There have been some great documentaries made about cult favorite films. There have been odes to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Hellraiser. There has even been a conspiracy-laden tale crafted about another Stephen King story, The Shining. PENNYWISE: THE STORY OF IT is a fitting addition to the pantheon of stories told about the movies that terrified audiences for the last several decades.
The documentary features interviews with notable people involved in the production of the classic movie IT, including a memorable interview with legend Tim Curry, who played the monster Pennywise that hunted down the children of The Loser’s Club in the made-for-TV movie. Many of the original cast is included as well.
One thing that this documentary does well is that it captures the essence of its subject in just under a two-hour runtime, which is impressive considering the scope of the original production that the movie is chronicling. Other docs talking about similar movies (although I’ll admit those docs are covering the entirety of the franchises) tend to skew in the four-hour plus range.
There’s a lot to cover in this doc, and the directors John Campopiano and Chris Griffiths nail it. Both of them have roots in horror documentaries, and their love for the genre, and for this movie in particular is evident throughout. PENNYWISE: THE STORY OF IT talks about how being a made-for-TV movie allowed kids to experience what may have been their first foray into horror, scaring them for years to come.
The doc uses chapter headings to organize the various parts they cover in the movie. From script to screen and everything in-between, the directors cover every aspect of the creation of IT from Stephen King’s initial concept to the pitch for IT to network execs, through the production and how it has become a lasting pop culture classic.
The production value is high on this doc, even in just simple interviews, everything is clear and crisp, the editing is tight, and the visuals are cohesive. There’s nothing negative to add to this review. They took every scrap of material available to them, interviewed everyone they could get their hands on, and crafted a story using all the old footage they could muster to deliver what will probably be considered to be the preeminent documentary on the film IT.
PENNYWISE: THE STORY OF IT is available now on VOD and streaming exclusively on Screambox.