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Villain Overview
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I'LL KILL YOU ALL! Ha-ha! I’ll drive you crazy, and I’ll kill you all! I’m every nightmare you’ve ever had! I am your worst dream come true! I'm everything you ever were afraid of! RARGH!!!
~ It's famous quote.

It (sometimes capitalized as IT), more commonly known as Pennywise the (Dancing) Clown, is the main antagonist of the Stephen King novel IT and film of the same name. It was a demonic extra-dimensional entity who would almost always disguise itself as a clown to attract children, so that it could capture and kill them as they were an easier target.

In the 1990 film, he was portrayed by the legendary British actor who is best known for portraying many villainous roles and the characters in the film, Tim Curry, who also played Hexxus in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Ben Ravencroft in Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost, Evil Manta in the Little Mermaid animated series, Maestro Forte in Beauty & the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Kilokahn in Superhuman Samurai Sybersquad, Drake in The Pebble & the Penguin, Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Picture Horror Show, and Darth Sidious (in Clone Wars). In the 2017 remake, he will be portrayed by Bill Skarsgard.

History

Film

It was part of the disasters that occurred every 27 years in the Maine town of Derry.

IT was never against killing children. In fact, it actually preferred to kill children as they were an easier target. That was probably why it chose the form of a clown, a figure that both entertained and terrified many young children. It had razor sharp teeth that it could use to kill people.

As the film progressed, a group of children known as the Lucky Seven (also mockingly referred to as the "Losers' Club") banded together to kill Pennywise and end its murderous reign (after he had killed the brother of one of them) and apparently succeed after they tracked him down to its lair. However, Pennywise, being a lesser-aspect of a higher being, was not going to stay dead forever and it swore revenge on the gang for it's defeat before it vanished into nothingness.

27 years later, Pennywise kept his promise and came after members of the gang, who were all adults in the present day, to kill them. That prompted the gang to reform and battle Pennywise again in order to kill it yet again and save themselves from its wrath. At the end of the film, the gang did manage to defeat Pennywise again, but in that final battle, it took the form of a spider-like monster that was revealed to be his true form rather than the clown disguise (which it used for most of the film). It was killed when they pulled out his heart. After they killed it, the gang left its corpse to rot.

Novel

The film lacked many elements of It that the novel included. In the novel, It was an eternal entity that was almost as old as time itself. It was the natural enemy of Maturin (The Turtle), who both existed in the Macroverse. Its awakening was always marked by a great act of violence, and another great act of violence ends Its spree and send It back into hibernation. It committed other crimes not mentioned int he film, such as murdering over 300 settlers some time from 1740 to 1773, as well as a group of lumberjacks between 1876 and 1879.

It also took on many more forms than in the film, such as Dracula, a homeless leper, a giant bird, Frankenstein's Monster, leeches, piranhas, the witch from the classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel, Tony Tracker, the statue of Paul Bunyon, the Gill-man, Jimmy Donlin's mother, a giant eye, Dorsey Corcoran's re-animated corpse, and the shark from Jaws. It is also responsible for deaths of Alvin Marsh, and Beverly's husband, Tom Rogan, once the later goes looking for her when she goes to Derry. Also in the novel, he appears to the psychotic school bully Henry Bowers as Victor Criss instead of Belch. When It appears to one of the guards at the asylum Henry Bowers is kept at, it takes on the form of an 8-foot tall Doberman Pinscher, as opposed to a cross between the clown and a rottweiler in the film. The film also reverses Ben Hamscom's and Stan Uris' worst fears. In the novel, Pennywise appeared to Ben as the mummy, and to Stan as the rotting corpses, while in the film it was the other way around.

Also in the novel, It was only able to be stopped when Bill performed the Ritual of Chüd. The book also implies that It may be female, given it laid eggs when in it's spider form.

Another detail left out of the film is that It's spider form is not that of its official true form; it is merely the closest representation of its true form that the human mind can comprehend.

In Other Media

It appeared in pony form in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic IDW comic book The Return of Queen Chrysalis, in one of the doors in Queen Chrysalis' Castle. Fluttershy opened IT's door and IT appeared, and said: "Hey, Georgie!"

Powers and Abilities

Being an inter-dimensional cosmic being, IT was an extremely powerful entity. Although his true form exists outside of time and space in the Macroverse, the powers demonstrated by his earthly avatar include.

  • Psychic Power: IT possesses an insane level of psychic power, he can steal people's souls and entrap them within the deadlights (IT's true form). He can also create psychic hurricanes capable of destroying entire towns. When battling the Losers, IT created a psychic storm that devastated downtown Derry.
  • Mind Control: In addition to his immense psychic power, IT is capable of controlling the mind and actions of a person. It is implied that he controls and influences the mind of every adult in Derry or perhaps even the entire nation, as they are all ignorant of the terrible murders that take place there.
  • Possession: IT also has the ability to possess people, this was shown when he possessed Mr Keene in order to get Eddie to leave Derry.
  • Telepathy: IT can read the minds of anyone he chooses to target. He often uses this to learn a victim's fears and exploit this with his shape-shifting ability. He can also implant thoughts and projections into people's minds.
  • Physical Illusions: In addition to his telepathy, IT can also create physical illusions, such as balloons floating against the wind, making his face appear on the moon or the smell of popcorn and rotting corpses. He can also use this to cause a person to hallucinate.
  • Shape-Shifting: IT can shape-shift into any form it pleases, whether it be taking on the form of someone or taking the form of flying leeches. IT often uses this power to take the form a victim fears most.
  • Teleportation: IT can also teleport between locations in an instant, however he has never been seen teleporting outside of the Derry City limits.
  • Partial Invisibility. This was clearly stated in several cases, most notably when the adult Beverly encounters Pennywise at the place where she used to live or when the adult Ben Hanscom encounters It in the public library. This suggests that only those who actually believe or have knowledge about It's existence are able to see It although It can become fully visible to anybody when it is necessary or wishes to do so. One notable moment was when It helps Henry Bowers to escape from Juniper Hill, one of Henry's cellmates and then the guard also witness It next to Henry.
  • Near-Invulnerability: IT is not a true physical entity, so it cannot be killed or harmed by conventional means.The only known way to harm Pennywise is to perform the Ritual of Chud, which involves The Turtle and Gan (two multiverse beings) lending their psychic power to the person performing it. They both lent their power to the Losers numerous times when they faced IT, giving them the power to harm it. Bill likened fighting Pennywise as "fighting smoke."
  • Immortality: IT's early avatar has existed on Earth since primordial times and has existed even longer in the Macroverse (a void outside of time and space that surrounds our own universe). The Ritual of Chud is the only known way to kill the earthly avatar. However, it is heavily implied that IT's true form still exists within the Macroverse and is eternal and can never truly be killed.
  • Regeneration: IT can also quickly regenerate when it does receive a wound. This was shown when IT instantaneously healed after being shot in the face by Bill and Richie when it chased them down Neibolt Street.
  • Dream Invasion: It is also implied that IT can invade dreams, as he tells Eddie that he "will see him in his dreams" when taking the form of the leper at 29 Neibolt Street.
  • Insanity Projection: No mortal mind can perceive IT's true form, even Bill when his psychic power was insanely boosted by Gan and The Turtle. Anyone who sees IT's true form is driven instantly insane or drops dead from shock.
  • Plant/Flora-cide.  With a touch IT can instantly cause plants to die. This is shown when Eddie (young and adult) encounters It in its leper form. It must be distinguished from the illusions mentioned earlier as this effect persists long after It's appearance although it does not serve any practical purposes.
  • Telekinesis. IT can manipulate inanimate objects making them fall, float around, and behave supernaturally. This includes locking doors and electronic devices.
  • Superhuman Strength: Although IT is not a physical entity, it is still capable of superhuman attributes. This was shown when IT could tear the heads and limbs off children with extreme ease.
  • Superhuman Speed: Bill noted that IT can move at bullet speeds, claiming that he was way faster than an "express train".

Quotes

The Turtle can't help you.
~ IT to the children.
Float? Oh yes, indeed they do. They float! And there's cotton candy.... They float. They float, they float, Georgie, and when you're down here with me, you'll float too.
~ Pennywise (IT) before killing Georgie Denbrough.
Say hello to your friends, Beverly! You'll die if you try to fight us, Beverly. You'll die if you try! You'll die if you try to fight us, Beverly. You'll die if you try. You'll die if you try. You'll die if you try. You'll die if you try...
~ Pennywise (IT) to young Beverly Marsh.
I am eternal, child! I am the eater of worlds, and of children. And you are next!
~ Pennywise (IT) to the Losers Club (the Lucky Seven) while attempting to kill Stan Uris.
What's the matter? One balloon not enough? TRY A BUNCH!
~ Pennywise (IT) psyching out Richie at the library.
Kiss me fat boy!
~ Pennywise (in the form of Beverly Marsh) to Ben Hanscom.
Silly boy! You still think you can see "me". Ha ha. You can never see me, you can only see what your little mind can allow! Go! Now! For if you stay, you'll lose your little mind, in my dead lights. Like all the others. Like all the others.
~ Pennywise (IT) to Bill Denbrough and the Lucky Seven.
Excuse me sir. Do you have Prince Albert in a can? You do? Well, you better let the poor guy out.
~ IT to Richie Tozier.
How do you like it out here, Little Friend? Do you like it? Do you love it? Do you give it 98 points because it has a good beat and you can dance to it? Can you catch it on your tonsils and heave it left and right? Did you like meeting my friend the Turtle? I thought that stupid old f--k died years ago, and all for good he could do you, he might as well have, did you think he could help you?
~ IT taunting Bill Denbrough after he met the Turtle.
NONONONONONONONO!
~ IT's last words.

Trivia

  • IT (alongside Randall Flagg) is regarded as the most evil and popular of Stephen King's villains, and an immense icon in horror. In 2006, Wizard Magazine ranked IT the 15th greatest villain of all time.
  • Ironically, Bill Skarsgard was born in the same year as original film adaptation (by Tommy Lee Wallace) of IT: 1990.
  • Its favorite form, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, was designed after Bozo, Clarabell, and Ronald McDonald.
  • It shared many similarities to Freddy Krueger:
    • Both were shape-shifters.
    • Both haunted the dreams of their victims.
    • Both were child killers.
    • Both appeared to know their victim's worst fears.
    • Both were mind-breakers.
    • Both were thought-forms (though Freddy can become real if he is pulled out of dream world).
    • Both were evils from the past.
    • Both had witty, yet insane personalities.
    • Both were pure evil.
  • It was believed by many fans to be the world's greatest horror movie villain.
  • Despite Pennywise being killed at the end of the book, it's implied that IT may still be alive in other books by King, such as Dream Catcher and Hearts in Atlantis.
  • He was similar to the Scarecrow and Room 1408, another Stephen King villain: They intended to drive their victims mad before they killed them.
  • It was similar to the Ancient Enemy and was possibly Dean Koontz's inspiration for that villain, as both were shape-shifting monsters who lived in the sewers and believed themselves to be gods.
    • Also It shared another similarity with the Ancient Enemy when IT kept sadistically saying "You'll die if you try to fight us", and spoke in plural instead of just one. That might be a possible reference to the demon spirit Legion in the Bible.
  • It also shared a similarity to Mysterio:
    • Both were masters of illusion.
    • Both could teleport, even though Mysterio could teleport over longer distances than It.
      • Its illusions were also more realistic.
  • It was also similar to a third Stephen King villain named Carrie White, who was also telekinetic.
  • Along with Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Pennywise was regarded as one of Tim Curry's most well-known roles.
  • It makes a cameo in another one of Stephen King's films, The Tommyknockers, where it simply sat and waved.
  • In the WWE games (WWE 12 and beyond), It (Pennywise the Clown) could be created.
  • Pennywise was often seen as the primary reason that many people have a fear of clowns.
  • Knowing all fears, It's most known form is probably Pennywise the Clown because it represents one of the known common fears, coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).
  • It shares many similarities with Killer BOB from Twin Peaks:
    • Both of them are demons and the personification of evil.
    • Both of them are anarchistic mass murderers.
    • Both of them are shapeshifters and possessors.