How IT Influenced Pennywise The Black Phone explained by the author

According to The Black Phone author Joe Hill, some aspects of the story had to be changed for the film adaptation due to IT’s Pennywise. Hill’s story was adapted by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, the writing team behind Sinister and Doctor Strange, with Derrickson also serving as director. Stephen King is the reigning champion of his work adaptation; one of his magnum works, It, has been successfully adapted twice. First as a 1990 four-hour TV miniseries featuring an iconic performance by Tim Curry as Pennywise, then in 2017 and 2019 with IT and IT Chapter Two. The films directed by Andy Muschietti together grossed over $ 1 billion worldwide and brought an equally chilling but distinct performance by Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise.

Both actors’ versions of Pennywise, an ancient form of supernatural evil manifesting primarily as a circus clown, captured the public’s imagination and became icons of horror. The Black Phone’s source of terror, The Grabber, which only debuted this summer, has arrived on the scene to claim their claim as a truly memorable force. Hill, who is King’s son, first introduced the villain to the world when his thirty-page short story The Black Phone was released in 2007, though the cinematic incarnation of The Grabber played by Ethan Hawke differs considerably from how the character is written on the page. In the film, the villain is a part-time wizard who kidnaps little boys in his creepy van, keeping them in his basement, testing how good or bad they are while terrorizing them with an ever-changing devil mask.

Speaking exclusively to Screen Rant, Hill explains why changes to The Grabber were needed from page to page. In the end, it was all about timing. With the script for The Black Phone in the early stages around the same time that Muschietti’s IT was fresh in the audience’s mind, Hill didn’t want the comparison between his work and his father’s to be drawn so sharply. See what Hill has to say below:

“I had a great creative contribution, which is: I don’t know if we want to throw ourselves into the weeds. I had a great creative input, when I read the first draft, it was very, very true to the story and, in the story, when Finney is kidnapped by The Grabber, the guy looks like a part-time clown, who was still a part-time clown in the film, in the script, which was a kind of natural evolution, because the character somehow echoes the crimes of John Wayne Gacy. But I read the script and, I don’t remember if IT was out at that point or was about to come out, and I said, “Guys, I don’t think it can be a part time clown, not with Pennywise going to explode into American consciousness. . I just think there’s room for one deadly clown. What if we made him become a part-time magician instead? ” I had something to share with them about a whole bunch of wizard acts in the 20s and 30s where the wizard was fighting the devil, and the wizard would actually play both sides. He would come out wearing a devil mask and do evil sorceries and then come out as the heroic wizard to fight back. I said, “We could do something based on that and what a devil could do, if” I have pictures of the devil that could be pretty scary, scary like a scary clown. ” That said, I could not have, in my wildest dreams, predicted how iconic Tom Savini and Jason Baker’s mask would be for The Grabber. it’s a truly stunning image and I think it’s a big part of why the film was such an immediate success. People look at that mask and it’s iconic the way Freddy Krueger’s glove is iconic, the way Michael Myers mask is iconic. That thing was created to haunt your sleep at 2am “

Clowns are ubiquitous in the horror genre, thanks in large part to King and Pennywise. While evil magic performers like wizards and sorcerers have certainly appeared in horror movies or adjacent horror films like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness from the Evil Dead-style MCU sequel, creepy wizards are a surprising rarity. Especially wizards who don’t have real magical abilities. There’s Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Montag the Magnificent from his 1970 splatter film The Blood Wizard and his 2007 remake, but that’s about it. You might be able to count the murderous hypnotist of German expressionism’s silent classic, Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet as a Wizard, but creepy wizards are also a relatively untapped well in modern movies and TV.

Hill’s call was definitely the right one as audiences crave novelty, and if the adaptation had stayed true to the source material as its first draft, audiences might not have flocked to The Black Phone due to the clown’s frightening weariness. Furthermore, the removal of that aspect paved the way for The Grabber’s creepy mask, which allowed Derrickson and Hawke to visualize the character’s transforming psychological state, as well as showcase the different levels of his “ritual”. This gave him a sense of novelty without skimping on the creep factor. In a way, Pennywise’s popularity helped The Black Phone gain popularity by forcing filmmakers to go their own way with The Grabber.

How IT Influenced Pennywise The Black Phone explained by the author – Asian Media Film