The ’80s nostalgia continues with the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It, about an evil sewer clown that terrorizes the small town of Derry, Maine. This year’s movie is actually just Part 1 of the story, as, like the novel, the new film will be split into two sections: the first occurs during the main characters’ childhood, and the second comes 30 years later, with the return of the creature that appears every three decades. The film debuted three new images today, showcasing our team of young heroes and red balloon-toting Pennywise the clown.

Director Andres Muschietti talked with USA Today about the themes of fear and loss of innocence present in the movie, and how he plans to examine the monster movie tradition.

It happens in the book, this coming of age and kids facing their own mortality, which is something that in real life happens in a more progressive way and slowed down. There’s a passage (in It) that reads, ‘Being a kid is learning how to live and being an adult is learning how to die.’ There’s a bit of a metaphor of that and it just happens in a very brutal way, of course.

Muschietti also mentioned that he’d used a small portion of King’s giant book with which to characterize Pennywise. There’s a passage in the novel in which Bill muses on whether Pennywise is eating children because that’s what children are always told that monsters do.

It’s a tiny bit of information, but that sticks with you so much. Maybe it is real as long as children believe in it. And in a way, Pennywise’s character is motivated by survival. In order to be alive in the imagination of children, he has to keep killing.

What really makes Pennywise frightening, Muschietti says, is that he’s unpredictable.

It’s established that Pennywise takes the shape of your worst fear. He doesn’t have a steady behavior, he doesn’t expose how he thinks, and that’s what makes him really unpredictable.

USA Today also offers a short synopsis:

Derry has an infamous history of missing youngsters, and the culprit is an evil nameless entity that appears every 30 years and lurks in the underground sewer system. When young Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) loses his brother to Pennywise’s latest reign of terror, he teams with a bunch of other children who’ve also encountered the malevolent force: overweight Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), loudmouth Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), clean freak Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff), history lover Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer) and tomboy Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis).

It hits theaters September 8.

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