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HALLOW'S ENTRY: IT! WITH RODDY MCDOWALL & JILL HAWORTH

Roddy McDowall figuring IT! all out slowly YEAR: 1967
Since it came out twenty or so years before the much more famous Stephen King novel turned miniseries centering on a group of children fearing a clown in the sewer (who wouldn't?), the 1967 IT!, starring Roddy McDowell, is definitely original...

That's until the main character — an awkward little weakling named Pimm, barely holding an assistant job at a British museum (it's an English film) — while in a lonely apartment, speaks to his mother, who's seated neatly in a corner chair with her back to the audience... It's obvious what will happen once she's turned around since, that is, she can't do it by herself — PSYCHO revisited! Well, not really; what Pimm does at home means very little. It's all work and no play that makes IT! a subtle body-count horror where the large, menacing statue of an ancient Golem didn't burn in an all-engrossing fire at another museum. And now it has a brand new home, and master.

Not a Hammer Film but IT! sure flows like one Rating: ***1/2
The best, most intriguing and suspenseful scenes concern our curious underdog progressively figuring out, through dialogue, historical investigation and hands-on application, how the big fella works — the story told with the same kind of meticulous, expository timing that makes up the first half of just about any TWILIGHT ZONE episode, including eerie music tempered sporadically by foreboding, haunting tribal drums...

Without giving too much away, the creature is controlled to move about and maneuver the same way a hippie (of that same era) would "drop acid" — a tiny scroll replacing a paper square, and without being swallowed. Then, by use of verbal commands, soon enough (yet without seeming rushed) IT! does our ragged little man's evil bidding, which initially isn't all that terrible being that the victims... especially the museum's new curator/Pimm's nightmare boss... are pretty much asking for it...

The fitfully vulnerable Jill Haworth
That's until an American museum curator romances EXODUS teen starlet Jill Haworth as Ellen, who continuously dodges Pimm's clumsy advances. And she's the one person intended for the audience to invest in besides McDowall, who is, like Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates, a killer and anti-hero both...

IT!Score: ***1/2
Like any horror flick, without the antagonist figuring out ways to do bad things, there's simply no movie at all...

And this movie doesn't quite know how or when to sum up. Between the second and third act, the pace drags a bit until the finale, concerning the use of what's usually the "last resort" to destroy an impenetrable menace: Thus, the finale is well deserved when it does finally happen since the young man and his ancient beast had played their cards long enough, and hell, it was fun while IT! lasted, especially during their (Roddy and The Golem) sadistic Honeymoon Phase!
Jill Haworth as Ellen Grove in IT!
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