Stephen King Adaptations, the King of Horror has been ruling the bookshelves and screens all over the world for more than 50 years.
Stephen King’s frightening stories with every aspect of storytelling that are seamlessly interspersed is something that the world of literature hasn’t ever seen before. The King’s most terrifying characters in his tales outshine even the most terrifying paranormal creatures with no flaws.
The 7 Best Stephen King Adaptations, Ranked
The Dead Zone (1983)
The year was 1979, and Stephen King’s book The Dead Zone served as the basis for a television series that was adopted in 1983, it inspired a film by Director David Cronenberg.
Cronenberg had already established an impression by directing surreal horror films such as Videodrome and Shivers and brought his signature quality to this thrilling psychological thriller.
Dead Zone Dead Zone starred Christopher Walken as Johnny Smith, a humble teacher at school who gets injured by a car crash, and then confined to an indefinite coma for five years.
Upon awakening, he finds he is able to see into someone’s past as well as their present and the future with a single touch.
It was less violent and grotesque than the majority of Cronenberg’s horror productions of the time, Dead Zone was a dark and disturbing film that made the most of Walken’s distinctive presence and grit in his acting.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
It was believed for years that the 1992 film by King, Gerald’s Game, in which the character of a woman who is tied to a bed, fighting to get free after her husband suffers a heart attack, could not be adapted.
However, director and writer Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass) was able to knock it off the mark.
The film stars Carla Gugino as the trapped desperate Jessie Flanagan’s Netflix horror film is a fantastic small-scale suspense, and has an enthralling performance from Gugino. It is set mostly in one space, Gerald’s Game is a collection of gears tightly wound which crank out fear.
The Mist (2007)
The Mist is an adaptation of a King short story from the collection of 1985 Skeleton Crew. It is supposedly a horror film, The Mist finds a group of people stuck in a remote supermarket store when a mysterious fog blankets the area, and terrifying dinosaur-like creatures start appearing.
However, the main theme of this fusion of horror and science fiction is survival, as well as the lengths people will go to for their own survival.
The film was aided by an impressive ensemble (including the stars Tom Jane and Marcia Gay Harden) and director Frank Darabont who’s one of the three directors listed on this list who’s had the greatest satisfaction with King’s workand actually earned praise for an updated ending that accentuated the dark tone of the film.
Legends of horror Stephen King and George Romero collaborated on 1982’s Creepshow The film was created as a tribute to the Golden Age of horror comics during the 1950’s, such as E.C. Comics famous releases as well as DC books such as House of Secrets and House of Mystery.
The anthology’s legacy is evident in the production of Creepshow which is awed by its b-movie, juvenile status. It also stands out for having original material composed by King and not the script that is entirely adapted from his prose writing.
Two out of five scenes are drawn in his shorter stories, the other three are exclusive to Creepshow. The vignettes are cleverly stitched together by animating sequences and an opening sequence that features King’s son Joe (now an accomplished writer of horror of his own).
The Green Mile (1999)
Since the director Frank Darabont had crafted what is considered to be the most important Stephen King movie with The Shawshank Redemption (more about this film later) there was some concern that he would be returning to a familiar setting when the film was adapted to one of King’s prison dramas, The Green Mile.
Similar to Shawshank, The Green Mile is a period drama which is set mostly in the confines of a prison, and is centered around the wrongfully convicted felon. In this instance the prison is depression-era Cold Mountain Penitentiary, and the criminal can be identified as John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).
Corrections officer who is responsible for the death row prisoners (Tom Hanks) is fascinated by Coffey’s soft nature and magical healing abilities, which cause immense emotional turmoil when he contemplates whether he should allow such an amazing and obviously innocent man be executed.
The Green Mile is easily one of the most emotionally enthralling King movies (or books in fact) and further evidence that his non-horror films are usually the ones that are ideal to film.
Stand By Me (1986)
Frank Darabont isn’t the only director who has a knack in bringing Stephen King stories to life on the screen. In the days before Misery, Rob Reiner also directed this tale of a coming-of age that was based on Stephen King’s story “The Body” which was collected in the 1982 book of 1982 Different Seasons.
“Stand By Me” with narration from Richard Dreyfuss and a “who’s who?” group of teen actors who were just starting out at the time, including Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell.
The group portrayed a set of members who learn of a body that has been found dead and set out to investigate and discover the majesty of small-town life. While on the hunt they fight some vicious bullies and learn a lesson or two about their fellow characters.
It was a King film with a deceitfully basic formula that was a success due to the quality of the actors. King himself described it as the very first well-received adaptations of his original work.
Chapter One (2017)
In a fitting way the most famous novel is one of his most profitable adaptations, smashing box record-breaking records at the box office.
More than a cash-strapped success, it’s an extremely effective movie about horror that puts a bunch of brave middle schoolers with the terrifying inhuman monster that lurks beneath the streets of a picturesque Maine town.
It’s full of creepiness, terrifying scares and a terrifying performance from Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
The first chapter of the film is great not only because it’s scary, however, it also does what very few horror films can do in the sense that it inspires viewers to care for the characters when they confront the inconceivable.
Like the book The portion of the story that features the main characters as young is the most captivating part, and that’s why the only chapter One is on our list of.