June 21, 2019
Everyone knows about the IT movie and that the current movie (both Chapter 1 and 2) is actually a remake of an older attempt at the book to movie/tv adaptation of Stephen King’s IT.
However, most don’t know there was a for TV adaptation to the book! Now don’t get me wrong Skarsgard is an amazing Pennywise, creepy as all hell and gives me shivers but Tim Curry, he is the cult classic of IT. Nobody beats Curry at Pennywise.
Putting who is the best at Pennywise aside, I want to talk about a little bit of a controversial part of IT. One that a lot of people are starting to bring up now that the two new movies are making the rounds.
I want to talk about what a lot of people are referring to as the “child orgy” scene in the book. Yeah I know, red flag on the field, taboo, danger danger, la la la la la…not wanting to … Yes it is a tricky subject and it is something we should all NEVER condone is child abuse in any form.
Yes, the scene in the book is real. He actually wrote a child orgy into the book. Like others, I don’t believe it defines the book per say and I don’t think King is pedophile in disguise getting his rocks off on writing something like that. In fact, he even addressed the issue a few years back stating:
“I wasn’t really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood –1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don’t remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children–we think we do, but we don’t remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. It’s another version of the glass tunnel that connects the children’s library and the adult library. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues.”
Does it make it right, in some folks eyes they would say it’s a hard no, it’s not right. He is right in that we are more sensitive to the issue of child exploitation and child sexual abuse and that’s a damn good thing to be sensitive about.
Back in the time that this book was written it wasn’t something that was acknowledged or even whispered about let alone spoken out loud. It’s that kind of “shove it in the closet” attitude of the 50s that we need to steer clear of because it only perpetuates the act of exploitation and abuse. If they can hide it, they can keep doing it.
I don’t believe King was trying to convey that a child orgy was, in any way, appropriate to accept or that we should ever accept such depravities but rather something that was used to describe a passage from childhood to adulthood. Children don’t have sex, adults do and in the minds of the characters sex meant adulthood and a connection to each other that would make them less vulnerable to a child eating depraved monster. It gave them a weapon so to speak to defeat Pennywise.
Was it wrong to write such a scene, I can’t really say either way if it was wrong or not. All I can say is back then, it wasn’t something that the general public really put any thought into beyond it being a part of the story.