Analyzing the New Pennywise Costume

Responses to EW’s first full-body look at Pennywise from the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It have naturally been divided between “love it” or “hate it”. Naturally.

But, as you can see, it does look like the kind of thing you’d expect to get mixed reception. Especially after Tim Curry’s iconic portrayal of the role. Speaking of which, this time the monstrous clown will be played by Bill Skarsgård. The actor is known for having played in Hemlock Grove, so at least he’s somewhat familiar with the horror genre.

Having said all that, let’s start talking about the picture.

The first thing that my eyes are drawn to are the lack of color, especially with Pennywise’s new suit. It doesn’t feature the bright yellows or blues of Curry’s outfit from the original miniseries, rather it’s a dark absence of color. Quite contrary with the whole clown concept. The design itself strays away from clowns and even goes more into the style of harlequins from the 16th century.

Another difference from Curry’s Pennywise is the makeup. This time we see red lines drawn down the character’s cheeks, and mear the forehead the makeup looks to be cracking and peeling. Almost giving the character a sort of rotten, aging feel or maybe it’s referencing the cracks found in human skulls.

The aspect that stands out most to me, however, are the teeth. Although they look kind of dumb at first glance, almost like the silly protrusions of a bucktoothed grin, they started to remind me of something else. Something from a much older Stephen King adaptation called ‘Salem’s Lot.

That’s right – Kurt Barlow. The vampire’s design was changed from the original novel to look more like Nosferatu, both of which have their two front teeth formed into fangs.

And it seems like Pennywise might be joining the club. Kind of poetic, considering he feeds on children; not unlike what a vampire would do.

Aside from all this, which paints Pennywise as this archaic vampire in the form of an eldritch harlequin, I only have one main issue: he shouldn’t look this forcibly scary. I’m hoping that throughout the film, at least when he interacts with some of the kids, he won’t look like such a monster. Mostly because that’s not what Pennywise is. He’s supposed to be a happy, laughing clown that makes children come near him. Then he takes the opportunity to become the child’s worst nightmare; their deepest, darkest fear. And that’s what makes it scarier than just making another demonic clown.

It, directed by Andy Muschietti, hits theaters September 8 2017. Here’s hoping by the time we see the flick that it’ll do justice to the miniseries, the book, and most of all the horror genre.

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