As physical media has given way to streaming, the noble DVD commentary track has been one of the unfortunate casualties of the shift in video consumption. Netflix and Amazon are great for when you’re feeling too lazy to get up and grab a disc, after all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the sound of directors and actors pontificating on (or sometimes just talking over) their own work.
Luckily, The New York Times’ “Anatomy Of A Scene” feature is still around to give us at least a taste of that old cinematic insight, enlisting directors to dissect a single scene from one of their recent films. This week, the feature focused on Andy Muschietti and his new Stephen King adaptation, It, breaking down how the director amplified the tension of one of the movie’s early scares. There’s a lot of talk about the heavy-handed symbolism that crops up behind poor Stan Uris (Wyatt Olef) as he makes his way into his dad’s gloomy basement office, but the most interesting insights come from the way Muschietti roots the threatening elements of the scene—an original creation, not present in King’s book—in his own childhood fears, specifically those about paintings containing creatures that definitely shouldn’t exist on this Earth.