Stephen King has written so many classic horror novels and short stories, it’s hard to begin to pick a list of favorites. While many Stephen King books have been adapted into movies and TV shows, not all of the adaptations have lived up to the exacting standards of the book fans and horror movie lovers in general. What are the best film and TV adaptations of King’s horror fiction? Here’s 6 of the best.
This 1979 television miniseries is considered by many to be one of the very best Stephen King adaptations. A genuinely creepy and disturbing vampire story, the images from this program (is that a floating vampire scratching at your window?) are guaranteed to scare little kids and get under the skin of adults. A true must-see for horror and anti-Twilight vampire aficionados.
The original 1976 Carrie film (you can go ahead and skip the 2013 version) is well-known for its iconic bloody prom night imagery, but the movie is much more than that one series of scenes. Both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie received Oscar nominations for their unforgettable portrayals of the telekinetic outcast teenager and her nutty religious fundamentalist mother.
Calling all scary clown fans…this 1990 TV miniseries adaptation brought Pennywise the creepy clown to terrifying life. Tim Curry is fantastic as Pennywise, the embodiment of your deepest childhood fears. The miniseries has gained a cult following, with fans particularly fond of Part I, where a group of misfit kids (the Losers) vow to destroy Pennywise.
This 1990 psychological horror film depicts a writer’s worst nightmare come to life. A psychotic fan kidnaps novelist Paul Sheldon, holds him hostage, and forces him to write a new story for his Regency romance series, after she learns he kills off the main character, Misery Chastain. Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her performance as number one fan Annie Wilkes. The battle of wills between Paul and Annie is epic.
Despite the fact that King himself was not a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 reimagining of his novel, no list of notable Stephen King adaptations would be complete without The Shining. Few horror films have more iconic imagery and unforgettable dialogue than the film version of The Shining. In the interest of fairness, you can also check out the King-approved 1997 TV miniseries, which is much closer to his original vision of the story and characters.
The Dead Zone
A 1983 horror thriller directed by David Cronenberg. Christopher Walken is at his creepy best as Johnny Smith, a teacher who wakes from a coma after an accident to find that he has psychic powers. Johnny is able to see both the past and the future, but his attempts to solve past crimes and prevent future ones do not go very well.