HOW DO YOU go about rein­vent­ing one of the most iconic screen mon­sters of all time? Well, if you’re An­drés Muschi­etti — the Ar­gen­tine di­rec­tor of 2013’s break­out hit Mama and the man charged with re­boot­ing Stephen King’s It — you start by ad­mit­ting said mon­ster never re­ally freaked you out in the first place.

“I un­der­stand Tim Curry’s Pen­ny­wise is a cult hor­ror mo­ment,” says Muschi­etti, “but I was never scared by him. I think he’s great — he scared the shit out of a gen­er­a­tion — but I was older when I saw the [1990] TV se­ries. For me, to make some­thing scary you have to look in­side your­self. I wanted Pen­ny­wise to be child-like. For me, this is a mon­ster cre­ated by the imag­i­na­tion of chil­dren. That’s why it must keep killing; it will cease to ex­ist if chil­dren stop be­liev­ing in it.”

The tale of an in­ter-di­men­sional evil with a pen­chant for fright wigs, It has been split into two movies, the first of which will con­cen­trate on the group of kids who un­cover the sin­is­ter pres­ence of the mon­ster (Bill Skars­gård) lurk­ing in their town. Muschi­etti’s end-game is sim­ple: to trau­ma­tise a whole new gen­er­a­tion. And his meth­ods couldn’t be more timely, thanks to the bizarre re­cent spate of creepy-clown sight­ings across the globe. “Af­ter all the mon­ster-clown it­er­a­tions through the years, you’d imag­ine peo­ple would be fed up with them,” the di­rec­tor grins. “But they’re still re­ally fright­ened. Hon­estly, there were peo­ple on my crew who re­gret­ted tak­ing the job...”

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