Well, the analysts predicted it and the analysts were right: Everybody saw It this weekend. Even better? Andrés Muschietti’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s freaky, meaty novel is not just a commercial success, but also a critical one—our review, for example, praises the film’s “nightmarish imagery” and careful character development. But it wasn’t just an effective marketing campaign and positive pre-release hype that had audiences eager to meet Pennywise—it was also the memory of It’s previous, made-for-TV adaptation, which scared an entire generation when it premiered in 1990.
Here’s the thing, though: That adaptation? It hasn’t aged very well. It’s not a trainwreck—the kid-centric section is well-structured and some of its scares stand the test of time—but the latter half is a mess, the adults’ performances are mostly hammy, and its final monster could only scare the biggest of arachnophobes.
If you’re still eager to catch up with it and don’t have three hours to spare, the VHS scavengers over at Everything Is Terrible have distilled it down into a 90-second burst of madness that balances some of the adaptation’s silliest moments—Bev’s husband taking a jar of lotion to the head will never not be funny—with some spastic editing that serves to highlight just how soapy Richard Thomas made adult Bill Denbrough.
The only thing its missing? A look at his ponytail. That thing’s scarier than any clown.