Maybe this is splitting hairs on terms and phrases. I keep seeing people posting things like, “Well, the new It was better/worse than the original.” Let’s not forget the outright internet rage when it was announced they’d be “remaking” It for the big screen. Here’s the thing. The film is not actually a remake. I’ll tell you why.
First, I’m not going to get too wrapped around the axles about remakes vs. reboots. PopHorror will have another piece on that shortly. This is specific to the two versions of It. So here we go.
The 1990 Film Was A TV Mini-series
I think a lot of people forget that. It (1990) was made for TV. The book had a lot of things in it that couldn’t be shown on television in any universe. It is very dark, scary and brutal in places. Any TV adaptation of the book is going to be limited as to what it can do. If you re-watch the 1990 version again, you’ll actually find it rather cheesy. The only reason the mini-series was creepy is because of Tim Curry’s famous portrayal of Pennywise.
The 2017 Version Is A Theatrical Release
Not only is this a theatrical release, but it’s rated R. Yes, I know some hardcore horror buffs out there said this one wasn’t scary at all. Fine. But this wasn’t a PG movie, either. A lot of the language and other scenes could have never been on television. The filmmakers tried to keep the tone of the story closer to that of the book. Which brings me to point 3.
It Was A BOOK, First And Foremost
I honestly think people forget this as well. The novel was written in 1986, with the children’s story taking place in the ’50s and the adults’ tale happening in the ’80s in what had once been current times. The new film changed the timeline to better relate with current audiences. Here is where details matter as to why It isn’t a remake. A remake would mean the current filmmakers would have used the 1990 TV mini-series screenplay as the source material for the new film. They didn’t. They used the book. Hence, this is a completely different adaptation.
Look at it this way. I never saw anyone call the Bates Motel TV show a remake of Psycho. Why not? They retold the same story. It’s because one was a movie and the other was a TV show. For some reason, It doesn’t get the same treatment. Either way, I hope everyone goes to see It and enjoys the film. I’m excited to see a horror movie doing so well in the mainstream industry. I just wish people would stop railing against the remaking of a film that isn’t an actual remake.