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Pennywise The Story Of It Main

Pennywise: The Story of It Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Premiered on Screambox

pennywise the story of it poster large

Directed by John Campopiano and Chris Griffiths
Written by John Campopiano and Gary Smart
2022, 126 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on Screambox on July 26th, 2022

Starring:
Tim Curry as Himself
Tommy Lee Wallace as Himself
Seth Green as Himself
Richard Thomas as Himself
Dennis Christopher as Himself
Richard Masur as Himself
Tim Reid as Himself
Emily Perkins as Herself
Brandon Crane as Himself
Marlon Taylor as Himself
Adam Faraizl as Himself
Jarred Blancard as Himself
Ben Heller as Himself
Richard Bellis as Himself
Bart Mixon as Himself

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Review:

It’s about damn time someone made a comprehensive documentary about the highly influential 1990 miniseries. Can I just go ahead and get that out of the way? This is long overdue. If you watched Stephen King’s It live on television in the fall of 1990 like I (and my entire family) did, then you remember what an all-out event it was. The hype leading up to it was impressive even by today’s standards. While it isn’t a perfect adaptation, those two nights of television had me utterly enrapt; I’d already read the book by that tender age (eleven) and had dug much further into the King bibliography. Not only did the miniseries cement those that were already fans, by and large, but it turned a massive new audience of impressionable youth on to the Master of the Macabre. So, yeah…it’s deserving of a deep dive in spite of all its flaws.

A deep dive is exactly what Pennywise: The Story of It is. It’s equal parts reminiscence and making-of metered out in admirably equal measure. And before you start to ask, I’ll go ahead and tell you that you get a goodly amount of time with the man himself, Tim Curry. The doc doesn’t depend just on him, however. You could just about say that anyone who’s still alive (how I miss John Ritter, Harry Anderson, and Jonathan Brandis!) is in this film, sharing their memories and stories. You’ll dive almost deep enough to reach the Macroverse.

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Attention to detail is the keystone of Pennywise: The Story of It. The first chapter covers the page-to-screen transition, and you get every step of that process before moving on to the story of Pennywise himself. It rolls on like that, exhaustively covering story after story before moving onto the casting and production itself. There’s also a plethora of behind-the-scenes video from the shooting; I could watch John Ritter and Harry Anderson play with the huge spider puppet over and over with a big, goofy grin on my face. As Vince McMahon would say, “It’s good shit!”.

Speaking of that spider…

It’s damn good to see a proper defense of what I’ve always considered to be a criminally underrated piece of SFX work that suffered from poor lighting and camera work in the finale. The spider sequence is a pretty big letdown to most (in the book and the miniseries). Pennywise doesn’t shy away from that criticism or the cast and crew’s true feelings all while showing that spider some serious love.

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Prepare yourself to use a few tissues on the remembrance of Jonathan Brandis; fair warning. Brandon Crane (young Ben Hanscom) does a wonderful job when he talks about the shock of Brandis’ death in particular. All those no longer with us are remembered warmly and well. John Campopiano (Unearthed and Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary) and Chris Griffiths (You're So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night) direct the hell out of this thing with the reverence of the true fan and the technical attention to detail of the best documentarians; there is no drag while there’s a metric fuckton of stuff you’ve never seen or heard before. Isn’t that exactly what a great doc is ideally supposed to do?

For those of us who remember the live miniseries event and still adore it (I shared it with my daughter at a younger age than I saw it and she loves it to this day), Pennywise: The Story of It is a home run – thorough, affectionate, meticulously crafted and well worth two hours and six minutes of your life. For the casual fan or even those who find Stephen King’s It to be a cheesy product of its day, this documentary will give you a deeper appreciation of how truly historic it is. And doesn’t that just make you want to float?

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Grades:

Movie: 5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer - USA
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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