“What scares children more than anything in the world?” : how Stephen King imagined his most memorable monster

A look back at the creation of one of the scariest monsters to come from Stephen King’s fertile imagination.

Starring in two recent feature films, the character of the sinister clown Grippe-Sou (Pennywise in original version) is one of the creepiest monsters in cinema. How does this terrifying character, at the heart of the novel That by Stephen King, a controversial scene from which was never adapted for the screen, was created?

When Stephen King begins working on the novel That in the 80s, he was already an established and celebrated author, notably with classics such as Carrie Or The Shining.

In an interview given during a public event held in 2013 in Hamburg, the American revealed the inspiration behind this evil entity taking the form of a clown and terrorizing seven children.

“When I was living in Colorado, I had the idea of ​​writing a very long book in which there would be all the monsters”first declares Stephen King in comments reported by the Comicbook site.

“I told myself that if people thought I was a horror writer – I never considered myself that, just as a writer – then I had to collect all the monsters, as many as possible. There would be the vampire, the werewolf and even the mummy.”

“But then I said to myself that we need some kind of creature that is horrible, evil, disgusting, a creature that you don’t want to see, that makes you scream just by seeing it.”continues the American. “I then asked myself, ‘What scares children more than anything in the world?’ The answer was clowns.”

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“So I created the clown Pennywise.”concludes Stephen King. “Then ABC came along and they said they wanted to make a mini-series of it with Tim Curry in the role of the character. I thought it was a strange idea but it really worked and it scared a whole generation of young people into fear of clowns. That being said, clowns have always scared children.”

Four years after the publication of the novel Thata mini-series was therefore born, the clown imagined by Stephen King then being at the heart of two films, respectively released in theaters in 2017 and 2019. And this creature has not finished making spectators tremble: a series centered on the origins of the character is in fact in preparation for the HBO Max platform.

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