The Many Lives of It

Essays on the Stephen King Horror Franchise

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About the Book

After its publication in 1986, Stephen King’s novel It sparked sequels, remakes, parodies and solidified an entire genre: clown horror. Decades later, director Andy Muschietti revitalized King’s popular novel, smashing all box office expectations with the release of his 2017 film It. At the time of its release, the movie set the record for the world’s highest-grossing horror film. Examining the legacy of the controversial cult novel, the 2017 box office sensation and other incarnations of the demonic clown Pennywise, this collection of never-before-published essays covers the franchise from a variety of perspectives. Topics include examinations of the carnivalesque in both the novel and films, depictions of sexuality and theology in the book, and manifestations of patriarchy and the franchise, among other diverse subjects.After its publication in 1986, Stephen King’s novel It sparked sequels, remakes, parodies and solidified an entire genre: clown horror. Decades later, director Andy Muschietti revitalized King’s popular novel, smashing all box office expectations with the release of his 2017 film It. At the time of its release, the movie set the record for the world’s highest-grossing horror film. Examining the legacy of the controversial cult novel, the 2017 box office sensation and other incarnations of the demonic clown Pennywise, this collection of never-before-published essays covers the franchise from a variety of perspectives. Topics include examinations of the carnivalesque in both the novel and films, depictions of sexuality and theology in the book, and manifestations of patriarchy and the franchise, among other diverse subjects.

About the Author(s)

Writer and actor Ron Riekki has won several screenplay awards including best sci-fi/fantasy from the International Family Film Festival, best comedy from the Los Angeles Film Awards and the Nuclear Pen Award from the GenreBlast Film Festival.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ron Riekki
Foreword (Joe Mynhardt)

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 210
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8018-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4025-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Foreword (Joe Mynhardt) 1

Introduction (Ron Riekki) 3

Part One: The Novel

“He hits his fists against the post”: Stuttering Bill, Trauma

and the Protective Power of the Imagination in Stephen King’s It (Hayley Mitchell Haugen) 9

Seven Children and It: Stephen King’s It as Children’s Story (Cory R. Goehring) 18

Clowning Around: The Carnivalesque and Stephen King’s

Novel It (Katherine A. Troyer) 32

Doing It: Sex and the Monster (Dominick Grace) 44

“The turtle can’t help us”: Evil, Enchantment and the Magic

of Faith in Stephen King’s It (Gregory Stevenson) 56

Part Two: Television and Film

Changing Mike, Changing History: Erasing ­African-America

in It (2017) (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. ) 71

“Best Not to Look Back”: Monstrosity, Medium and Genre

in Tommy Lee Wallace’s It (1990) (June Pulliam) 84

Stephen King, Endings and the Unburdening of It (Jason V. Brock) 95

The Disturbing Appeal of Pennywise (Michelle Leigh Gompf) 109

Derry’s Subterranean Carnival in Stephen King’s It (Conny Lippert) 120

Patriarchy and Abject Horror in Stephen King’s It: Young Beverly Marsh’s Search for Subjectivity (Ralph Beliveau and Laura ­Bolf-Beliveau) 134

From Page to Screen: Troubled Domestic Space in the It Franchise (Rebecca Janicker) 147

The Truth Inside the Lie: It and the Evolution of the Serial Killer

(Rebecca Frost) 159

Wuh-We Do It: The Losers’ Club and Collaborative Leadership

in It (André Loiselle) 169

The Clown Will Eat You Now (Brian W. Smith) 181

Appendix: Interview with Erik Junnola (Ron Riekki) 188

About the Contributors 193

Index 197