Stephen King, regarded as the master of horror with good reason, has been on a winning streak that doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Recently, the second part of the new adaptation of his gargantuan novel IT broke box office records (and also features a fantastic cameo from the man himself) while many of his other works are set to be turned into movies or television specials. Some examples include the sequel to The Shining titled Dr. Sleep, new takes on Salem’s Lot and The Tommyknockers, and a proper Dark Tower adaptation.
However, there are many more stories from King’s imagination that haven’t caught producers’ interest yet, didn't go over well the first time they were adapted, or they’re just stuck in limbo. Also, they can be plain weird. From short stories to novels to canceled movie adaptations, here are 10 of the weirdest Stephen King stories that we want to see turned into a movie(/a good movie).
10 The Eyes of the Dragon
King is primarily known for visceral horror and harrowing drama, which is what makes The Eyes of the Dragon a strange addition to his massive library of works. While King is no stranger to fantasy, as seen in The Dark Tower, this particular novel is a fairy tale made specifically for his daughter.
The Eyes of the Dragon is a straightforward fantasy epic with a clearly-defined evil that must be defeated by the valiant heroes. It’s a breath of fresh air in King’s repertoire of nightmares, and one that deserves to see the light of day at some point.
9 From a Buick 8
A sweet abandoned car turns out to be a door to hell in From a Buick 8, where the car’s trunk leads is the doorway to a nightmarish world. The novel is an examination of what drives fear, which would make for great subtext in a modern horror movie.
From a Buick 8 was actually set to be adapted by George A. Romero, and later by Tobe Hopper, but sadly both directors passed away before anything came to fruition. There are currently no updates regarding the movie and there’s no better time than now to bring it back to life.
8 The Regulators & Desperation
Back in 2006, a forgettable adaptation of Desperation, was released but it felt lacking to some fans. This wasn’t just because it condensed a massive novel into a short runtime, but because it was missing its second half: The Regulators.
Here, the evil entity Tak from Desperation uses a young boy’s reality-warping powers to create a nightmarish caricature of a Wild West town. The Regulators acts as an alternate reality to Desperation, featuring familiar names living different lives. The multiverse that these two novels share would make for an entertainingly trippy adaptation.
7 The Moving Finger
On a normal day, a guy named Howard finds a moving finger sticking out of his bathroom sink. What ensues is a life-or-death battle between the two, Howard’s increasingly baffling inner monologues, the realization that the finger is attached to something, and Jeopardy! jokes. To call The Moving Finger weird is an understatement, and it deserves a movie.
Originally adapted as the series finale for the horror anthology Monsters, this short story has enough morbid potential for a full-length feature. Imagine that time in Evil Dead II where Ash fought his possessed hand, but escalated to even crazier heights.
6 The Mangler
To make a short story even shorter, The Mangler is about a demonic laundry press that eats people. It ended up possessed after it absorbed a bunch of random ingredients from the clothes put into it, accidentally summoning a demon as a result.
The Mangler is notable for already having three movies based on it, but all of them are either guilty pleasures or direct-to-DVD garbage. Horror remakes get a bad rap for being based on established classics, so it’ll be better to remake a bad movie that had a promising (if silly) idea. Case in point: King’s killer laundry press.
5 Gray Matter
King loves his body horror, with Gray Matter being a good case study of this. What makes this story stand out is that Richie – the guy who turns into the titular “gray matter” – suffers such a fate because he drank some bad beer.
Being a few pages long at best, Gray Matter serves as a good prologue to something either more sinister or darkly comedic. Depending on who gets the film rights to this yarn, Gray Matter has the potential to be a modern creature feature that (hopefully) sports effects on par with those used in John Carpenter’s The Thing.
4 The Lawnmower Man
The only things that the movie The Lawnmower Man has in common with King’s short is its title and a single scene. The cyberpunk movie lacks everything that made its namesake memorable, namely a man who eats grass and worships the god Pan. Also, the lawnmower may or may not be sentient.
The Lawnmower Man perfectly encapsulates how weird King’s imagination can get, which is very apparent in short stories such as this. A new adaptation won’t just be more faithful to the source material, but has the chance to be its own oddity.
3 Duma Key
What makes Duma Key different – aside from starring an artist instead of a writer – is that it’s a compelling drama with some supernatural elements in it. Edgar, a painter living in Duma Key, discovers his art bends reality to his will, causing him to question his sanity and morals.
Duma Key is one of Stephen King’s more notably grounded tales that has some serious potential for a live-action drama. It shows King at his best: studying his characters while also adding an evil force that may or may not be a Greek goddess.
2 Rose Madder
Rose Daniel leaves an unhappy marriage and starts a new life. Just as things seem to be going well, her ex-husband reappears with murder on his mind. This novel also has a Minotaur in it.
Rose Madder received mixed reviews to downright negative ones due to its subject matter and the jarring fantasy turn it takes. As seen in Netflix’s Gerald’s Game, the right film-making team can turn something as ambitiously flawed as Rose Madder into something special.
With the power of “Secret Electricity,” healer Fr. Jacobs shocks his faithful into good health, but finds out too late that his miracles are connected to an existential horror.
Of the unmade films here, Revival was the closest to being greenlit, but was canned for a currently undisclosed reason. Given its Lovecraftian stylings and it being one of King’s best-reviewed books of the 2010s, Revival doesn’t deserve to languish in development hell.