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The 'It' Films' Importance to Horror Cinema

Posted By Dan108 30 days ago on Personal - As a fan of the genre, I tend to gravitate towards horror films quite easily. Horrors are often thought of as one of the more predictable of film genres, and when you look at the original slasher horrors from the seventies and eighties (such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street), that’s probably true. Most of us have all seen that formula and general narrative movement, and, yes, slasher horrors are generally pretty predictable, and all too often fraught with bad acting, unimaginative plots and foreseeable endings.But there is a different, more sophisticated type of horror film which I think has in modern times redefined the genre as now one of the most unpredictable in cinema, and that’s exactly why I like horror films so much. A good horror film today is unpredictable, edgy and intelligent in knowing exactly how to catch you off guard. I think home invasion horrors and paranormal horrors can demonstrate these elements quite well, as it’s more the power of suggestion and sheer suspense which are the main features, rather than plain old gore and cheap jump scares.The It films, for me, are a great testament to the continuing evolution of modern horror cinema, because the story is directly about horror. In this sense, the story is autobiographical to the genre, almost satirical in nature. ‘It’, of course, is fear itself, personified in the character of Pennywise, the clown who torments the children of Derry, Maine, and ultimately making them ‘float’ in a kind of unconscious stupor for all eternity. “Time to float!”, as the horrifying clown would often threaten.The idea that the antagonist, Pennywise, purely represents the protagonists’ terrors and anxieties, I find very appealing. Indeed the idea of defeating the allegorical character of Pennywise – the embodiment of their shared dread – is really just facing up to and conquering their collective fears, by coming together as the true friends they are, who stick by each other no matter what, supporting one another through times of trouble. Together, they’re stronger. I suppose Pennywise could be seen as the ultimate playground bully, because his main purpose is merely to strike fear into his would-be victims, overpower them, and ultimately kill them (or kill their spirit, right?). The story has an incredibly beautiful, heart-felt message at its core, and it’s essentially a very simple one: don’t be scared, be brave. Without the ability to scare or terrorize their once-weak, vulnerable victims, the bully can do no harm, for their illusion of power has been shattered by the courage and nobility that challenged it.The It films are deliciously scary throughout, whilst carried by a terrifically-told plot. But they are also horror films which take on the responsibility to say something important to their viewers, and by doing so play a significant role in shaping the way horror films are evolving. It really is no surprise that It (2017) is currently the highest grossing horror film of all time.


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