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Movie Villain Monday: Pennywise the Dancing Clown - IT (1990)

It’s Movie Villain Monday and all through October I’m going to be featuring more “Monstrous/Halloweeney“ villains.

This week’s was suggested in the comments on the Facebook page.

It’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT (1990).

Who/what is Pennywise?

Played in the 1990 miniseries by the brilliant Tim Curry and more recently in the movies by Bill Skarsgård, Pennywise/IT is the main antagonist in both adaptations of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name.


In both the miniseries and the movies, seven friends, each individually terrorised by IT must come together to defeat it. When they do they make a pact to return and battle IT again should it ever come back (which of course it does).

Powers and Abilities:

Pennywise is just one of the forms that “IT”, an ancient evil entity that preys and feeds on children and their fear takes on in the story.

IT has the power to shapeshift (often into the form of what its prey fears the most), manipulate reality and go seemingly unnoticed by adults.

It lives in the sewer system of the fictional American town Derry, Maine and feeds for about a year before hibernating and waking every 27 years to begin a new reign of terror.


Although Tim Curry got the role of Pennywise, a number of other actors were also considered including Malcolm McDowell, Roddy McDowall and even Alice Cooper! Director Tommy Lee Wallace wanted Curry though and fortunately for us the rest is history.

Ironically at the time, Tim Curry had a fear of clowns. He apparently had it written into his contract that no mirrors or reflective material could be used where he might accidentally get a glimpse of himself as Pennywise.

Interestingly much of the inspiration for Pennywise’s appearance came from Lon Chaney’s Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (1925). If you google image it you can kind of see it...

Sadly Tim Curry had a major stroke in 2012 and now uses a wheelchair. It hasn’t stopped him from attending events and doing book signings though. What a legend!

“You’ll float too!”

Thanks for another great suggestion!

Who should I feature next week..?

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