Date TimeSeptember 13, 2019
VoiceThe murder of a gay man in It Chapter Two brings real-life horror into the latest Stephen King adaptation. But the inclusion of violent discrimination doesn’t condone – it condemnsWarning: this article contains plot spoilers‘Meg Ryan called – she wants her wig back!” is the retort that precedes a brutal physical attack on a gay couple near the start of It Chapter Two.The film continues the adventures of Stephen King’s “Loser” outcasts, who battle the killer alien clown, Pennywise, and deal with the hate-filled attitudes of their townsfolk in Derry.
It Chapter Two: why its depiction of homophobic violence is actually a positive
The Meg Ryan quip comes from Adrian Mellon, the gay man who is beaten by homophobes before being murdered by Pennywise. King has confirmed that the character is based on Charlie Howard, an out gay man murdered in King’s home town of Bangor, Maine, in 1984 – who was targeted, in part, because he was wearing a flamboyant hat. By weaving the representation of an actual murder into his story, King suggests It’s horror results from the license some think they have to perpetuate violence. The sequence in the film has proved controversial because some critics, such as Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer, consider it exploitative of Howard’s murder. But that’s the point. We’re meant to be shocked by the attack. In the book it happens straight after the murder of a six-year-old, which starts the story’s avenging narrative. As the film’s star Jessica Chastain told Variety: “We can’t pretend that it doesn’t still exist because it’s part of our every day”. The murder was completely excised from the home-friendly television miniseries adaptation in 1990.

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