Clowns are scary enough to most people, but Stephen King took that terror to a new level with It, his coming-of-age horror novel about a group of friends plagued by an evil entity that takes the form of a fearsome clown. It’s impossible to top Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise in the TV miniseries adaptation King’s story, but director Andy Muschietti appears to have done a fair job of delivering something almost as scary in his new film adaptation of It.

Look, there’s just no way that this version of Pennywise is going to replace Curry’s chilling iteration, but as far as evil clowns go, this one is alright. EW offers our first look at Hemlock Grove star Bill Skarsgard as the sinister clown in Muschietti’s It, which is intended to be the first of two films based on King’s unforgettable novel:

EW / New Line Cinema
EW / New Line Cinema

Skarsgard spoke with EW about the new take on Pennywise, the preferred form assumed by a nameless, faceless evil that feeds on fear:

It’s such an extreme character. Inhumane. It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human. He’s not even a clown. I’m playing just one of the beings It creates.

The actor acknowledges that they needed to do something different for the new adaptation, so Muschietti tried to stay away from the typical grease paint look in favor of what you see above — the paint looks hardened and dried out, but the design is more overtly sinister than Curry’s version from the old miniseries.

Skarsgard is 25 years old, which puts him closer in age to the youngsters Pennywise terrorizes in the first of the two-part film series. King’s novel was split between the kids’ initial experience with the evil entity and their second showdown as adults, when a tragedy forces them to return home and vanquish Pennywise once and for all. Instead of vacillating between past and present as King did, Muschietti’s first film centers entirely on the kids, while the second film will track them as adults.

Muschietti previously directed the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror flick Mama, and came to the new adaptation of It late in the game, following Cary Fukunaga’s exit over creative differences. Despite some concern over the creative change-up, It is currently in production and on track to hit its September 8, 2017 release date.

More From The New 96.1 WTSS