaying game, but not a horror novel/movie.

32 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 As you said, it's one thing to know its' weakness, but it is another thing all together to achieve the sort of zen state necessary to not be afraid of it any more. Given the creatures power, I think it fair that it is almost powerless once you manage the trick of exploiting its' weakness. Otherwise IT would be effectively indestructible. And that's no fun.

It doesn't have to be fun. As I've said this novel could have been King's masterpiece if the thing had actually won. That would have been cruel and scary as hell.

32 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

One thing about Derry and the surrounding environs that I'm not sure was ever made clear was did Pennywise subvert it, or is this just another darkspot on the map, much like the Overlook Hotel. Just a shitty, negative place that draws evil people to it, or did Pennywise taint it to be such? I tend to think it is meant to be like the Overlook.

Doesn't Derry first show up in IT? In that book the place seems to be as bad as it is exclusively because of the thing. The Overlook Hotel is a haunted house where a lot of bad stuff happened, didn't it? And that sort of made that place worse and worse overtime. But Derry is really shaped by the creature for its purposes - you have that with the sewer system, the canal, the ruins and the Barrens which are deliberately ignored by the people because they are its lairs, etc.

But then - King usually never succeeds to properly set up his monsters. You don't have to have proper rules how to deal with the monster - you just have to know what the monster is and what it wants aside from scaring and killing you. 

32 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 I don't really have a problem with Pennywise's motivations. Think of a really clever serial killer. Someone like Ted Bundy maybe, only with a much deeper skill/power set. It gets off on killing. Period. That's what it lives for. It just wants to fuck with your head as deeply as it can, eat your fear then kill you. It is not concerned with running things. It just wants to kill and then sleep.It's an intergalactic predatory animal of sorts. That's it. 

Oh, I understand that. The problem is not so much his motivations but the consistency of the character. Some creature that's older than the universe wouldn't have any such motivations. If he was a lowlife creep demon it could work - say, some creature who even has to go on a killing spree and then hibernate to prolong its life? Or something that acts on pure instinct, more an (intelligent) animal than a trans-dimensional being of enormous power? But that's not really his back story - but it would work much better if it was.

If you imagine Cthulhu or Azathoth hiding in the sewers of some small town killing children and masquerading as a clown you know something doesn't fit.

There is this whole serial killer aspect to the character, anyway. The whole persona of Bob Gray/Pennywise the Dancing Clown goes in that direction, and it is never clarified whether that guy is a complete invention made up by the creature or based/modeled on a real serial killer guy.

 

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13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, that's fine for a roleplaying game, but not a horror novel/movie.

Eh, I don't know. If the antagonist or protagonist is all powerful, there's no story really. It's just "let me tell you how this unstoppable, godlike creature kicked the living shit out of everything and nothing could even hope to slow it down". I've always liked the idea that the all powerful character should have a fatal weakness. The trick is in figuring out what that weakness is.

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14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

but such an Old Ones thing should be above this kind of thing. And it is very odd that a thing as powerful as Pennywise must be would restrict itself to feeding off the denizens of Maine town - and previously off the poor fellows who happened to explore that wooded backwater country - rather than actively working towards feeding of all of humanity. And why on earth does the thing has to go to sleep so long? That makes sense for a minor demon - more animal than sentient being - but not for a deity-like thing.

But why would a god-like being, older than the universe with potentially vast and unfathomably intellect, behave in a way that would make sense for the human brain to comprehend? We shouldn't be able to understand why IT does what it does any more than my pet bird would understand the inner workings of my laptop.

You ever have a cat bring you a dead animal? The cat is doing that because it thinks your an idiot that should really be out hunting, and it's trying to show you the correct way. The cat has no way of understanding the depths and sophistication of your intellect, so it doesn't realize that your way of feeding yourself makes a lot more sense.

We're the cat in this comparison.

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