Content comment: before reading further, I’d like you to know today’s Musing covers a current R-rated movie without using R-rated words. If you’d prefer not to read, I understand.
The runaway success It is no Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Variety magazine describes It as “the blockbuster adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a child-eating clown.”
Movie goers like It…a lot. In less than three weeks, the two hour fifteen minute film about a clown who eats kids brought in almost a half-billion dollars worldwide, making it the highest grossing horror film of all time. You read that correctly, and here at home, Americans shelled out almost $266,000,000 to watch, in part, children being eaten.
In an age of child worship and an age of the illusion of protecting the kids, It makes no sense to me. Further, I no more understand Christians finding amusement in It than I find Christians finding amusement in Game of Thrones.
A Little Background
From Variety: "It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his 22nd book and 18th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by a being that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. 'It' primarily appears in the form of a clown to attract its preferred prey of young children."
But “It” doesn’t merely “attract” its prey; “It,” as IMDb describes, hunts children. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? This isn’t Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers (dumb horror fillms of the 80s); the killer in It stalks children.
Disgusting, Graphic Violence
In the opening scene “It” entices a small boy to reach into the sewer drain to retrieve his boat and then graphically bites off his arm, leaving the boy to bleed to death in the gutter. Later in the movie, “It” takes the form of flying leeches that swarm a boy sucking blood from his body. When the child collapses, “It” drags the child away and feeds on him.
From the New York Daily News official review: “It’s a lot more uncomfortable to see children die off on screen than it is to read in the pages of a book — particularly the visual of watching a six-year-old's arm being devoured.”
There’s more, but that’s enough description to make my point – what is entertaining about the cannibalism of children?
Fictional horror remains debatable ground for the Christian. Does it matter if we watch or read stories where imaginary characters both harm and are harmed? That is the subject for another time. The purpose of this Musing is not to address the morality of Hitchcock or Poe or King. The purpose of this post is to call out the theme of this specific movie, to help your growing discernment in your entertainment choices, and to alert your mind to the point of grieving for the fallen condition of our fellow human beings.
The movie critic from the Chicago Sun-Times completely ignores the obvious when he writes, “I’m bloody pleased to report director Andy Muschietti’s R-rated interpretation of the source material is a bold, intense, beautifully paced, wickedly hilarious, seriously scary and gorgeously terrifying period-piece work that instantly takes its place among the most impressively twisted horror movies of our time.”
Well, I’m bloody pleased to report this movie and the book that vomited “It” up is a bold offense to the God of heaven who created children in his image. He never intended for the pinnacle of his creation to find enjoyment in the bloody murders of young image bearers.
Frankly, It is not a movie for the Christian. I hope you will avoid It, and I hope you will instruct your teenage daughters and sons who lack the maturity to discern and are intrigued by It’s popularity or are pressured by their friends.
Antagonists will argue, “Well, the Bible tells about child sacrifices and other horrible actions done to children, so…" but not for entertainment! The biblical accounts of these behaviors portray the depravity, villainy, and wickedness of man apart from God. We cringe when we read these accounts unlike those who leave the theatre and tell social media friends, “You have got to see It. It’s great!”
No, It isn’t.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.