His name isn’t King for nothing. The undisputed Master of Horror, Stephen King has the uncanny and unmatched ability to take any topic and transform it from a mundane idea that gives us a dose of the shivers to a tale of unrelenting, unparalleled terror that will have us hiding behind the cushions in thirty seconds flat. While imagining these horrors as we read through the pages of his books, seeing them on screen is another thing altogether, and instils a new level of fear in our hearts altogether. So lets take a look at five of the best film adaptations of Stephen King’s works.
5) Pet Sematary (1989)
Losing a beloved family pet is a horrible blow to anyone, but losing a member of your immediate family is even worse. The Creed family thought they’d seen the worst when their cat Church is run over by a car, but their troubles intensified when their young son Gage is run over and killed along the same stretch of road. Both the cat and the boy are taken to the titular pet cemetery near their home and brought back from the dead by the burial ground’s mysterious powers…albeit as monstrous, murderous shells of their former selves. What follows is a story of just how far the love of a family will stretch, as young Gage brings death and misery to everyone he encounters. Therapy might have been a better option for Louis and Rachel.
4) Christine (1983)
There’s no greater thrill than getting your first car. Am I right, boys? We look cool, we gain the freedom to go where we please, and girls are instantly more attracted to us. Unless, of course, we happen to buy a 1958 Plymouth Fury that just so happens to be possessed by the spirit of a woman who won’t allow her new owner to get close to anyone or anything of the opposite sex. That’s what happened to Arnie Cunningham in the adaptation of Christine, and despite instantly becoming the bad boy he had always dreamed of being, the car’s influence gradually transforms Arnie into not the person he wants to be, but the person that Christine wants him to be – and she’ll happily murder anyone who tries to prevent that. There have been countless movies made about the relationships between cars and their owners, but Christine takes it to whole new levels, and makes K.A.R.R from Knight Rider quiver in his alloys.
3) Carrie (1976)
Puberty is a difficult time for any young person, but when certain changes come in later years, it can be even more tasking. Just ask poor Carrie White, who was ruthlessly bullied and traumatised by her classmates after she was unfortunate enough to get her first menstrual period while showering after gym class. Subjected to horrific mocking and insults, Carrie then discovered she had telekinetic powers, and began to develop them in secret. We see Carrie’s power continuing to grow as she does, just as any physical change in a person’s body during puberty would. As she endures more abuse from her classmates, her power continues to manifest, right up until Prom night, which for anyone else, is a magical night full of dancing and happiness. But for Carrie and her classmates, the Prom is a night of carnage, blood and death. Carrie makes this list as it shows just how real the struggle of growing up is for some young people, and the pivotal scene where Sissy Spacek is drenched in pig’s blood is enough to keep anyone glued to the screen in shock.
2) IT (1990)
Perhaps the greatest of King’s works, IT hasn’t made the transition from book to big screen yet, but the TV movie that came out in 1990 gave non-readers plenty of knowledge about the town of Derry that’s plagued by a murderous monster able to take the form of its victims greatest fears. The first half details the protagonists, collectively called the Loser’s Club, as children, and their respective first encounters with Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and all the other forms the monster takes. The second shows the group as adults, as they return to Derry after thirty years to put an end to the monster once and for all. Some plot points are missing, granted, but Tim Curry’s downright creepy performance as Pennywise makes IT skyrocket to near the top of many a list, including this one.
1) Misery (1990)
Misery is the only film adaptation of any of King’s works to win an Oscar, and it completely deserves to be so. The story of an author, Paul Sheldon (James Caan), who crashes his car in the middle of a blizzard and is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (played to chilling perfection by Kathy Bates, who won the aforementioned Oscar for Best Actress for this role), who turns out to be his self-proclaimed ‘number one fan’. Misery takes the novel almost verbatim, save for a few changes, and the music, Caan’s performance as the helpless Paul Sheldon and creepy atmosphere all keep us on the edge of out seat, but it’s Bates’ terrifying turn as Annie (which completely trounces Tim Curry as Pennywise) that makes people everywhere flinch at the sight of a sledgehammer, and dread to hear the words “I’m your number one fan….I’m your number one fan…..”
Got any suggestions for this list? Do you think that The Shining could have taken a spot? Leave it in the comments and don’t forget to like and share!