Whisky Horror Film Society presents: calling IT

November’s theme is mental and physical health:
IT (2017)
It Follows
The Snowtown Murders (2011)
The Woman (2011)
Babadook (2014)
Pieta (2012)
Martyrs (2008)
8MM (1999)

Featured Whisky:
Deanston Virgin Oak Scotch Whisky
‘Driven by Water Power’
“Open Deanston Virgin Oak to awaken aromas of heather honey, vanilla, green apples, citrus zest with hints of sweet malt and spice. Pour, sip and savour flavours of candied fruits, vanilla and soft creamy toffee while subtle hints of ginger and clove delight. Pause, and let the finish of spices, honeyed malt, citrus and sweet oakiness roll over your tongue.” -back of bottle

IT 
The remake of what already wasn’t a scary movie loses the subtler psychological thrill, instead relying on jump scares and fun supernatural ookiness. The film covers many common factors of fear like sexism, child abuse, bullying, overmedication, and racism. The kids confront the boggart-esque clown, facing Fears such as losing one’s parents, siblings, friends, and self, Fear of ooky houses and poor health, Fear that it’s manly to pass down hate, etc. The film’s resolution takes on a ‘kill your buddha’ vibe where violence is the solution as well as the problem. At least it’s team-oriented and emphasizes friendship.

Yes, yes Chosen, ‘everybody is afraid of something’…you can go deeper than that, IT scriptwriters. What else didn’t the script do? oh yeah, respect girls and women.

The script continually and inappropriately sexualized and insulted girls and women even outside of Beverly’s traumatic storyline. While Beverly is one of the most well-drawn characters, her likability is more due to Sophia Lillis’s acting than the writing. Her bathroom scene is one hell of a neutrogena commercial and at least the snarky boys empathized with her enough to help clean up the blood stains their gender helped create. The lack of atonement or redemption of the boys and men in her screen time misses the fact and point of Beverly’s trauma entirely. The film is rife with men’s fear of women including Pennywise’s mouth which is a giant teeth-filled vagina. Interestingly enough this fear of a toothed vag is deep seeded cross-culturally in storytelling.

While the film does ask one of my favorite questions: What is reality and fiction? Overall It felt like an american pop culture horror, both bland and overdone. More frightening is that there are real towns where the death tolls are higher than the national average, Flint, MI is one of them. The real story of Flint confronts two fears that IT doesn’t as directly and poignantly as Pieta does, poisoned water sources and classism.

Questions/talking points:
What character(s) did you most identify with and why?
Is killing the abuser like being the guardian at a synagogue? Or is it still wrong to kill?
If IT was after you, what illusion would appear?
If you were IT, Fear, what would you be after?
What mental and physical themes and tropes did you find in the other three films on the list?

I’ll be diving deeper into the question of reality and fiction next year by exploring the Fear of the Unknown. Next month, December, will be Holiday Horror.
Happy Halloween, thanks for reading and as always

raise hell peacefully,

Anne Arkhane

Photography by Seth Nagle

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