Meet Pennywise, evil personified

I really like most of Stephen King’s books, because King is a great storyteller, never mind the genre in which he usually writes. I read King because I want to be entertained, not to be frightened. In fact, some of his better stories are not frightening at all. Some of them scared the bejeebers out me, and It, his 1986 novel, ranks right up there, along with Salem’s Lot, on my list of scariest books.

It tells the story of the fictional small town of Derry, Maine. Derry is terrorized every 30 years by a malevolent being which can assume any form, but frequently manifests as Pennywise the clown. Pennywise reinforced my underlying coulrophobia, and I still am repulsed and frightened by most clowns (including Ronald McDonald).

In the 1990 television miniseries, Pennywise was played to horrifying effect by Tim Curry. A new movie version of It is due out next year. Pennywise will be played by Bill Skarsgård, and recently our first peek at Pennywise was released.

Can a clown personify evil? One look and I was convinced; you can judge for yourself.


Fake clown attacks put French police on alert and trigger vigilante response

I wonder which is fake, the clowns or the attacks? What is a “fake clown”, anyway? To me, all clowns are Pennywise.

French police are on high alert after fake clowns caused panic across France in a spreading phenomenon that has led to violence and a response by vigilantes.

Fourteen teenagers dressed as clowns and carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats were arrested outside a school in Agde, southern France, on Saturday. One provincial newspaper, Dauphiné Liberé, wrote: “These clowns aren’t funny any more.”

Clowns are creepy and scary, not funny*. Blame it on Stephen King.


*Maybe not Emmett Kelly…


The new Stephen King novel is a bit of a change of pace

No ghosts or goblins, no haunted houses, no magical creatures, no paranormal abilities. Just good vs evil. A former cop, depressed and empty in retirement, is drawn back into an unsolved case. Just another detective story? Not with Stephen King telling the story. King’s imperfect hero must match wits, not with a common criminal, but an insane and obsessed mind bent on horror.

The genre of Stephen King’s works of fiction is not why I read everything he publishes. King is a great yarn spinner; as I read his books, I fall through the hole in the page and become part of the story. If you haven’t read any of his stuff before, Mr. Mercedes is your chance to meet the master storyteller in a classic crime tale.