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I'll kill you all!
~ Henry Bowers vowing to kill the Losers Club.

Henry Bowers is the secondary antagonist of the Stephen King novel It, its 1990 miniseries, and its 2017 film adaptation.

He is the local bully, the Losers Club's arch-rival, the leader of the Bowers Gang, and also the puppet of the bloodthirsty trans-dimensional fiend, IT.

In the 1990 miniseries, he was portrayed by Jarred Blancard as a kid, and by Michael Cole as an adult. In the 2017 adaptation, he was portrayed by Nicholas Hamilton as a teenager and Teach Grant in the upcoming sequel.

Biography

Beginnings

Henry had a hate-filled childhood. From the start, he was abused psychologically by his abusive Nazi father Oscar "Butch" Bowers. Butch encouraged Henry to hate all foreigners as well as other American citizens of different color skin, and hate women, because in Butch's words, women were "whores" and Henry grew up with a nihilistic and hate-mongering attitude. Butch prompted Henry to be a bully. Butch once carved a swastika (in its Nazi German expression "hakenkreuz"/"bent cross") upon the Hanlon farm gate, having a strong hatred for the Hanlon family (just because they were black) and Butch was nearly imprisoned for this hate crime. However, he told Henry to hate Michael "Mike" Hanlon, and never mix with him.

It was around this time Henry became a sociopathic bully. He "befriended" Mike's dog, and called it the offensive name "ni**er dog". He then began to feed it poisoned meat, and eventually he overfed it so it choked and died. Henry took pride in doing this cruel act.

It (novel)

Henry Bowers first appears when Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom is doing an exam before Summer holidays. Henry is known to be a troublemaker, and although the teachers are fully aware of his dangerous and cruel nature, they turn the other cheek — partly due to IT's influence over the town of Derry, and partly due to their law-abiding nature.

Henry asks Ben Hanscom if he can copy from his paper, and Ben stubbornly refuses. Henry then whispers that Ben is dead. On the way out of school, Ben is ambushed by Henry and his two best friends and fellow bullies, Vic Criss and Belch Huggins, who caught him just when he comes out of the library and Henry taunts Ben about his weight, and then threatens to carve his name onto Ben’s stomach. Ben thinks it is a joke until Henry gets out his knife. Vic and Belch are horrified and tell Henry to stop, but Henry begins carving H onto Ben’s stomach. Ben then kicks Henry in the chest and throws himself down the hill into the Barrens. Henry comes looking for Ben in fury, but only finds William "Bill" Denbrough and Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak. Henry and his friends destroy the dam that Bill and Eddie were building, calling it a “baby dam”; Ben later befriends the two by telling them how to build a real dam.

Henry begins having a mental breakdown over the following weeks. He also has intense spite for Richard "Richie" Tozier, and chases the boy through the middle of town, also in broad daylight, and Henry storms through department stores with the intent of killing or maiming Richie. Henry gets himself and Richie banned from the store because of his aggressive chase. Thankfully, Richie loses Henry and is subsequently threatened by the giant statue of Paul Bunyan which is possessed by IT and nearly kills him.

Later, Henry begins to hear voices calling to him, which is IT. He is awoken in the middle of the night, and goes outside clad just in boxers, and hears the moon talking to him. IT is really speaking to him, but Bowers is no longer sane enough to tell truth from fiction, reality from nightmares. Henry obeys IT's commands to kill the Losers Club, and he begins hunting them down. Henry one day sees Mike on the street, and with his entire gang Vic, Belch, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler and Gard Jagermeyer, he gives chase to hunt Mike Hanlon.

They chase a terrified Mike Hanlon to the rubbish dump in the Barrens, and on the way, Henry begins throwing fireworks in an attempt to kill Mike. He confesses that he murdered Mike's dog. Mike breaks down in tears upon hearing this. Mike then gets to the Losers (now correctly calling themselves "Lucky Seven"), and after a tense standoff, Henry begins the rock fight by fighting Bill and the others. Henry's gang retreats, one by one, when the rocks hit them, and Henry is sorely wounded by rocks and he is left to sulk before vowing to kill all of the Lucky Seven before summer is over.

After the harsh and combative rock fight, Henry begins to dissolve into complete madness and develops an even stronger hatred for the Losers Club. As "revenge" for the rock fight, he ambushes Eddie Kaspbrak with some of his friends Vic, Moose, and Patrick and breaks his arm in broad daylight in the town center. When Beverly "Bevie" Marsh recounts witnessing Patrick Hockstetter's death, she explains that she witnessed the perverted Patrick giving Henry a handjob at the dump. When Patrick threatens to tell, Henry retaliates by threatening to tell everyone about Patrick's fridge that he uses to kill animals.

Henry Bowers is later sent a switchblade from IT, which he uses to murder his own father by stabbing him in the neck while he was sleeping. He then ambushes Beverly Marsh on the street, and begins abusing her, but she gives him a kick between his legs, damaging his testicles so badly that they bleed as a result. Henry, full of insane rage, begins chasing Beverly to the Barrens. Henry, Vic, and Belch eventually chase the Losers into the sewers when they have nowhere else to run. Henry is traumatized when Vic and Belch are killed by IT, but eventually escapes after a long and traumatic experience in the dark sewers. He makes it home, and is immediately arrested by police for his father's murder.

Henry Bowers is framed by IT as the person who has been killing many children in Derry all summer (including his own friends), and with his father's murder a clear case, police urge him to confess to the other murders saying that people want justice and may act violently if he does not confess himself. Henry is imprisoned at the Juniper Hill insane asylum. There, he is visited by IT some 30 years later. IT asks him to kill the Losers Club for good. He returns to Derry and has violent brawl with Mike Hanlon (who is the town libarian and the only loser not to leave Derry) in the library. Henry and Mike are both wounded with the latter getting the worst (the former was stabbed by the latter with a letter opener while the latter was wounded by the former stabbing his thigh with a switchblade). Henry escapes and is gudied by IT to find the other Losers. Posing as a concierge bringing Eddie Kaspbrak news of his wife, and in a brief fight, Henry dies later during an attempt to kill Eddie who stabs him to death in self-defense.

It (1990 film)

Young Henry Bowers

A young Henry Bowers as seen in 1990's Stephen King's IT.

His character is basically the same is in the novel. However, Henry is given a noticeably more greaser-type appearance with his leather jacket being colored brown rather than pink. This Henry also comes off as the most evil version; he has no excuse for his actions as there are no hints that he has an abusive father (while he does say his "old man" will tan his hide given what Henry just did you can't blame Butch).

He first appears in class where he gets in trouble for mocking Benjamin "Ben" Hamscom (whom was also nicknamed "Benny"), whom he says will be dead after school. After school, Henry catches up to Ben and Vic and Belch hold down by his arms while Henry tries cut his name onto the new boy's stomach (much to his buddies' horror), only for Ben to kick Henry in the crotch and escape before he can even start.

The three bullies follow him to the Barrens where Ben hides in a drain pipe. While searching, Henry and his goons find Bill and Eddie building a dam, which they break down. Henry then steals Eddie's inhaler and pushes him down, which triggers an asthma attack, asking him and Bill if they have seen Ben. After both insist that they haven't, Henry throws the inhaler back at Eddie and leaves with his friends

Later, Henry and his gang are seen at the town movie theater watching "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" coincidentally on a lower aisle of seats than Losers. During the movie, Eddie (accidentally) knocks his popcorn onto the bullies and Richie yells down to them saying on how Henry, Vic, and Belch would be better off staying home and looking in a mirror rather than paying to see a scary movie before pouring his soda onto them and bolting with the rest of his friends.

Henry, Vic, and Belch later confront Richie and Stan in the school cafeteria, wanting information on who popcorn and soda on them at the movies. Richie (being one of the few people at school who don't fear Henry Bowers and his group) gives no answer, and Henry rubs mashed potatoes on his glasses. In retaliation, Richie throws his lunch at him and Henry tries to chase him, only for him and his pals to trip on the spilled food. Richie calls Henry "Banana Heels" and tries to run away, only to run into the school principal, who yells out both his and Henry's last names.

Afterwards Henry, this time aided by his entire gang (with the exceptions of Patrick Hockstetter and Gard Jagermeyer, who make no appearance in the miniseries) ambushes Michael "Mike" Hanlon and steals his album. The Bowers Gang corners Mike and Henry tries to light a cherry bomb to put in his pocket, only for the gang to be yelled at by a noticing man across the street to stop. This allows Mike to steal back his album and run away with Henry and his gang in hot pursuit. The bullies chase him all the way from town to the quarry of the Barrens where the Losers' Club is hanging out. Mike flees over the ridge towards the Losers (who were already alerted by the Bowers Gang's approaching presence), begging them for help. Henry and his group come up the ridge yelling to Mike "You're dead!" before climbing down to confront them. After a brief argument, a rock fight breaks out between the two gangs and Henry's gang runs away, leaving Henry with the Losers who he swears to kill as he leaves.

After being humiliated by the seven main characters, Henry's sanity completely deteriorates. He, Vic, and Belch follow the Losers into the sewers to kill them as revenge. Vic splinters off per Henry's orders to set up an ambush by back going out through where they came in and surprising them to chase them back towards Henry and Belch. While doing so though, Vic is surprised and killed by IT in the form of "Deadlights".

Elsewhere, Henry and Belch (who are apparently unaware of Vic's death at this point) grab Stan Uris and Henry prepares to kill him with his switchblade while menacingly telling Stan to "think about every rock he threw, and everything he said" before he does so. While holding Stan, Belch notices a strange light emanating from a nearby pipe, which he points out to his friend. The mysterious light (which turns out to be the "Deadlights") bursts through the pipe, knocking Henry and Stan to the ground and grabbing Belch.

Both of them watch in horror as Belch's body is dragged through the pipe and eaten. A shocked Henry calls out his friend's name, only for the "Deadlights" to reamerge and, though sparing his life, terrifies Henry to the point where his hair turns white. Although he is not seen for the remainder of this first part, it is confirmed that Henry escaped from the sewers alive, but was eventually arrested by the police, who assume that it was Henry who committed all of the murders that year (perhaps under It's influence). Henry is found guilty and immediately placed into Juniper Hill State Correctional Facility for the rest of his life.

Old Henry Bowers

An old Henry Bowers as seen in 1990's Stephen King's IT.

30 years later, Henry is a middle-aged man still locked up in the asylum. When Pennywise returns he manipulates Henry to kill the main characters and helps him escape the institute where he tries to kill a now adult Mike Hanlon. When other adults from the Losers tried to save Mike, Henry accidentally stabbed himself with his switchblade in the process, and died.

It (2017 Film)

Rather than being of the same age and class of the Losers' Club, Henry is portrayed as an older, high school-aged teenager. His physical character is designed in a more modern-day punkish type as he is shown completely without a leather jacket and his hair is a brown mullet rather than black and oiled.

Also, Henry's sadism is said by many to be slightly toned down compared to the novel where he even goes as for as to give Bill Denborough a free pass from his bullying because of his late little brother George "Georgie" Denborough. He first appears with his gang leaning against lockers and watching the Losers pass. Outside when they start bullying the Losers causing Bill to tell Henry he sucks. Henry approaches Bill threateningly and tells him although he did get a free pass it is now over. Henry sees his dad (now a police officer in this movie version) watching him so Henry does not harm Bill and instead he and his gang get into Belch's car and drive away.

Later he and the gang drive by the barber shop without seeing Michael "Mike" Hanlon. But once IT finishes tormenting Mike, Henry Bowers and his gang almost drive over Mike who moves in time. Henry yells at Mike to get out of his town and throws his cigarette at him before the gang leave.

He attempts to bully the new kid Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom later on by carving his name into Ben's stomach with a switchblade. Henry only makes it to the "H" before Ben kicks him in the stomach and falls backwards over the guard rails and flees into the Barrens, where he is saved by Richie, Stan, Eddie and Bill. Henry loses his switchblade and, fearful what his father might do if he discovers he lost it, starts searching for it along with Victor, and he sends Patrick and Belch after Ben. After he and Belch look in different locations Patrick is then killed by It when running through the sewers thinking he heard Ben Hamscom.

Henry Bowers(2017)

Henry Bowers in the 2017 film.

In a deleted scene Henry is seen at his tragic and hard home life recovering from a beating from his dad. Henry then gets into Belch's car with him and Victor and after discussing Patrick's disappearance and Henry's dad getting on Henry's nerves because of the lost switchblade, they secretly followed Mike Hanlon who is riding by on his bike and the scene ends.

Later (back in theatrical version), Henry, Vic and Belch catch up to and start bullying Mike by forcing him to eat raw meat and Henry prepares to hit him in the head with a rock until the Losers Club (now with Beverly) appear and pelt the group with rocks to save Mike, hitting Henry and causing him to fall down.

This event humiliates Henry and sends him into insanity, which is shown in a later scene when he tries to force a reluctant Belch to use a cat for target practice with his father's "borrowed" handgun. However before they can kill the cat Henry's father Butch intervenes and humiliates his son by firing the gun inches away from Henry's feet in front of his friends, calling Henry a coward afterwards.

Later when recovering from the abuse by his father, Henry discovers a balloon on his mailbox near his house and the switchblade he lost when he was chasing Ben. It compels Henry to murder Butch with the switchblade before goading him to kill the Losers Club, who are heading to the Neibolt House to rescue Beverly and kill It.

In a deleted scene, Henry kills Victor and Belch and steals Belch's car. As the Losers lower into the well within the Neibolt House's basement, Henry appears and attacks Mike Hanlon (the only one who has not climbed down yet) from behind, prepared to kill him. Henry taunts Mike over the deaths of his parents and how he regrets not being able to do it himself. Mike pushes Henry down the well, to his presumed death. 

Personality

Henry is abused by his crazed, alcoholic, and psychopathic father, Butch Bowers, who taught Henry to be a racist. Due to his dysfunctional upbringing, Henry has developed an abusive attitude and hostility towards his environment, becoming a known bully across the town who targets defenseless people and occasionally even animals. One of the things he fears and hates the most is his own father, and misplaced that anger gathering his gang and pay his frustration onto the Losers' Club, sometimes going as far as using weapons such as a knife to mutilate his victims, which frightened even some of his thugs. After his contact with Pennywise, Henry began to be even more sociopathic and dangerous than before, displaying signs of schizophrenia (although justified since his hallucinations were provoked by Pennywise).

Appearance

As a kid, Henry adopted a Grease-esque physique, he wore a pink (brown in the TV mini-series) leather jacket and oiled his black hair. He was slim and athletic as a kid. But when he got older, he had white hair from his encounters with IT, and was very chubby, and insane. His sanity got worse because of the constant hate he was fed by his father Butch and also from IT. After death, his corpse had the unnerving habit of shifting its position slightly so it looked like he was going to revive as an undead being.

Quotes

IT (Novel)

Finish your treat, N****rdog. How'd you like that, N****rdog? Did you like your lunch, you sh***y mutt?
~ Henry killing Mike's dog with tainted meat.
Hello, ni***r. I'm gonna make me a tarbaby, you're not black enough, but I'll fix that. N**ern***ern***er! Now you're black! Now you're REEEEELY black! Now you're as black as midnight in a MINESHAFT! I killed your dog, black boy!
~ Henry after bathing Mike Henlon in mud.
I was the one who killed your dog, ni***er.
~ Henry to Mike Henlon.
I know you, kid. I know you, too. Where’s your glasses, four-eyes? Well, son of a bitch! The Jew and the fatboy are here too! That your girlfriend, fatboy? I got bones to pick with a lot of you, but I can let that go for today. I want that n***er. So you little s***s buzz off.
~ Henry confronting the Lucky Seven.
I'll kill you, you little f**king pansy.
~ Henry threatening Patrick Hockstetter.

1990 TV Miniseries

You're dead, fatboy.
~ Henry threatening Ben.
(Ben: What do you want?) I want to teach you something, porky. You like to learn new things, don't you? I want to make sure you remember my name. (Ben: I'll remember, Henry, I'll remember.) How am I gonna make sure, huh?
~ Henry before trying to carve his name into Ben's stomach.
Well, whaddaya know? The fat boy, the Jew, and the sissy. Four eyes and the patch girl, too. N***er, you know how to pick them: the Losers' Club.
~ Henry to Mike Hanlon and the rest of the Lucky Seven.
The n***er here lives down the street from my daddy and me. (Mike: Give it here!) And given me and my daddy grief for a long, long time! You like fireworks, boy, huh? What do you say to "Rocket in your pocket"?
~ Henry to Mike Hanlon
I'll kill you all!
~ Henry after being humiliated by the Losers.
Hello, n***er. I'll pay you back. I'll pay you all back.
~ Henry's last words before his death.

2017 film

I'll carve my whole name onto his cottage cheese!
~ Henry threatening to carve his name onto Ben's stomach.
Stay the f**k out of my town!
~ Henry to Mike.
You say something, B-B-B-Billy?
~ Henry threatens Bill in a mocking, stuttering fashion.
You two, get him!
~ Henry inadvertently causes Patrick's death by ordering him and Belch to hunt down Ben, wherein Patrick follows IT into the sewers.
Like lambs to a slaughter. Wouldn't you say fellas? Yeah, sure you would
~ (*Deleted Scene*) Henry after slitting the throats of Belch Huggins and Victor Criss.
You didn't listen to what I told you, did you? You should have stayed out of Derry. Your parents didn't, and look what happened to them. I still get sad everytime I pass by that pile of ashes, sad that I couldn't have done it myself.
~ Henry before falling down the well.

Trivia

  • Despite being the leader of the Bowers Gang, he is not as evil as Patrick Hockstetter, who's evil behavior comes purely from his own mind, unlike Henry, who's evil comes from his abusive father.
  • Some of the more disturbing sinister acts of Henry Bowers in the novel, such as an act of bestiality with a sheep and ejaculating onto a birthday cake, were omitted from both the miniseries and the 2017 film, likely to avoid an NC-17 rating.