5 Must Watch Best Film Adaptations of Stephen King’s Horror Works

You cannot spell terror without mentioning Stephen King, the master of horror and one of America’s most important writers. With a knack for telling stories that can chill you to the bone, it comes as no surprise that almost all of King’s works have been adapted for television and the bigger screen.

Aside from horror, King has also written emotional tales that have inspired movies like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. However, as Halloween looms nearer, it seems appropriate to remember some of King’s greatest works of horror and their brilliant movie adaptations.

5. Misery (1990)

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Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes after a terrible car crash on a wintry night, who just so happens to be his biggest fan. However, when Sheldon’s latest novel isn’t to Wilkes’s liking, he becomes a prisoner in her home.

Held captive by the madwoman’s violent temper when she insists that he write a new novel bringing back the dead protagonist, Paul is unable to escape the physical and mental tortures Annie inflicts upon him.

Misery is a tale of obsession. Annie is obsessed with her favourite book series, but what is really interesting is Paul’s obsession with finishing the book Annie has demanded of him, which becomes just as compelling as Annie’s threat.

Aside from the violence and the gripping plot, the characters are very well written and the actors do a commendable job in bringing out the depth within Annie and Paul, who can be as tragic as they are terrifying.

4. Cujo (1983)

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Trapped in a Ford Pinto, a mom and son are terrorised for hours by a rabid dog that is hell-bent on devouring them. Unlike King’s other works, Cujo takes a more realistic approach, however unlikely the situation.

An innocent St. Bernard turns into a vicious, people eating monster after a rabid bat bites it on the nose. What follows is a horrifying story of the dog’s terror as it roams about killing the people in its path.

The claustrophobic feeling of being stuck in a heated car while a monstrous beast tries to rip you apart from outside really gives you the chills. At the end of the day, the movie gives us a thrilling tale of a mother’s determination to save her son.

And it is probably the only time in a movie that you actually want the dog to die.

3. Carrie (1976)

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“If you’ve got a taste for terror, take Carrie to the prom.”

King’s legendary novel follows Carrie White, a bullied high school girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers and famously uses them to enact horrific revenge against her tormenters at the prom.

While Carrie’s powers are indeed horrifying, the real terror comes in the face of her mother Margaret, a psychotic woman who relentlessly tortures her own daughter. You fill with dread every time Margaret turns her attention to the weak Carrie, who is terribly ostracized at school and punished for her sins by her mother. 

While it was adapted into a film in 2013, the original 1976 version starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie is undoubtedly a landmark film in the horror genre. Their performances, that of a mentally unstable, fanatical mother raising a troubled teen girl, are the strength of this film.

2. It (2017)

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In the summer of 1989, seven bullied children, “The Losers Club”, come together to destroy the shape-shifting horror who terrorises children and devours them. More a mystery thriller than a horror, the film is both horrifying and emotional, as the children are forced to face their worst nightmares.

While the 1990 version starring the inimitable Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is a horror classic, it is the 2017 version that is the better adaptation of King’s book. This is mostly owing to the use of technology for better visuals, like children floating in Pennywise’s lair and the blood spurting from Beverly’s bathroom, that makes for a spooky and real viewing experience.

But what makes the 2017 version one of the best adaptation of King’s works is the brilliant cast. The Losers Club is really enjoyable to watch and while Bill Skarsgard as IT may not be as good as Curry, he is immensely terrifying too.

1. The Shining (1980)

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“Here’s Johnny!”

The 1980 Stanley Kubrick film “The Shining” is undoubtedly the most famous adaptation of Stephen King’s work. This is one of those special stories that you only get once in a lifetime and an especially good example of King’s unique brand of horror.

The novel tells the story of the Torrence family and their move to the isolated Overlook Hotel after the father, Jack, gets a job as an off-season caretaker. The twists and turns of the hallways of the Overlook Hotel, the whispering ghosts, and past demons are too much for the Torrance family, who are the only people staying in the hotel. As the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location becomes completely cut off from civilization and Jack begins to unravel.

The Shining’s greatest power is imagery. From the twins at the end of the hallway, to the blood spilling out of the elevator, and of course, Jack Nicholson’s manic “Here’s Johnny!” as he takes an axe to the door to get to his wife, the movie has many iconic scenes that have been engraved in the audiences’ mind.

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