10 Disturbing True Stories Behind Famous Movies

8. The Homophobic Murder Of Charlie Howard - It Chapter Two

30 Minutes Or Less
Warner Bros.

It Chapter Two opens with one of the more infamous and memorably unsettling passages from Stephen King's novel - and that's really saying something - when a gay couple are accosted by homophobic locals in the town of Derry, Maine.

The scene in question concludes with one of the men, Adrian Mellon (Xavier Dolan), being badly beaten and thrown into the nearby stream, where he's preyed upon by Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), who bites his heart out for sustenance.

King's original inspiration for the scene was the 1984 murder of 23-year-old gay man Charlie Howard in Bangor, Maine. Like Adrian Mellon, he was attacked by a group of homophobic youths while out with his boyfriend and thrown into a stream.

Though Pennywise obviously wasn't involved in this instance, Howard was unable to swim and promptly drowned.

The scene's inclusion in It Chapter Two was relatively controversial upon release, yet it was certainly appropriately infuriating in demonstrating the hateful undercurrent that still existed in Derry nearly three decades after Pennywise's disappearance.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.