It’s Stephen King’s‘s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five films based on King’s work that deserve a watch.
Stand By Me (1986)
Could you make a list like and not include Stand By Me? The Shawshank Redemption is wildly considered the best adaptation of King’s works and some believe it to be the best film of all time. I’m going against the crowd now to say that I find Stand By Me to be the superior film and far more faithful to King’s short story. Based on King’s novella, The Body, four boys embark on a journey to find the dead body of a boy rumored to have been hit by a train. Starring Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and the late River Phoenix, Rob Reiner’s coming of age film manages to capture the pain of adolescence, especially when the adults in your life continually fail you. If you’re a fan of Stephen King, this is a must-watch.
The Mist (2007)
After a freak storm unleashes a swarm of horrifying creatures onto a small town, a man and his son are trapped in a grocery store with other terrified customers. Fear and paranoia begin to mount inside the store as a religious zealot, played to perfection by Marcia Gay Harden, begins to work the crowd into a frenzy by calling for a sacrifice to the monsters. To be frank, I am not a huge fan of The Mist’s ending because it’s so different from the novella, which I found to be much more optimistic and hopeful. However, King greatly approved of the movie’s bleak conclusion and I am well aware that I’m in the minority here. But Frank Darabont does a fabulous job of building the tension within the grocery store, creating a feeling of claustrophobia and terror. Harden’s Miss Carmody is also ranked up there with some of King’s greatest villains.
Ignoring the much-maligned Chapter Two, It was quite successful in capturing the heart of what is arguably Stephen King’s most popular novel. What makes this movie so good is the cast. All of the younger actors embodied their characters and I’ve always said that King writes childhood and childhood relationships like no other. While Pennywise appears now and then to wreak havoc on their lives with some genuinely scary moments, the movie succeeds because the main core of actors have wonderful chemistry together, making their bond feel real. I adore coming-of-age films and Andy Muschietti did a truly admirable job of bringing King’s beloved novel to the big screen.
The Green Mile (1999)
I feel like The Green Mile is criminally underrated. Yes, it’s extremely long but I honestly never feel the runtime when I’m watching it. The story of a black man on death row with a mysterious gift, The Green Mile, like The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption, was directed by Frank Darabont. Darabont seems to be the only director who truly understands how to capture the essence of King’s work, save for maybe Mike Flanagan. It’s a heartbreaking movie, but also incredibly touching as it deals with grief and miracles. Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan lead a superb cast that also includes Sam Rockwell, David Morse, and Harry Dean Stanton. One of Darabont’s best movies and one of the best adaptations of King’s novels.
Often forgotten when discussing the best Hollywood adaptation of Stephen King’s works (and there aren’t many), 1408 is an underrated gem, highlighting King’s ability to inflict as much psychological horror as he is guts and gore. John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, an author who makes a living debunking supernatural phenomena. Room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel is meant to be just another job, but the haunted room soon becomes a prison of terror. A genuinely creepy film that deserves more love. Plus, it has Samuel L. Jackson, which is always a bonus.
What are some of your favorite films adapted from Stephen King’s novels?