I have a general rule I try to follow: for every list I post, I have one review/something of merit. This has not been the case as of late. This blog, for better or worse, has become rather list-centric. Today’s post is no different. However, the top ten Stephen King movies list is surprisingly difficult to write. I tried to weigh whether the movie was any good against whether the movie was a good adaptation of King’s story. What did I learn? I’ve watched a lot of truly shitty movies. Movies that are so spectacularly bad, they’re good – Maximum Overdrive, Christine, Lawnmower Man.
Okay, that’s last one is bad no matter how you look at it. But if nothing else, Stephen King is prolific*. And he does have a few good films to his name. Please note that the list excludes made-for-TV and is primarily ranked by personal preference (as I am most certainly not a film critic).
10. Pet Sematary. Easily the scariest King book and the film is sufficiently creepy too. That kid gave me nightmares. And Zelda… I still can’t figure out the point of Zelda, but she’s very scary.
09. Dolores Claiborne. Kathy Bates does Stephen King films well. This is a good one.
08. Apt Pupil. This is another where quite a bit was changed between story and movie, but the acting – especially McKellan – is very good.
07. The Dead Zone. Christopher Walken AND David Cronenberg.
06. The Mist. 98% very good and 2% so bad that it makes the rest of the film unforgivable, it’s been several years and I’m still mad about it. The first thing I did was run to my copy of the book to make sure my memory was correct. Some people like the new ending; I’m not one of them.
05. The Shining. Although it’s one of the best films on this list, it is not a particularly good adaptation of the book. I think I’m the only person who actually likes King’s version.
04. The Shawshank Redemption. The film is very good. It’s also the most overplayed movie in America.
03. Misery. Kathy Bates is delightfully creepy in this excellent adaptation. I was glad she won the Oscar (once I was old enough to see the movie).
02. Stand By Me. A lovely coming of age story and one of my favorite ‘80s movies…
01. Carrie. Although I didn’t care for Carrie the novel, I did like the movie (and a great adaptation). It was one of the first horror films I ever saw (The Lawnmower Man was the actual first) and I must have jumped halfway across the room at the end.
This list is neither definitive nor exact. If you ask me which films are my favorites tomorrow, I might have a different list for you. One thing’s for certain, Riding the Bullet is the absolute worst one I’ve seen. I’ve never seen Hearts in Atlantis or 1408, which is why they are not on this list (even though they often appear on others). What’s your favorite Stephen King film? Does anyone else wish they would remake The Stand?
*These were the films I came up with off the top of my head: The Dead Zone, Children of the Corn, Cujo, Firestarter, 1408, Secret Window, The Shining, Carrie (x2), The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, Stand by Me, Hearts in Atlantis, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Christine, Pet Semetary, The Dark Half, Running Man, Dolores Claiborne, Misery, The Mist, Graveyard Shift, Thinner, Needful Things, The Lawnmower Man, The Green Mile, Riding the Bullet, Sleepwalkers (original screenplay), Cat’s Eye
Miniseries/Made for TV: The Langoliers, The Stand, The Shining, Bag of Bones, Under the Dome, Carrie, The Tommyknockers, IT, Haven (series), The Dead Zone (series), Storm of the Century, ‘Salem’s Lot, Desperation