Written by: Cassie Phillips
It’s late, and you’re certain you’d like to have nightmares tonight. We’ve all been there, and horrornovelreviews.com knows just how to make that happen. Special thanks to them for featuring our piece on Stephen King’s movie adaptations. Speaking of the King, check out this little tidbit he posted about Hush, and don’t forget to read the review as well!
Stephen King has authored a lot of books. This is news to absolutely nobody. But just as he’s published a large volume of novels, so too have countless films also been created based on his works. Some of the most well-known horror films of all time are thanks to his creative genius.
We couldn’t get to all of them today (else we’d have a bullet point list or a small encyclopedia), so we’ve picked out a few of our favorites to discuss briefly in honor of “the King.” Below is a short list of films that can be attributed to our aforementioned author:
No one who has seen “It” can ever forget its iconic cast, particularly Pennywise the Clown. The film was originally a two-part TV movie with a cast of mostly B-reel actors but because of the excellent directing and base plot, it did extraordinarily well. “It” certainly left a strong impression on me.
The story is essentially about facing your fears as an adult that you ran from as a child. The main difference from reality is the presence of a psychotic monster-clown and various illusions. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch.
“The Shining” features one of Jack Nicholson’s most memorable performances of his career, particularly the iconic scene with him peeping his eye through a freshly created hole in a door to exclaim “Here’s Johnny!”
Both the book and the film in many ways are a reflection of one of the many facets of Stephen King’s personality, as the protagonist is a struggling writer battling alcoholism (mirroring part of the author’s own life). Being a work of fiction, much more than drug addiction is at play: Jack’s son Danny is gifted with “the shining,” a psychic ability that allows him to communicate with supernatural forces.
From the beginning to the end, we follow Jack’s descent into madness at the remote Overlook Hotel as he moves from a recovering alcoholic to an axe wielding psychopath. The movie may have first run in 1980, but it stands the test of time even today.
Carrie (1976 and 2013)
The original film adaptation of “Carrie” ran in 1976, but there’s a more recent version that hit the box office in 2013 as well. Both the book and the movie were so well received that after over 30 years they decided it deserved a modern rendition.
In this author’s opinion, the 1976 version of “Carrie” was done better than the more recent 2013 version. That’s not to say the newer version doesn’t have merit: it’s still a great film and follows the book (despite being set in the 2000s rather than the 70s) much more closely than the original film.
Both films depict what’s needed: a troubled teenage girl (Carrie) with developing telekinetic powers who ultimately goes off the deep end in true horror film fashion. While both depictions become especially violent by the end, there’s something satisfying in seeing the high school bullies get what’s coming to them.
King’s “Secret Window” is another story about a troubled author struggling with a mixture of writer’s block and breakdown in his personal life. Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) discovers over the course of the story that the man is harassing him for plagiarizing his story is more than meets the eye.
The film depiction of this novel is truly excellent. Both the acting and writing pull you into the characters’ worlds and help create a hair-raising adventure that anyone with an appreciation for the insane can enjoy. No matter how many Stephen King films I watch, the ending of “Secret Window” remains my favorite to this day.
I won’t beat around the bush here: “Pet Sematary” is not one of the best-rated film adaptations of Stephen King’s books, but it still makes for an enjoyable watch. The film follows the main points of the book carefully. We’re first introduced to the Creed family and its head, Dr. Louis Creed, and soon an interesting cast of supports, especially Jud.
Jud introduces Louis to an abandoned Micmac burial ground behind the children’s pet cemetery (spelled sematary by the children) where he instructs Louis to bury his daughter’s recently deceased cat. The cat returns to life the next day, but with notable differences.
While at times the film takes on characteristics of a bad slasher, it succeeds in creating a very creepy atmosphere and cements itself in the horror movie hall of fame for its extraordinarily unique plot points (all thanks naturally to Stephen King’s novel).
The Short List
As you can imagine, this is only a brief listing of Stephen King’s books that became movies. There are over a dozen other feature films, all worth the watch. If we missed your favorite, please tell us in the comments as there’s only so much room up here!
About the Author: Cassie Phillips loves a good late night horror film, especially if it’s based on an equally well-written novel. As many of the films she watches are found on Netflix, she recommends checking out ways to safely watch movies on the go and abroad.