After years in the making, Mama director Andres Muschietti’s remake of Stephen King’s IT was released on September 8, 2017. Like many of you out there, we made sure to grab our tickets in advance and hit the first screening available to the public.
Truer to the source material than the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry, this version more than earned its R rating. That said, there were still a few parts of Stephen King’s novel that were too disturbing to make their way onto the screen. Even in this new R-rated version.
Possibly even in an NC-17 version.
We’ll let you in on the 10 most disturbing aspects of the novel that were graciously left off the silver screen. It’s worth noting that the new film is only an adaptation of the first half of King’s novel. Therefore, we will only cover the disturbing aspects involved directly with the kids’ timeline.
Warning: This list contains spoilers for the 2017 movie IT and Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name. The list also contains some graphic entries that may not be suitable for all readers.
10 The Death Of Eddie Corcoran
In the 2017 R-rated version of Stephen King’s IT, there is a scene where The Losers’ Club mentions a missing kid by the name of Eddie Corcoran.
This is a quick scene, and little is made of the child in question or what may have taken place. However, in the book, we are told in graphic detail just what happened to the poor child.
In a sequence called “One of the Missing: The Death of Eddie Corcoran,” we follow young Eddie as he heads out into a Derry town park in the middle of the night. Sure, the boy is afraid of whatever is snatching up the other kids around town. But that’s nothing compared to the horror he’ll face if he returns home to his stepfather with the report card he was just handed on the last day of school.
Deciding that whatever evil hides in the town’s canal is easier to face than his stepfather, Eddie goes to the park alone. Once there, he is stalked by an apparition so disturbing that it needs its own entry on this list.
Skipping past that bit, Eddie is then chased by IT through the dark park toward the safety of the front gate. However, just as he is about to reach the streetlight, he trips over a bench and goes clattering down into the damp grass.
When he turns around, he sees IT. Not appearing as Pennywise, mind you. But as The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Creature sets upon poor, lonely Eddie. As it slips its hands around the boy’s throat, Eddie thinks to himself, “This isn’t real. It can’t hurt me.”
The Creature then proceeds to rip the little boy’s head off his shoulders.
Despite all this, going to the park alone that night may have been the better option for young Eddie because what happened to his little brother a few weeks beforehand was worse.
So much worse . . .
9 Eddie’s Corcoran’s Little Brother
As mentioned earlier, when young Eddie Corcoran enters the Derry park that night, he is initially set upon by a disturbing apparition. The ghostly image is that of Eddie’s younger brother, Dorsey.
You see, IT is a shape-shifter that takes the form of whatever scares you the most. For Eddie, his greatest fear is having to confront the younger brother he was powerless to save from one of the most horrific, brutal deaths in all of Stephen King’s bibliography—and that’s saying something.
What happened to Dorsey Corcoran?
One night, four-year-old Dorsey was brought to the hospital suffering from a fractured skull. The boy’s stepfather said that the child had been playing on a ladder and fell. However, the medical examiner called BS on this.
Reports showed that Dorsey had been beaten within an inch of his life with a blunt instrument, possibly a hammer. Then he was dumped off at the hospital to die.
Eventually, the boy’s stepfather broke down, admitting that he had beaten the child to death with a hammer. “I don’t know what came over me,” the stepfather said.
He was asked if Dorsey said anything before passing on. The man replied, “He said, ‘Stop Daddy, I’m sorry, I love you.’ ” When was asked if he stopped beating the child after hearing this, the stepfather coldly replied: “Eventually.”
8 Henry Bowers, The Racist
This is a puzzling aspect that was left out of the 2017 adaptation of King’s novel. Yes, it is dark. Yes, it is disturbing. But considering that the new film had no issue with showing—in graphic detail—Pennywise biting/ripping off young Georgie Denbrough’s arm, leaving out this aspect seems to us like fear of backlash.
In the 2017 IT, human villain Henry Bowers is made out to be little more than a mullet-wearing jerk with an anger issue or two. In King’s novel, however, Bowers is about as evil as they come. Not as evil as his buddy Patrick Hockstetter, but Henry is a bad seed through and through.
This includes his proclivity for racial slurs.
We’re not just talking about his abundant use of the “N-word.” Oh, no. In the novel, young Henry Bowers seems to be highly educated in all racial slurs created to cause the utmost psychological pain to Mike Hanlon, his African-American victim.
Although we’re not going to count out the full list of slurs, the 1990 miniseries, which aired on the ABC television network, retained two uses of Henry’s horrific language.
We can only assume in the day and age of Django Unchained—and every other Tarantino movie for that matter—these terms are no longer welcome in mainstream motion pictures. Even if they are there to “prove a point” or “establish character.”
And we agree. As the old saying goes, some things are better left unsaid.
7 Beverly’s Mother
In director Andres Muschietti’s new take on IT, the character of Beverly Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis, lives all alone with her creepy father, who seems to have a sexual eye for his own daughter.
While the film sequences involving these two characters are as disturbing as those in the book, the source material one-ups this aspect by including another horrific angle. In the novel, Beverly Marsh’s mother is there to witness it all.
More specifically, Beverly’s mother turns a blind eye to it all. All the sexual advances by Beverly’s father toward his teen daughter. The comments. The looks. The horror. And we don’t know about you, but this already-disturbing topic is made all the more horrific because someone else was there to witness it.
Especially someone who should have had every instinct to protect her daughter.
6 The Leper
For all of you who have seen the movie, you will remember a terrifying sequence near the middle of the film where little asthmatic Eddie runs afoul of a rotting, seeping leper outside the gates of the house on Neibolt Street.
While this was incredibly scary and the makeup effects applied to actor Javier Botet were stomach-churning, the filmmakers wisely chose to leave one aspect of the leper’s personality within the pages of King’s novel.
In the book, the leper masturbates within his pants while chasing after young Eddie. The leper also constantly taunts the young boy, pleading with him to let the leper “suck his c—k for a dollar.”
With all the running sores and Eddie’s paralyzing fear of germs, this pedophile leper is one of the scariest aspects of the book. But again, maybe it was a smart move to cut such a character trait out of the film.
5 Henry And Patrick
In the 2017 film, Patrick Hockstetter is little more than a gangly creep with a predilection for pyromania. In the novel, he is arguably the scariest and most disturbing character Stephen King has ever created.
We’ll start the Patrick Hockstetter bits with an easy one.
In the novel, Beverly Marsh goes to the town’s junkyard alone. She was thinking that her fellow Losers would be there shooting slingshots at cans. However, once she enters the junkyard, she finds something much more disturbing—and grown-up—than kids with cans.
She sees the book’s human villain, Henry Bowers, hanging out with his crew—which now includes the town weirdo, Patrick Hockstetter. Beverly hides and watches from afar as the boys light their farts.
Then she realizes that the boys all have their pants down. She takes notice of their “things” and worries that they may very well hold her down and sexually assault her if they catch her alone in the junkyard.
Yeah, it’s bad. But not as bad as it gets.
Eventually, two of the bullies take off, seemingly leaving Patrick and Henry alone. Beverly watches from a nearby car as Patrick begins to slowly sexually molest Henry. At first, Henry seems into it. But eventually, he tosses Patrick to the side and berates him for his homosexual impulses.
We’re not sure which aspect of King’s novel is more disturbing here—the graphic teen sexuality or the idea that Beverly is somehow conscious that the boys will assault her without a moment’s hesitation if they find her there.
4 The Death Of Patrick Hockstetter
Before we dive into the most horrifically disturbing things done by young Patrick Hockstetter in the pages of King’s novel, let’s start with his comeuppance.
After Henry storms out of the junkyard, Beverly is left alone with the sociopath Hockstetter. She follows him deep into the nearby woods where he keeps his old, busted-up refrigerator. When Patrick opens the door to check on his treasures, what he finds instead are . . . slugs?
You see, these slugs can fly. They also have long, mosquito-like noses used for puncturing little-boy skin and sucking blood and other bodily fluids out of their victims.
Although he is amazed by the flying insects at first, Patrick is soon overtaken by them. One latches onto his arm and fills up with blood. While Patrick deals with that one, another creature lands on his face, stabs its proboscis through Patrick’s closed eyelid, and sucks his eyeball juices out.
As Patrick screams for his lost eyeball, a creature flies into his open mouth and sucks the gunk out of the boy’s tongue. This causes the kid to bite down and accidentally ingest the creature.
And still, Patrick doesn’t die.
Thankfully, the rest of his death sequence happens off camera, with Pennywise dragging Patrick into the sewers for feasting. It’s kind of cathartic to see the little monster go though.
And here’s why . . .
3 Patrick Hockstetter’s Pets
Patrick Hockstetter likes to torture and kill animals. A lot of animals. All the time. Early in the book, Beverly notes that Patrick was known to kill flies and keep them in his pencil box. Not too horrible. Creepy but not deplorable behavior.
Then Patrick finds his fridge.
While walking one day (one could say under the influence or trance of Pennywise), Patrick finds an old fridge in the middle of the woods. Soon, he gets the idea to put a puppy in there. Then a kitten. Then more and more of the neighborhood animals go missing.
Without getting into specifics, let’s just say that this is the one section we skip every time we reread the novel. No need to go through this twice.
That said, this part does bring up the interesting idea that maybe Pennywise was training Hockstetter to be his replacement or at least his partner in crime. The fashion in which Hockstetter makes the pets disappear in Derry is akin to Pennywise’s habit of making the children disappear.
But all of Pennywise’s plan goes to bubkes once Patrick pulls off this next bit . . .
2 Patrick Hockstetter’s Baby Brother
Patrick Hockstetter spent the better part of his life as an only child. This seems to have kept him relatively at bay. However, once his parents had another baby, things started to go bad for Patrick.
If he was borderline evil beforehand, this event tipped the scale into A Serbian Film territory.
One stormy day after getting off the school bus, Patrick entered his baby brother’s bedroom. His father was at work, and his mother was taking a nap—in the same room as Patrick’s baby brother.
Patrick slowly takes the life of his infant brother in a horrifically drawn-out sequence. Again, it’s best that we don’t go into details here. Let’s just say that it takes Patrick a few tries before he succeeds in his efforts.
He gets away with it and deals with the aftermath in a completely detached way. Worse still is the small subchapter in which Patrick’s father solves the mystery of who murdered his infant son. The father consciously decides to cast away the knowledge and never tell anyone about it.
1 Love And Desire
Okay, this is the big one. We still can’t believe that this wasn’t edited out of the book the second the manuscript was handed over to the publisher. Behold the power of Stephen King.
This section would have taken place in the film between the scene where The Losers’ Club “defeats Pennywise” in his lair and the scene where the seven children stand on the banks of the river, making a blood oath to return if IT ever comes back.
In the novel, IT’s lair is in an extremely dark place miles below the surface of the town of Derry. After Pennywise is “killed off,” the evil clown’s deadlights cease shining and The Losers’ Club is lost in the dark. Left to wander around until they die.
Then Beverly gets an idea.
The preteen girl takes each of her male best friends to the side and lets them, one after the other, have sex with her—right there in the sewer. Again, in typical King fashion, the sequence (called “Love & Desire”) is played out in graphic detail with each of the six boys.
Somehow, through the magic of coitus, Beverly’s act of love and desire works. The Losers’ Club is suddenly able to navigate the pitch-black tunnels and return to the safety of that broken, glass Coke bottle.
We seriously have no idea how this chapter made it into the book and why it isn’t considered straight-up illegal. That said, the sequence is very sweet and stands as an expression of the deep connection these seven children will share for the rest of time. Or maybe it’s just pervy exploitation.