*Warning! If you haven’t yet seen the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, there are spoilers ahead!*
By now, oodles of movie-goers have been to the theater to experience the latest film version of Stephen King’s It. And if you’re one of those viewers, then you undoubtedly were seriously creeped out/disturbed by a ton of what you saw (Georgie’s arm, anyone?!).
However, creepy-clown-demon-with-razor-sharp-teeth aside, we’re pretty much of the opinion that some of the most truly terrifying aspects of the movie had little to do with Pennywise the Clown, and everything to do with the more subtle moments of regular old human cruelty.
And in the spirit of rehashing (because it’s like, basically our favorite thing to do), here are the top scariest moments from It that had nothing to do with the clown.
1Bev’s abusive father
While the book version of It portrays Bev’s father as controlling and physically abusive, the new film strongly implies that the abuse is also sexual in nature. From the way he eyes his daughter’s body, to the way he smells her hair, to his insistence that she remain “his little girl”…it was all kinds of disturbing. Honestly — this was the part of the film that very well may stick with us the longest.
2The bully’s abusive father
Parental abuse is kind of a central theme in It, and even incredibly scary bully Henry Bowers isn’t immune. While at first it’s easy to assume that Henry is just a cruel sociopath who delights in inflicting pain on those weaker than himself, it eventually becomes clear that he’s merely perpetuating a cycle of abuse that starts with his dad. This is a kid in major need of a hug.
3The moment when the bullies cut Ben’s stomach
Okay, we know we just got finished crying a river over Henry and his terrible home life, but that doesn’t mean we also weren’t TERRIFIED for poor Ben when Henry and his gang chase him down and literally carve into his stomach with a knife. This is childhood viscousness as its very worst, and truly one of the most anxiety-inducing scenes in the movie.
4The rock fight
As (technical) adults, we were downright petrified for all the kids involved in this scene. Because they were hurling large rocks — with full force — at each other’s heads. We were almost screaming for a responsible adult to intervene. But of course, because it’s It, none ever did.
5When Henry almost shot the cat
Yep. Tortured soul/head bully Henry literally almost shoots a poor, defenseless cat during target practice with his friends. So any animal-lovers who have yet to see the movie, beware!
6The part where they walk through sewer water
This one is kind of self-explanatory, but for those who need a refresher: near the beginning of the movie, Bill, Richie, Eddie, and Stan go looking for Bill’s little brother, George, and it literally takes them stomping through raw sewage. Eddie (the germaphobe of the group) makes several solid points about why this is insanely dangerous (e. coli, anyone?), but it falls on deaf ears. Seriously, forget Pennywise…the bacteria-filled water is what really could have taken these kids down.
7The fact that Eddie’s mom clearly has Munchausen by proxy
This is a pretty dark detail that isn’t really dwelled on for too long in the film. It’s eventually discovered that poor, neurotic Eddie — who has more prescription pills and inhalers than we could count — isn’t even really sick. His mom has only been telling him he is to better keep him under her control. Yep…highly disturbing.
8The constant slut-shaming of Bev
Okay, consider this a “bonus” point in addition to that last seven, because it was so prevalent throughout the film that it deserves to be addressed. Bev’s sexuality is a continual and ever-present element of the story, with other girl’s torturing her at school for “screwing” boys, bullies harassing her and implying she’d had sex with them, and constant town-wide speculation about the state of her virginity. The amount of shame, accusal, and cruelty directed at this girl because of what she is or isn’t doing with her body is chilling. And sadly, all too relatable.
For a movie about a monster, the scariest parts of It mostly entail the things us humans are capable of. And we have a feeling that’s very much the point. Shudder.