Welcome, dear readers, to Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween. While every holiday captures the hearts and minds of the Substream staff, Halloween holds an especially important place in our hearts. Now that we’ve entered the month of October, it’s time for us to share our love for this holiday with you.

Every single day in October, our collection of spooky staff writers and ghoulish guest contributors will walk you through a horror or Halloween-themed movie they adore. The goal is to both celebrate the titans and icons of the season while also introducing you to new films and scares to fill your autumn nights. Lock your doors, check under your bed, and settle in as you join Substream for our 31 Days of Halloween.

IT title card

Day 24: It (2017)

I think we can all agree that clowns are pretty terrifying in any setting. But when the king of horror, Stephen King, dreams up a clown that’s played by Bill Skarsgard, it is nightmare fuel. This isn’t Tim Curry’s laughably over-the-top Pennywise from the ’90’ television adaption of the novel. No, Skarsgard’s Pennywise is downright horrifying. 

We’ve covered a slew of Stephen King adaptions for our 31 Days of Halloween, but It is arguably one of the best. The film, directed by Andy Muschietti, focuses on the childhood parts of the Losers Club’s lives instead of jumping back and forth between that and their adulthood like the novel. The cast is nothing short of incredible, with actors like Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, and Stranger Things‘s Finn Wolfhard. 

The opening scene of the movie sets the tone for the rest of the film and never loses momentum after that. When Pennywise attacks poor Georgie, it’s immediately clear that this film is no joke. The violence isn’t held back and is made even more terrifying with impressively realistic special effects. Towards the end of the film, I was so terrified that I was almost wishing that Tim Curry was back in the role of a less-scary, more comedic Pennywise. Skarsgard’s portrayal is so impressive and natural that at times, it’s stressful to watch because of the anticipation. Most of the movie relies on jump scares to terrify the audience. The scares come from a mile away and are in full force, but they only get more intense as the movie goes on.

Even though this is a horror movie, the character arcs are very well done and get the audience genuinely invested into them and their stories. They’re all outcasts with specific traits that lead them there. Their fears, guilts, and struggles are at times scarier than the looming evil ahead. 

There’s a reason why It is the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. It has all the elements of a great horror movie and amassed a cult following when it was released, and for good reason: it’s incredible. The performances, cinematography, musical score, and faithfulness to the original story are some of the many reasons why It is hailed as a cinematic masterpiece. I highly suggest watching it. A sleepless, nightmare-fueled night is worth it.