Top 5 Stephen King to the Silver Screen

When you hear the name “Stephen King,” inevitably, you start to think horror.  King has created such vivid stories that his truly frightening books send us flying down the hall to our parents’ beds, hiding under the covers until we are sure that everything is safe.  C’mon, I’m not the only one, right?  RIGHT?!   Due to his enthralling stories and vivid imagination, Hollywood has adapted King’s stories for the silver screen continuously since 1976.  So, in the spirit of Halloween and all of its frights, I bring you, the top 5 movie adaptations of Stephen King’s stories.

Fandango - Movie Tickets Online

1. Carrie (1976)

Let’s face it, high school girls are mean!  Boys will be overtly bullish and may even resort to physical violence, but girls will mentally eviscerate you.  Such is the case with poor Carrie White (Sissy Spacek); an outcast in her school because she is quiet, shy, has a frizzy haired religious nut for a mother (Piper Laurie), and has telekinetic abilities.  After an excessively brutal bullying session, a few do-gooders decide to pull Carrie out of her shell and treat her like a human being.  Unfortunately, the head mean girl, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen), and her boyfriend, Billy Nolan (John Travolta), have other plans.  The brutal climax is both heart wrenching and horrific.  If there was ever a movie to stop bullying, this is it.  Spacek and Laurie both received Oscar nominations for their amazing portrayals of two woefully misunderstood women.  

2. The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of this King novel is considered one of the most prolific horror films to come out of Hollywood.  Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to be the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel while it is closed for the winter.  His wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) accompany him to this secluded location while he works on his novel in peace.  Slowly, Jack is drawn into madness by the ghosts of the hotel and tries to destroy his family.  King was not a fan of this adaptation.  He disliked everything from the casting of Nicholson and Duvall to the unsettling aura that the film exudes from the beginning.   Regardless, you will never look at another pair of twins the same way again.

3. Misery (1990)
Famous novelist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) just barely survives a brutal car accident in the middle of the mountains.  His self proclaimed “biggest fan,” Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, in an Oscar winning role), pulls him out of the wreck and begins to nurse him back to health.  That is until she reads his latest novel and terrorizes him into creating her perfect work of fiction.  Bates takes this unassuming, mild-mannered woman into such a dark place, that even her gaze will make you wet yourself.

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)  
Mild-mannered banker, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover.  He is sentenced to life-imprisonment in Shawshank Penitentiary for this brutal crime.  However, all of this happens in the first five minutes of the film.  The real story is Andy acclimating to prison life without ever succumbing to it, as well as his relationship with another lifer, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman).  While this may not be your typical horror movie, it does play into an intense fear of many: being wrongfully accused or convicted of a crime and going to prison.  The horrors that Andy faces during his time at Shawshank is enough to break the spirit of even the strongest and most unbreakable person.  Yet, he prevails.  To quote Red, “Andy Dufresne.  A man who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean.” This is a movie of fear and peace, desperation and accomplishment, but most of all, it is a story of hope.

5. The Green Mile (1999)  
Stephen King just knows how to write prison stories.  This one centers around Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), his fellow prison guards on death row and how their lives are affected by John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).  Coffey is a convicted rapist and murderer of two little girls, however, he has a special gift which causes all of the guards to question what they believe.  Adapted for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont (who also wrote and directed The Shawshank Redemption), this story is as full of heart as it is of fear:  Fear of people who are different and fear of the unknown. Yet, this fear is ultimately what allows the characters to travel to a place of acceptance.  
Ariadne Ansbro

Honorable Mention: Stand By Me  – My editor and confirmed King-o-phile friend threatened me with a Shinningesque death if I did not include this in some way.  Truth be told, I loved this movie. 

So, my lovely readers, how about you?  Am I forgetting any?  Do you have an intense love of Firestarter or Pet Cemetery?  Tweet us @moviefiednyc with your thoughts.

Fandango - Movie Tickets Online

Twitter: @moviefiednyc
Mailing List & Submissions:

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,’script’,’//’,’ga’); ga(‘create’, ‘UA-44083713-1’, ‘’); ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s