Stephen King’s novels and stories adapted to film is an entire horror franchise in itself. As with all adaptations, there are some really good ones and some really bad ones. We have to go back to 1976 for the first, Carrie, to see how well King’s works would translate to film. Here is my list of the best films adapted from the works of the Granddaddy of Horror.
1. Carrie (1976) – there will be debate over this pick at no.1 but in my mind, it’s a no contest. Carrie was masterfully made and director Brian De Palma did a superb job of making the paranoid levers day life of a teen frightening with a finish filled with violence and gore. This film was a piece of art.
2. The Shining (1980) – a chilling, suspenseful gaze at a man with a slowly deteriorating and diabolical mind. Was it a haunted house? It was it all psychological horror with a guy gone batshit crazy? Either way, it was a fan favorite and one of the best, although it is King’s least favorite.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – not from the vein of horror, this movie was adapted from a short story and is about friendship, empathy and how men find themselves when locked in isolation away from society. This is one the best films of all time and Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman were excellent in their parts.
4. Misery (1990) – One of my personal favorites, Kathy Bates was superb as Annie Wilkes, an obsessed fan of a writer who holds him captive and forces him to rewrite the ending to a book. A dark film with some humorous parts, this shows how any one of us can become a monster.
5. It (2017) – This movie, by far, blows away the 1990 mini series and the casting was incredible, with each kid perfectly adapting the characters from novel. The opening of the movie where Georgie gets his arm ripped off by Pennywise was absolutely perfect and pace setting for the terror that was to ensue.
6. The Green (1999) – another outside of traditional horror, a story of redemption and looking into a man to find who he is, and looking into ourself to do the same, the casting in this made this movie work.
7. Secret Window (2004) – this is another personal favorite because it is about a writer who is facing a terrible villain who happens to be his alter ego. Psychological horror at its best from the vein of Poe and Johnny Depp was superb.
8. It Chapter 2 (2019) – the return to Derek by the adults to face the return of Pennywise. This was well done but not nearly as terrifying watching adults be scared and taunted as it was watching them as kids. The adult cast did a great job of emulating their younger counterparts from Chapter 1.
9. The Dead Zone (1983) – brilliant film. Christopher Walken is the doomed Johnny Smith, a schoolteacher who gains the ability to touch someone and see their future after a car-accident-induced coma. Walker made this movie good with an incredible performance.
10. Christine (1983) – A buy loves his possessed car so much he doesn’t care that it’s a killer. I’ve never been into stories about evil living in an object and it becoming animated, but a John Carpenter does a great job with this film and there is some good kills and gore.
Others to Consider
Stand By Me (1986)
The Mist (2007)
Children of the Corn (1984)
Pet Cemetery (2019)