I don’t normally write about films but I have been a huge fan of Stephen King’s IT since I was a kid and I couldn’t help notice several hidden references to the original novel and film.
1. I heart Derry
Before Patrick Hokstetter is murdered by IT in the sewer, he sees a balloon with ‘I heart Derry’ written on it. In the original novel, a gay man called Adrian Mellon is thrown off a bridge in a hate crime and then bitten and dragged into the sewer by IT. He is wearing a ‘I heart Derry’ cap. The novel also suggests that Patrick is a closeted homosexual (when he wanks off Henry Bowers and offers to give him oral sex), so the balloon looks like a subtle reference to that too.
2. Derry’s History
The novel goes into Derry’s history in quite a lot of detail and the film touches on this several times. When Ben is researching Derry he discovers an article on the gas works explosion and a photograph of a boys head that was found in a tree. The losers club also mention the Black Spot (a club for Derry’s black population) which was burned down by racists. In another scene, Mike is making a delivery to a butchers where there is a mural that depicts the Bradley gang shootout.
3. He thrusts his fists…
In the novel, Big Bill repeats a phrase to help him deal with his stutter: “He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.” In the film he never manages to say it all the way through without stuttering but fans of the book will know how important the phrase is in helping to defeat IT.
4. The Mummy and the Werewolf
In the original film, Richie is terrified of werewolves and IT takes the form of one in the school basement. In the novel, IT appears as a werewolf in the house on Neibolt street and attacks the losers before Beverly fires a silver ‘slug’ into it, forcing it to flee back into the sewers. In the new film, we see IT’s hand briefly turn into a werewolf’s hand in the house on Neibolt street before the losers fight back and make it retreat down the well. Towards the end of the film, IT takes on the shape of the Mummy when it attacks Ben.
5. Tim Curry
When Richie gets locked in the room full of clown dolls, one of them looks like Tim Curry’s version of IT.
6. Paul Bunyan
In the novel, Richie gets chased by a statue of Paul Bunyan that comes to life. This didn’t happen in the film, but fans can’t help but notice the giant Paul Bunyan statue on display during the Carnival.
7. The turtle
Maturin is a turtle in the Novel which created the universe and is the enemy of IT. It’s a bit of a weird bit in the book and it’s unlikely that a cosmic terrapin will make it into the second movie. However, there are two turtle references in the film. The first one is when the losers club see a turtle in the river and secondly when Bill handles the lego turtle from Georgie’s bedroom.
8. Lover not Loser
After a girl writes ‘LOSER’ on Eddy’s cast, he crosses out the S and changes it to Lover. It’s possible this is a reference to the part of the book where the boys all have a sexual encounter with Beverly to bring unity to the group and help them escape the sewer. Afterwards they make a blood pact. In the film the camera clearly zooms in on the cast when the group are in a circle holding hands during the blood pact.
Eddy is seen wearing a shirt that says Freese’s – which was a popular department store in Maine for many years. Stan can be seen wearing a shirt with a picture of a car that resembles the one from Stephen King’s Christine. And Bill is seen in a shirt that says ‘Tracker Brothers’ – which was the name of a truck company in the novel.
10. Bob Gray
When Richie smashes a beer bottle outside the house on Neibolt street it has a label on it saying ‘Bob Gray.’ This is another name that IT has gone by in the novel.
11. The bolt gun
In the original film Eddy famously melts IT’s face with his asthma inhaler because he is no longer afraid and believes that it will hurt IT. In the remake Bill fires the bolt gun into IT’s head, even though Mike shouts to him that it isn’t loaded.
12. Witcham and Jackson
The intersection of Witcham and Jackson is mentioned in the novel when Georgie is chasing his boat. In the film you clearly see the sign for the intersection.
13. The Stand Pipe
In the novel the Derry Standpipe makes an important appearance. It is where Stan sees the bodies of drowned children which were killed by IT in one of his previous killing sprees. In the film we not only see the standpipe itself, it also appears on the postcard that Ben writes for Beverly and at the start of the film Ben drops his model of it that he has made for a school project. The standpipe also makes an important appearance in King’s other novel, Dreamcatcher where a plaque in front of it references Pennywise. It also tips over and rolls down the hill, much like how Ben’s model tips over and rolls when he drops it.
14. Bye bye
At the end of the film the characters all leave one at a time. The order that the characters depart is also the order in which they are picked off by IT when they are adults.
If you noticed any others that I’ve missed, please comment below!