Easily the masterpiece from the most successful horror author to have thus far lived. I’m what I’d call a casual King fan—I’ve read about 45 of his books but I wouldn’t consider him one of my favorites. Some of the stories I’ve loved, some I didn’t like at all. But IT is something very special.
Many people know the story from both of the film adaptations. While the movies are OK, one huge difference that makes the book way more fun to me is that It doesn’t appear as a clown too often in the book. Almost every scene with the monster has It assuming a different form with a vast majority of them being based on horror movie monsters. This novel is King’s tribute to all the afternoons he spent as a kid watching monster matinees.
In addition to being a monster fest, King uses the “haunted” town of Derry to explore sexism, abuse, homophobia, racism, poverty, and other forms of real-world cruelty.
While there is a fair criticism that the book could use 200 to 300 pages edited out (I agree with this), the book is still tightly packed with one imaginative scene of horror after another. I first read this novel with I was a kid and I really identified with the child sections of the book. When I revisited the novel last year, I found myself being more impacted by the abstract horrors the adults face. There are not many works of horror that encompass so many different aspects of the genre or play on so many different kinds of fears.
Looking for more Halloween reading? Check out the newest titles from Deadite Press: