Stephen King is a prolific storyteller who has set a gold standard for horror novels and captured readers’ imaginations worldwide. Furthermore, his iconic books have spawned many memorable Hollywood films. Due to renewed interest in the Stephen King multiverse, several upcoming reboots will bring his classic stories alive for a whole new generation of fans. For instance, a remake of the 1984 Stephen King Movie Firestarter hit theaters and streaming services in May of 2022, with remakes of Christine and Salem’s Lot set to follow. So whether you are new to his work or are a long-time fan, there are some film adaptations of King’s novels you just can’t miss.
10. Firestarter (1984) Inspired A Beloved Netflix Series
Before Stranger Things brought Eleven to life on the small screen, Drew Barrymore starred as Charlie in the original Firestarter. The Duffer brothers cited this movie as part of the inspiration for their beloved Netflix series, and the connection is clear: both Charlie and Eleven are loveable young girls with impressive telekinetic powers. The 2022 iteration of Firestarter brings viewers a modern version of Charlie, but she is as fantastical and relatable as the 1984 version.
9. Secret Window Explores Dissociative Identity Disorder
Johnny Depp stars in this underrated psychological thriller about a writer stalked by his own alter ego. The film follows Mort Rainey as he grapples with guilt over missteps in his life by creating a separate personality – a common feature of dissociative identity disorder. However, like the novel before it, the film doesn’t make audiences aware of the alter ego’s true identity until the story’s conclusion. This satisfying twist ending keeps audiences in constant suspense even on a rewatch.
8. It Is Campy Horror Done Right
Stephen King’s novel It is a voluminous tome about children disappearing from a small town in Maine. Though the book debuted in 1986, a feature-length film version didn’t appear until 2017. The film perfectly combines campy humor with disturbing horror elements. For instance, Pennywise may look like a hilarious circus clown, but he is the sinister villain at the story’s heart. This horror movie and its 2019 sequel will surely keep viewers up at night.
7. Carrie (1976) Is Everyone’s High School Nightmare
Everyone knows that high school kids can be cruel, but the eponymous character in Carrie knows it better than most. Carrie is another example of Stephen King pitting a young telekinetic girl against a world that doesn’t understand her. Sissy Spacek plays the kind and unassuming protagonist, who finally unleashes her wrath on those who have wronged her after a prom night prank goes too far. Although Carrie is technically a horror film, it is also a satisfying tale of an underdog exacting a fiery vengeance.
6. The Green Mile Is A Touching Tale Of Magical Realism
The Green Mile features what is arguably Michael Clarke Duncan’s greatest performance to date. He stars alongside greats such as Tom Hanks and Sam Rockwell in this tale based on magical realism. Duncan stars as a convicted child murderer who has a magical gift despite his crimes. He changes the lives of the prison guards he encounters on Death Row. The film and its namesake novella are sad, suspenseful, and well-crafted. Due to Duncan’s stand-out portrayal of John Coffey, this movie consistently ranks high on lists of films that will make audiences cry. The film won two People’s Choice Awards and was nominated for multiple Oscars as well.
5. The Shining Explores The Terrors Of Isolation
The Shining is one of the most hotly debated of Stephen King’s films, with some viewers feeling that the film version doesn’t do the original story justice. However, there’s no arguing that Stanley Kubrick’s stylized take on the 1976 bestselling novel has a strong visual impact from beginning to end. The film’s conclusion stands in stark contrast to the novel’s slightly more gradual ending, but both versions are satisfying in their own right. In 2018, it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry, cementing its place among the most significant American films.
4. Christine Brings Two Titans Together
This Stephen King movie features the visionary input of another master of the horror genre: John Carpenter. The combined creativity of these two horror greats does result in a few minor stylistic clashes, but overall the film is fantastically well done. Even over three decades later, it stands as a shining example of horror films of the time. Fans are excited to see what the upcoming remake will have in store for this story about a haunted car and its unfortunate driver. However, it’ll be hard to beat the gorgeous 1958 red Plymouth from the original film in terms of style and personality.
3. 1408 Revamps The Haunted House Trope
1408 is a slick psychological thriller that messes with viewers’ minds from the very beginning. Nothing is what it seems in The Dolphin Hotel, especially in haunted room number 1408. John Cusack gives a strong performance as paranormal expert Mike Enslin. Enslin is determined to debunk the stories about the haunted hotel. However, he finds out that all of the rumors are true. The film is impressive because it relies purely on psychological twists and turns to achieve a creepy vibe that keeps viewers enthralled. Furthermore, there are unique visual effects throughout, and Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson make a great team.
2. Stand By Me Is The Quintessential Coming-Of-Age Film
As far as coming-of-age films go, Stand By Me is truly irreplaceable. This Stephen King movie is based on a 1982 novella called The Body. Both stories follow a group of boys on a misadventure full of heartwarming moments and harrowing drama. Along the way, the boys learn some harsh truths about life and emerge wiser than ever. Some of the most notable emerging names in Hollywood starred in this film, including John Cusack, Will Wheaton, and Keifer Sutherland. These nostalgic performances are a treat for modern viewers, and the timeless story still appeals to all ages.
1. The Shawshank Redemption Is An Enduring Classic
Morgan Freeman is known for his soothing voiceovers, and The Shawshank Redemption is an excellent early example of this talent. Freeman stars as Red, a prison inmate who befriends Andy Dufresne, a banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Andy embarks on a nineteen-year journey of personal growth within the prison walls. Eventually, he makes a daring escape. The film is based on one of King’s most well-loved novellas and is uplifting enough to watch repeatedly. It’s a consistent fan favorite among Stephen King movies.