I think it was last week where I was floating through the interwebs, like I often do, and discovered that Nerdist had posted a column breaking down the best Stephen King movies of all time. My immediate thought was, “Oooooh what fun” followed by “I’m not going to read that”. I know, such conflicting thoughts in such rapid succession. I didn’t read the column because I instantly wanted to do that too and didn’t want Nerdist to alter my perception of what I think are the best Stephen King movies.
Best Stephen King movies, or adaptations, doesn’t seem like such a long list as a number of the transformations from book to silver screen have been pretty shabby. Yes, I’m looking at you Dark Tower. Seriously, what in the hell was that?! What was that?! It wasn’t the Dark Tower, that wasn’t the Roland I’ve grown to love (not Elba’s fault), that wasn’t Jake Chambers (ugh, how did you eff that up so badly?!), and the Man in Black is supposed to be charismatically dangerous, not wooden and one dimensional. Not to mention the plot was a complete mess and the writers/director had no understanding of who and what Roland is. There were at least two scenes where I shook my head hard enough with disdain that I thought I was going to have whiplash. Honestly, the Dark Tower was a pile that tried to cram in easter eggs and didn’t once try and focus on what makes that story amazing. Did you see that last shot?! The one where Jake ages like a year and a half and Roland has a different hair style. Like, who edited this thing?! The whole thing should have been scrapped and maybe somewhere down the line…
Phew, sorry. Whoa, that got out of hand. I’ve been keeping that bottled up for awhile now. I clearly still have some things to work through. I’m going to try and focus on the task at hand though and ignore the pain that is the Dark Tower movie… I will purge this from my memory. Oh yes, I will.
As I was saying, there aren’t a number of really good Stephen King book to movie adaptations, looking at you Running Man, and I haven’t seen or read them all despite how hard I try. Which means I’m going a different route than Nerdist. I’m taking my five favorite Stephen King films and ranking them. This is my list based on the films I have seen. In no way is it a definitive list at all. I actually hope to be adding It to it after Friday, but in the mean time, I’m going to work with what I’ve got.
Before we get started though you will notice that The Shining is not on this list, and that’s because I’m not crazy about the film. *gasp* I know, I know, such sacrilege but it’s true. Honestly, I’m just not that big of a Kubrick fan and I know Uncle Stevie hates the film too which helps make me feel justified. If the book didn’t exist then I think I’d be more pro the film but the book does exist so it helps exclude it from this list.
Let’s get this thing started.
Honorable Mention- Stand By Me– It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this movie but there’s no denying it’s a classic. King is one of the best at writing coming of age stories which is why I’m so excited for It and why I love his influence on Stranger Things. Everyone should watch Stand By Me as a child and again as an adult to bring back all those nostalgic feels. Stand By Me is like the Sandlot if it was rated R and had nothing to do with baseball. Does that make sense? Not sure, but it does to me.
5. Children of the Corn– This is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. A lot of that has to do with seeing it as a ten-year-old and then having to walk home alone immediately afterward as the sun was setting, but it’s the content too. What good has ever come from a bunch of kids worshiping some kind of effed up God in a corn field? Nothing. The answer is nothing. That opening where all the adults are killed all the way to the ending where Issac returns and says “he wants you too Malachi”… nope. Eff that. Just burn the entire town down and let’s move on with our lives.
4. Misery- There was a time in life where I saw the movie Misery a great deal. I used to live with someone who used Misery as a go to movie when she couldn’t think of anything else. Seriously, watching Misery became like second nature and while I haven’t watched it in some time it doesn’t dispute the fact that it’s one of King’s best movies. Come on, Kathy Bates won an Oscar folks, and it’s so deserved. She’s freaking brilliant. The psychological terror here is incredible and tense as it really shows the idea of obsessive fandom as something dangerous and scary. Every time she bashes his ankle with the sledge I want to puke… every time.
3. The Mist– This one though. Oh boy, The Mist. First off, if you’ve seen the television show try and forget it. Immediately. The Mist is a super loyal adaptation to the novella and has one of the most brutal endings to any movie anywhere. I swear. Watch The Mist and try and tell me you don’t need a hug afterward. It’s not possible. Even King is on record saying he wishes he had the balls to write that ending. What more could you ask for here? We’ve got an evil mist, giant monster bugs, cabin fever, Randal Flagg references, a Dark Tower movie poster, and a large portion of the Walking Dead cast before they were on the Walking Dead. The Mist is one of the best King adaptions period.
2. Carrie– I remember the first time I watched Carrrie and the truth is I was probably too young. The whole “plug it up” stuff was lost on me and I thought things were rather “meh” until she went all crazy and burnt down the prom. Upon watching as an adult though, and having read the book, Carrie is a completely sympathetic character along with being a movie that supplies top notch horror. Not all horror is evil clowns and jump out scares (minus the ending here) and Carrie reminds you why high school sucked so bad and it’s those experiences that enhance the film. On top of that, Carrie has some of the most iconic cinematic images of all time.
1. Shawshank Redemption– I’m always surprised to find that a large number of people don’t know that this is a Stephen King story. What can really be said about Shawshank that hasn’t already been said before? This movie is everything and if it wasn’t released the same year as Pulp Fiction and Forest Gump there’s a good chance it would have an Oscar for Best Picture. Here’s how you know that Shawshank is incredible. You’re at home flipping through the channels and discover that Shawshank is on TBS or TNT or something like that and you figure you’ll just pop in until the first commercial so you can get back to flipping. Next thing you know two hours have gone by and you’re wishing you had a friend like Red and wondering if a rock hammer could really do all that. Yeah, that’s the power of Shawshank.
There you have it Geeklings, these are my top five favorite Stephen King movies. Of course, I am willing to bet that a number of you will disagree. That’s great! Tell me about it. Sound off in the comments below or find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. Be sure to share you favorite Stephen King films or why I’m crazy for not including a certain one, and here’s hoping that It makes us all readjust our lists.
*This column originally appeared on my blog, I Am Geek, but I wanted to share it with you fine Fan Fest folks too (alliteration intended). I’m so generous, I know.
Images from Columbia Pictures, Hal Roach Studios, Castle Rock Entertainment, Dimension Films, and MGM