Stephen King: To Film or Not to Film?

Scream_xlgI’ll start off this post by stating that I am definitely not a lover of the horror genre – either in print or on the screen. I have always had an (over)active imagination, and as a kid, found it difficult to sleep with the closet door open a crack or on the side of the bed closest to the outside window because of it. I was dragged to a couple of movies in high school that I absolutely hated (and my brain would replay the most disturbing scenes them every time I closed my eyes). I am the first to admit that it is ridiculous to worry about a shark in a swimming pool at night, but I never said my fears were rational. And yes, I’ll admit, it took me two days (and my husband’s teasing) to get through Scream.

I received an email recently from, and its lead story was about The Dark Towers series being turned into a movie. I think I’ve only read two of Mr. King’s novels – Carrie and Night Shift – and have seen maybe just a few more movies based on his works. But, from what I have gathered over the years, true Kingophiles are almost always disappointed by the movie versions (and reboots and sequels and sequels and sequels) of his books.


Because of my aversion to horror generally and to poor adaptations specifically, I haven’t seen some of what are considered to be the best crossovers (which I will rectify between now and the end of the summer, cross my heart). My daughter is old enough to see Stand By Me, so I will gladly re-watch that. But the one that I will never see again? Does anyone even remember the TV mini-series in 1990 of It? Now, maybe it’s the same in the book (since I’ve never read it), but that effing clown was so much scarier than what’s down in the sewer. SO. MUCH. SCARIER. It was such a letdown.

Last summer, Rolling Stone did a poll to find the top ten Stephen King movies. Here’s the list that their readers came up with:

  1. Shawshank Redemption
  2. The Green Mile
  3. The Shining
  4. Stand By Me
  5. The Stand
  6. Misery
  7. Carrie
  8. The Mist
  9. Christine
  10. Dolores Claiborne

The Shining Here's JohnnyWhat I think is interesting is that at least 3 of these are not really about the scary and unexplainable but more about relationships between people in unusual circumstances (prison, dead body, prison).

So which movies have I seen? As far as I can remember, I’ve seen Stand By MeMisery and the previously mentioned It. Of course I’ve seen bits and pieces of Carrie and The Shining (oh, wait! I saw the TV version of this, too) and others. I think I watched the two mini-series on the TV because I didn’t think they’d be super gross.

Does The Shining or the rest of this top ten list hold up to today’s movie standards and your expectations? Which is/are the worst, in either its original book form or on TV or film?

Jaws and Brody


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