Stephen King is one of the most well known and highest selling authors of all time. He has written over one hundred books and short stories as well as several screen and teleplays. Though he has works in all genres, he is best known for his work in the horror genre. Today we will be looking at the 10 best horror films based on his work. This list will only include feature films so mini-series such as It and the Stand will not be featured. The list will also not include any adaptations of his none horror novels such as Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption.
Firestarter – 1984
Directed by Mark. L .Lester and based on the 1980 novel of the same name, Firestarter is one of the many Stephen King films to be produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Drew Barrymore plays Charlie Mcgee, a little girl with the ability to start fires with her mind. Her and her father spend the film running from a mysterious organization known as The Shop who wish to capture Charlie and make her their living weapon. The film combines many cool elements such as horrific death scenes, action movie like special effects and an amazing score by Tangerine Dream.
Silver Bullet – 1985
From the same producer as Firestarter and released just a year later, Silver Bullet is an adaptation of the novel Cycle of the Werewolf. The film is about a werewolf that terrorizes a small town and a paralytic boy, his sister and uncle who must stop him. Mixing the werewolf and slasher formulas, this flick is one fun 80’s joy ride.
Christine – 1983
When John Carpenter takes on the job of directing a film based on a novel by the King himself, you know only greatness can come from it. Based on the novel of the same name, Christine is about a demonic car that kills people and possesses its owner, driving him to insanity. While the film changes elements of the book and has a concept that might seem silly to some, it is one of the creepiest and most atmospheric of the King adaptations.
The Mist – 2007
Frank Darabont is best known for his great adaptations of King’s drama stories The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Here he takes a shot at one of King’s horror stories and succeeds. The film is about creatures attacking a small town after a freak storm. This movie is best known for it’s unforgettable ending!
Dead Zone – 1983
When you got Dino De Laurentiis producing, David Cronenberg in the directors chair and add in Christopher Walken, you know you have great film on your hands. This story, about a man who gains psychic abilities after waking up from a coma, is not only chilling, but also a bit of a tear jerker.
Pet Sematary – 1989
Coming at the end of the 80s, is a film that is much scarier than it’s misspelled title. It tells the story of the Creed family and a nearby pet cemetery where anything that gets buried comes to life….. as a zombie. With a screenplay written by Stephen King himself, this flick is one of the most disturbing of his adaptations.
Misery – 1990
Based on the novel of the same name, and directed by Rob Reiner comes a film that shows just how insane fandom can get (something one could learn writing for the internet). A writer is rescued and nursed back to health by a mysterious woman after a car accident. It is soon revealed that she is an insane fan who tortures him in an effort to force him to write his next novel. Kathy Bates frightening performance as the crazed fan, Annie Wilkes, will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Creepshow – 1982
When master director George .A. Romero teams up with Stephen King for a film, you know you have a masterpiece on your hands. Creepshow is a horror anthology film that acts as a love letter to vintage horror comics such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. The film consists of five shorts with two of the shorts, Weeds and The Crate being based on King stories. The rest were written by King specifically for the movie. From start to finish, Creepshow is a fun, gorey, creepy and hilarious joy ride.
Carrie – 1976
Based on Stephen King’s very first novel, Carrie is the very first of King’s works to be adapted for the big screen. It is also the film that broke legendary director Brian De Palma into the mainstream. The film follows a young girl named Carrie White who is bullied by all her classmates as well as abused at home by her psychotic mother. She soon develops telekinetic abilities. These elements all lead to one of the most iconic climax’s in horror film history. This film has had two remakes, a sequel , a musical and is referenced quite a bit in pop culture. Chances are you have already seen this film since its on TV every other day, but if you haven’t check it out for sure!
The Shining – 1980
Stanley Kubrick was known as a perfectionist and this film serves as a perfect example of this. A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter. It doesn’t take long before evil spirits drive the father (played by Jack Nicholson) insane while his son has horrible visions of both the past and present. The film is hated by many hardcore Stephen King purists as well as King himself for not closely following the book, however if you ignore these changes you have a perfect film. Kubrick is able to craft a horrid, atmospheric and surreal horror epic that is one of the best horror films of all time and one of the few times a film proves to be better than the book.
Honorable Mentions: Tales from the Darkside the Movie, Needful Things.