Parents Say Giant IT: Chapter Two Billboards Are Scaring Kids
Parents in Australia have made complaints to an advertising standards body about promotional billboard posters for the forthcoming film IT: Chapter Two, claiming the artwork has been 'terrifying' kids.
Advertising for the film - classified with a MA15+ age rating in Australia - has cropped up on giant roadside billboards in areas like Brisbane, where some locals haven't felt best pleased about Pennywise's face bearing down on them - especially children.
Brisbane mother Kellie told 9news: "It just totally freaks them out."
Kellie's daughter Piper explained how the posters featuring Pennywise the clown have given her nightmares.
She said: "I get really scared because it's hard to go to bed when you have a scary picture in your mind.
"Before I go to bed, I have to check the whole room.
"And when I finally go to bed I will wake up after a nightmare."
Another mother, Jane Swan, also said her child has felt 'terrified' by the poster.
She said: "Some people do enjoy going to horror movies and that's fine and that's their choice, and I understand that but we're not choosing to see this poster."
Swan issued a complaint to Ad Standards, arguing that promotional material for movies with a MA15+ rating should be restricted in areas frequented by children.
However, she was told: "Ad Standards generally has no jurisdiction over the placement or timing of advertisements, except when considering the use of language or sex, sexuality or nudity in advertising."
And it turns out it's not just young children feeling spooked by the film in the lead-up to its release - even one of the stars from the movie has admitted he's had bad dreams about the iconic clown.
Speaking at Comic-Con, actor James McAvoy - who plays Bill Denbrough - admitted: "I had nightmares about Pennywise quite a lot. The only one I can really remember is I'm lying on my side in the bed and he was in bed with me.
"And he's stroking my back gently and saying, 'Wake up James, wake up.' And I was just terrified, pretending to be asleep."
The film is based on the iconic novel by Stephen King, with the forthcoming sequel to the 2017 hit set 27 years after the original.
The members of the 'Losers' Club' are now fully grown and fairly well-adjusted, considering the terror wrought on them in the events of the first movie by the nightmarish Pennywise.
Unfortunately for them, Pennywise does what they hoped he would never do and returns to their lives, saying ominously in the trailer: "For 27 years, I've dreamt of you. I craved you. I've missed you!"
The film sees Andy Muschietti return to the director's seat, while actor Bill Skarsgård reprises his role as the terrifying clown.
Bill Hader will play Richie Tozier, Jay Ranscom will play Ben Hansom, and James Ransone will take on the role of Eddie Kaspbrak.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.