In an uncanny twist, it appears that the IT movies are on the same schedule as their villain.
Knowing the mythology of IT, it's probably no coincidence that the number "27" emerges in such a meta way. But what's the significance of IT's 27-year-long hibernation? Why 27 years?
First, let's go over IT's modus operandi. IT emerges from its lair beneath the sleepy town of Derry, Maine. IT terrorizes children and feeds off their fear. Eventually, after IT gets its fill with a cataclysmic showdown, IT sleeps for the next three decades (or so). Maybe IT is tired from all that terror. Maybe IT is stuffed. Either way, IT goes to sleep, like someone napping after a Thanksgiving feast.
So, why doesn't everyone just move from this cursed town while IT slumbers? Remember, IT is a master of mental manipulation. While awake, IT assumes the shape of the scariest possible form for each individual. Then, while hibernating, IT ensures townspeople forget everything.
By casting an amnesia cloud over the people of Derry, IT has gotten away with perpetrating the worst events in the town's history. A creature from outer space, IT crash landed in North America millennia ago and slumbered for years. IT first awoke in 1715, and is behind tragedies like Kitchener Iron Works that killed 108 people, including 88 children, and a massacre at the Black Spot nightclub.
After the show-down with the Losers' Club in IT, the clown slinks away to the sewers. When IT: Chapter Two opens 27 years later, IT is ready for its next appearance. Now in their 40s, the members of the Losers' Club have forgotten the central traumatic events of their childhood. When they return to Derry, the memories come flooding back.
The movies are more strict about IT's pattern. Like clockwork, IT comes out every 27 years smelling like a sewer and smiling like a maniac. The rule isn't as hard in King's novels — which, knowing IT's character, makes sense. IT thrives on chaos; an exact 27-year pattern is way too predictable for a being of pure evil. Rather, IT wakes up roughly every three decades, and stays away for a different period of time. Talk about messed up circadian rhythms!
Still, the number 27 echoes back in the book and movies. What could 27 mean? Naturally, I checked the significance of the number 27 in numerology, a spiritual practice that assigns meanings to numbers (my life path's a 6). According to The Secret of the Tarot, "The number 27 expresses a love for and interest in the well-being of humanity and one who is diplomatic and wise. This number is about non-judgement, compassion, and tolerance of others and their beliefs." So, uh, that's a dead end — Pennywise is the exact inverse of that statement. He hates humans, and loves to judge their fear.
But there's more! Physicists estimate that 27% of the universe is made up of Dark Matter, a mysterious invisible force detectable only from its gravity. We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is," the NASA website reads. Well, IT is a mysterious being from outer space. Who's to say IT isn't just dark matter in clown-shaped form? 27 years, for 27% of the universe. Someone call NASA.
We may never know why IT waits three decades between bursts. Luckily, we only had to wait two years for a sequel. IT Chapter Two lands in theaters on September 6. Watch Losers Club attempt to put IT to sleep for good.