Pennywise The Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s story IT is arguably one of the most fascinating villains in horror history. Whether it’s his creepy smile, shapeshifting ability or the sinister side that makes him one of the most evil monsters ever put to film, you have to agree that he has a certain allure about him.
To celebrate the release of IT Chapter 2 this year I thought I’d break down everything that you need to know about Pennywise including his role in the book and history.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you don’t want anything potentially ruined for yourself about the film then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way, I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, I hope you enjoy it, now sit back, relax and let’s get into my breakdown of all things Pennywise.
Was Pennywise A Real Person?
Ok so the first question I want to clear up that I’ve seen asked on my videos is, ‘did Pennywise used to be a person?’ This is because in IT Chapter 2 we see Beverly looking at an old photograph that appears to show Pennywise as a person in old Derry.
Well to get rid of any confusion, this isn’t Pennywise or what we know it to be at least. Whilst this man did exist, Pennywise used his shapeshifting abilities to take this mans form in order to lure in the children of Derry. This old photograph in the trailer still has some significance as it showcases how long Pennywise has been in Derry for.
Stephen King based his appearance on Ronald McDonald, Bozo, Clarabell and John Wayne Gacy the serial killer that sometimes donned a costume. It uses this appearance because it can quickly lure children into a false sense of security which is why we see it appear as the clown so often.
Pennywise The Dancing Clown Explained
The creature IT is actually billions of years old and is known as a Glamour. IT originates from another dimension outside of the universe known as the Macroverse. It’s real name and species are called Deadlights but as the Losers Club are unaware of this they simply refer to the creature as IT. IT refers to itself as the eater of worlds which probably means that it has drifted through the galaxy going planet to planet carrying out the parasitic attacks until it has drained a planet of all of its resources.
Whilst most assume that Pennywise is male it’s actually a female and in the story, we discover that the creature is actually pregnant, though it is killed before it can give birth.
IT landed in what would come to be known as Derry, thousands of years ago during an asteroid crash and it lived in the area, allowing humans to build a town around it so that is had a regular food source. IT is much of Derry as Derry is IT and thus the creature cannot leave the town.
It has a hibernation pattern of 30 years and its awakening is normally marked by a huge tragedy such as the Kitchener Ironworks explosion which killed 88 children during an Easter egg hunt.
IT has the ability to shapeshift and it uses this power to scare the humans which live in the area. According to IT, frightened flesh tastes better which is why it spends the majority of it’s time attempting to scare people. Pennywise primarily hunts children as these are easier to frighten and because the fears of adults such as bills and money worries are difficult to manifest as.
Whilst the creature seems complex, it’s only goals are to eat and sleep and when awakened it tends to operate for roughly a year before returning to it’s slumber. IT eventually becomes arrogant and it begins to taunt and torture it’s prey for months before eating them which ultimately leads to it’s downfall. IT views humans as below it and thus allows them to escape sometimes as it doesn’t really see any difficulty in taking them further down the line.
Due to IT’s psychic abilities it’s able to carry on this pattern of behaviour as it can influence the police into not investigating the disappearances too deeply and thus it flies under the radar. It can control minds which is why the adults seem quite nonchalant to the missing children and why Beverly’s father cannot see the blood in the bathroom.
Along with the name Pennywise, the creature also uses the alias ‘Rober Grey’ which is a nod to real life child cannibal Albert Fish.
Whilst it can be horrifying at times Pennywise also sometimes uses it’s appearance to charm children. It does this on Georgie and Henry Bowers both of whom it manipulates. In the latest look at the film we see that it has changed it’s appearance slightly which showcases that it is trying to lure children in rather than scare them as it probably still has regrets over the Losers Club.
Now the main difference between the story and the film is that in the adaptation, IT is barely able to pass as a human whereas in the book it can completely blend into society.
It’s famous phrase ‘you’ll float too’ also differs in the movie as in it’s lair we see the children’s bodies that it has taken floating in the air, whereas in the source material the phrase you’ll float refers to the children’s corpses floating in the water of the sewers.
Whilst we never see it’s true form the creature manifests as a giant spider at the end of the story and shows it’s deadlights. These lights come from an inter-dimensional realm and send all those who look at them insane. IT really doesn’t have a true form though and it’s appearance is normally decided by the onlooker. In the source material it appears as a werewolf to one child whilst at the same time appearing as a clown, so it’s difficult to decipher it’s actual appearance.
As it has no true form it cannot be killed by conventional means and thus the only way to defeat it is through the Ritual Of Chud. As the creature feeds on fear only Courage and Love can overcome it and when the Losers Club reunite, their strong connection with one another allows them to form a psychic connection that destroys it.
This rids the town of the creature and the group are able to go their separate ways after finally fulfilling their oath.
Obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Pennywise and what you think the scariest thing about the character is. Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure that you check out my full breakdown of the recently released IT Chapter 2 trailer which will be linked at the end.