Below are 8 basic facts about Pennywise that you should know before going to see the new film, which will be released this September. I’ve tried to keep it as light on spoilers as possible (spider climax aside), so many of these facts will be known by seasoned veterans of the novel or even the 1990 ABC miniseries, but newbies may find a few things pretty interesting.
1. It originated before the universe itself in an alternate dimension known as the “Deadlights.”
Not much is known about the Deadlights, but that is where Pennywise claims to be from, sometimes going so far as to claim that he is the Deadlights. Anyone who sees the Deadlights goes instantly insane, and only one person has ever seen them and survived (those who have read the novel or seen the 1990 mini-series will know who that is).
2. It’s true form exists solely in the “Deadlights.”
No one has ever seen Pennywise’s true form. While the giant pregnant female spider that appears in the climax of the novel is considered as close a representation to its true form as anyone will ever see, as it the Deadlights is a realm beyond the physical and thus unable to be contemplated by the human mind.
3. It terrorizes the town of Derry, Maine every three decades(ish).
It came to Earth in an asteroid during prehistory but didn’t wake up until the year 1715. From there, it hibernates for roughly 30 years (the shortest hibernation being 24 years) and wakes up again to feed on the fear of the citizens of Derry. It’s awakening is usually spurred by an act of extreme violence in the town.
4. It takes the shape of the thing its victim fears most.
What better way to feed on fear than to actually scare your victim? The miniseries played with this idea a bit, but Stephen King’s novel takes it a lot further. Pennywise actually takes the form of the shark from Jaws in one memorable scene. This is one aspect of the novel that I really hope the filmmakers behind the remake really take advantage of.
5. However, It must surrender the the laws of whatever shape It takes.
Pennywise’s strength is also his weakness. For example, if he were to take the shape of a werewolf (as he does in the novel), silver bullets would harm him
6. It can be invisible to whoever It doesn’t want to see It.
Most of the time it’s just the kids who are able to see Pennywise and no one else. It only shows itself to the person (or persons) it is targeting. So while one person in a crowded room may be able to see It, no one else will. It’s enough to drive you crazy!
7. It prefers killing children because they are easier to fill with terror.
This one is an no-brainer. If It lives off of the fear of humans, who better to scare than those of us who are most easily scared?
8. It’s weaknesses are courage and heart.
For the sake of spoilers, I won’t go too much into the Ritual of Chüd, but suffice it to say that if you want to defeat It, you’ve got to have the two traits listed above