08 September 2017

Attack of the IT Department

That's right - Information Technology is a scary thing. Clowns are worse and seem to be the rave right now, from the Joker to American Horror Story: Cult to uh...real life creepiness lurking in the woods and stabbing people. And the Clown Consortium is actually trying to defend themselves. Clowns were never wholesome entertainment, people. Always, always creepy. Today we see the remake of a movie (adapted from the book) that many blame as originating the central scary clown concept. I've always thought that John Wayne Gacy, the Joker, and hell, HIS inspiration, The Man Who Laughs (1928) all paved the way. Hell, Pagliacci was pretty creepy. But today, precisely 27 years after its first incarnation, we get the return of IT (2017). I hadn't thought about that 27 year thing. Damn.

2017 is turning into a big year for Stephen King adaptations, even if The Dark Tower (2017) flopped pretty hard. It was at least hyped up quite a bit. IT has arguably hyped up even more, but that's also in part because it has a lot of iconography to draw from, and by all looks, does a fantastic fucking job with remaking it. I wasn't really old enough to watch the Tim Curry IT (1990) ABC mini-series (how was this ever on Network Television), but I've caught up since then. It may be my jaded millennial approach to horror films, but it almost seems quaint these days, not creepy. Pennywise could pull off being just a normal wacky clown, until his teeth come out and blood shoots everywhere. Or when he turns into a giant monster crab spider.

This is all to say relatively unknown actor Bill Skarsgård looks downright amazing as the new Pennywise - one who is positively creepy throughout. You may know his father, Stellan, who has made a career out of appearing in every movie ever, and his brother Alexander, whose roles ranged from ripped but shitty in The Legend of Tarzan (2016) to the underseen but brilliant War on Everyone (2016). Now, part of IT's fucked up charm was that this relentlessly jolly Tim Curry creep was killing everyone with glee while looking like he belonged at a 5-year old's birthday party. Not so much here, which I think works better, and as a rep to everyone who wants to pay money to see this, that's a good thing.

The difficulty here is preserving all those great moments from Steve King's excessively long novel, along with the iconic mini-series, while somehow forging its own path. The marketing campaign has demonstrated that pretty well, and I at least as not a huge IT '90 fan am pretty interested. It's got to be nerve-wracking for the producers having just seen another magnum opus King work flop worse than a limp dick at the box office, but IT '17 ought to do better. Probably. Over / under on child healing orgy scene?

For real, the movies need IT and they need it badly right now. All due props to The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) for winning three weekends in a row, but they've also been some of the lowest weekends in two decades. I'm eternally curious if Hollywood will ever learn to actually put out good original movies, although with the failure of Logan Lucky (2017) in that mix, that might not even be the problem anymore. Even though we're hot off the heels of Annabelle: Creation (2017), the haunted doll Conjuring (2013) spin-off spin-off we never knew we needed (and one of Summer 2017's bigger box office success stories), IT feels like a much different kind of horror, even if it's not. It seems prouder and creepier, and more steeped in both tradition and genuine 2017 scares. September is pretty rough, too. It could make a ton of coin.

Then again, September Horror is notorious for falling on its face. I think the hype has been there for a while, though, and there's enough build-up, expectation, and previous interest that this will be fine. There's a difference between this and the random cash-grab horror schlocky stuff that's filmed and churned out within a few months, given a traditionally crappy September release date and let free.

Critically IT's done decently so far as well. More and more that seems to be a bigger factor in a film's success than it was even a few years ago when spectacle still ruled. It's far from absolute, though, as there have been a tremendous amount of well-received blockbusters that didn't quite reach the heights of their predecessors (see: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]). If anything in 2017 has felt like a sure thing, though, IT is it.

Get it girl
On the subject of September 8th releases, I'd also be remiss to skip out on what I can only describe as the underhyped Reese Witherspoon cougar orgy movie, Home Again (2017). Now, it's important to remember that Sweet Home Alabama (2002) held the September release box office record for ten years straight until Hotel Transylvania (2012) and later Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015). Anyway, people do actually like Reese Witherspoon, even if she definitely peaked in like 2003. She is riding some good vibes though, she's got Wild (2014) of course, that big movie where she also had public sex in an alley, Hot Pursuit (2015), which I really thought would have done better, and a voice in SING (2016), which I'm sure no one cared about.

I don't really know anything about Home Again, it's definitely counter-IT programming and geared towards the mom crowd, but also seems like a bizarre mom fantasy of banging young ripped dudes. That's really fine by me, practically every movie in history is filled with bizarre creepy male sexual fantasies. I guess I'm most curious about the lack of stakes and danger in this trailer - there seems to be no repercussions between banging all these dudes and her husband. I guess maybe she's not banging all of them. Nah, she definitely is. But what is this is about? Divorcée mid-life crisis finding love? Or reconnecting with Michael Sheen? It's Nancy Meyers, so you can expect a bit of tasteless romance almost indistinguishable from smut, but hey, maybe that's just what America needs right now. Who am I kidding, I would definitely pay and watch a Reese Witherspoon cougar orgy movie.

I think IT will bury Reese, but both are pretty fresh films after a damned long drought of pure shit from August. Well, apparently Home Again is still pretty rough, but I still think it can do some damage. Next week we get mother! (2017), a Blake Lively film (that's literally the best quality trailer I could find - she also plays some blind woman who regains her sight and then I dunno, shit happens? What the hell, Blake Lively), a Nic Cage film, and a Taylor Kitsch film. Yeah. Holy shit. That last one looks so bad you didn't even notice it's Dylan O'Brien, not Taylor Kitsch. The latter is actually in the movie as a minor role, which makes this joke even more confusing. The point is, IT can print money all day.

What are you checking out? Child orgies or Witherspoon orgies?

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