Advice for the new Pennywise: Take a cue from Heath Ledger’s Joker

It was only a matter of time before I welcomed Dread Central founder and editor-in-chief Uncle Creepy (not his Christian name!) to Nightmare Fuel, and this week was the week! For those not in the know, Creepy's real name is Steve Barton, and over the past few years the horror maestro has added “film producer” to his resume with his work on the excellent Nightmare on Elm Street documentary Never Sleep Again and the horror-comedy anthology Zombieworld. (Next up: the monster-movie anthology flick Monsterland, slated to hit VOD and DVD on June 7th.)

This week, talk turned to the long-developing, two-part adaptation of Stephen King's It, which is rumored to begin shooting this summer in Toronto with director Andres Muschietti (Mama) at the helm. While Steve and I both agreed that the 1990 TV version left much to be desired, it remains legendary for Tim Curry's terrifying performance as Pennywise the Clown, a turn that spawned nightmares for an entire generation of kids. 

The question is: can any other actor possibly live up to Curry's interpretation of the character? I suggest that perhaps looking to Heather Ledger's performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight — which gave audiences a wildly different take on a character that some felt had reached its pinnacle with Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman — should be the goal here. Trying to replicate what Curry did seems a recipe for disappointment. Since we have no idea if Will Poulter is still attached to play the balloon-toting demon, we ask: who's the right actor to take on that challenge?

Also on tap on this week's episode: the “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style Twilight Zone project (reported as both a film and TV series, depending on the source) in the works at interactive entertainment pioneer Interlude, and Paramount's ambitious plan to make the Ring franchise the next horror series to “own” the Halloween season, much as Saw and Paranormal Activity did before it.

Watch the latest episode above or below. You can follow Steve on Twitter @UncleCreepy.