IT: The History of Henry Bowers and His Gang | Horror History

If you want to hear about the disturbing details
of the Bowers Gang that were too dark for the movie, then stick around to the end of
this video. One of the things that makes Stephen King’s
fictional town of Derry, Maine so frightening is that it’s sewer dwelling clown isn’t
the only monster that the kids have to deal with — the city is also filled with human
monsters, and many of them come from Henry Bowers’s Gang of bullies. My name is Professor CZsWorld and today on
Horror History, we’re going to dissect the messed up minds of the young tyrants of Derry’s
streets, so let’s take it back to the beginning with the birth of Henry Bowers. Henry is born in the year 1946. He is the son of Oscar Bowers, also known
as Butch. I think Henry’s evil tendencies took foot
from an early age as a result of his parents. His father was a mentally unstable farmer,
who physically abused his wife and son, so Henry’s mother left the family at a young
age. Butch eventually started dating a woman named
Rena Davenport. Since Butch was often at odds with his African-American
neighbor Will Hanlon, I think Henry picked up the same racist tendencies and took things
out on Will’s son Mike. Every single member of the Losers Club believed
that Henry despised them the most, but if you were to ask Henry, he’d say Mike is
the one that really draws his ire. I mean I don’t think he’d put it so eloquently,
but you get the idea. When he was younger, Henry killed the Hanlon’s
dog Mr. Chips by feeding him a poisoned burger — and I think the key to understanding this
horrible act, is the fact that Henry was proud as he presented what he had done to his father. The environment he was raised in really impacted
his actions. The kids in Derry often seem to agree that
when Henry’s father takes things out on him, Henry, in turn, vents his frustrations
into the other kids of Derry. Henry terrorizes the Loser’s Club with his
own gang of bullies. When he was 6, he met Victor Criss who joins
up with Henry mostly out of fear. Victor was the closest thing the Bowers gang
had to intelligence or morality. He seemed more interested in frightening their
victims than hurting them, kind of like how I feel about my viewers, and as the summer
progressed, it seems like he becomes more aware of Henry’s deteriorating sanity than
anyone else. Henry and Vic could usually be found with
Reginald Huggins, who goes by the moniker Belch because *burp* *burp* Well, yeah, because of that. These three were the main core of the Bowers
Gang, but would sometimes be joined by others, such as Patrick Hockstetter — who was maybe
more disturbed than Henry himself. Alhough Patrick was quiet and kept to himself,
he would partake in the collection of dead animals, he touched his classmates in inappropriate
ways and killed his baby brother out of jealousy, an event he discovered a sense of arousal
towards violence from. Other members of Henry’s Gang include Peter
Gordon, a rich kid who joins Bowers’ Gang to boost his reputation; Steve “Moose”
Sadler, a big strong kid, as his nickname implies, who was likely coerced into joining
because he’s a bit mentally handicapped and Henry probably takes advantage of him;
and Gard Jagermeyer, a big slow kid who was described as being so stupid they didn’t
even both sending him to summer school. I definitely need to steal that insult in
the future — I ****ing love that. At the end of the 1958 school year, Henry
is in danger of having to do a little summer school himself. Again, this is something that scares him because
he’s supposed to help his dad on the farm during the summer, so his father will probably
beat him if he has to go to summer school instead. He tries taking his academic frustrations
out on his classmates. He goes after Richie Tozier, a common target
of his because of his loud mouth. One day at school, Richie called him “banana
heels” when Henry slipped on a puddle. Belch was the one to notice Richie trying
to sneak away after the last bell, and they chased him all the way through town to Freese’s
department store. Henry had the intention of seriously hurting
Richie, and Richie was only able to get away after hiding in the toy department and sneaking
out the emergency exit. During the last exam of the year, Henry asks
Ben Hanscom to let him copy his work, but Ben turns him down, causing Henry to fail
the test. On the last day of school, Henry gathers Victor
and Belch to get his revenge. They search Derry and eventually find Ben
going into the library. The three wait for him to come out and follow
him until he’s out of sight. Victor and Belch seize him, and Henry pulls
out his blade, telling Ben he’s going to carve his name into Ben’s gut so that he
never forgets to let him copy. Again — not exactly the smartest thing to
do. I mean, if any of you are planning on committing a
crime tonight, I’d urge you not to inscribe your real name as evidence, but that’s just
my advice, take it or leave it. Victor didn’t think Henry was actually going
to go through with it, but after carving the letter H, Ben pushes back against him and
sends himself tumbling into the Barrens, where Henry goes chasing after in a rage. Ben then trips him and kicks him in the balls. “AHHH!!!!” Henry sends Victor and Belch after him, but
instead, they end up finding Bill and Eddie, who are attempting to build a dam in the stream. When Henry joins back up with them, he does
what his father would have done, and takes his frustrations out on them and their dam,
breaking Eddie’s nose and sending him into an asthma attack. Henry, Victor and Belch would continue looking
for Ben around town all day before eventually giving up and getting on bus back towards
Henry’s house. As the summer progresses, Henry becomes crazier
and more violent. One Saturday in June, Henry and the gang go
to the Aladdin theater for a movie, and on the way there, nearly cross paths again with
Ben Hanscom, causing Ben to hide until they pass by. In the mini-series, the Losers spill concessions
on the bullies, but in the book, they try to sneak out a side door after Victor and
Henry look up and see them on the balcony. The Bowers Gang trapped them in the alley
with Henry, Victor and Belch on one side and two other unnamed thugs, most likely Moose
and Jagermeyer, on the other. Ben hurls an overflowing garbage can to knock
Henry over, then headbutts Victor. Belch grabs Beverly Marsh’s hair and tries
to slam her into the wall, but she’s able to scramble away, and Richie uses a garbage
can lid to shield Belch’s incoming punch before they all escape. I think Henry’s sanity was really starting
to boil after that. It isn’t specifically written what his reaction
is to this fight, but King does describe that Richie was expecting Henry to roll up and
try to beat them up in front of the police station — and I think that goes a long way
in conveying how scary and unbalanced Henry was becoming. He was already developing this rivalry with
the Losers, but his anger towards them and his sanity would both snap on one summer night. Before falling asleep, Henry head voices calling
out to him, and went outside where he could hear IT speaking to him through the moon. It’s at this point that Henry is unable
to tell reality from his nightmares, so when IT orders him to kill the losers, he gathers
his friends, picks up some fireworks, and sets things into motion. On July 3rd 1958, the Bowers Gang are walking
around when they come across Henry’s enemy number one: Mike Hanlon. They chase him down towards a creepy abandoned
house at 29 Neibolt Street, and corner Mike inside the fence, where Henry reveals that
he was the one that killed Mike’s dog. In retaliation, Mike begins throwing rocks,
drawing blood from Henry’s forehead. Mike climbs the fence to get away, but Henry
reaches for his foot and Mike kicks down at his face, breaking his nose and sending him
into a mad frenzy, pelting Mike with rocks and firecrackers. Meanwhile, at the junkyard in the Barrens,
the six members of the Losers Club are also getting ready to shoot firecrackers, but Bill
Denbrough tells everyone to put them away and collect a stash of rocks, because he feels
something is about to happen. This is likely because Bill has a little bit
of “shine” to him, a psychic and clairvoyant ability most prominently featured in The Shining. Henry chases Mike into the gravel pit in the
Barrens where Mike joins Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, Stan and Eddie in pelting Henry with
rocks. Peter Gordon is the first to flee, probably
realizing that Henry had completely lost it. Peter would never return to Bowers’ gang
after that, perhaps because he was one of the two somewhat intelligent members and he
realized what he was starting to get himself into… and wanted out. Henry hits Beverly with a pebble, “Owwww!!” ….causing Ben to go crazy and tackle him,
and Henry retaliates by throwing a lit M80 firecracker at him. Moose comes in and drags Ben to his knees,
but the others pelted his back with rocks. Victor Criss did the most damage to the Losers
during the fight, perhaps since he was able to stay calm and find good rocks, which aided
his already effective fastball throwing ability, but in the end, he ended up flinching first
in a head to head battle with Bill and paid the price for it. With Moose and Belch covered in blood, Bill
threatens Henry to try to get him to leave. “I think the 6 of us can put you in the
hospital.” “Seven.” As he gets away, Henry screams back at them,
“I’ll kill you all!” A farewell that both he and IT tend to use a lot when
dealing with the Losers Club. Also worth noting, though it may not have
been intentional, Henry kind of helps them overcome It. If he hadn’t chased Mike into the Barrens
that day, the lucky 7 may have never joined up — and their unity gives them the power
to overcome the manifestations of the monster. After losing the battle that would become
known as The Apocalyptic Rock Fight, Henry was hungry to get his revenge, but it would
be another 17 days before their next encounter. I have to imagine he probably caught up with
Peter Gordon during that time, for ditching them during the rock fight and spent a lot
of time at the parks in town taking his anger out on whatever kids he could find. Between that, summer school and working on
the farm for his father, I can kind of understand why it wasn’t until July 20th that Henry
tracked down one of the Losers: Eddie Kaspbrak. They spotted him coming out of Costello Street
Market, and Henry grabbed him before he could slip back inside. Patrick smacks Eddie in the face and Victor
knocks him to the ground. This is all happening in broad daylight in
the middle of town, which is a testament to where Henry falls on the sanity spectrum at
this point. He pins Eddie down and stuffs his mouth full
of gravel as revenge for the rock fight. Maybe out of fear for It, and maybe fueled
by his own desire for revenge, Henry’s attack continues even when an adult comes out and
pulls him off of Eddie. Henry just pushes the man down and tells him
to go back inside. The adults in Derry have a tendency to turn
away when bad things are happening, and the man, whose name is Mr. Gedreax, backs down
from the 12-year old Henry, which I can only imagine was a horrifying feeling for Eddie,
knowing that not even an adult could save him, but it did give him a moment to try to
run, at least until a little kid on a trike gets in his way and Eddie wipes out. Henry attacks him and breaks his arm, and
to his surprise, Eddie starts laughing, and Henry actually looks scared. I think this is an important detail, because
Henry, like IT, seems to be affected by their laughter, and I’d theorize that these two
evil characters share this common weakness because they both need to take advantage of
their victims being afraid. When Eddie laughs, it shows that getting injured
isn’t so scary, and that really puts Henry’s main weapon, his brute force, in jeopardy. However, when they hear the cop car turn up,
they come to their senses and run for it, with Patrick spitting in Eddie’s face before
fleeing. Two days later, on July 22nd, Bowers, Victor
Criss, Belch Huggins and Patrick Hockstetter are at the dump, using a lighter to ignite
their farts and see who can make the longest flame, laughing as they do so. Henry was supposedly very good at this, because
his father’s girlfriend made beans for them once a week. I think you know the song. After a day full of… I was gonna say “fun”, but I think I’ll
just say: after a day full of “that”, Victor and Belch have to leave, so only Patrick
and Henry remain. This is where a new side of Henry Bowers is
revealed, and it’s hard to blame them for not wanting to put this stuff in the movie. Patrick tells Henry he wants to try something,
and gives him a “hand” as he also gives himself a “hand”. When Patrick offers to put it in his mouth,
Henry becomes angry and punches him, claiming he doesn’t go for any of that stuff. Patrick blackmails Henry $1 to keep quiet
about it, but Henry has a counter of his own, threatening to expose Patrick’s secret:
that he’s been killing dogs and cats in town and stashing them in a refrigerator in
the junkyard. Soon after, Henry left, worried that Patrick
would expose his little secret. Little did he know, Patrick wouldn’t be
exposing anything to anyone, as he became the next victim of IT, who kills him using
the form of a swarm of flying leeches. One of the last things that Patrick saw was
a figure, described as having a face like running wax, trying to decide what it wanted
to be. This was likely because Patrick was so psychologically
messed up, that IT had trouble finding the perfect fear for him. We never specifically find out what happened
to the other bullies after that. Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler and Gard Jagermeyer
are not mentioned again, but in 1985, the Losers do recall that all of Henry’s friends
were killed by IT that summer, but it’s not clear if Peter, Moose and Gard were considered to be
a part of that group anymore. Maybe Jagermeyer was just so dumb, King didn’t
even bother writing a conclusion for him. I had previously mentioned that maybe the
one member of the Bowers Gang who had some morality and common sense was Victor Criss,
and in early August, I think he starts to get cold feet about being a part of Bowers’
gang. There’s a truck depot where many of the
kids in town play baseball, and Vic came alone one day to warn the Losers Club that Henry
was really losing it. I also think his lack of loyalty to Bowers,
and in turn, IT, was what caused him to become the next direct victim — but I’ll explore
that more when we get there. In mid-August, Henry noticed some balloons
on his mailbox, with each of the kids’ faces on them. One by one, the balloons popped, and the mailbox
swung down to reveal a package from Robert Gray, the name used in connection with the
human form of IT. The box contained a new switchblade, since
Henry had lost his chasing Ben in the Barrens. He goes inside, where his father is taking
a beer nap, and the voice of the moon tells him to push the switch and kill Butch. Henry’s mental state had been deteriorating
all summer. The Losers knew it. Victor knew it. And maybe even Belch realized it. But now, Henry’s sanity… had snapped! After murdering his father, the voice told
Henry to get Victor and Belch and go to Kansas Street that afternoon. When he arrived, he saw Beverly there, and
he heard the voice once again, this time from out of the sewer, telling him to kill her. They run after her and Henry catches her by
the hair. Like the incident with Eddie at Costello Market,
Henry defies authority in favor of violence when a car horn blasts and a woman yells out
for him to stop assaulting Bev. Not backing down, he attacks the woman’s
car with his knife and kicks out her tail light causing her to drive away. Beverly kicks him in the balls and runs… “AHHHHH!!!!” …Henry, who can barely walk after the nut-shot
still insists on catching her, which just goes to show how violence had become his only
priority, and perhaps how he was being overcome by the influence of IT. The bullies chase her into The Barrens where
they unknowingly stand on the roof of The Losers’ underground clubhouse. Henry knows about the clubhouse because the
voices told him, but doesn’t know where it is, and he assumes that it’s a treehouse
or something. Belch makes a terrible joke “if they want
a club, I’ll club them.” I actually find it hilarious, but only because
of how dumb Belch is. Henry and Victor look around by one of the
sewage pipes, where Henry hears the voice telling where to find the Losers. The Losers reconvene just before the remaining
bullies show up and start throwing rocks. At this point, I think that Victor and Belch
are being controlled or manipulated by IT, Mike sees them and thinks they are sleepwalking
or drugged. Ben leads them to the pumping station with
Henry, Victor and Belch chasing after them and throwing rocks. It’s begun to rain and it’s turning into
a thunderstorm by they time they reach the embankment where they had previously built
the dam, where they are able to load up on ammo to throw back at the Bowers Gang, causing
Henry and his friends to peel off to the other side of the treeline and try to catch them
at the pumping station. Henry arrives as they climb down into the
sewer. The last Loser to climb in is Richie. Henry slips and falls in a puddle again, causing
Richie to flick him off and yell, “hey banana-heels”, just like that day at school, before disappearing
into the sewer. The seven losers stand in a circle at the
bottom of the ladder, and since Henry, Victor and Belch can only come down one at a time,
Henry realizes he’d essentially be outnumbered. He throws a huge rock down to scatter them
before coming down, but Richie still bites him on the ankle before running off into the
inflow pipe. Victor and Belch join Henry, and chase the
Losers into the sewers. After giving the warning to the Losers about
Henry’s sanity earlier that month, I would come to the conclusion that IT no longer saw
Victor as a viable ally, and manipulated him into coming down into the sewers to become
It’s next meal. Like Richie, we know that Victor has been
going to horror movies at the Aladdin, and I’m guessing it is for this reason that
It takes the form of The Frankenstein Monster to decapitate him. It’s unclear if the plan was to take Belch
out as well, but when Belch sees this happen, he attacks the monster, who easily overpowers
him and tears off half of his face. Henry, literally having tunnel vision, leaves
his friend behind to die with only one focus: killing the Losers. He never manages to catch up with them though,
and after narrowly escaping being killed by Bill Denbrough, the monster lets Henry find
his way out of the sewer. The rest of Henry’s summer is not perfectly
spelled out, but given the information we do have, I’ll try to fill in the blanks. Henry makes it out of the sewers and decides
to return home, where police are waiting for him and take him in for the murder of his
father. He goes to trial, where he pleads insanity
and they find him to be a psychopath and place him in Augusta Asylum. Many of the people in town use Henry as a
scapegoat for the murders committed by IT in 1957 and 1958, and this becomes a widely
accepted theory despite there being no evidence tying him to these other murders. The fact that the killings stopped as soon
as he was incarcerated and the fact that he was found to have gone insane was enough. Henry would spend the next 21 years in Augusta
before transferring to Juniper Hill Asylum in 1976, where he would sit and count the
nightlights that burnt out inside of his cell, until one fateful day in 1985 when Henry would
encounter an old friend. One day, after Mike Hanlon made calls to each
of his 6 childhood friends to let them know that It had come back, Henry Bowers started
to hear voices in Juniper Hill Asylum, and he thinks they’re coming from the moon. He hears the voices of his old friends, Victor
and Belch. He hears the voices of the Losers Club taunting
him. And he hears the voice of Pennywise the Dancing
Clown, who tells him to go back and kill them all. Bowers laid awake late one night. He had seen many night lights burn out over
the years. They were something that was used to keep
Henry calm and in check, so when his night light goes out at that moment, it represents
his insanity taking back over. This time, he heard the voice come from under
his bed. It was his old pal: Victor. In the TV mini-series, it’s Belch. Of course, it’s not really Victor or Belch,
it’s just another form of It, trying to get Henry back on It’s side. Victor says that Henry can hurt the Losers
regardless of if they fear him or not, which is technically true and lets him out of his
cell. It uses the form of Pennywise to scare the
guard, Koontz, then takes the form of a giant Doberman dog, an image that doesn’t play
incredibly well in the mini-series, to attack Koontz and let Henry get free. Henry found a steel blade in storm drain,
undoubtedly placed there by It, and hitched a ride back into Derry. Eddie would later recognize it as the same
knife Henry had in the sewers when they were kids. After reuniting with his old friends at lunch
during the day and at the library in the evening, Mike Hanlon felt he wasn’t alone as he did
some writing after they left. Henry hides out in the glass passageway between
the children’s library and the adult library, which is symbolic of the fact that he never
really got to grow up outside of the mental asylum — he still has a special contempt
for the dark skinned Mike. Mike is only armed with a letter opener, but
he manages to stab Henry’s forearm with it. Henry gets him back in the thigh, but Mike
slashes his ribs. Henry is fat and out of touch, but Mike is
old and much more frail than he used to be. He has a chance to finish Henry off, but a
thought pops into head about not wanting to do It’s dirty work. It takes the form of young Stan Uris’s head
and eggs Henry on, telling him to kill Mike, but Mike gets the upper hand and stabs Henry
in the stomach. Henry flees the library, leaving Mike badly
injured, but having taken a lot of damage himself. It’s past 2 in the morning when Henry comes
upon a sewer grate with a balloon tied to it, but has to hide away in a bush when he
sees a cop car and ambulance coming by. Henry wonders about if Mike was dead yet,
and when the cars pass, the voice of It tells him a ride is coming for him. A 1958 Plymouth Fury pulls up, which is significant
to Henry because that was his father’s dream car, and it’s significant to me because
it’s the car from Christine, another Stephen King novel which also has a movie version. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve
seen the movie and I expected it to be dumb, like no point in going to summer school dumb,
but I actually really liked it. But back on topic, the driver of the car in
the novel is Belch, or at least a zombie-like version of Belch still wearing the Yankees
cap he wore the day he died. I too, hope to be buried in my Cubs hat. Belch doesn’t speak the entire ride, and
most of his nose is gone. Henry, clearly not fully understanding that
this is a form of It, starts to feel sorrow for letting Belch die and goes on this whole
apology. They stop in front of the Derry Townhouse,
the hotel that the Losers are all staying at. Belch’s mouth opens to cut off Henry’s
apology, but instead of his own voice the voice that Henry recognized from the moon
came out — telling him to shut up and get them. I think at this point Henry understands. He retrieves a piece of paper in the glove
compartment with all of the Loser’s room numbers listed, and goes after Eddie first. He knocks on the door and tells Eddie that
he’s the bellboy, coming with a message from his wife, not really knowing that Eddie
even had a wife. This gets Eddie to open up the door, and when
he does, he recognizes Henry stabbing the knife in his direction! He shuts the door on Henry’s arm, which
causes him to drop the blade, but Henry forces his way in. Eddie smashes a bottle and stabs at Henry
with it, cutting his eye, then his arm. Henry pushes him back into the table, but
ends up falling and impaling himself on the bottle. Eddie’s arm is broken again, but Henry is
dying and the last remaining member of the once feared Bowers Gang croaks on a hotel
floor. Henry’s downfall highlights the change in
dynamic that takes place after the Loser’s Club defeats It in 1958. As kids, they constantly feared Henry and
it would usually take a big group of them or in some cases all 7 of them to evade his
attacks. But after the Losers conquered It, Henry became
the real loser, growing old and fat at the bottom of the food chain in an asylum while
Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, Stan and Eddie went on to be incredibly successful, with
Mike staying back in Derry to man the lighthouse, so to speak. In 1958, Henry and his gang chased Mike away,
while in 1985, Mike chased him out of the library after putting up a good fight. As kids, Eddie’s fear of Henry Bowers was
only second to It, but as an adult Eddie is able to take him one on one and Henry meets
his demise. So that’s the entire history of The Bowers
Gang, let me know in the comments who I should analyse next on Horror History and remember
to subscribe to CZsWorld for new horrors every week, ring that deathbell for notifications,
and I’ll see you in the next one. Assuming we both survive. “AAAAHHHHHH—

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