I have made it clear in the past that when it comes to books, I am a big fan of Stephen King. My mom loved them growing up and after she finished reading each of his book, she gave them to me to read. I have been a fan since I was a kid and I have enjoyed Stephen King’s various movie and television spin offs… For better and for worse. The great thing about the Stephen King story is that whenever it is done well… It works really well and becomes either a cult classic or a classic movie. At its worse… Oh boy they are at least memorable in all the wrong ways. I love the Stephen King adaptations because no matter what I get, I know I am at least going to have a good time. There are very few Stephen King adaptations that do not at least entertain men. At their worst, you get wonderful terrible gems like The Langoliers or The Tommyknockers and when they are at their best… Well they are excellent movies so I can enjoy them on that principle alone.
So today, I decided to make a list to commemorate the best movies of the Stephen King Universe. The worst… Well that is a list for another day that we can get to. But for now we will list the Top 5 Stephen King Inspired Movies and Mini Series.
Honorable Mention The Stand
I have talked about The Stand before on this site and it is one of those instances where it is a mini series I desperately want to like. It is based on of my favorite book of all time and some of the spots in it are dead on from the book. Plus, Ruby Dee is a phenomenal actress and killed it as Abigail Freemantle.
But it just misses the list due to the fact that there are so many flaws from the book and the movie that can’t be ignored. Some of the people are horribly miscast, they up play the ‘good vs. evil’ but do not keep the excellent gray lines that the book established. People in Vegas look like they are straight out of a post apocalypse Mad Max world while the people from Boulder look like the came out of a Hallmark Card. They play up the Christian prospects of the film without diving into the more religious message of the book… Because of this, it just missed the list as something that could be much better than what it was.
Based on the 1996 serial novel series of the same name, The Green Mile is one of those movies that will always be a treat. It isn’t an easy sit through, to be sure, but thanks to the acting of Tom Hanks, Doug Hutchison, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan, this movie has its spot in the Stephen King movies as the most heartbreaking and intriguing films made. It is a staple of the evening AMC, FX, TBS movie night and one that should be seen if you haven’t seen it already.
A movie driven by one person, Misery is one of those psychological thrillers that was able to truly capture the essence of the book in total with the movie. Kathy Bates is able to sell the psychotic shut in, Annie Wilkes, as one of the most terrifying characters in movie history. The story is ever novelists worst nightmare and because of this, has earned its spot on the best of list.
3. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick Movie)
Easily one of the greatest movies of all time and a highlight in the storied career of Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick, in his long an illustrious career, had a way of taking famous works of literature and using them in a way that made a perfect story on the big screen. Jack Nicholson is tremendous in the movie as is Shelly Duvall. Both actors carry this movie into cinema history as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.
This movie does hold a couple of black spots though, of course we have the fact that Kubrick psychologically tormented Shelly Duvall on set due to the fact that he did not think the woman could act. But also add to the fact that Stephen King has gone on record saying that he hates the movie and is in no way a reflection on his original work. While these two areas have put a black spot on the movie, you cannot deny the level of cinematic amazement this movie possesses.
2. Carrie (1976 Film)
The original Carrie is a haunting movie. It is the movie that was able to capture the lightning in a bottle that was Stephen King’s original novel. Under Brian de Palma’s direction and the acting of Sissy Spacek has made this movie one of the greatest ever made. People have attempted to capture the essence of the novel and the movie multiple times since 1976. However, none of these can come close the awe that the original movie had and because of that it finds itself at number 2 on this list.
Could it be any other movie? The Shawshank Redemption is one of those weird stories that if you were a Stephen King fan and you hadn’t seen any of the movies, just read the books and short stories AND someone were to ask you which one of them will become one of the greatest of all time, Rita Heyworth and the Shawshank Redemption would not be anywhere near the top of the list. But somehow, with the combination of Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, and the right group of people, this movie was able to become one of the best ever made and has earned its spot on the top as the Best Stephen King Adaptation.
Thank you for reading and as always, if you enjoyed this review, please like and subscribe for more from me.