The Biggest Changes ‘IT Chapter Two’ Makes From Stephen King’s Terrifying Novel!
With the Chapter Two of ‘IT’ out in cinemas, it’s time once again to travel back to Derry and compare the many changes made from book to film. Stephen King’s whooping great big 1153 novel was never going to translate directly to screen, so there was always going to be changes made. We look at the most prominent ones and compare them to Kings book. Despite the changes need for Andrés Muschietti’s awesome two-part feature, IT 2017 & 2019 are amazing films that manage to capture the essence and story of Derry, The Losers Club and the creature they call IT! So, let us explore, with no restraint on spoilers for either the films or the 1986 novel, The Biggest Changes ‘IT Chapter Two’ Makes From Stephen King’s Terrifying Novel.
Mike Hanlon is the character that has changed the most out of all the loser in the 2019’s Chapter Two. The film portrays Mike as living above the Library, but it’s unclear if he works there like in the book, or if he is just lodging there. Mike is erratic and easily flustered, rather than being the calm and calculated character of the King’s novel. Movie Mike is also untrustworthy lying to the group and misleading them into a battle they were unprepared for, whilst Book Mike is kind towards his friends and honest in the challenges ahead. He understands their trepidation and openly accepts some of the Loser wishes to leave, having fulfilled their pledge to return to Derry.
” ‘It left Its mark on us. It worked Its will on us, just as It has worked Its will on this whole town, day in and day out, even during those long periods when It is asleep or hibernating or whatever It does between Its more…more lively periods.’
Mike raised one finger.
‘But if It worked Its will on us, at some point, in some way, we also worked our will on It. We stopped It before It was done – I know we did. Did we weaken It? Hurt It? Did we, in fact, almost kill It? I think we did. I think we came so close to killing It that we went away thinking we had.’ “
Continuing from 2017s IT, Mikes parentage is vastly different, with Mikes parent being alive and well in the books, but dead in the films. We were introduced to the idea that mikes parents were killed in a fire in the first film, in a sequence that obviously was referring the Fire at the Black Spot Club from the novel. But here in Chapter Two, their deaths are explored further, with references to Mikes parents being “Crack Heads” that had possible started the fire. However, after Pennywise is defeated, we discover that this was a “glamour” by IT and that Mikes parents had not been drug addicts and were killed in an electrical fire.
One of the biggest deviations to mikes story is the artifacts. Film Mike suggest a plan to destroy IT using an ancient urn and seven artifacts which the Loser must discover, sending the group out into Derry to discover these relics. Book Mike send the Loser out to regain their memories, as they are all still very hazy about what happened way back in 1958.
Jade of the Orient
The film makes a few changes to this classic scene. The order in which the Loser arrive changes in the film, with Bill arriving first instead of last. For book Losers, the meal is a time for catching up with each of other and reflecting on their lives as youngsters, as their memories start to flood back. Film Loser do very little catching up on screen, but it’ s clear from dialogue later that they have talked about certain aspects of their adult lives. Richie talking about Eddies overweight wife is a great example of this, as we never hear Eddie talking about Myra apart from the fact that he was married. Most notable absent is Ben’s story about how he lost weight. Film loser also never establish their “curse” of success. Nor do they mention the fact that they are all childless. Mikes poverty is also never addressed, by the Losers or Pennywise, who uses this a slur against the poor librarian in the novel.
The book meal ends when a plate of fortune cookies turns into a nightmare. Each of the Loser are haunted by something nasty that springs from the treats. The film twists this scene with a revelation that Stan is dead. This is shortly followed by a similar sequence to the book.
Ben’s film character plants huge holes in the IT mythos. Whilst it’s established that the Losers have lost their memories of their childhood, Ben’s retention of his year book page stands in contrary with this phenomena. The other Losers have lost nearly all their memories of Derry and Pennywise, and yet Ben still holds and cherishes this 27 year old page. Other aspects of the IT curse are also not made very clear in the movie. Whilst Bill grabs his hand when he receives Mikes call, it’s not shown if the scars on their hands had disappeared in their adult lives, only to reappear after the call. Nor is it clear if Ben’s “Pennywise” scar also disappeared and reappeared. In the book, Ben retains the H craved into his stomach by Bowers, but the scar he got when Pennywise attacked them as a Werewolf, had disappeared. Only When Ben returned did the twisted claw mark reappear, literally hours of arriving in Derry. This “werewolf Scar” was set up in the first film, when Pennywise swipes Ben with the railing embed in his head, but nothing was established in Chapter Two.
Bens Pennywise encounters have also changed dramatically form Novel to screen. Book Ben has an encounter with Pennywise disguised as Beverley as an adult , whilst film Ben has a similar encounter as a Kid, completely with a flaming head (You’re hair is winter fire!). Ben also never has an encounter with Pennywise whilst looking for his “artifact”, whilst Book Ben heads to the Derry Library to regain his memory. It’s here that Ben bumps into Pennywise who taunts him from the floor above. IT transforms into Dracula with Gillete razor blades in its mouth and tears off pieces of flesh as it speaks, dripping blood onto the library patrons below. As Ben rushes to the door, he looks back to find IT has gone, but a balloon remains, claiming that IT had killed the Librarian Ben had befriended as a kid.
Whilst Chapter Two does show Henry Bowers being flushed out of the sewers along with the bodies of many of the missing Derry kids, it’s unclear if he takes the fall for their deaths. Book Henry is framed by IT when police find missing Veronica Grogan’s underwear tucked into his mattress and he is charged for several of the missing kids murders, including his friends Victor Criss, Patrick Hocksetter and “Belch” Huggins. Both version of Henry are deemed mentally incompetent and committed to the Juniper Hill Asylum. Book Henry is contacted by a “ghost-moon”, Whilst film Henry spots a red balloon.
Henry dropped his hoe and began to scream up at the ghost-moon in the blue sky and at first he was screaming in fury and then the moon itself changed and became the face of the clown, its face a rotted pocked cheesy white, its eyes black holes, its red bloody grin turned up in a smile so obscenely ingenuous that it was insupportable, and so then Henry began to scream not in fury but in mortal terror and the voice of the clown spoke from the ghost-moon now and what it said was
“You have to go back, Henry. You have to go back and finish the job. You have to go back to Derry and kill them all. For Me.”
Due to the scenes being cut form the 2017 film, we never witness Belch dying, and so in Chapter 2, it’s Patrick Hocksetter that helps Henry escape the hospital. In the Novel, it’s Belch that appears to him and he drives a 1958 Plymouth Fury (similar to Stephen King’s Christine), grinning the entire journey to Derry.
Henry’s encounter and death play out very similar to the film, but with a few subtle changes. Book Mike is confronted first in the library, where he is badly wounded. It’s Eddie that get the killing blow in his hotel room, stabbing Henry to death in self-defense. The film swaps these around and saves Mike from being hospitalized.
Audra Phillips and Tom Rogan
Whilst Chapter Two introduces us to both Bill’s wife Audra and Beverly’s husband Tom, their involvement in the film is confined to this brief appearance. In the books, both Audra and Tom head to Derry, where they fall into IT’s grasp. Tom is driven with rage, driving to the Maine town with the intent of killing Beverly and possible her “writer” friend who he assume she is sleeping with. But when he arrives in town, IT hypnotizes him, stopping him in his tracks.
Audra decides to follow Bill a day after he leaves for Derry, despite his plea for her to remain in England. Upon arriving in town, Tom Rogan captures Audra and drags her down into IT’s lair under the city, as bait for Bill. Upon seeing IT in its true form, Tom drops dead in shock and is shortly devoured by the creature. Upon seeing IT’s deadlights, Audra is left in a catatonic state.
The Ritual of Chüd
The 1990 TV-miniseries completely ignored this part of Kings novel, as it’s an incredible hard thing to project on screen. Ritual of Chüd is a battle of minds, and Bill enters the monster’s mind through this ritual in 1958. The ancient ritual allows Bill to enter the Macroverse to confront the true form of IT, a mass of destructive orange lights which IT refers to as the “Deadlights”. Once more in 1985, both Bill and Richie use the Ritual of Chüd to confront the creature, but they get lost in IT’s Deadlights. Eddie uses his aspirator to spray medicine in IT’s eye and down It’s throat, and saves both Bill and Richie from IT’s clutches. However, Eddie’s arm is bitten off and he dies of blood loss. Despite the failure of the ritual, the creature is severely wounded.
“Richie said: ‘What was that ritual you told us about, Big Bill? The one in the library book?’
‘Ch-Ch-Chüd,’ Bill said, smiling a little.
‘Chüd.’ Richie nodded. ’ You bite Its tongue and It bites yours, right?’
‘Then you tell jokes.’
‘Funny,’ Richie said, looking into the dark pipe. ‘I can’t think of a single one.’”
Chapter Two has a version of The Ritual of Chüd, which involves the loser collecting “tokens” of their memory which they sacrifice to call upon it’s true form, the Deadlights. The Losers use a chant to trap IT in an ancient vessel, but ultimately the ritual fails. The Loser can not contain IT and the they face having to confront the creature with nothing but their own beliefs. Richie is trapped by the Deadlights and Eddie saves him with his belief that an old rusty fence pole is a monster slaying weapon. IT is badly wounded with the weapon but manages to mortally wound Eddie with one of his flaring claws.
Chapter Two see’s the Loser on the run from IT, until they realise that IT’s greatest power is also his weakness, the power of belief. By talking away the fear that he feeds off, the Loser shrink down the creature and rip out it’s heart. The Novel sees Bill lead Richie and Ben to confront the wounded creature. Upon discovering that IT has laid eggs, Ben stays back to destroy them, whilst Bill and Richie chase after their wounded foe for a final confrontation. Bill “thrusts his fists” into IT’s pleading physical form and rips out the still beating heart, Killing the creature for good.
In both versions the Loser leave as IT’s lair starts to collapse and are forced to leave Eddies body. In the book, Bill manages to carry Audra’s catatonic body with them. Upon escaping from the sewers, both versions of the Losers realize that the scars on their hands from when they were children have disappeared, indicating that their ordeal is finally over. IT is dead!
In the book, IT has one last sting in his tail, as a huge storm rips apart Derry and the downtown area collapses into a sinkhole. Mike thinks that Derry is finally dying!
In the closing moments of the film, we see the Loser returning back to the world. Bill reflects on why they can still remember, despite leaving Derry, to which mike suggest that they have things worth remembering. The Book ending is a little more bittersweet. The Losers return home, but like before, they gradually begin to forget about IT, Derry, and each other. Mike’s memory of the events of that summer also begin to fade, along with his written journals. Bill is the last to leave Derry, staying behind with the still catatonic Audra. Before he goes, he takes Audra, for a fast ride on Silver, which awakens her from her catatonia.
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“Hello Horror Fans – MORE clowns…this is no JOKE! I’m trying to JUGGLE all my work and then I’m HIT with some FOOL in makeup! Whilst I love a good film, this TERRIFYING clown just gives me the CHILLS! Glad to see that there still some of the book in there! What did you think fans? SMASH us up in the comments below!