Few people will disagree that Stephen King is both one of the most prolific and talented writers and suspense and horror. He has published more than 60 novels and 200 short stories, many of which have been translated into film.
What better way to prepare for Halloween than to binge on some Stephen King films! Here is our list of the 15 best, but there are many, many more! Also, we have only included films of the horror genre. Let’s not forget that Shawshank Redemption is also based on the work of the amazing Stephen King!
We have only included the original on this list, and not the remakes, which are good, but once you have seen the original, they are just that, remakes. The story focusses on a 16-year-old girl, played by Sissy Spacek, who is kept down by an overbearing mother and bullied at school. She soon discovers that she has telekinetic powers, and that she does not need to put up with this treatment. It is known for the famous prom-pig’s blood scene.
Salem’s Lot (1979)
This miniseries television adaptation is another than has been remade, and a new movie version is coming soon. The story focusses on a writer who returns to his hometown in order to write a book about an old haunted house there. As he starts his research, he discovers more than he bargained for both in the house, and in the town, as many of its residents are turning into vampires. This original version stars David Soul and James Mason.
The Shining (1980)
A film that needs no introduction, and no remake, Jack Nicholson stars as an author who takes his family to live in a hotel that is abandoned for the winter where he will work as caretaker and write on his book. The isolation quickly gets to the author, and it seems that they are not alone in the hotel after all. This is probably one of the most influential horror films ever made.
Children of the Corn (1984)
A couple driving across the country, played by Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton, find themselves in a strange small town which seems to be thriving in an area where everyone else is struggling. They soon discover that it is because the town worships a malevolent entity that demands human sacrifices. Things go from bad to worse when the entity takes control of the children of the town.
Pet Semetary (1989)
Despite the terrible sequels, this original has quite a bit going for it. A family move to a small town with a secret. There are some sacred grounds near the town where things that are buried come back to life. When the family’s cat dies, they bury it there to save their children the heartbreak of its loss. But things become complicated when the son of the family dies.
The reason I still don’t really like clowns, as Tim Curry plays the terrifying Pennywise who haunts a group of children, who band together to destroy it, at great personal cost. Thirty years later the monster resurfaces, and the group comes back together to destroy it. Watch the original before seeing the 2017 remake, which is also on this list!
Is it suspicious that many of King’s leading characters are authors? In this film James Caan plays and author who is hold captive by a psychotic fan, played by Kathy Bates, who want to keep him to write stories for her. This is the only Stephen King film to have received an Oscar (so far), and feels like it is based on King’s own worst nightmare.
Apt Pupil (1998)
A different kind of terror, Brad Renfro plays a teenager who discovers a fugitive Nazi living in his neighbourhood. The boy quickly becomes obsessed with Nazism, and confronts the German, played by the excellent Ian McKellen, asking him to share his stories. Reliving these horrors kindles hate and cruelty in each of them, and the stories of the past start to invade their lives today.
One of King’s more underrated films, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis and Timothy Olyphant star as a group of friends who encounter an invasion of parasitic aliens. This is a psychological thriller than descends into a monster movie. While it isn’t for everyone, it will appeal to fans of the genre.
Secret Window (2004)
Another autobiographical nightmare, Johnny Depp plays a writer going through a divorce, suffering from writer’s block, and being hounded by someone who claims he plagiarised their work. But all is not as it seems, and Depp’s character may not be the innocent victim that he appears.
John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson star in this adaptation about an author investigating an allegedly haunted room in a New York hotel, room 1408. The initially sceptical author soon finds himself encountering the bizarre. But this is more than a normal haunting, and the author soon finds his sense of free will being tested.
The Dark Tower (2017)
More fantasy than horror, Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba star. A young boy is haunted by visions of a dark tower that exists in a parallel universe. It turns out he receives these visions because he is connected with the tower, and now a dark force wants to use him to destroy the tower and open the gates of Hell.
This remake of the classic horror stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, who terrorises a new set of friends who are also plagued by darker secrets than their encounter with the malevolent clown. With part two coming to cinemas shortly, this is another must watch.
Currently available on Netflix, this film starring Thomas Jane as a man who goes to a hotel in order to write a confession to a crime that he committed in 1922. He tells the story of a mental decline not dissimilar to that seen in The Shining, and the horrific consequences of his actions. This will hold particular fear for anyone with a phobia of rats.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Hitting cinemas shortly, this film starring Ewan McGregor is a sequel to The Shining. Set several decades later, McGregor plays the psychic child that we encountered in the first film as an adult, as he struggles with his gift and childhood trauma. When he encounters a young girl with similar gifts, he must help her fight her demons.