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NECA: Stephen King’s IT Pennywise (1990)

Pennywise the dancing clown is experiencing a renaissance due to the success of the great IT film from 2017. However, it was Tim Curry who got our desperate fear of clowns started with his portrayal of the child-eating demon in the 1990 TV mini-series. Almost 30 years later, he is finally getting his plastic due thanks to NECA.

Now, we have gotten quite a bit of action figure merchandise as of late from the 2017 film via NECA and Funko, but I am so glad that this original screen take on Pennywise was not forgotten. I love both the new film and the original TV series, and while the film improves much of the translation from page to screen, Tim Curry’s turn as Pennywise is simply unforgettable. The new Pennywise is wonderfully terrifying in his own right, but I was a kid when I first saw the mini-series, and that version has stuck with me my entire life. As I said, there is a place in my black heart for both versions of the clown, but while I find the new version physically scary, Curry’s Pennywise will always be the real psychological menace that continues to haunt me.

Now, in terms of design accuracy, I know that the 2017 version is more true to the Victorian era clown from the page, but for those of us who grew up with the Bozo Show, this 1990 version was immediate in his terror and taunting of the Loser’s Club. As far as action figures go, the costume design and color palette are both striking, and this figure offset’s the more drab swath of the new Pennywise, and they look great together on the shelf. As is (almost) always the case with NECA, the sculpt is scary-accurate (see what I did there?) and when you factor in all of the articulation and accessories, this release is more than worthy of its price point, and fits right in with NECA’s previous “Ultimate” figure editions.

Yeah, this is a baggy clown suit made up of a LOT of plastic, but it moves remarkably well. All of the joints have a great range of movement, particularly the torso, and the elbows, which have a unique articulation scheme in that they are double-double jointed. Yep, there are double joints at the top and bottom of the “elbows” and that helps facilitate range in the baggy sleeves, and adds some joint strength that can help support holding the massive bunch of balloons that are essential to the character’s iconography. This release also includes several swappable hands to help hold the various accessories, and the “demonic” hands (most recognizable from the movie poster/cover) are included as well.

There are also four, yes FOUR, unique swappable heads included in this release and every single one of them is just perfect. You get the “frowny” face, “happy” face, “scary” face, and “scarred” face as well. Each one is essential in portraying the full array of Pennywise expressions and progressions though the movie, and NECA might just get me to buy three more of these just so I can show off all the heads at once. While some of them are more dynamic than others, I think my favorite is just the the frowning head. To me, it captures the Curry likeness the best, and since his take on Pennywise was with a curmudgeonly terror, I find this expression perfect. Really though, you cannot go wrong because they are all great. I will say it does take quite a bit of effort to swap the heads, so I would suggest heating them up just a bit to help with the changing.

The accessories are also nicely realized, and all requisite. A real paper S.S. Georgie is included, as is his noisemaker, and, of course SEVEN balloons. Yes, the boat and noisemaker are neat, but nothing comes close to the awesomeness of the balloons. For the seven you get two yellow, and one of each of orange, white, red, green, and blue. Each on is on a wire “string” so they can appear to float (you’ll float, too), and the effect is just great. Now, they can be used individually, but this is one of those cases where the sum is greater than the parts, and when the figure holds them all in a bunch, you have clown terror in three dimensions, and the iconography cannot be denied. I do want to mention that is helps if you twist the wires together at the point of where the hand will hold them. Once you get them arranged (it can be tedious, but stick with it) the grip hand holds them tightly. Once I got mine together, I just kept them there and how I want them for display, but you could have a lot of fun playing around with them.

Man, NECA has been crushing it lately, and this new classic Pennywise is in competition for my favorite figure of the year. Everything just goes right here, and the attention to detail (check out those paint applications on the back of the vest) and love that went into the creation of this figure are second to none. I have been waiting for this figure for pretty much my entire life, and now I am so pleased, and this was worth the wait. Yes, the new IT movie and figures are wonderful, but this Pennywise is my jam. Between this figure, the two modern Pennywise NECA figures, and the Funko action figures, I am living, ahem, IT up right now and if you are fan of the property, you will not want to miss this figure. If you are ready to float, too, NECA has this up at their Amazon store right now. Go ahead and get him, Richie, you won’t be sorry.

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