The 1986 Novel ‘It’ Features Far More Homophobic Horrors Than the Films
Only a few years ago, American movie watchers were enjoying a frightening film adaptation of It, Stephen King’s beguiling 1986 horror novel about a fear-hungry creature that often takes the shape of a demonic clown called Pennywise. The 1990 TV adaptation of It excluded the novel’s overtly gay and homophobic scenes, ones that many readers and fans may have forgotten. And while there were definitely queer elements to the remake, they did omit some chilling scenes from the novel.
The 1986 novel starts with a violent gaybashing
The novel’s second chapter opens with a gaybashing as teenagers attack a male couple: Don Hagarty and Adrian Mellon, Don’s unapologetically gay and somewhat flamboyant boyfriend who refuses to back down from bullies in the homophobic town of Derry, Maine (where the book takes place).
The chapter takes place in 1984 and the town of Derry has anti-gay graffiti messages like “KILL ALL QUEERS,” “AIDS FROM GOD YOU HELL-BOUND HOMOS!!,” “SHOW ME YOUR COCK QUEER AND I’LL CUT IT OFF YOU” and “STICK NAILS IN EYES OF ALL FAGOTS (FOR GOD)!”
The attackers call Mellon a queer and a candy ass, and then, as one gay fan of the book recalls, the attackers “beat him, stab him and then toss him off a bridge, leaving him for dead in the shallow water twenty-three feet below.” That’s when Pennywise feasts on Mellon’s flesh while his boyfriend and one of the attackers watch.
A leprous hobo offers a possibly closeted boy a blowjob
Later in the book, a young boy named Eddie Kaspbrak — a clean-cut hypochondriac asthmatic with an overprotective, uptight mother — sees the evil creature at a run-down, abandoned house near the local train yard where male hobos are rumored to blow one another.
The evil creature crawls out from under the house’s porch, crashing through a basement window in the form of a leprous hobo, his face covered in maggots. The hobo reaches out to Kaspbrak and repeatedly says the word “blowjob.”
As the kid runs off, the creature yells, “Come back here, kid! I’ll blow you for free. Come back here!… Want a blow-job for a quarter or a dime?? …COME BACK ANYTIME!!!”
The 1990 TV adaptation had Pennywise the clown taunting Kaspbrak as a “girly boy” and asking him at one point, “How’s your sex life? What’s your sex life?” This has led some fans to read Kaspbrak’s character as gay.
The book’s only bisexual character dies a horrific death
Lastly, and most horrifically, the original book depicts the death of Patrick Hocksetter, a local bully who gropes his female classmates, tortures animals while fondling himself and kills his baby brother in the crib.
One day in 1958, Hocksetter and his gang of local bullies (known as “The Bowers Gang” for their leader, Henry Bowers) are at the local junkyard lighting their farts. When two members of their small gang depart, Hocksetter gives Bowers a handjob and then offers to give him oral sex.
Bowers, who was enjoying the handjob, punches Hocksetter in the mouth and threatens to tell the locals about his “secret fridge” if he ever tells anyone about their special time.
Beverly, the lone female member of the book’s protagonists (a group known as “The Loser’s Club”), sees the entire tryst. Later on, while terrified and trapped in a sewer, she suggests that all the boys in The Losers Club have sex with her to keep from giving into fear (the emotion the monster primary feeds on). The boys all have sex with her, though the author tries sure to depict the scene as one of bonding rather than as a lewd pre-teen gangbang in the sewers, but we digress.
Hocksetter goes to visit his secret fridge, the place where he disposes of animals he’s tortured to death. Only this time, when he opens the fridge, he sees that its door is covered in balloon-like flying leeches that fly onto his body, suck his blood and erupt in gory explosions.
It’s one of the book’s most horrific deaths and it’s reserved for its most despicable (and only openly bisexual) character.