This week Nikki and Kate talk about leading with teeth. And also the first half of the 1990 made-for-tv adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. 

Oh, we also have new intro and outro music! Special thanks and credit to Anthony Rocazella, who composed it for us. You can find him on instagram at puffthemagicbassist.      

You can check out all of the past episodes as well as our episode notes on the Just Ghoul With It website, 

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Content warnings for this movie: bugs, spiders, cutting, torture, parental death, child death, clowns, jump scares, possession, mental institution, gaslighting, anxiety attack, claustrophobic scene, death by suicide, self harm, flashing lights, sexual assault, hate speech, racist hate speech, anti-semitism, domestic violence, child abuse, someone struggling to breathe, blood

Selection of Kate’s Notes: 

Summary: (IMDb) In the quiet town of Derry, Maine, seven friends, Bill Denbrough, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, Beverly Marsh , Stanley Uris, Richie Tozier , and Ben Hanscom (The Losers’ Club) have all been seeing and hearing strange things. Most of which revolve around a clown called “Pennywise”, in which they all admit being real, the kids eventually discover that the leader of the club, Bill’s little brother, fell victim to this evil. The group sets out to stop the force and put it to rest once and for all. Thirty years after defeating “It”, Mike Hanlon , the only Member who remained in Derry, is suspecting that “It” has returned and is forced to call back all of “The Losers’ Club”, due to a promise they all made to return if its evil should ever resurface. Uncovering new powers, clues, and evil, the club reunites as adults and come face-to-face with the evil that has haunted and fed on Derry for the last few centuries.


Motifs: childhood trauma, bonds of friendship


Colors in the film, bright and childlike. Horror movies tend to rely on the darkness to pack in scares and a sense of foreboding, but much of the horror takes place in broad daylight. Contrary to feeling like it’s therefore safe, it feels like nowhere is. 


Costuming: very bright. Might be indicative of the time, but the colors are so vivid in the filming, again it’s not intentionally muted. I feel like this cranks up the childlike horror, reflecting the vibrant colors of Pennywise’s costume. It’s this wild juxtaposition of aggressively cheerful and fatally dangerous. 


Adaptational Attractiveness: Ben’s younger self is much cuter than he’s described in the books


Badass Boast: Pennywise, when Bill shouts at Bev to “kill it”:

Pennywise: Kill? ME? Oh, you are priceless, brat! I am ETERNAL, child. I am the EATER OF WORLDS, and of children—and you are next.


Bloodless Carnage: this goes back to the limitations on the filming because it was a made for tv adaptation. Most of the  deaths weren’t graphic. Most of the instances of blood were in illusions, like the sink scene with Beverly and weren’t even referred to as blood for the most part. There are a few notable exceptions as well as a subversion of this trope, when adult Stan dies by suicide. Now I went down a rabbit hole on subversion of tropes. 


Everything in italics is a direct quote from tvtropes: 

A subversion has two mandatory segments. First, the expectation is set up that something we have seen plenty of times before is coming, then that set-up is paid off with something else entirely. The set-up is a trope; the “something else” is the subversion. The window pane example from tvtropes: A full comparison could go something like this: A car chase is in progress at reckless speeds. The camera cuts to some workers carrying a Sheet of Glass, then cuts back to the panicked driver headed towards the workers. It seems pretty obvious that the driver is going to smash the glass sheet into a million fragments… or is it?


If the car drives through the pane of glass, it’s played straight.

If the car drives through the pane of glass, and the workers are heard complaining about why cars that are being chased can avoid nearly everything but a pane of glass, it’s lampshaded.

If the car misses the pane of glass, it’s subverted.

If something else causes the glass to be broken before the car can even make it to where the glass pane broke, it’s also subverted.

If the car misses the pane of glass but a second car breaks it instead, it’s a double subversion.

If the pane of glass is broken before being hit by the car, which then drives through a different pane of glass carried by a second pair of workers, it’s also double subverted.

Another double subversion is if the car hits the glass and knocks it out of the workers’ hands without damage to the glass or car… and the glass crumbles after it gets picked back up.


If the car disappears from view and isn’t seen again until after the sound of glass breaking, it’s implied.

If the car stops before hitting the pane of glass and then takes a different route, it’s defied.

If the car drives into the pane of glass, and not only the glass shatters, but also the car, as well as the workers, it’s exaggerated.

If the car is not doomed to hit the pane of glass, but one of the workers sees the car coming and stops in the street such that the car drives into the pane of glass, it’s invoked.

If the car hits the pane of glass, and the chasing car(s) regain their lost trail from the scattered pieces of glass, it’s exploited (and also Played for Drama.)

If the car drives through the pane of glass backwards, or in any other weird way that a car should not be driving in, it’s parodied.

If the car drives through the pane of glass, but it’s the car that shatters (instead of the glass), it’s inverted (and a very shoddily-built car at that).

If the car drives into the pane of glass, but the glass endures and car bounces back, it is backfired.

“Another episode subverts the Sheet of Glass example mentioned above. In this case, the car hits the glass, but simply knocks it down flat on the ground and drives over it. The workers then pick the glass back up noting “Wow, tough glass.”

The glass example is subverted again in the episode where Bart gets an elephant. The elephant runs off, stampeding down a street towards two workers carrying a glass pane. They jump out of the way of the elephant, with the glass surviving, only to jump right into the path of a skateboarding Bart… Who they also successfully avoid, eventually making it all the way across the street, glass intact, to complete their goal of throwing it into a dumpster, shattering it to pieces.”

-direct quotes from tvtropes


Cassandra Truth: Werewolf, Richie, no one believes him. Cassandra Greek mythology


Deadly Euphemism: When Pennywise takes the form of his father slowly turning into Pennywise and tells him that if he joins him he’ll “never have to grow up”. Notably not in the Peter Pan way. 


Does This Remind You of Anything?: already talked about this one


Evil Is Hammy: Pennywise cracks ridiculous jokes and looks absurd, but still manages to be sinister.


Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: self explanatory


You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Pennywise says he is unimaginably horrific/just unimaginable 


Works Cited

Best, Joel. (1988). Missing Children, Misleading Statistics. Public Interest, (92), 84-92.

Crossman, Ashley. (2019, July 14). “A Sociological Understanding of Moral Panic.” Thought Co.

Juzwiak, Rich. (2020, October 28). Half-True Crime: Why the Stranger Danger Panic of the 80s Took Hold and Refuses to Let Go. Jezebel.

Film/IT. (2021, April 8). Tvtropes.

Subverted Trope. (2021, April 8). Tvtropes.