Have I ever been so excited about a new horror movie as I am to see the soon-to-be released adaptation of Stephen King's It?
Well, yeah, I think so.
The question takes me back, way back, to my favorite era of the genre: the mid nineteen-eighties. I had been a huge horror fan up until then--for my entire life, really--but reading King's mammoth ode to childhood horror brought it all into crystallized focus.
For me King had done no wrong at that point. Oh, Firestater wasn't a favorite, and some of the short stories didn't quite work for me, but I was an unabashed fan. With sincerest apologies to Mr. King, I didn't much care for some of the later work, but that early period? Perfection. Happily, I've loved everything Big Steve has done in the last decade.
After It I was about as rabid a horror fan as you were likely to find. I began buying and devouring every issue of Fangoria. I read all the authors, or at least the ones that mattered. It was a boom, and a lot of crud littered the shelves. I read the good stuff. Trust me.
Movies, books, you name it. I couldn't get enough. It was a busy time for horror movies, and most of it was horror comedies or sequels. Sometimes a movie was both.
Such is the case with Sam Raimi's frenetic, astonishing, and absolutely brilliant Evil Dead 2. The hype for this movie was strong in Fangoria, and I could not have been more excited.
Sure, I've been stoked about other horror movies since then. Hellraiser, Child's Play, The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Scream, Hostel, and on and on. Some of these movies I loved. Some were slightly disappointing. At least one completely sucked. But I honestly do not believe that I've ever been as excited about a horror movie since Evil Dead 2.
This is a big deal. Yuge, as they say. So much so that I am planning a trip out of town just so I can see It at a drive-in theater. Can you imagine a better drive-in experience than Stephen King's It?
It's hard, nearly impossible in fact, to maintain the kind of enthusiasm and passion we have in our youth. I consider my mid-twenties to be my youth, by the way. Thirty years have passed. I've followed horror the whole time. Movies, damn straight, but mostly books. I did the splatterpunk thing, the gore/grossout thing (NOT the same as Splatterpunk, by the way), the transgressive movement, you name it. I've come full circle and crave old fashioned horror stories that involve kids and their innermost fears. Isn't that where and how we all became fans in the first place?
I miss the eighties boom, but I don't miss everything about those days. I worked, but the kind of jobs I had were ones where if I bought a new paperback, I probably had to skip a meal to do so. I was poor. I had relationships, but they were unwell, and my addiction and devotion to horror strained them to the breaking point.
Now I make decent money. I still damn near skip meals to buy books, but these books are stunningly beautiful and more expensive than the old paperbacks. Much more expensive. I'm with the best woman I've ever known. The genre has evolved and changed, publishing doesn't bear much resemblance to the pre-Kindle days, and movies look like they were made on computers.
I still love horror and I still love to read. I don't watch nearly as much as I used to, and I'm quite happy about that. I actually have a social life now, and not with drunks and burnouts. My reading time is precious and I value it like little else.
But King's It is very close to being here, and like Evil Dead 2, hype is high. I feel the kind of excitement I felt back in nineteen-eighty-seven, and I was poring over every word of Fangoria Magazine.
I hope that you do not miss the opportunity to see It in the theaters. We all bitch about the quality of horror movies, and how we wish more books would be adapted to the screen. Yeah, It is sort of a remake, but that old miniseries left something to be desired. I like the cast of it and the entire feel of the production, but it fizzled out in the second half.
So, please, go see It and support horror in the theaters. And if there is a drive-in theater within traveling distance, all the better.