Throughout the last century, no author has remained more prolific or celebrated than Stephen King. He’s the unofficial master of thrills and chills, crafting over 50 novels and 200 short stories that have shocked the senses and baffled the mind. Ever since his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1973, audiences have been captivated with the author’s twisted tales, and movie studios have taken notice.
While The Dark Tower and It will be getting the big screen treatment later this year, there’s an entire collection of Stephen King novels and stories that have already made the jump to the silver screen, sometimes more than once. And while King may have more cinematic adaptations under his belt than any other author in history, it doesn’t mean that they’re all masterpieces.
The following contains ten of the very best Stephen King movie adaptations, and six of the absolute worst. The greatest examples range from horrifying thrillers to sentimental dramas, while the poorest range from cheese-filled camp to convoluted sci-fi disasters. To be clear, this list is movies only, so, while we love the TV version of It and loathe the Under the Dome TV series, they will not be making an appearance in this article.
Here are the 10 Best And 6 Worst Stephen King Movie Adaptations.
16. Pet Semetary (Best)
Pet Semetary begins with Doctor Louis Creed and his family moving into a quaint house in the countryside. Everything seems to be perfect, until Creed’s young son, Gage, wanders out onto the nearby narrow road and is fatally killed by an oncoming truck. Grief stricken and riddled with guilt, Louis buries his son in a nearby mysterious cemetery, in hopes that it will have the power to bring his boy back from the dead.
Although simple, Pet Semetary benefits from an intriguing premise: what if we could bring back loved ones from the grave? It might sound tempting, but, as Fred Gwynne so eloquently points out in the film, “sometimes dead is bettah.”
The deceased that are placed in the infamous cemetery return to the land of the living as soulless killing machines, which includes Louis’ formerly adorable son Gage. The twisted plot about necromancy creates a surprisingly chilling movie, with a creepy atmosphere, grotesque imagery, and perhaps the best cinematic Maine accent of all time from Fred Gwynne’s character of Jud Crandall. As far as Stephen King adaptation go, it doesn’t get much bettah than this.
15. The Mist (Best)
What at first appears to be a freak lightning storm, soon turns out to be something more horrifying, as a strange mist unleashes all sorts of bloodthirsty creatures on a small New England town in The Mist. A ragtag group of survivors hold up inside a convenience store as they fight for their lives while the growing threat threatens to tear the group apart.
Soon to be made into a televised series on Spike, Stephen King’s The Mist was first adapted with this 2007 movie directed by Frank Darabont, who does a more than commendable job of bringing this sci-fi/horror to life. The actors provide a level of complexity to the movie, especially Thomas Jane, who plays the lead. Though the movie is certainly dark and cynical at times (especially the ending), it is part of the reason The Mist is so compelling.