Film Trailers

The New It Movie Looks Like an R-Rated Stranger Things

Oh, what sweet irony that someone might watch the new It trailer and come away thinking, “They ripped off Stranger Things.” It’s set in the 80s. The main characters are a group of dorky kids who have one token girl around. Trees and light posts in their small town are dotted with “Missing” signs with pictures of little kids. And they’re all being hunted by a monster. Heck, one of the main kids is even played by a Stranger Things actor. As South Park might put it, Stranger Things did it!

Yeah, but Stephen King was doing this shit back when Stranger Things co-creators The Duffer Brothers were still in diapers (to say nothing of the show’s beloved young cast members who were all over a decade away from being born). Give King a couple of painkillers and a long weekend and he’ll crap out several hundred pages of a group of adults looking back on that one time some weird monster tried to kill them when they were kids (or encountered something which is now trying to kill them as adults). We know because that’s basically how we ended up with Dreamcatcher, but it’s a template King first established with 1986’s It (1982’s The Body sort of qualifies, but there are no monsters hunting those Stand By Me kids; just Kiefer Sutherland).

Of course, Stranger Things wasn’t told from the point of view of adults looking back on anything, and neither is the new It movie, which has removed King’s framing device from the novel and saved it for the planned sequel. This is a trailer for It: Part 1 – The Loser’s Club, i.e., when Pennywise terrorizes these poor kids in R-Rated horror movie fashion. The revenge enacted by the adult version of these characters will come later, pending Part 1’s box office:

Well, that’s certainly a sinister use of a slide show projector.

You might have noticed Cary Fukunaga’s (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation) name in the credits, but don’t let that get you too excited. Fukunaga tried to get this movie made for 6 years, but walked away in 2015. Mama director Andres Muschietti replaced him, but elements of Fukunaga’s script remain. Muschiette and the producers have largely echoed what the Duffer Brothers said about Stranger Things and described this version of It as an homage to 80s movies, not just the Stephen King ones but also Spielberg, Goonies, various Amlin Entertainment titles, etc. That’s why the time period has been changed from the 50s to the 80s. The difference, though, is they went for an R-rating meaning there’s going to be a little more gore than usual in this thick helping of 80s nostalgia.

It came first, but Stranger Things is what younger people are more likely to know. History is not always kind in a situation like this where an original property tries to come back after a successful knock-off re-popularizes a formula. However, Stranger Things mixes in plenty of Cronenberg and Carpenter with its King and Spielberg. It, by comparison, looks more like a straight-forward horror movie with a period setting and scary ass clown. Perhaps, then, I’m making too much of the similarities. But if It sucks, oh well, Stranger Things season 2 will be right around the corner.

It: Part 1 – The Loser’s Club is due out September 8, 2017; Stranger Things season 2 will drop on Netflix on Halloween.


  1. IT is a spectacular novel, and considering the 90’s TV movie is pretty much garbage except for Tim Curry, I’m at least glad to see another attempt. I wasn’t aware this is a two parter, but it seems a potentially good way to adapt the incredibly dense novel without ending up with a six hour film. It does take away a lot of the impact of the adult storyline, which doesn’t feel like it’d work on its own in a sequel. Whatever. We’ll see.

    1. Re: The 90s mini-series. I know. I’m thinking about re-watching it and writing about it for the site, but…man, I really don’t want to. I didn’t like it back then. I can’t imagine what I’ll think about it now. I am, however, confident that Tim Curry’s performance will still seem strong.

      As for the movie, I too am curious as to how exactly they plan on really going about this in a sequel. At least as written in the original novel, I agree that the adult storyline doesn’t feel like it would work on its own in a sequel. Still, it’s an interesting strategy, one which they seem to be downplaying. They mostly want us to focus on the new trailer and this new movie due out in September. Worry about a sequel later, possibly because they haven’t 100% figured that part out yet. I don’t know. The trailer at least looks like a solid horror movie.

      1. It’s good that they’re focused on a standalone film, there’ll just have to be major changes when a sequel comes along, so the adult storyline doesn’t come across as a framing device sans story.

      2. At one point over the long development period, they were talking about doing this as a trilogy. So, a more standalone 80s-set horror movie that is officially titled “Part 1” but is clearly being advertised simply as “It,” and may or may not get a sequel depending on box office gross is definitely progress.

      3. I think that after the failure of Divergent 3 Part 1, the Part 1 thing’s kind of done.
        It has an interesting look, I’ll probably go see it.
        I tried to watch the miniseries after reading the book recently, and I just couldn’t do it. It’s better to just watch a Tim Curry highlight reel.

      4. Yeah, that “partification of blockbusters” (as I recall I once put it) thing is done. Beyond It, we can simply look to Justice League in November. That was originally supposed to be Justice League-Part 1. Not no mo’. Now it’s just Justice League. Same sort of goes for Avengers: Infinity War. Originally a Part 1, now a “what Part 1? What are you talking about? We would never split a movie in half just to force squeeze our audience for more money. No, not us. Never. We value all of you far too much to take advantage of you like that.” Actually, I’ve lost track of where Marvel currently stands on Infinity War because it seems as if they’ve gone back and forth. However, the point remains that after the various part-ed blockbusters pissed people off (sidenote: I still haven’t seen Mockingjay – Part 2) everyone in Hollywood is clearly reluctant to wade into that shitstorm again.

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