WARNING: Spoilers for the movie It follow below:
There is no shortage of freaky moments in the new theatrical version of Stephen King’s It. The film is currently breaking records for horror movies and part of the credit has to go to the film’s terrifying modern take on Pennywise The Clown. While there is some hint of mischief in Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of the evil entity, the bulk of the character’s appearances aim to be terrifying.
While the first time Skarsgård interacted with the child actors in the film was during the scene in the Neibolt House, the entire group’s first encounter during filming might be one of the more memorable — and frightening — in the film. The lady in the painting would likely walk away with the creepiest moment of the movie, the kids being shocked by Pennywise and the projector comes in closely behind. Not only is there the horrifying moment where Bill’s mother slowly transforms into the evil clown — as we’ve seen in the trailer — the kids are then faced with Pennywise’s sharp fangs before he pops out of the screen at them.
While there’s clearly some CGI work in there, particularly when the giant clown pops out of the screen, but you can’t fake the terror! Part of the reason is because the kids were kept away from Skarsgård for as long as possible in the film and only physically met up with him during his attack in the Neibolt House kitchen. According to SlashFilm, the actor explained how he effectively made his evil clown stand apart from Tim Curry’s performance:
If you have explosiveness and quick changes, it’s something that’s very unsettling. I wanted to incorporate that unpredictability, but have the character be almost like, you know when you’re about to pop a balloon [between your hands]? It’s this tension of explosiveness that’s about to happen.
During the scene in question, Pennywise is almost like a raptor that strikes at the wounded Eddie before being fought off by the rest of the Loser’s Club. As Jack Dylan Grazer says in the video above, when he’s going from calm to screaming in your face, the natural reaction seem to take over. If the fear on the screen looked realistic, it might be because it is.