BANGOR — Moviegoers from Maine who watch the film “It: Chapter Two” this weekend might recognize a scene that draws on a painful event from the state’s history.

The scene involves a gay character named Adrian Mellon being attacked by teenagers and his subsequent encounter with Pennywise the Clown. The scene is based on real-life Bangor resident Charlie Howard, who was attacked and thrown off the city’s State Street Bridge in 1984.

Stephen King

Author Stephen King attends the 2018 PEN Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The film “It: Chapter Two,” is based on King’s book. Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press

Stephen King told the Bangor Daily News that the killing still had currency when he was writing the book on which the movie is based.

“At the time I started writing ‘It,’ the Howard murder had just happened. It was fresh in my mind and fitted my idea of Derry as a place where terrible things happened,” King said. “And, maybe needless to say, I was outraged. It was a hate crime.”

In the book, Mellon, like Howard, is in his 20s and was walking home with a male friend when he encountered homophobic teenagers. The scenes play out in a similar fashion, except the book and movie feature an appearance by the garish clown who lives in the sewer.

The scene is not included in the 1990 TV miniseries, but that changes with “It: Chapter Two,” with the character of Mellon being portrayed by Xavier Dolan.

King said in 2014 on the 30th anniversary of Howard’s killing that the Bangor community doesn’t bear responsibility for the crime.

“But it’s our town. We live here,” he said. “Which means we have to live with Charlie, and continue trying to make it right.”

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