Is there a connection between the monster from IT and Gozer the Gozerian from Ghostbusters (1984)? Both are inter-dimensional, shape-shifting monsters who take the shape of whatever their prey thinks of.

But is this merely a coincidental similarity between the two stories or are they connected somehow? There are obvious differences sure. But part of me wonders if they were both inspired by the same legend or mythology or lore. If the only similarity were shape-shifting I probably wouldn't have even made the connection, but they also are both from another dimension and they both take the form of whatever is in the mind of their victims. That makes me wonder if there is a deeper connection.

(Also might be significant that Ghostbusters and the novel for IT came out around the same time; 1984 and 1985).

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    Isn't the monster from IT an alien, not an inter-dimensional monster? – TK-421 Sep 17 '19 at 6:33
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    TK - IT is kind of both; in the novel IT (and the Turtle) exist between universes. Some of IT came into this universe and landed on the Earth via a meteor. The 'reality' of It is still in this nether place - which is why, in the book, the only way to truly kill It is to do the ritual of Chud where you go into this other realm. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Sep 17 '19 at 12:08
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    OP - you can draw common aspects to several films/movies/folklore. Freddy Kruger is another one that you could say had similar characteristics to It. It's a relatively common trope. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Sep 17 '19 at 12:09
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    The shape of whatever their prey fears? That applies to IT of course, but it decidedly does not apply to Ghostbusters. Gozer takes the form of the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, an image Ray thought of specifically because it was not something that would anyone would fear. – Darrel Hoffman Sep 17 '19 at 17:36
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    Gozer didn't take the form of Stay Puft. Gozer manifested the Destructor / Traveler as Stay Puft thanks to Ray – NKCampbell Sep 17 '19 at 19:58

I would go one step further and say both are at least partly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft whose Elder Gods are horrible entities that have true forms the human mind cannot comprehend. Indeed, to gaze upon these beings will sometimes drive humans to insanity.

A point of contrast. Gozer asked the Ghostbusters to choose a form to battle and Ray chose the Stay Puft marshmallow man (but failed to specify scale or size)

IT/Pennywise on the other hand chose a form specifically to entice fear in its victims as this made them tastier when devoured. This combines the physical horror with the psychological terror of being eaten alive.

Both Gozer and Pennywise might be described as one of H.P. Lovecraft's Eldritch Abominations, creatures that do not obey the laws of physics and rather have reality warp around them.

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    I definitely got Lovecraftian vibes from Ghostbuters, with all that stuff about the architect constructing that building on a specific spot and with arcane geometries in the structure, etc. It wasn't a big part of the plot, but it definitely felt Lovecraftian to me. – Steve-O Sep 17 '19 at 15:01
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    Very good call. I'm betting you are right about them both being linked to Lovecraft. I still wonder if there is something more specific though. Maybe a particular Lovecraft monster that also shapeshifts into what you think of. I'm not familiar enough with his work to know. – sanpaco Sep 17 '19 at 21:53
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    Yikes Nyahlathotep is described as " the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man. He has "a thousand" other forms, most of these reputed to be maddeningly horrific" – m1gp0z Sep 17 '19 at 21:58
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    Also I believe that in his book of short stories (Skeleton Crew), King mentions HPL as an influence - If I recall correctly he's talking about the short story 'The Mist' in that collection. So I have no doubt that HPL influenced It - your analysis with incomprehensible entities driving people mad is spot on. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Sep 18 '19 at 12:04

I've noticed that Stephen King uses pop culture stuff in his stories, but twists it so it's scary. Some examples:

  • Christine = Herbie the Love Bug
  • Cujo = Old Yeller
  • In the trailer for It, Pennywise says "hello" using Winnie the Pooh's sweet and disarming voice.
  • In Needful Things, there are two friends named Nettie and Wilma, and they ultimately engage in a gruesome knife fight and kill each other. (Wilma and Nettie ... Wilma and Betty ... The Flintstones! Nobody wants to consider those lovable, wacky cartoon ladies violently trying to murder each other with meat cleavers!)

So I wouldn't be surprised if Stephen King is referencing the fun & relatively innocent Gozer from Ghostbusters. However, I have nothing to support this (except for Mr. King's habit of subtly borrowing from pop culture and twisting it to unsettle his audiences).

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    I'm pretty sure the Simpsons Movie came after Under the Dome (both TV show and book). – Darren Sep 17 '19 at 13:45
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    King wrote the first chapter of Under the Dome back in the 70s. I would say the Simpsons/UTD connection is purely coincidental. – awells Sep 17 '19 at 14:00
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    I would have thought Herbie the Love Bug to be Christine, not Carrie. – John Gordon Sep 17 '19 at 14:37
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    @awells On the other hand I was 100% sure the Simpsons movie parodies Under The Dome – Blueriver Sep 17 '19 at 15:11
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    @JohnGordon Of course that's what I meant! Thanks, I switched it. – BrettFromLA Sep 17 '19 at 15:20

In Dark Tower (which is also written by Stephen King) series, a creature from the species which Pennywise belongs to is encountered.

I haven't read or watched IT and came across this fact when I was reading Dark Tower wiki after finishing the books.

Here's the link, has spoilers about Dark Tower series. https://darktower.fandom.com/wiki/Dandelo

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    The Dark Tower series is cool in that King revisits other parts of his previous works, creating a shared universe of sorts. You may be getting some downvotes as your answer doesn't tie back to Ghostbusters like the initial question asked. I see that you are new and appreciate your input but I thought I would give you some feedback as to why your answer was not getting positive response. Welcome to the community! – m1gp0z Sep 18 '19 at 18:22

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