Stephen King’s movies over the years have ranged from the pinnacle of the horror genre to the bottom of the horror heap. As I attempted to rank Stephen King’s work I found that it is kind of like trying to seperate diamonds from coal. You have to sort through the crap to get to the good stuff. Once you find the good stuff, however, it is good indeed. Unlike Stephen King’s written word, the movies are hit or miss to be sure. That said, I have compiled my top ten list of Stephen King’s movies and why below:
10. (1984) – Stephen King’s Firestarter – This movie really creeped me out. It was one of many of Stephen King’s movies that focuses on a child or children as the primary character, and it is just flat out creepy to me. The movie is remarkably well done for the most part, and the visions that are brought forth are stunning. This movie slid in at number ten on my list of Stephen King’s movies.
9. (1983) – Stephen King’s Christine -Many die hard fans of Stephen King’s movies and books are sure to be offended at my putting Christine at number nine on the list, but to be honest, this movie did not scare me at all. The movie is a fantastic one, and deserves the popularity it has seen, but the book runs circles around it in the arena of horror. Great movie, but only number nine for me.
8. (1990) – Stephen King’s Misery – This is where the list starts to truly get good in my view. Kathy Bates is absolutely maniacal in this movie. It is one of the few instances where the movie may have surpassed the book in my opinion. I loved this movie, in spite of the difficulty in watching it. There are a couple of scenes that hurt to even watch. Particularly the block of wood and ankles scene.
7. (1989) – Stephen King’s Pet Sematary -This was a movie that I struggled with for a bit, but eventually landed it at number seven. I love the premise of the movie, but the acting was just under the level of moving it higher on the list. If they had used some better talent, I think that this might have been among the best ever. The story is fantastic, and the movie is layed out well.
6. (1984) – Stephen King’s Children of the Corn -I am sorry, but any movie that has kids killing off all the adults freaks me the hell out. I can totally imagine a world where this could happen. The creepy little leader freaks me out until this day. Children of the Corn is a classic for a reason. If you have not seen this movie, and want to be scared in a primal way, check it out.
5. (1983) – Stephen King’s Cujo -This movie was one of the first that I actually saw when it came out. The early Stephen King movies were at a time when I was too young to see them. Cujo slid under the radar with my parents. I never looked at my dog out in the backyard the same way. Excellent from top to bottom, and the stuff of childhood nightmares.
4. (1990) – Stephen King’s It (TV mini-series) -Speaking of childhood nightmares, this is the ultimate for anyone that is afraid of clowns. Hell, I never even had a fear of clowns until I saw It. Without a doubt, this movie sticks in your brain for some time after viewing it. This is a hall of famer in the list of Stephen King’s movies. It is a solid number four choice for no other reason than that darn clown.
3. (1979) – Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot -This is easily the most spooky of Stephen King’s movies. Vampires and goblins? Stephen King? A marriage made in heaven. This movie was one of the movies that put Stephen King on the movie map.
2. (1976) – Stephen King’s Carrie – Who has not seen Carrie and thought about their old high school days? What makes Carrie so scary is that every school had a Carrie. It would be very easy for us to imagine this happening to us. That is the heart of any great horror movie. The ability to make the unreal….real. Stephen King’s Carrie did it in a big way. It is a horror genre classic for a reason.
1. (1980) – Stephen King’s The Shining – Without a doubt, this Stephen King classic is his most powerfully creepy movie adaption. I watched this one at the theater and it was a vision of horror to my young eyes. The iconic moments in the movie are well known even now, almost thirty years later. The vision of a crazed Jack peering through the door he just chopped down with an axe is forever a vision of horror to me. So too, is the “redrum” message and that little boy’s voice repeating it over and over. The Shining is at the very top of the list of Stephen King’s movies, and no other movie is even close to me.