With Pennywise making a return to our screens with IT Chapter 2, I thought I’d revisit the first film and go over every scene with a fine-tooth comb to point out all of the times that Pennywise was hidden away in the background, secretly watching our characters.
It’s crazy the number of times that he pops up and hopefully, this list will enrichen your love for the film by showing you just how much of a hold that the killer clown has on the town of Derry.
There will be some spoilers here in regards to the movie so if for whatever you haven’t seen it yet then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way let’s get into my breakdown of every time that Pennywise was hidden away in the background of a scene.
Every time Pennywise Was In The Background Of IT
The first one comes right at the beginning of the movie when Georgie is going down to the basement. Throughout the house there are several small images of Pennywise engrained into the wallpaper as Georgie make to get the wax and in a blink and you’ll miss it moment that roughly takes place over two frames, you may also notice his small shiny eyes watching the young boy at the top of the stairs as he descends into the basement.
Whilst he also appears later in the scene, hiding under the stairs, this is the first of many examples that show that he’s always one step behind his prey, constantly stalking them and waiting for the perfect moment to attack.
The Library Scene
Up next is the Library scene with Ben in which there are several minor appearances by Pennywise before he makes his final play and tries to attack the character. The first one comes in the form of the creepy librarian that slowly watches Ben as he reads about the history of Derry. Throughout the scene the mysterious librarian creepily stares at him, smiling as he digs deeper into what exactly may be going on in the town. It’s a really haunting scene and is something that I didn’t even pick up on my first couple of watches though the more you focus on the background of the scene, the more that you realise that Pennywise is slowly making his play.
Another blink and you’ll miss it moment also happens in this scene when Ben is flicking through the book, in a small frame that flies by so fast you have to screenshot it in order to see it, you will see the children’s Easter egg hunt that infamously ended in disaster. In the top right of the photo when paused you will notice a blurry vision of Pennywise that shows he was the cause behind the massacre and has been in the town at several key points.
Ben Gets Bullied
Soon after this scene, Ben is caught by Henry Bowers and we see a balloon pop up in the back window of a car during the attack as he calls out for help. This shows that Pennywise has a hold over the adults in Derry and is psychically controlling them so that they will appear nonchalant to any trouble that children in the area get into. Whilst this one is rather obvious it adds a nice amount of subtext to the city and definitely lets you know that Pennywise has the ability to reach into pretty much every aspect of Derry.
The next one comes during the scene in which the Losers Club try and help Ben with his cuts. The characters are all leaning up against a wall with graffiti behind then which seems innocuous enough until, during the scene, Pennywise’s face appears in the markings watching them. The face definitely isn’t there earlier in the scene so it’s safe to say that this has been done with something else other than a spray can. It’s an awesome little addition that once again cements just how able Pennywise is with hunting his prey, he can follow them wherever he wants to and this makes him infinitely more terrifying.
Up next is another rather obvious one but I thought I’d include it in case you missed it. During the scene in which the losers club all admit that they are afraid of something, we can see a clown on the stage in the background staring at the group and when Richie says that he hates clown, the figure reaches out menacingly to him with a balloon and from this point out just stares at him.
Yep, that’s Pennywise alright.
The TV Show
And finally is his appearance in the TV show that seems to be plastered across every television screen in Derry. Whilst Pennywise definitely appears at the end, taunting Henry to kill his own father, if you go back and watch the movie you will notice that this show also appears in the rest of the film. Firstly Eddie’s mother is sat watching it when the children go out, later when Beverly sneaks past her father, he too is watching it. So it might just be a great thing to watch like the Heavy Spoilers show right? Well, you can actually hear the woman in the show say “it’s ok to go play in the sewer. It’s safe and fun!”
This, of course, is telling children to enter Pennywise’s domain and to potentially become his next meal so yeah, it’s definitely probably the creepiest thing that anyone could be watching. What makes it clear that it’s all because of Pennywise is cemented by the fact that it’s playing when Beverly sneaks past, then when we cut back to the tv moments later it’s just playing static.
And that’s every time that I noticed Pennywise popping up in the background of a scene in the film. Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these, did you notice them and have you spotted any more? Comment below and let me know!