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Andy Muschietti

Posted on June 26, 2021

Memories Worth Keeping: Adaptational Changes in IT: Chapter 2

Guest Post

Stephen King’s IT – and, later, the Andy Muschietti adaptations – have been vital to my journey as a horror fan and an aspiring fantasy/horror writer, and as an important way to think about change. I read IT during the summer of 2018, after moving from the home I had lived in for 12 years. While I approached the novel thinking I had hit the jackpot of horror, I found myself more moved by the strong bond that the Losers’ Club formed as adolescents, which made the disintegration of these friendships in adulthood all the more tragic. In many ways, IT shares more DNA with Stand By Me (a non-horror adaptation, based on King’s short story “The Body”) than some of his other horror novels. Both works are coming-of-age stories that see seemingly unshakeable friendships tested by fears and anxieties – some are explicitly horror-related, such as Pennywise, but others are more existential: how long will we remain friends? Adulthood, in these stories, seems to be more of a source of horror – or, at least, anxiety – than any monster or bully, and yet when it comes, it happens gradually. Adulthood’s arrival is not heralded by ominous music or a jumpscare, it just… happens, and childhood friendships that seemed strong don’t always last. Read more

Posted on September 27, 2017

IT’s Homely Horror: What to Do with a Haunted House

Guest Post

While praising the cast of Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of IT, A. O. Scott repeats a comment my friends keep saying about the film: it’s old horror hat gone wild. Scott, in his New York Times review, specifically argues that with the advent of CGI in modern horror films comes artistic repetition:

“Movie monsters resemble one another more and more, and movies of distinct genres feel increasingly trapped within the expected.”

Yet, beneath the expected jump scares, the uptick in gore-filled moments, and what some call the over-exposure of the titular monster, IT brings the horror mode under critique. Unlike Scott, I argue that Muschietti is engaging in a rather nuanced play on the stock elements of horror that so bothered reviewers. In short, that feeling of being “trapped within the expected” is exactly the intent of the overt and arguably overused horror in this adaptation. Muschietti’s film turns the conventional images of horror against the audience, forcing us to work through our own expectations operating within the genre. In this way, IT becomes more concerned with how horrific imagery can be used to hide and deflect from the reality it represents.

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