Was Pennywise the Real Villain in 'The Shining'?

Turns out that Kubrick using hidden imagery to hint at a fake moon landing isn't the craziest theory surrounding "The Shining."

Let me preface this article with the following statement: I am obsessed with the 2017 remake of It. The made-for-TV movie scared the ever-loving shit out of me as a kid (okay, as a teenager, too...okay, I'm still age-inappropriately terrified of Tim Curry's Pennywise), so walking into the theater on the opening night of Andrés Muschietti's film, I wanted to be as mentally prepared for the horrors that were about to befall me. After surviving (barely), I became entirely engrossed in the lore of Stephen King's original story. I had not only went to see the film three times in three consecutive days, but I had watched every dag-blasted trailer, sneak peek, movie review, and film theory on the internet in hopes of better understanding what on earth had bewitched me so.

And then I found this: a film theory that daisy-chains nearly every book (and film adaptations thereof) within the Stephen King universe with the ribbons dangling from the floating, blood-filled balloons of none other than the saber-toothed nightmare clown that destroyed my childhood.

I mean, leave it to The Film Theorists to provide a film theory that completely eviscerates your brain meat from your head skull, right? And whether you agree or disagree with it, it doesn't matter to my thirst for horror. The holes in the logic are clown-shaped to me, so it makes no difference if it makes sense or not, my I-know-I-should-not-be-afraid-of-a-fictitious-shapeshifting-circus-performer-in-a-movie-but-I-still-am-even-though-I-am-an-adult brain loves to be tortured with a delightful fright, and believing that Pennywise now exists in The Shining, Carrie, Cujo, Pet Sematary, and my other favorite horror classics really delivers the goods. 

Pennywise will now forever be lurking around the corner at the Overlook Hotel, peaking through the curtains at Carrie's prom, and licking his chops somewhere off-screen as Cujo gives Dee Wallace the heebie-jeebie jelly-legs.

What do you think of MatPat's It theory? Feel free to get into fantasy horror film lore fisticuffs down in the comments!     

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Your Comment


Read the Dark Tower books. ALL of it is resolved. It goes WAY past the Shining and IT. Those books are kind of incidental in the Stephen King universe. The Dark Tower series ties everything up.

October 21, 2017 at 11:33PM


It(2017) deserves to win many Oscars at the 2018 academy Awards because it has creativity

October 22, 2017 at 4:57AM


Pennywise has a cheap painted, red nose and teeth like a rabbit.
He looks not scary. Rather asking for some more baby carrots.

October 22, 2017 at 6:59AM, Edited October 22, 7:00AM

Steadicam Operator/Owner

I’m happy so many people were able to enjoy the remake but I genuinely don’t understand it myself.

Clearly, yes, the adults are the real villains but it’s painted with all the subtlety of a circus clown (bit of irony intended here)

October 22, 2017 at 3:48PM


Of course, yes!

October 23, 2017 at 1:28AM, Edited October 23, 1:28AM

Adriana Larty
Client Manager in Buyanessay company

Oh please. STFU with these ignorant ideas.

November 13, 2022 at 9:11AM