“It is closer than you think,” reads a chilling message spray-painted on a sidewalk in Sydney, Australia. An eerie red balloon floats above it, tied to a nearby sewer grate. If this sounds like the beginning of a Stephen King novel to you, then you’re partially right.

The unsettling display, which can now be found at various locations across the city, is a promo campaign for It, the new horror film based on King’s novel of the same name. The red balloons are a sinister reference to the movie’s sewer-dwelling signature villain, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and the tactics he uses to lure children. It stars Bill Skarsgård as the menacing clown, and is set to premier in Australia on September 7th.

Though the balloons have been revealed as nothing more than a clever publicity stunt, Sydney residents are still a little creeped out by them, and have taken to Twitter to express a whole lot of “nope.” See them for yourself below, find out how people are reacting, and let us know if you’re planning to catch It in theaters next week.

These creepy red balloons are popping up all over Sydney, Australia

Image credits: Thomasgskinner

They are always tied to a string above a sewer gate

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Why are they here? Who did this?


Image credits: mumbrella

Sydney residents are understandably spooked by their eerie presence, and expressed it on Twitter

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It turns out that the balloons are actually a clever promo for the It movie’s premier, which is headed to theaters next week

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Image credits: AdamPDallas

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Image credits: Warner Bros. Pictures

Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the film’s iconic main villain


Image credits: Moviefone

Watch the chilling trailer below, and let us know if you’re planning to see it on the big screen