February 23, 2020
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As ‘IT 2’ premiere nears, red balloons and scary clowns are popping up everywhere

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Author Stephen King's house is seen Wednesday in Bangor.

Fans of Stephen King and horror movies the world over have been looking forward to Sept. 6 for nearly two years now. That’s the day that the sequel to “IT,” the 2017 Hollywood blockbuster based on King’s monumental 1986 tome, hits theaters.

The first installment of “IT” raked in more than $700 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing horror movie of all time. Red balloons, scary clowns and Derry — King’s fictional town that’s a terrifying doppelganger of Bangor — all became instant pop cultural icons.

As the “IT: Chapter Two” premiere gets closer, we’re seeing more and more examples of “IT” symbolism showing up in some places both expected and unexpected.

[Stephen King talks ‘IT’ and other adaptations]

Naturally, one might expect to see red balloons in front of King’s famous West Broadway home — King himself put one up inside the house a week before the first “IT” came out two years ago. Sure enough, last weekend a few appeared along his wrought iron fence, though the balloons had disappeared by Monday morning. It’s likely a fan, rather than King himself, placed them there.

Courtesy of Kathy Findlay
Courtesy of Kathy Findlay
Red balloons are seen outside Stephen King's house over the weekend of Aug. 24-25.

Pennywise himself, the fan favorite villain, has himself become not just a horror character but a meme popping up in all sorts of places — not just in sewers. There are masks and costumes galore of the 2017 version of Pennywise — quite a different character from the Pennywise in the 1990 TV miniseries. Last weekend, someone in quite a good costume decided to spread the creep factor through the New York City subway.

Pennywise made another surprise appearance in a New Jersey woman’s backyard. On Aug. 17, Renee Jensen and her boyfriend were relaxing outside when a Pennywise doll sailed through the air and landed at her feet. Terrified, the woman reported it to the police, and then grabbed the doll and set it on fire. Let’s be honest: that’s a reasonable reaction.

Out in Hollywood, as part of the film’s promotional blitz, the Derry Canal Days Festival and Funhouse opened on Aug. 15, offering an “IT”-themed haunted house experience to those who snapped up free tickets in time. It runs through Sept. 8. Unless you live in Los Angeles or are the most diehard of diehard King fans, it’s unlikely you’ll get to visit it, so here’s a pretty good walkthrough video to show you the highlights.

Here in Bangor, we’ll get to see the movie on Friday, on the same day as the rest of America — except for those lucky few who managed to score free tickets to WKIT-FM’s Wednesday night premiere at Bangor Mall Cinemas.

Will you see “IT: Chapter Two”? Have you been permanently traumatized by clowns? Have you seen a rogue balloon floating somewhere in Bangor? Let us know in the comments. We all float down here…


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