Pennywise, the Dancing Clown is also called "IT" by Stephen King fans. "IT" is a character in Stephen King's novel and made-for-TV movie of the same name.
This clown named Pennywise has left a mark on the art of clowning in ways that Stephen King probably never imagined - none of them good.
Pennywise is what the beast, the evil character in this novel calls himself when he appears as a clown.
When the name Pennywise is spoken, the image that usually comes to mind is a scary clown with full
Whiteface make-up, a bushy red wig, extremely long claw like fingernails and sharpened teeth. Even when he does not show sharp teeth, Pennywise is not a happy, fun-looking clown. It is my opinion that this character has contributed to the rise in Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) in the past twenty years as much as, if not more than, any other influence.
This beast originated from what is called the Macro-verse: a void that surrounds and contains our universe. The name "IT" was given to the beast by the main players of the story (who eventually kill the beast). The lesser-known name by which "IT" is referred is Robert Gray.
IT has enormous power and abilities. He has the ability to take on many forms and shapes and possesses the power to inhabit and control people. He can be visible to some while at the same time remain invisible to others. He also has the power to inhabit two or more people in different places at he same time. The following is a list of forms IT has taken as he stalks his prey, in the hopes of finding what he seeks to devour.
(Robert Gray, Its primary disguise. Mainly used when hunting children.
- Other people
- The Creature from the Black Lagoon
- A Vampire type of creature.
- A Gihugic Dog
- A Giant Bird
- A Leper
- A Giant Eye
- A Werewolf
- A swarm of leeches
- The shark from "Jaws"
- A swarm of piranhas
- Decomposing corpses
- What the book describes as The Deadlights
Released in 1986 by Stephen King and followed by a 2-part movie for television in 1990.
Good vs. Evil
The motive of Pennywise/IT is that can and will and will play upon anyones fears. Pennywise/IT will use that persons fear and turn that into a life sized monster that will destroy it's intended victim. Just like the enemy of this world we live in today, if he can use our fears to diminish our lives and control us he will. Pennywise the Dancing Clown appears to children in the guise of a friendly, fun, character and then once he has the intended victim engaged he will turn on them in with the intention of devouring his victim. Not unlike the enemy of this world, taking some type of sin and placing an attractive disguise around it until that sin gets a hold of us and seeks to destroy our lives.
It always turns into a battle of good versus evil. What the Lord has meant for good Satan tries to twist into evil and use for destructive purposes. Take the Clown for instance. What is generally considered a fun loving, laughter evoking source of silliness and joy the enemy has been successful in twisting into an evil character that causes fear and terror in some peoples lives. We know this to be Coulrophobia. Dictionary.com defines coulrophobia as 'A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of clowns, that compels one to avoid them, despite the awareness and reassurance that they are not dangerous.' Just like the enemy of this world, the true form of Pennywise/IT is never truly comprehended, but we do know this, Clowns are not evil and are not meant to be feared.
The Influence of Pennywise in the World Today
One indelible mark Pennywise has made on our culture is the rise in the popularity of depicting clowns as evil. The novel became a best-seller and the move won an Emmy. Released on DVD, continues generated millions of dollars in revenue. As a result, artists in other areas of the entertainment industry have latched onto the 'evil clown' theme and become very successful with it.
This is especially evident in the music industry. Bands like Pennywise and Insane Clown Posse have generated millions of dollars and a 'cult-type' following as fans purchase not only their recordings, but just about anything decorated with the band's name or logo.
Pennywise the punk rock band was formed in 1988, just a short time after Stephen King's book was released. The name of the band
Pennywise was inspired by the beast in the Novel. the band Pennywise is from Hermosa Beach, California. They have been wildly successful with the release of nine studio albums Top Pennywise Albums
, one live album, two EP's and one DVD
at the time of this writing.
Penny-wise adj: Wise or prudent only in dealing with small sums or matters. From the phrase penny-wise and pound-foolish. First known use was in 1607 AD.