Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the main antagonist in Stephen King’s horror novel It, as well as its two film adaptations. With his brightly colored, baggy costume and malevolent nature, Pennywise is one of the most iconic and terrifying clowns in pop culture history. But does this sinister being actually contain or utilize blood in any way? Let’s explore what Pennywise is, where he came from, and whether there is any literal or symbolic blood associated with this frightening character.
What is Pennywise?
Pennywise is an ancient, shape-shifting entity that awakens every 27 years to prey upon the children of Derry, Maine. He typically appears in the form of a clown to attract and disarm his victims. Pennywise calls himself “Bob Gray” and pretends to be a real clown entertaining children. However, his true form is a glowing orange light filled with malevolent energy.
Pennywise’s real name is IT – an evil force as old as time itself that came to Earth from an alternate dimension. IT exists in a state of semi-hibernation during its 27 year rests, residing in the sewer system beneath Derry, which acts as a portal between our world and IT’s dimension.
When awake, IT possesses a variety of powers, including shapeshifting, telepathy, illusion casting, and control over the minds of its victims. Pennywise feeds on human fear as its source of nutrition. He typically chooses children as prey because their imaginations and fears are easy to exploit.
Does Pennywise Have Blood?
Because Pennywise is a shape-shifting entity from another dimension, he does not possess an organic, biological form in the traditional sense. Therefore, Pennywise does not contain actual blood or require it to survive.
However, there are several instances where Pennywise simulates the appearance of blood in order to frighten his victims:
– In the 1990 It miniseries, Pennywise makes his mouth fill up with blood in front of Beverly Marsh to terrify her after she injures him.
– In the 2017 It film, Pennywise vomits a massive quantity of blood onto Beverly when she encounters him in the sewer.
– Also in the 2017 film, Pennywise appears with blood flowing from his forehead after being wounded by the Losers Club.
So while Pennywise does not have any internal blood circulation or organs, he is able to manifest the illusion of blood externally. This allows him to better impersonate humans and amplify the horror he inflicts. The blood is simply part of Pennywise’s tricks rather than a real biological function.
Symbolic Blood Associations
Beyond the simulated blood Pennywise weaponizes against his victims, there are also symbolic connections between the character and blood:
– Pennywise’s primary source of sustenance is feeding on human fear and flesh. This act of eating or consuming people can be seen metaphorically as drinking their blood.
– When Pennywise bites into Georgie Denbrough’s arm in the opening scene of the 1990 film, it visually resembles a vampire bite, linking Pennywise to blood-drinking creatures.
– Pennywise resides in the sewers beneath Derry, associating him with waste, filth, and substances that clog veins – including blood.
– The Ritual of Chüd which weakens Pennywise involves a biting battle that leaves wounds resembling bloody teeth marks on the bodies of the Losers Club members.
So while Pennywise does not depend on actual blood to survive, blood symbolically relates to his savage, monstrous nature and the way he devours his victims. The blood reinforces Pennywise as an ancient predator.
To better understand if Pennywise requires or uses blood, it is useful to examine what actually happens when he attacks and feeds on human prey:
Pennywise employs various methods to kill children in Derry:
– Using his teeth and claws to maul them
– Crushing their bodies with his monstrous strength
– Manipulating external factors like cars or household appliances to cause fatal “accidents”
– Terrifying them so severely their hearts give out or they’re left in catatonic states
– Forcing them to commit suicide through mind control
– Causing them to fatally wound each other while under his influence
So while Pennywise does bite and chew on flesh, he does not typically drain victims of their blood or require ingesting it specifically. His attacks are focused on inflicting pain, fear, and mutilation.
Consumption of Flesh
After killing his prey, Pennywise is known to devour their bodies. He consumes the flesh of his victims rather than drinking their blood.
In the books, Pennywise bites off Georgie Denbrough’s arm and says he will “save the rest for later” – indicating he eats the flesh for sustenance over time. Human meat essentially functions as food for Pennywise.
So instead of blood, it is the muscle, organs, and bone marrow Pennywise feasts on for energy and nourishment when not hibernating.
Victims as “Food”
While Pennywise does not drink blood, his victims essentially serve as food containing nutrients and life essence he consumes:
– He refers to his child murders as “feasts” and “meals.”
– Pennywise seeks to “salt the meat” by terrifying his victims and augmenting their fear.
– He makes the analogy of letting meat “age” by prolonging stalking and torture.
This language implies the flesh and vital energies Pennywise extracts from humans provide sustenance, replacing the role blood serves in organic life forms.
Pennywise’s Nature and Origins
To further shed light on why Pennywise lacks blood, it’s helpful to examine his original nature and origins:
As mentioned, Pennywise comes from an alternate dimension outside our universe with different physical laws. So his biology does not follow conventional logic or require blood.
Within his home dimension, Pennywise is one of many similar entities called “Deadlights” that feed on weaker lifeforms. So Pennywise evolved as a psychic predator rather than a biological one.
Pennywise was birthed from a realm known as the “Macroverse” where imagination influences reality. So he could manifest blood without needing it functionally.
Overall, Pennywise’s otherworldly nature explains why human blood would serve no biological purpose for his survival. His consumption of fear and flesh are more aligned with his psychic vampiric role.
Fluids Linked to Pennywise
While literal blood is never part of Pennywise’s mythology, he is associated with a few other ominous fluids in the story:
Pennywise’s lair beneath Derry is filled with greywater sewage that floods the tunnels. This filthy environment suits his unnatural, inhuman essence.
Beneath Derry, Pennywise hibernates in a chamber filled with black, crude oil-like sludge. This viscous substance almost seems to fuel his powers.
Pennywise’s true form as the Deadlights contains pulsing, liquid-like orange energy later revealed to consist of “poison.”
So while none of these fluids are literal blood, they establish the damp, contaminated, and toxic nature of Pennywise’s biology.
In summary, while Pennywise is associated with blood symbolically and as part of his efforts to terrify victims, he does not actually contain or require blood to survive due to his origins as an interdimensional entity. The consumption of human fear and flesh provide Pennywise with the psychic nourishment he needs when awake. So the next time Pennywise appears covered in blood, remember it’s simply a manifestation of his ancient evil rather than a real biological process. Blood reinforces his inhuman and vampiric qualities, but ultimately only the flesh of his victims can sustain this monster from beyond our finite universe.