The latest adaptation of Stephen King's IT stuck primarily to the novel's core
"It’s a literal translation of a very personal childhood fear," Muschietti revealed. "In my house, there was a print of a Modigliani painting that I found terrifying. And the thought of meeting an incarnation of the woman in it would drive me crazy."
In the original novel, which is set in the '50s, a monstrous presence, referred to as "It," takes a variety of forms to feed on the fear of children in the small town of Derry, ME. Considering the time period and the culture of the time, It would take on the image of the Universal Monsters at times to terrify the children. The most notable personification It takes, of course, is that of Pennywise the dancing clown.
The new adaptation takes place in the late '80s, creating a detachment from those classic Universal monsters. Instead, Muschietti had to create new narrative threads of not only what would scare children at that age, but also justify why they scared the kids so much.
"He often does these portraits with elongated characters," Muschietti explained of the artist's work. His vision of humans
From the perspective of a child, anything can take on a sinister meaning, a concept which Muschietti effectively conveyed with the portrait coming to life. The image itself doesn't immediately seem sinister, but through the eyes of a child growing up in a religious household, the audience can relate to Stanley's fears.
IT is currently in theaters.