IT: Chapter Two's vicious gay hate crime in opening scene explained

27 August 2019, 17:14 | Updated: 27 August 2019, 17:20

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

"We can't pretend that it doesn’t still exist because it’s part of our every day."

IT: Chapter Two is coming to theatres on 6 September and we're preparing our bodies to be petrified all over again. The horror sequel is almost three hours long and will see the Losers Club return to defeat Pennywise once and for all.

If you're already familiar with Stephen King's novel IT, you'll know all about the brutal opening scene that is included in the movie. A gay couple is viciously attacked by a group of teens on their way home from a carnival in Derry, Maine. The gang then throw one of the men from a bridge into a river.

READ MORE: It: Chapter Two is almost 3 hours long and will get a director's cut

The hate crime is traumatising enough but then Pennywise shows up and pulls the man out of the water, before biting into his lifeless body whilst his horrified boyfriend looks on.

Andy Muschietti and Jessica Chastain pose backstage at CinemaCon 2019 Warner Bros. Pictures, Pennywise
Andy Muschietti and Jessica Chastain pose backstage at CinemaCon 2019 Warner Bros. Pictures, Pennywise. Picture: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Stringer, Warner Bros

The crime is never addressed in the movie and didn't feature in the miniseries in 1990, but the event is actually based on the tragic story of Charlie Howard, a gay man who was killed by a group of teens in King's hometown of Bangor, Maine, in 1984.

IT: Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti said it was "important" that the graphic scene was included in the movie during an interview with Variety.

"It was very important to me because of its relevance," he explained. "I probably wouldn’t have included it if it wasn’t in the book, but it was very important for Stephen King. When he wrote it, he was talking about the evil in the human community. He was talking about how dark humans can get in a small American town.

The Loser Club.
The Loser Club. Picture: Warner Bros

"For me, it was important to include it because it’s something that we’re still suffering. Hate crimes are still happening. No matter how evolved we think society is going, there seems to be a winding back, especially in this day and age where these old values seem to be emerging from the darkness."

Both of the men in the movie were actually played by gay actors. Adrian Mellon (the man who is killed) is played by filmmaker Xavier Dolan, while his boyfriend is played by Taylor Frey.

Jessica Chastain, who plays the grown up Beverly Marsh in IT: Chapter Two, said it was hard to talk about the scene "without crying".

Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh.
Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh. Picture: Warner Bros

"The reason why I think Stephen King is the king of this genre is because he writes psychological horror," she began. "The monster usually is spawned from a human. It’s inside of us. Look at Pet Cemetery. Look at Misery. We can become our worst enemies sometimes. He wrote the novel It because a hate crime was committed in his childhood town. That darkness, he wanted to explore and that’s the first scene in our film."

She added: "I think you need that scene because he writes about the darkness that’s under the surface. The dirt under the fingernails of these small towns or of mankind. That’s what ‘It’ represents. It’s the darkness of human behaviour. I think it was important to see Adrian's scene and not to change it from what it is in the novel because we’re living in a time right now where it is very much a part of our culture and part of our conversation and we haven’t moved past it.

via GIPHY

"So, we can’t pretend that it doesn’t still exist because it’s part of our every day."