Horror is as What Society Does

In the spirit of Halloween, on Saturday I watched It: Chapter 2. I had been meaning to see it, since I saw It: Chapter 1. Plus, I read the book about 6-7 years ago and wanted to see how the adaptation went.

I like to dive into a horror film every once in a while, especially if it’s been well received. I think horror should be taken more seriously as a genre than it has been historically because horror, once you get past the jump scares, is most notably a commentary of what’s happening in our society. Probably more-so than dramas or historical films. (Here’s an interesting argument for The Purge franchise, one I haven’t seen but I’ve heard the plot.)

But because it’s such a specific genre, like fantasy and sci-fi, it doesn’t get much recognition by the Academy Awards.

If you haven’t read It, Stephen King goes back and forth between the main characters (their group is called the Losers) as kids, meeting and fighting It for the first time, and as adults, when It awakes again and they come together and kill it for good.

In the most recent adaptation, the book is split into two movies: Chapter 1 for when they’re kids, and Chapter 2 for when they’re adults.

Part of the mythology about It that you learn as you read/watch, is that It comes to life every 27 years. After it wreaks havoc in Derry, feeding on the children, it goes away to sleep. Remarkably, the town forgets the tragedies it went through and write them off as some other cause or find someone to blame.

In Chapter 2, we find that the Losers have moved away from Derry and they’re living their own lives. When they are brought back together, most of them can’t remember what happened the summer they were tormented by It.

Mike, the only one who didn’t leave Derry, is also the only one who remembers what they went through and has to remind them. By keeping tabs on what was happening in the town, he was the one who recognized that It was back 27 years later and rounded up the group again so they could fight and kill it, once and for all.

This phenomena of Derry residents forgetting the tragedies that happened in their town can be related to how we’ve been dealing with racism in America for the past 400 years and how we shift our focus towards and away from systemic racism every time an egregious killing happens.

The story of another Black person being killed by police comes and goes on our news feeds and our TVs. We are shocked again and again by how deeply rooted racism is in our country.

We’re realizing that our thoughts and prayers aren’t going to cut it if there’s going to be real change towards driving out systemic racism and white supremacy. It’s been great to see people educating themselves, protesting, donating to causes, and spreading the word.

But we can’t stop.

We cannot become complacent. Our attention has to be focused on ending white supremacy at all times.

We have to call racism out for what it is, just like the Losers called out It for what it is. That’s how they were able to defeat it. (Sorry, spoiler alert.)

What’s scary is it’s easy to forget that racism is happening if it’s not happening to you or people you know.

Is it a coincidence that the only person of the Losers Group who remembered everything that went down with It is also Black? And that the ones who forgot what happened, who were able to leave and move on with their lives, where white?

Hmm… I think only Stephen King can answer that one for us.


ALSO, TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY. HOPEFULLY YOU’VE VOTED OR HAVE A PLAN TO VOTE TOMORROW.

DON’T MISS OUT ON HAVING YOUR VOICE HEARD AND DON’T FORGET TO VOTE DOWN THE BALLOT!

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